Preparations

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Days then weeks go by, and still I haven’t posted any updates….. sorry.  So here’s a very brief one.  Things are progressing on all fronts.  Slower than I’d have liked, but still, progressing.  Going through all my personal things, deciding what to keep, what to dispose of, it all takes time to do it thoroughly and with care.  But I’m getting there…. where-ever “there” is!

Changes happening to the van also.  Some cannot take place until January, but at least they are in the pipeline now.  Other small jobs done today and more on Sunday planned.  Once some basic refits are done, I want to do short trips to trial it and then adjust as necessary.

I’m beginning to dream of getting back into taking my photos again – so I can once more share with you the magic of the natural world and all its bounty.  🙂

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Restless

For the past year, I’ve been suffering from a syndrome called ‘restlessness’.  Despite my attempts to quell it, or to transform it, it has occupied most of my waking hours – and disturbed my sleep…….

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve moved house – and yes, it has been literal a couple of times also!  Not this house though, which I encountered on a recent trip away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMuch of my life has been spent living in the countryside or the bush, and I’ve relished it most of the time, so it comes as a great surprise to me, that it no longer does.  In fact, what used to sustain me in my quiet life, no longer is sufficient.  I want more…..

Over ten years ago I became quite ill, and life changed forever.  I lived more or less as a hermit for many of those years, and that was part of my healing.  Time alone will always be necessary for my well-being, but now it seems it’s time for me to rejoin society to some degree.  It’s always going to be a juggling act, although I feel I’m better prepared for it now – time will tell of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cleaner air of the coast plays a great part also in my well-being, the question is – which coast?

Last November a friend and I took a brief holiday to South West Victoria, and quite unexpectedly, my friend bought a property on the outskirts of Port Fairy, where he’ll be able to pursue his artistic life with more freedom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat a wonderful welcoming sign to the area!  Need I add, that this area was settled by the Irish, and that influence remains strong today.  I’ve got strong Irish heritage and so feel right at home here.

Home.  Hmmm…. such a word can conjure many thoughts, feelings and impressions.  Now after helping my friend pack and move to his new home, I’m on the search for my new…. my new what?  Place of being perhaps…..   Travel and adventure call to me, as does having a safe place to return to and rest my head. I want – no NEED to go ‘Walkabout’ from time to time and this was brought squarely to my attention when I met two fabulous young women recently who were travelling.  It wasn’t envy but longing that I felt when I saw them depart after a couple of days of great times together.  I wanted to be on that highway also……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s time to go dancing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh yes, my Olympus EM5 needs to go away for some minor attention soon, and as I cannot bear to be without a trusty companion, I have purchased another Oly, this time a TG 850, a small fun camera with lots of great features.  We’re still getting to know each other, and it will never replace the EM5, but be more as a support act 🙂

I’ve given notice of intention to depart to my landlords, and they couldn’t be more helpful and supportive, given I’ve got no date of departure at this stage.  Already I’ve sorted through my ‘stuff’ and sold/given away/disposed of a great deal, with larger pieces of furniture next to deal with, as I reduce, reduce, reduce…..

After all, it’s just stuff!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need to follow Fred’s example and live in the moment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd make just some new tracks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFootloose and fancy free

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, as much as an old chook like me can be, with my fourlegged companions….. who are getting quite accustomed to our comings and goings……..

So there’s the picture of what’s been happening lately, and why I’ve not been posting as much.  It’s all a bit fragmented….   🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just have to keep faith and trust.

Find the thing that stirs your heart and make room for it. Life is about the development of self to the point of unbridled joy.
Joan Chittister
Monasteries of the Heart Newsletter

A little adventuring – Part 2

One of the mid-north towns we stopped at on the trip was Wirrabara.  It’s a favourite little town of mine, mostly because it has a great produce market once a month – and I timed the visit to co-incide with one.  Sorry, didn’t take any photos of the market, as I was too busy catching up with old friends, and buying yummy food 🙂

The following morning though, I took a quiet walk around the town, and on a Monday morning in winter, it was very quiet.  The locals I did see, were friendly in their greetings.  There’s a saying in South Australia, that the further north one travels, the friendlier the people get, and I have to agree that its been my experience also.  Perhaps it’s to do with the climate – further south where its colder, people tend to stay in the their homes more…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The town park is well set up for visitors, with toilets, and shelters and BBQ facilities.  A lovely creek flows through it in winter, and there are plenty of frogs and birds to listen to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis mural in the park was constructed as part of the Centenary of Federation Celebrations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the pieces of playground equipment.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany towns have paintings on the electricity poles, and the theme for this one appears to be birds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis area was very important in the States early history.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis church was built during the Great Depression, which I think quite an incredible effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s obvious it’s a farming area.  During last summer, bush fires came very close to the town, and it was a very concerning time for all.  Thankfully, it survived.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe local craft shop is well worth a visit, with a wide selection of local produce, such as jams and honey etc, and woollen garments, fleeces, timber carvings, and stunning fibre work by a local artist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the site of the monthly market, and the verandah and decking is a recent addition.  The market is a real meeting place, and great tea, coffee and cakes make it a perfect place to catch up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoses roses and roses were everywhere, and really enjoying the season.  Yes, it’s midwinter and the roses are in full leaf and bloom!

