What are these tents doing in this paddock?

Answer:
they have been erected by participants in the Great Victorian Bike Ride.

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Yesterday David returned from delivering our grand daughter, Lucinda, to her mother and brother at Port Campbell, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. The middle, rest day of the GVBR coincided with an orientation day at the secondary school that she is enrolled for, so valiant Granddad picked her up from Koroit, above the Tower Hill Reserve, drove her to Melbourne and the following day, picked her up from school, returned her to her family, overnighted in Warrnambool before driving home via the Queenscliff ferry.
The Great Victorian Bike Ride is an annual event involving a moving town of 5,000 riders, cycling on a nine-day journey across the state of Victoria. this year’s ride included the spectacular Great Ocean Road and went from Mount Gambier with its famous Blue Lake, to the port city of Geelong.

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Yesterday the riders completed the gruelling climb up Lavers Hill in wet conditions – quite a feat. The photos are from Monday, when conditions were sunnier.

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Yarra Valley birthday weekend – garden in the rain

For the last two days, we have been in the beautiful Yarra Valley, an hpur’s drive from Melbourne, sharing the birthday celebrations for our friend, Sue. The venue was the historic Chateau Yering Hotel, where Victoria’s first vintage of wine originated in 1845.

The present mansion was constructed in 1854 but has been fully refurbished to provide luxury country house accommodation. The bedrooms are decorated with antique furniture, works of art and fine fabrics. We dined in the Library, which is in its original form with cedar jambs and doors.

A feature of Chateau Yering is the garden, which includes a huge heritage-listed palm tree and a restored antique bronze crane in a lily pond.

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Breakfast was in the Sweetwater Cafe, where the atrium provided beautiful natural light.

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We then visited the adjoining Yering Station Winery, which was packed with visitors.

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The weekend finished with lunch at Yarrawood winery, with panoramic views across the valley towards the Dandenong Ranges. We particularly liked the rose’. Happy birthday Sue!

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Melbourne Street art yesterday – now you see it……

Yesterday I did a tour of Melbourne street art. Starting from Federation Square, we quickly darted away from the mainstream into Campbell Arcade, a subway to Flinders Street Station. Here we were shown a shop that sells ‘zines’, temporary special interest magazines and the little gallery space that changes regularly. We emerged into Degraves Street to see a cloud of pink rain and a lady sheltering from it under her umbrella.

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There was also a surprising little mosaic. I go down Degraves Street weekly but hadn’t noticed it before.

We continued up Centre Way and turned left into a dead-end alley which had some very moving art, including a piety-like memorial painting.

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Another painting down in a corner seemed to have an Asian influence:

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We continued to Hosier Lane, which was full of new art, having been blanked out to have a fresh exhibition for the Melbourne Now festival that commences today and involves both campuses of the National Gallery of Victoria. Here our guide showed us one of his recent works, together with a little signature man.

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We continued up to Chinatown, where we saw some very large street art, clearly done with the aid of scissor lifts.

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I was also intrigued by some painted directives on how to tie a tie – the ultimate statement of mail constraint, but I decided instead to finish with this octopus as it was more eye catching.

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I plan to go back to these lanes to check out the changes. Apparently some are changed several times a week!

Melbourne today – Christmas windows and arcades

Welcome to our hundredth follower. We started this blog prior to a caravan trip to share it with family and friends. I never dreamed that people over the world would follow us. We are now home and blog about whatever interests us, while our caravan is being repaired in readiness for the next trip, which will probably be next year.

Today I did my stint as a volunteer with City of Melbourne and afterwards took a stroll up toImage Myer to look at the Christmas windows. The reflection from the buildings opposite was very strong. giving weird effects. The Gingerbread story that was the theme seemed to have Victorian builldings as a backdrop.

ImageIwalked back to the station via the Block Arcade, photographing the delicious cakes in the historic Hopetoun Tearooms on the way. There is always a queue in the afternoon, waiting their turn to enjoy the high tea. Both the Block Arcade and the tearooms are relics of Melbourne in the time of Queen Victoria.Image

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You can spend some pleasant times exploring the arcades and street art in Melbourne.

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Kororoit Creek bird haven even in the rain

On Tuesday we did a walk with Probus from Altona to Williamstown (about 10km). It rained the whole time, but proved to be a fascinating part of Melbourne – on the eastern edge of the Western District basalt plains.

The birdlife on Kororoit Creek was impressive, with black swans and striking red necked avocets.

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While pied cormorants perched on rocks along Port Phillip Bay.

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Dead short-tailed shearwaters had ditched from exhaustion after their long migratory flight from the northern hemisphere.

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The area had been a disused racecourse and rifle range which had been largely rehabilitated and developed as a wetland walk.

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We tried sheltering from the icy wind behind trees.

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Our picnic lunch under a fishing club’s verandah gave shelter from the rain, but we were sodden and chilled.

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We retreated to a cafe for hot chocolate, dripping water on the floor, to celebrate the conclusion of the journey, prior to taking the two-hour trip home on train and then bus. A wet exploit – next time I’ll wear waterproof shoes!

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Chinese Painting in a Day – a great form of relaxation

Today I did a Chinese painting class at the CAE – a beautiful way to spend a Sunday. Teacher Thanh Duong took us through the techniques of Lingnan Chinese painting, which uses brushes of animal hairs to combine ink and paints on rice paper using a freehand style to produce an expression of the artist’s life energy.

We learned techniques of working with water, ink and colour-mixing as well as several ways to hold the brush and do the stroke work. I was inspired by the results of all of our small class (only three of us), in such a short time.

I’d like to do some more sometime soon.

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Cup Weekend in Northeast Victoria – Leaping Lizards amongst the wildflowers

We spent last weekend relaxing at our friends’ farm in the King Valley. The spring wildflowers continue their display and the pasture is lush.

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We shared the farm with a blue-tongue lizard which I nearly trod on.

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An annual wildflower walk is a “must-do” and once again, we weren’t disappointed, with orchids:

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Native flax:

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And clematis.

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Gracebrook Winery was a very pleasant place to enjoy gnochi with a glorious view of the mountains beyond the vineyard.

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After thirty years of visiting this area, it’s still one of our favourite spots.