I set up the three poodles in their luxurious 'Doggie Rooms', filled up with an early dinner, and promised visits complete with bones from a neighbour that evening and next morning.
We decided to leisurely tootle up the road, stopping for a delicious lunch in nearby beautiful Yarragon, and the purchase of a watercolour pad from Tritec, my favourite art suppliers. We met two artist friends there, one of whom had kindly rung me the night before to see if she could drive me with my broken wing to Life Drawing that morning.
On to Morwell, we went to Bunnings to buy paint. Dulux had its annual special of a four litre can of jelly beans if we bought two four litre cans of paint. What a couple of 'tubbies' like us need all those sweets for, I don't know, but we were fatally attracted to the idea.
So, loaded up with paint and all those lollies, we travelled on........
Then up to a Rivers Disposals Store at Traralgon, where I was thrilled to find two pairs of beautiful shoes at excitingly low prices. I am always notoriously low on shoes, finding so few that appeal to me, so this was a major coup.
We wandered on up the highway, stopping here and there, arriving at our booked motel in the late afternoon. It had been advertised as having an 'exotic garden', which we found highly amusing, as the lawn needed mowing and most plants were pretty ordinary. There was a magnificent dark red pelargonium which was blossoming at our veranda. I thought I might gently pilfer a tiny piece later on when it was dark.
Built in around the fifties and badly needing a tidy up, the motel also called itself 'international'. We assumed that was because they were both Austrian and offered sauerkraut, etc, in their restaurant.
The beds were clean, but there was not much else to excite, especially when we discovered there was not enough of those horrid little sealed milk containers for our allotted evening and morning cuppas.
After I discovered that, I snapped off a bigger piece of pelargonium before I went to bed!
At the Gallery, we met friends from nearby Stratford who were coming as well, and waited for the doors to open...... which they didn't! Starting to panic a bit, I asked a security guy whether we were in the wrong place. Sure enough, we had to do a quick runner up the road to the next building, not an easy feat for my wrecked leg, passing a cheerful brass band wandering up the pavement outside.
Inside, we were refused our complimentary champagne as it 'was over' (we were 10 minutes late), but scored a pleasant chardonnay.
The venue was very nice, and the exhibition was opened with some ceremony by a local councilor, who had been affected by the floods himself. All very posh and a bit cliquey, and it was over in an hour. Never mind! Off to a nice dinner at the nearby Irish Bar, my own champagne and a nice catch up.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the sun at a Stratford Cafe, having a chance meeting and a yak with a particularly manic friend we hadn't seen for ages. He is a taxidermist and a real character, and filled up the morning with his enthusiasm and special brand of craziness.
There was a shop next door, which we were told was very special, and it was. Owned by a Turkish man and his Australian wife, it was full of rugs, bowls, hanging lights and other assorted goodies ...... even belly dancing costumes! I was deeply tempted to continue my spending spree and buy a big pedestal bowl for our fruit, but got out before I caved in.
The wife's mother was a cheery, hard-sell type, and thought she might convince us to go on a 21 day tour next year to Turkey with the son-in-law. Around $5000 per person bought an all expenses paid trip around many interesting places, meeting families, tasting food, going to markets and historic landmarks. I think it even included a trip to Gallipoli. We have the itinerary, and it sounds great, but not now.....
Off to our friends' farm at the back of Stratford for morning tea, we had cuppas and freshly baked berry muffins on the veranda amongst her beautiful spring roses. She walked me around the garden with a plastic bag and a shovel, giving me small treasures to take home and bolster mine.
The farm is a show piece of around one thousand acres, where they successfully run a large herd of fat beef cattle and a sheep flock.
Leaving there, we toured some nearby areas where my man showed me how high the waters had risen at the height of the floods. We stopped at the property he had photographed for my flood painting, and it certainly looked very different now the waters had gone.
Along a side road, there was the Avon River still flowing over a washed away road; pieces of bitumen dragged up the river bed and bushes laid over.
Back home now, the poodles are fine (though hunting snakes again!), my cuttings from the rose garden are safely in their dirt, the boss has had his nanna nap, and my blog is done. Where's the bubbly?
"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. "
.... Lin Yutang