Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Front Yard Transformed.

It's been a very productive weekend starting from my Friday - that's when my weekends start. Our big project this weekend was to lay new turf in the front of the house and replant the entrance garden bed. We achieved our goals with the help from out two sons Mitchell and Andrew. They've been so helpful during our house spruce up.

Old grass and weeds being removed
New grass and top soil delivered
Mitch and Andrew spread the top soil
Andrew and his friend cleaned the terracotta tiled roof - only three weeks ago they helped me paint one side of the house and part of the side fence. This weekend they helped lay turf. Sue had organised the top soil and turf to be delivered on the Friday. Come Saturday we started by taking a skim of grass and weeds from the surface. Next was to spread and level the top soil. We then took the water-filled roller over the surface before laying the turf.
Almost ready for the turf
Preparation all cmpleted
The turf now laid and we have a new front yard that has been transformed.

This is where I previously parked my car while Sue's car was on the brick driveway. Over the years, the grass had become worn with weeds taking over. I would judge where the car would be parked by the wheels hit the pot holes.

The whole job on the Saturday took around four hours between the three of us which allowed for some time in the afternoon and Sunday to do some gardening. We bought a small white peach tree and added some colour with a planting of small cottage flowers in the under it. We also did a similar planting in the front entrance garden bed where our wisteria is.

The white peach tree with lots of cottage garden flowers.
The front entrance garden bed. A rose bush is the central focus with a Wisteria behind and small cottage flowers below.
This year I cut back the Wisteria rather savagely. In past years we have felt it might just start encroaching into the house. Its been a wild beast of a plant, spreading its tentacles without warning.
Sue still has another pot to fill like the one shown here - these will grace the entrance to our front entrance.
Its been an amazing transformation to the front yard with the new fence and a lick of paint here and there on the house. With that job now ticked off the list, our next BIG project is to renovate the bedroom en-suite. This project involves fitting a new vanity, rebuilding the shower with new tiles and then hitting it with a bright new lick of paint. With only four weeks to go before we engage a Real Estate Agent and set an Auction date, I'd better get my act together.

Although Spring seems to be on the way, we have had a cold, wet winter and so we decided on an open fire on Saturday night to welcome guests to our home - it was a great end to the days hard work.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Must be time for a photo of France

Hmmmm, I wonder where we could be - the Loire is the only clue.
Not too difficult if you've been there.
One of the prettiest of the Chateaux.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

House Hunting and Renovation

The deadline is drawing closer - we expect to have the house ready for putting on the market in late September, early October. In the meantime we are still trying to decide where our next life will be.
We have friends that made the BIG MOVE from their birth country to another country -France.

For us, the move is not so dramatic but still the choices are just as important. This Friday we took another trip to the location that seems to be calling us. It goes by several titles - The Macedon Ranges, The Goldfields Region but it all comes down to the area of Woodend, Kyneton, Trentham and Daylesford.

We had tickets to see a Viennese recital at Kyneton at 11.30 am. Sue enjoys the waltzes but without meaning to, I could a few doze-offs until Sue poked me in the ribs. The Kyneton Town Hall has  marvelous theatre and there's always something on more than once a month. We took the opportunity to check out a house that is on the market while there.

Kyneton Town Hall where many live shows during the course of the year are held.
This day was the Viennese Masterpieces. Next month will be a tribute to Dave Brubeck.
No longer in use but great to see that the old movie projector has been saved.
Our next stop was Trentham for lunch - just a share plate, an entree each and a glass of wine before moving on to Daylesford to pop in on a real estate agent, look at some land and a house. The town has a really nice feel to it and its growing on us with each visit.
Lunch at the Plough Hotel Trentham.

We looked at a block of land at Daylesford but found that the current residents were checking us out.

We had organised to meet with friends from our MG Car Club days who had made their Tree-Change not that long ago and we wanted to get their feedback on the life style they had chosen after being inner city dwellers for many years. It was a great night and interesting to get their perspective on moving from the city.

Below are two properties that meet our budget - new in design and comfortable for our lifestyle with no work required - just move in and start living. Coming from a 1929 Californian Bungalow with a heap of charm, could we cope with modern - Hmmm, we wonder.

Quite modern with no work to do - after what I've done on our house, I have an open mind on modern!!
Great out door entertainment area.
We actually like the floor plan.

This one is at Daylesford and has a great view overlooking the township.
Sue tells me it has a kitchen she could work with and it has high ceilings which we have with our current home.
Again it also has a very livable floor plan.

We left around 9.30 pm after dinner and finished the day by jumping under the doona by 11.00pm.
All in all -a great day.

Saturday and Sunday saw us getting stuck into the house with renewed enthusiasm. Paint brushes were whipped into a frenzy, giving a fresh look to the outside of the house.

Next weekend we are laying new turf in the front yard and planting the garden beds with I don't now what yet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PRESTON - Where I grew up.

I grew up in Preston, Melbourne. My parents bought their first home there in 1947. Strangely, it was of the same era and floor plane that we live in today. When I needed to go to the city, I would walk 3 kms to the local railway station. Today it has changed - as has most of the suburb of my childhood and teenage years.

I would walk by this intersection or probably more often ride my bike by on the way to school. Note the traffic "lights".....
Today they are museum pieces of our past.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Annual SYC Seafood Cookoff

We were invited by friends to join them at the Sandringham Yacht Club's Annual Seafood Cookoff and we'll make sure it's in our diary for next year. 
The food was exceptional but Sue will explain this to you.
The head chef handed over his kitchen to his chefs 
who presented five individual dishes to be judged by us.