For more on the history of this area, please follow this link.

 

The Grampians Part 7 – People and places

Pomonal is a village in the Eastern Grampians, 15kms to the east of Halls Gap, and the General Store is just that – in the best of the old-fashioned tradition.  I was in need of refreshment one day, and dropped in for a coffee and cake – home baked of course!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was an ENORMOUS slice of cake, and I was offered a doggie bag if I felt I was unable to eat it all in one sitting…. but as you can see, I managed 🙂  It was utterly decadently delicious and coffee was perfect – make sure you drop in if you’re ever in the area and say I sent you 🙂

Interesting local arts and crafts are displayed for sale and how nice it was to see the creative efforts of the community.

I loved the little community church, with its delightfully welcoming garden out the front of the building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPomonal holds a market on the last Sunday of each month, an annual art show, and an annual wildflower show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may even be lucky enough to see a vintage vehicle traveling through the town.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOr watch the locals playing cricket on the town oval in the main street.

A short distance from the village is the Glass Blowing Studio and Gallery of James McMurtrie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe outdoor sculptures are wonderful, and a taste of things to come inside the building…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy eye was really taken by this bowl….utterly gorgeous and hard to resist… but I did. It seemed to capture the essence of the local environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also loved some of his more unusual pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I’d been there a day earlier, I could have watched the glass blowing process.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was made to feel most welcome by his partner and assistant glass blower – and dog!

Closer to Halls Gap is the Halls Gap Zoo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t have time to visit the zoo, although I’ve heard it’s well worth a visit, even if just for the experience in interacting with the meerkats! For the more adventurous, you could even feed the dingoes, or hold an alligator, or a snake…..  Personally, I’d love to see first hand a Tasmanian Devil – particularly as their existence is hanging in the balance, due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease  

Of course, if I bought this lovely home in the district, I’d be able to visit all these places on a regular basis 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI fell in love with this old home, who simply needs a bit of TLC…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThose are lilac bushes along the fence…. and I LOVE lilacs!

Home3Well, I can but dream, and dream.  From my back door, I’d see a wonderful view of the Ranges…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho knows what Fate may have in store?  🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my little visit to the Grampians/Gariwerd, and perhaps one day, you may even experience its sights and sounds for yourself.  It’s a pretty special part of Australia. 🙂

The Grampians – Part 6 – Waterfalls

In a high rainfall zone such as the Victorian Grampians, waterfalls are to be expected, and the visitor is not disappointed.

I first visited Silverband Falls, on a day with misty rain, and patches of sunshine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe track to the Falls of 700metres is extremely well maintained, and suitable for a range of ages and abilities, with seating provided for a rest along the way.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first glimpse of what is to come….

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really enjoyed my time sitting close to the waterfall, simply absorbing the wonderful energy and peacefulness of the place.

Much later that same day, after a great deal of walking, I went to Mackenzie Falls.  In hindsight, I should have done it the other way around…….or perhaps after all the steps involved with Mackenzie Falls, I might not have been up to much else!

SignpostsThe area is well signposted, and from the carpark, to the first lookout, the path is suitable for wheelchairs.

Viewing platformMackenzie FallsOf course, if you want to see more, you have to work a little harder….. there are 276 steps down to the bottom!

Long way downGoing DownI went down to the next landing, which takes you closer to the water….

Next poolRushing waterAt this point, I decided that if I wanted to be walking the next day, it would be better not to attempt to go further down – I live in a flat area, and my muscles aren’t used to hills or steps! Going down is fine, but what goes down must come up 🙂

Going up - 276 of themIt was a very popular place, with many visitors, and for those needing refreshment after all the exertion, there’s a kiosk near to the car park.

ReplenishmentThere are many other waterfalls in the Grampians National Park – hopefully I’ll see more next trip.

I’m also including in this set, my visit to Wannon Falls, which isn’t in the Grampians, but the Falls are fed by the Wannon River, which has its head waters in the Grampians.  I passed by Wannon Falls on my way to and from the Grampians and simply had to spend a little time there.  Yet another place to return to….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA good viewing platform provides easy access, and yes, it attracts plenty of photographers. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA simple track winds among the trees and birdlife to a quieter place just a little upstream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd to a perfect place to admire Nature in all Her Magnificence…….

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The Grampians – Part 3 – Halls Gap

Halls Gap is a small town located right in the heart of the Grampians National Park, and while the first white settler, Charles Browning Hall was a cattleman, today the town’s main industry is tourism.  It is located in the Fyans Valley, nestled between the Wonderland and the Mt. William Ranges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe valley is quite narrow, so where-ever you look, you will see mountains rising up.  The township is well set up with plenty of facilities for visitors, such as picnic grounds, BBQs and playgrounds for the children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was quite early in the morning when I took these photos hence few people about.

There is a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians, separate from the main road, helping to keep people safe from cars.  The town can get quite busy in peak season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are plenty of accommodation options – backpackers, caravan parks, motels, etc, variously priced to suit any pocket.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd plenty of information so you don’t get lost!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile I elected to stay out of the town, I did see a place that if my budget ever stretches to, I’d love to stay in…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to take a closer look at this building……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh yes, I think I’d like to be pampered here! 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerhaps on my next visit I’ll get a chance to look inside, for yes indeed, I certainly intend to return!