Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Family Affair - Melbourne Environs

What an adventure - just 7 days in Melbourne and I managed to pack in so much. Spending time with family can either be a great deal of fun or a lot of stress. Fortunately my stress levels only reached high playing "Pirate Mini Golf" because, damn it, I wanted a hole in one - which miraculously I managed to get.

We had a few days on beautiful Phillip Island. Four seasons in one day; hot and humid, cold and wet, hale and thunder. But this gave me a chance to see the The Nobbbies during a huge storm. There was a savage horizontal wind coming off the ocean, buffeting sand into our faces. It was a struggle to get a car door open without fingers and toes being trapped. But it was worth it to see this stunning scenery.

At the National Gallery of Victoria John Olsen's 'You Beaut Country' exhibition was wonderful. He has captured the very essence of the Australian Landscape with vivid oranges, yellows and reds. Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but I'm so inspired by his sense of movement and colour. Major disruption to the exhibition was a gas leak and the whole precinct was evacuated. Well done Melbourne.

A few days in northern Victoria's Woodend visiting family was terrific. The days started off with us wearing thick coats and winter woolies and ended in sleeveless t-shirts. It's a lovely part of Victoria in good weather, but it's very unpredicatable at the best of times.
Drummond Garden - Woodend

Once the sun came out we were taken on a tour of Duneira, the house and garden at Mt Macedon. Built in the 1870's the house boasts a stunning collection of paintings, art works, furniture and an impressive library. S R Stoneman the seventh owner of Duneira and the third generation of grocerymen from Victoria, died in 2002 leaving the house and garden for others to enjoy. It is now under the care and control of the S R Stoneman Foundation and Director Dr Jacqueline Ogeil.

The first glimpse of Duneira is from the sweeping driveway. English Elm trees underplanted with bluebells gives some indication that the gardens are going to be something special.

 There's 38 acres altogether, although the tour covered just a small area of the formal garden around the house. I was envious of the stunning horticultural gems in the garden which is maintained by a couple of full time staff and a multitude of volunteers. Not sure how they do it all!   The rambling gardens of Rhododendron, Azalea, Japanese Maples and Dogwoods were a photographers dream. My only wish was to have had more time to explore other areas of the property because I know there were more masterpieces to uncover.

Back in Melbourne we caught up with more family and friends, indulged in cocktails and delicious Indian curries. 

 On the journey home I started my list of things I must do before Christmas; need to get some preserves started, buy cherries and make jam, biscuits to bake and I haven't started my pudding yet. Considering it's only a few weeks to Christmas, I had better get a move on. (Check back later for my Cranberry Chutney recipe).

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