Hello, my mum is watching the Kerry Packer funeral. We were in Torquay when we heard that Kerry Packer was dead. I heard about it first from Huw Porter, who is a remarkable guy with a great story. Well, I think so anyway, even if it isn't in Chicken Soup or anything. I dare say Huw will kill me for this!
Have also posted in response to Clem Bastow's songs about sport. I chose The Holy Grail because it is about football. I also chose a new radio station called Vega partly because it has fewer ads and more mellow music than the one I normally listen to.
This is the second 31 degree day this week and I went to bed early last night. I am glad that I have my period - imagine trying to have a baby in this heat! Speaking of babies in a manner of speaking, I am now the sub-editor of the Box's books, non-fiction and fiction section. I may go and see Rent on the 27th. I really want to. There is a woman named Janine who is the Movies Subeditor. I cannot print Michael Burville's work because my printer on the IBM doesn't work, and transferring them onto the Mac is a bit more than I can take. The News role involves journeys around campus. Nelson I can make because I am seeing a counsellor there for the moment, but Elgar I can't. I suppose I'll have to make a creative way to do my role if I can't go there and collect the news. My dad is doing ashphalting at the moment and I can't imagine how he and Bondy and Malcolm are going out there. Perhaps he will be home soon. I hope so. I also hope he hasn't been drinking too much.
Speaking of Journeys:
I went on a journey from the 8th to the 11th of February. The journey started on the Calder Freeway when we went to Harcourt to see Barb Livingstone, to see how she has been bearing up. I ought to give her an address of this blog or to see the new website. Aunty Lay is really cool, and so are the hens. I was told not to say anything too untoward as her husband John (Doc) the great eccentric has just died. Well, not really, JUST died, but he died on the 12th July 2004. Anyway, we haven't seen her since the funeral. The best thing was collecting Harcout Valley Wine and also Olive Oil, which she has diversified into. She took us all around the vines and the trees/shrubs, and also we met John who is a nice Lebanese guy from South Melbourne newsagent. Then we went to Bendigo and stopped at a restaurant there called Tuscan something, and we ate things. This is where I got an earful for my Valentine's Day antics. I am glad they are resolved now and with good results. I can breathe a little easier now.
We spent the afternoon and night in Kinggower which is near Bendigo and Inglewood. We visited Hallmark Winery, which is owned by Roger and Maxine Burns. I ate salad and tapas and risotto and danced around to music, especially jazz/swing music. For much of the first day while we were in the City I looked around for office space for Wikimedia Australia, whom I had informed of my break. We were delayed a day because Theo Baker (he comes into this story later on) was driving his truck a lot and thus could not see us. So I spent the Tuesday watching a movie called Good Luck and Good Night which is about journalism in the McCarthy era and produced by George Clooney, and then we went to Rowville (I think not too far from Mrs McLeay's home! - don't you live somewhere near Churchill Park? - we ought to have tea and a visit) to CuCucina to eat the best steak in the world. They aren't too mean on seafood too! Nor salad. But their ATM machine isn't something to shout about. I was rejected three times. Too mean! Fortunately the Commonwealth Bank understood, even though we didn't get anything out until Hamilton which is near Horsham and all that.
We spent the next morning (the 9th) in Kinggower and I read the works of Rumer Godden, at least 3 of them. Also I spent some time in the pool room alone. Roger played tricks with the cue balls, and told stories about famous people he has been with. I must warn you: most of them are completely implausible, read: made up. We ate bacon and eggs and other things and also toast. Of all the Rumer Godden books I have read, I like The River the best, because it is about a small girl who wants to be a writer. Her relationship with her elder sister is well-described and Rumer makes you feel for people. I spent the early afternoon in the Melville Caves. I went for a walk and took photos but didn't go into the caves because I got scared. What scared me was a ride in a bumpy tractor. Watch out for the terroir! In case you think Osama bin Laden was in Kinggower, I do mean the lay of the land in a winery or a vineyard. I ate the rest of my chocolate fudge.
We spent the afternoon in St Arnaud and got something to eat, like Grape nerds and chips and dim sims. Dad then fell asleep a lot. I kept on interrupting him and asking him did he have interesting dreams? I am really sorry, Dad. My hand hurt me so I could not write for much of the 9th and so I wrote with my left hand when we got to Murtoa. Murtoa is where my Granddad used to teach and my cousins used to live for a few years, and go to school. Then we went to Horsham and Pimpino.
We went to Theola, which is a combination of Theo and Lola. We watched a DVD of Chantelle Clark's little girl who is about four months old or something along those lines. I asked about all the children. It is some five years since I have been in the region last and there have been lots of children. Something in the water makes Baker children good looking. I think it is the clean country air. I read a book by Robin Bowles about Jaidyn Leskie and had a pain in my stomach. Lola had a new window fixed by her oldest son Max, and the son of Max came home from school. Later on we ate geese (a lovely traditional meal) and we had crayfish for supper. Not before Theo, Dad and I went to Trevor's house, and then to Nathan's house. Beth and Emily get up to a lot and they are very good friends. The teenagers get along too. Shannon is a giant now. He is going to have to pay $50,000 equity for his house. The house as a whole costs $120,000. I would not hold with whinging about why he couldn't have a piece of land like the previous generation (only the boys though - the girls all left, except for Debbie who is coming back as a nurse in Dimboola). While I talk of land, Trevor is having a holiday house in Adelaide near the sea, which is beautiful. Johnathan is a bit of a dreamboat especially when he does dishes.
