Monday, September 26, 2016

A Day at a Local Car Museum

This region that we have chosen in our retirement never ceases to amaze us with its hidden treasures.
Cafes, Restaurants, Shops, Antiques, Vineyards, Festivals and the local amazing country side are some of the discoveries that will take years to explore. One of these hidden treasures filled my Sunday morning this weekend.

Celeste and I joined the Cool Country Classic Car Club of Trentham. Yes, we have our own Car Club. It draws in about 110 members from the surrounding region including places such as Daylesford, Castlemaine, Springhill, Blackwood and Kyneton to name just a handful. Last Sunday we were invited to Ivan Smith's collection in his vast multi-roomed warehouse. It was once the manufacturing plant for VDO automotive instruments until its closure some 30 years ago. Ivan bought the premises with the thought of transferring his bus business to the warehouse but this never happened as he eventually sold the bus company to Dysons as part of their expansion plans into the rural districts. Rumour has it that this may have been the last open day of the museum as Ivan now is in his mid-80s.

Prior to the bus company, Ivan had various car franchise business, one being Dodge/Chrysler/Valiant in Kyneton and this was the beginning of his prized collection. Not only does he have the very first Valiant R-series but also the last Valiant Charger off the production line. Ivan is also a person who shares his good fortune with others, in particular supporting the children of Timor. This he has been doing since his first trip to the region some 20 years ago. On that first trip (many were to follow) Ivan was deeply touched by the poverty of these children, many who became orphans due to the conflict with the Indonesian invading troops.

Back to the tour through Ivan Smith's car museum in Kyneton - I'll let the pictures tell the story.

As we walked through the first rooms we discovered this was not just a car museum. 

Ivan's collection, although predominantly based on his time as a Chrysler Dealer, he also has a passion for very early motorcycles and motor cars.

The Valiant R and S series were for me, the most exciting design of the Marque. It had what I consider a European flair about it. As the Valiant "developed", I think it lost its individuality and took on a look, not with a lot of difference from it's competitors, Holden and Ford.

I actually didn't take further photos of the other Valiants in the collection which may tell you something about my interests in cars. The following photos however did take my interest.

Did I hear you ask me what I considered would be my take home car? 
I certainly like the very first R-Series Valiant, however it was not my favourite. 
It was a toss-up between the aluminium bodied vintage Vauxhall and the lovely Sunbeam Alpine convertible. On reflection, the Sunbeam wins as it would be a more usable car for todays driving.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bedroom, Kitchen and Al Fresco

This week we had a walk-thru for what the builder calls the Fix out. That means that the all the arcs and skirts are in, cabinets are in along with the stone benches, etc. We know that the tiles have arrived along with the sinks, etc.

We arrived at the site just as our building supervisor did - Clinton has been a delight to work with to this stage and is doing his best for us to be in prior to Christmas, perhaps by the end of November. Time will tell.

Our Supervisor informed us that the painters are working over the weekend to do the base internal coats. The rendering on the brickwork is almost completed.  So!!! That now means we have another progress payment. Let's let the photos tell the story.

The Supervisor arrived at the same time as us. I like someone who runs on time.
Sue discusses the continuing processes with Clinton our Supervisor in our Bedroom. The alcove where Sue is standing will be a space for a 1 & 1/2 seater so she can read a book and look into the front of the garden.
We actually enter our bedroom via a personal foyer where we thought we might add personal wall hangings of family. The bedroom is to the left and the en-suite to the right.
I took this photo from our walk in robe and dressing room. It looks out to the en-suite.
The en-suite cabinets have double basins so that we can clean our teeth at the same time  - why would you???
Stone tops cover the cabinets.
Our shower recess will consist of a 200cm x 180cm glass sheet - no closing door.. a small recess in the shower wall will hold those shampoos, conditioners, etc.
The kitchen cabinets and island bench are now installed with the stone-tops. Sue is very pleased.
Looking good.
We are now looking over Sue's island bench - to the left is the dining area with 3 sliding doors opening to the Alfresco area. The other two doors also slide open from the family area to the outside.
The Butler's pantry as explained earlier is where I do the clean-up after Sue's mess in the kitchen.
Shhhh - don't tell her I said that.
Sliding doors open to our Alfresco. Can't wait to entertain friends during the coming summer out in this area. It overlooks the private parklands behind our block. 
Although the L-Shaped Alfresco looks a bit untidy at the moment, the area will be poured with concrete and later tiled by myself with large non-slip possibly charcoal tiles. Something we need to discuss. There will also be two ceiling fans installed to move the air on those hot nights.
Have to say that we are now becoming very excited with the prospect of being in late November as we have our son Andrew visiting from Belgium, my father spending Christmas with us and Sue's American relatives arriving. We can't wait to share our wonderful area with them.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


The sun has come out and the Roos are sun baking.
These paddocks are just on the edge of our village of Trentham however the Roos sometimes venture down our streets for better feeding. It looks like they have had their fill for the day and decided a relaxing shut eye was deserved until we came along.