 Each diner scores each course in the degustation menu from one to five. The table tallies their score which is then handed in. then the room score is compiled and the chef who cooked the winning dish is named King Prawn 2015 and is presented with a bottle of champagne and many bragging rights.  In the past the head chef has cooked and has won at least once. This year he mentored the others and didn't cook himself. But no one knew this.
Tempura oyster appetizers with two sauces. Oh so yum.
This is too hard to see what it is, but underneath all that dill was a pasta rotolo as per the menu above. The beurre blanc was superb and the whole dish very good.
Grilled scallops. The orange and saffron pearls were made the same way I have made balsamic ones. So that's something new for me to try. It was quite nice but the puree didn't taste much of fennel and the scallops were just a little overcooked I thought. Picky, picky I know. As you can see, Leon forgot to take a pic until I had eaten part of a scallop. Couldn't photograph his as it was gone!
This was my favourite. The combination of flavours with the pop from the pomegranate was sensational I thought. I was the only one on the table who voted this number one, but it was the eventual winner. (Go me)
This is the one most people at our table liked best. It has been a signature dish of the head chef and it was thought he might have cooked it. Very nice, but a bit same same for me. Fussy pants!
A flop, I thought. Out of place after the previous delicate offerings. but a number of the blokes were pleased to see something substantial. The brioche was great, but I only ate a bit. I pulled the crab out and ate that though! It had lots of very hot (temperature) sauce in it and a number of us had it squirt out on ourselves and others when we took a bite. Very off putting. Made by a young guy, I suspect. Always hungry and they think others are too!
Yum dessert. Really delicious although they took the cowards way out with the panna cotta. Too much gelatin. It was only little, but IT SHOULD BE WOBBLY! Oops, sorry, didn't mean to raise my voice.(much) The honeycomb was extra, extra good and I plan to try making some soonish.
This is the clever man who won with his betel leaf dish. Yum, yum, yum, yum.
We had a wonderful night out with friends and the food was an added bonus! Hope they ask us next year!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday

It was 1979 - I was in California, San Jose to be exact.
We raced our bikes up and down the west coast.
This picture was taken at the Hellyer Park Velodrome, San Jose.
I rider fell in front of me and I had no where to go,
except over the top.
I was 29 and had hair.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday in Mentone.

It's a Wednesday in Mentone today with a little bit of a French/Italian flavour.
I thought that with our move in the near future, I should feature a bit about our local suburb.

Our suburb of Mentone gained its name from the town that sits quietly between the border of France and Italy.
The beach is somewhat like that of France's Menton. We have stayed in Menton and except for the glitz of modern day Menton, the shape of the coastline is hauntingly familiar.
You can see how the early sub-divisions took their street names from the Italian side.

Up until around 1970, Mentone Melbourne had its own horse racing course. People would flock to Mentone to enjoy a day at the races.

Before Television, the theatre was the place of entertainment. This grand building sat almost opposite our street however it was long gone before we became residents.

Fresh bread came out of the Mentone bakery - the building with its ovens still stand and today is the Historical Society of Mentone.

We had our own skating rink

And our own sea baths

The tall bulding in this picture was the Mentone Coffee Palace before it became an elite Girls College.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Melbourne Monday

We do Wednesday in France on this Blog, so why not Melbourne Monday? I shall endeavour to post each Monday, either a current or historic photo of our city.

During the 60s - well that's when I remeber them, these were our traffic "lights". The only lights were those that illuminated the clock trafficator dials. I remember them near my home suburb of Preston and even more recently along the Nepean Highway from Morialloc to Frankston.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Night on the Town

With all the house renovation and chuck in my four day week as a working man, time gets away and once again the Blog has become somewhat irregular. The house renovation is drawing to a close with the fence now completed - the front rooms all now painted and decorated. We rebuilt the rear outdoor deck and the garden is coming up a treat.

We have only a few more items to tick off the list - a splash of paint here and there outside, two rooms to have new carpet laid but the last job I've held off on is our bedroom en suite. That will be the last major job with a new vanity and shower to be installed and then a new coat of paint to match the rest of the theme.

The auction is still planned for late September or just maybe early October. Just in time for a family to have a great Christmas present. As for us - who knows. We really haven't planned that far ahead but we are still thinking of a small rural town not more that 100 kms from Melbourne. We think we may build a home to suit our needs. Sue is already planning the kitchen.

As usual, I digress - off on a tangent. This post is about a night on the town.

This Friday night, we had a night in the city, Melbourne Central. We took the Metro train from our station at Mentone to Flinder's Street Station. The train was crowded with people on the way to the city for the Footy where Richmond and Hawthorn football clubs were to do battle.

As we left the station it was just a short walk across the Prince's Bridge that spans the Yarra River to the Art and Entertainment Centre and Southbank precinct. With a full moon out and the city lit up, we were looking forward to our night on the town. We arrived early enough to enjoy a meal and and a glass of wine before the show.

I'd heard on the radio that there was a one man show at the Art and Entertainment Centre based on the life of Harry Nilsson, a favorite singer of ours. He died much too young due to alcohol and drugs and left a wife and kids behind. The scene was set in his living room with a chair, a bar and the piano.
His narrative was informative giving a background of Harry's troubled life and interspersed with some of his great songs.

75 minutes, it all ended too soon so we popped off for an after show cocktail before hopping back on the train back home. Little did we realise that we would return home with the footy crowd once again. Some happy - some sad!!!