I have learnt a lot about making stock cars from Nathan (Jock) and Simon who is Shari's husband. I am sorry I did not give you a family tree of Bakers and descendant before I jumped into this story. Max is the oldest, then there is Trevor, and so on down to Nathan and Shari. Shari will be 26 today. Happy Birthday Shari! It is all very sound and light and noise and smell at the moment so I was grateful to be with two exuberant toddlers/preschoolers, but I was not too happy to get home in the dark. The Western Highway is one of the busiest roads out there, and I am scared. I am also scared of dogs. I have done lots of work in the last 2 years to get rid of this fear but I am still shy with unfamiliar ones. Especially BIG ones.
Then I went to bed in the bunk bed and began Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance. So far it is a great book, and I skipped to the end so I know what happens. Also in the morning I read something about past lives by Jenny Cockburn. I thought it was so cool how she was able to authenticate it and everything. I love Lola's house it is full of antiques and china, but it is a bit messy in places. I have to give her credit: it is not so messy now the nine children have moved out. But the outside is as messy as I remember it. Also there are lots of cats and one dog named Joker. I sort of like Joker, and Joker knows how to treat me - that is go away from me as far as possible.
We found a esky to carry the crayfish in, and we ate it on Sunday, but that is jumping ahead a little. We spent most of the 10th travelling, and didn't get anywhere until Colac, though we saw so much before that, including some extinct volcanoes. I didn't get the photos of them I would have liked, though. Sometimes the travelling was a little wearing on my patience and tolerance - I admit that. Some roads in the Grampians are tiring but they are full of scenery and animals. We stopped in Hamilton to eat as I said earlier, and I wrote a letter to the hotel proprietor to the effect it was necessary for me to have a spa. In Colac there is a shortage of spas and for that matter swimming pools. One would think I had learnt my lesson from Horsham in 1994, but I have not.
We went to Sing Bo to eat because there was a touring coach eating in the hotel restaurant. We watched the Simpsons shortly before, and learnt how the TV worked. Then we ate prawns and rented Twenty First Dates ... I mean FIFTY first dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I really enjoyed it even though I could not pay attention at first.
Early in the morning of the 11th we watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and ate maple syrup-slathered pancakes for breakfast. This is room service. It all cost $150 all up. Then we went to the Otway Fly. I am so proud to say that I completed it, even though 45 metres up should not be too hard for me, THE STAIRS WERE. They were frightening, especially down. The rock wasn't. Anyway I got a CD and walked way ahead of my family. I threatened to my Mum she would have to take the Shuffle Bus. We did the fly in an hour and a half. You are supposed to do it in 45 minutes, so I don't think we did too badly. We did stop to read the interpretive signage though as well as for other reasons like to tie my shoelaces. I am going to give away some of my clothes to St Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army, as a dress I was going to wear for Valentines' Day proved to be in fact too small. After the Otway Fly we took the Great Ocean Road and stopped at Airey's Inlet and flew through Apollo Bay ... when there was a weekend market, which is too much of an injustice. And we have seen how disruptive and commercialised Lorne has become. I would recommend you don't go there for your schoolies if you want the true beach experience.
We got home about 5:30 and I read about a Korean restaurant in South Yarra in the Herald-Sun. It is on 360 Toorak Road or therabouts, and I hope to go there in the future. I also hope to go to Writers on Como but that is a separate issue, and it is looking that I may not be able to. I can purchase a membership for the Victorian Writers' Centre for that same price, so I shall tomorrow. When I have been procrastinating about it for three years (since I came to Box Hill Institute, in fact) it is about time. I also ate McDonalds including two hamburgers. The Animal Planet Happy Meals are good, but my favourite is the McOz family/value meal. We do not supersize in Australia.
That is all I have to tell. For the rest you'll have to read behind the lines. Also I got my Librivox recordings transferred but they are of relatively poor quality. At least Betsy is working on Pan Tadeusz and that's sweet. I received a copy of Pan Tadeusz for my graduation in 2001 and I haven't picked it up to read since January 2002. Though I did see the film on SBS and I liked it very much. Pan Tadeusz, because it is an epic poem, has sort of a journey motif. Anyway I think there is hunting in it. I have read a lot of my e-mails though not kept up with many especially from a high-level mailing list. I do mean high-volume.
I hope to go to the Hut in Ferntree Gully tomorrow. Just to listen and not to read. I like Alex a lot; he is a good poet and a sterling man. I have also read about Kosciuszko and Paul Strzelecki, which reminds me I did promise to send my wine project to Barb Livingstone. I hope she appreciates it. We got to see the new vintage and the progress and all their awards. This is in their cellar. Easter Sunday there will be a winery festival for the whole Bendigo region. On the way we stopped into Malmsbury, only to go to the toilet. I want to see the Botanic Gardens next time, especially the bowling and the geese. The geese were well-behaved. This does tie in to Fly Away Home, especially when they walked into the big truck. The geese at Malmsbury are used to trucks. I would like to see more of Castlemaine and Maldon, as I had done in 2004.