Although the Roos are timid, they tend to take as much interest in us we do them.

They tend to always have a few sentries keeping an eye our for anything unusual.

As you can see with this guy while the others graze.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Celeste has new shoes

You may remember that we have a new member to the family. Only just a few posts ago, we introduced you to Celeste Citroen. She's a lady of distinction however she is getting on a little and we booked her in for a health check. She actually came up quite well but she does have a few wrinkles that need attention.

One of her rear brake cylinders needs attention and also her side rear vision mirror needs replacement.  She also suffers from very minor incontinence from her oil sump - not major but it will need to be monitored. Her engine still has much torque and she enjoys the underrating country side of our central highlands.
The car doctor did say however that Celeste would improve if we bought her some new shoes - isn't that what every lady of distinction needs. So we order her a whole new set of Michelin 165 x 400 radial ply tyres. Maybe if she's good, down the track, we may just order her a new frock but her paintwork is still holding up well - why wouldn't over a body like hers?

Celeste's new shoes are naturally French

We hopeful that Celeste will be back in our garage during next week after her week at the beauty parlour.
More on the progress of the house next week - with all this rain the Tradies are working on our house so they don't get drenched. More power to us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Fit-Out has Started

The Carpenters have arrived and the fit-out has started. We thought that we were going to be delayed as the carpenter was transferred to another job to work on a house frame however with the recent rains, he came back to our house. He obviously wanted to work indoors. How fortunate for us.

Sue's kitchen is now taking shape. The back cabinet work is to have two ovens installed. The large island bench gives her plenty of room to prepare for this large dinner parties and possibly even some cooking schools for the locals.
Only a small sink is being installed in the island bench as all the washing up and preparation will happen in the butler's pantry. Even the dishwasher will be there. The open space in the island bench is for a wine cooler.
The butler's pantry has a double sink and on the other side is another bench for Sue's appliances. Kitchen Aid, Ice Cream Maker, etc.
We are now looking from the master bedroom - to the right is the walk-in dressing room.
In front of us is the en-suite vanities. To the left is an open walk-in shower and behind the vanity wall is the toilet.
With 10 weeks to the end of November, we are getting nervous about meeting our deadline to be in before Christmas. The carpenter has finish off with all the architraves and skirting boards, then we have the tilers, painters, electricians before the floor coverings can be laid. Cross your fingers for us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wet, Wet, Wet.......

When we moved to the area last January, the land was in drought. Everything was burnt and the creeks were dry. We have three water supply areas, these reservoirs were at there lowest for many years the locals told us.

Well, the drought has broken and again the locals tell us that its been years since the heavens have opened to this extent. The reservoirs are now above capacity and the excess is running over the spillway and filling the other two water storages further on down the Coliban River.

This is a part of the lower Coliban River that takes water from the upper dam and feeds the two lower dams, the Lauriston and the Malmsbury. On our training rides by here the river was no more than a trickle where horses grazed on the flat sections. 
This area of the spillway was just concrete and weeds. Big difference now.
Great patterns in the water. 
We were not the only people enjoying the flow of the reservoir, we were joined by several local families who had not seen the changes for many years.
We now have enough water to keep our gardens green for some time.

More rains today over the Central Highlands

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Grand Parade

For the last two weeks Kyneton has been celebrating their annual Daffodil festival. Shop keepers have wheelbarrows with daffodils sprouting, flags in the street announce the festival and the locals small and rejoice that spring has sprung.
The last Sunday - after two weeks of celebrations, ends with a street parade of the community organisations down Mollison street, Kyneton. This was the first experience for us and it made us feel pleased to be part of the locals and the visitors to experience the event. We may even be part of it next year due to the fact that we now have Celeste to join the grand parade.

Let's show you what we mean by a serious of photos from the day. No words to explain the great day.

Next weekend we are off to a TRACTOR PULL at a very small village called Metcalfe, probably about 15 kms from Kyneton. The local Car Club at Trentham are putting on a display and Celeste will be part of it.

Much has happened last week so there will be two further posts during this week on Our Country Life to do with the progress of the house and an exciting news for our local community.