Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Up the Garden Path

We recently took a drive 22 kms up the road to Daylesford for lunch at the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. The gardens are located at the highest most point of Daylesford - a great outlook.
But once within the gardens, you are in a world of colour. Paths lead in different directions taking you to little surprises.

One of those surprises was a statue shown here. Reading the plaque, you see that it was presented to the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens by the family of Stuart Rattle. Stuart Rattle died in tragic circumstances which can be Googled. No need to be discussed here. Needless to say, Stuart was very talented and brought much joy to those who love their gardens.




Attached below is a youtube segment of Stuart Rattle's MUSK FARM. It's just 15 kms from Trentham. 

This book, available thru Booktopia explains the process of Stuart Rattle's development of Musk Farm. Paul Bangay who wrote the forward, is a local hero of gardening of the district.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Le Boudoir

This is most likely the last post on the interior of our new home in Trentham, although the two additional bedrooms are still being decorated.

So, here is our bedroom. We never saw an example of the house before we built. The builder didn't have a display of our plan. We did however make a few alterations, one of which was that we deleted the baths and made the showers open and larger.

Where the en-suite bath was to be located, we turned the wall around so it became an alcove to the bedroom. Sue uses this as her reading area.

Our bedroom entrance is off the hallway and actually has a small foyer where we have mounted the family photos.
The opening to the left is a walk in robe. Family photos on the wall.
Our original bedroom furniture seems to blend well in the new house and for us offers that bit of familiarity that helped us to feel more comfortable after such a short time here.
Sue loves her little reading alcove in the bedroom. The original plan had the alcove in reverse with a bath tub in the en-suite
We no longer fight over using the en-suite basin now that we have two.

So that's the house and from this point on, posts will be of Trentham and our surrounding district.
The area is alway busy on weekends with festivals, markets, cafes and hidden treasures. We hope to bring you more of these with now regular posts.

Tomorrow we have a BBQ for a foodie group that Sue converses with in a Forum and this is the second time that some the group have met. On Sunday we are all off to a huge market day in Daylesford, 22 kms up the road so most likely we'll post photos of it.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

No More CHOO, CHOO

Trentham these days is 22 kms away from the nearest railway station. There are two, one at Kyneton, the other at Woodend. Should you wish not to drive, there is a regular bus service to the Woodend station. There was at one time a railway that ran from Daylesford through the smaller towns of Musk and Bullarto to Trentham and then on to Fernhill and meeting up with the Bendigo to Melbourne line. The Trentham station is now our Tourist Information Centre and is used for our monthly craft and garden market. Its also used for a starting point for our local Classic Car Club runs.

Commencing in 1880, it was a continuous working railway up until to 1978. As well as a passenger train, goods trains ran timber from several mills in the area. Being a prolific potato growing area, the goods train would transport produce to the markets in Melbourne.











Typical of Victoria's stations, the maroon and cream colour scheme has been retained although most of the existing rolling stock may well be past any form of restoration. Being halfway between the starting point of Daylesford and Woodend, it is the largest existing station where there is little sign left of the smaller stations on the past line.

From what I can see, it had three sets of tracks into the station with the goods train picking up produce from the north side. There is a tourist train that utilises the original tracks up the line which starts from Daylesford and ends at Bullarto, midway to Trentham. Maybe one day the line might be reopened to Trentham as a further tourist attraction, however I doubt it due to the cost.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome to our Home - Do come in.


We only just moved in three months ago but we already feel like we've been here forever. The people are friendly and are always up for a chat in our small community of close to 2000 population. Its a real mixture really with the long time locals, the new retirees such as ourselves and many young families that are searching for an alternative to the busy bustle of Melbourne. Our Primary School had an enrolment of 100 pupils this year confirming that young couples wish for their children to grow up in an alternative to stress of city life.

Anyway, come in from the door way and we'll show you through.

Behind the red door, the foyer leads to the living, dining and kitchen area.
To the left is the study but I can't show you as I'm embarrassed with the clutter I have in there.
Next doorway to the left is our bedroom which I will leave for the next post. Before reaching the end of the hallway is another door which is for a guest powder room.
In the foyer we brought from our old home, this edwardian  desk.
It fits well and with the mirror behind is a nice feature.
I do however refrain from looking into mirrors too often for obvious reasons.
OK, here we are in the living part of the house. The floors are of very tough bamboo floating boards. Those bookcases hold all of Sue's cookbooks. Note the long window above the bookcase, on the other side is the alfresco area which is actually L-shaped as we deleted a fourth bedroom to extend the alfresco.
Since staging our house in Mentone for auction, Sue has found an increasing interest in making little features in and around our new home. This singer sewing machine sat in our old garage for 30 years before she found a place for it.
Above is a printers type storage box that once belonged to her father who was a printer.
Sue has used many of the sewing paraphernalia from the sewing machine drawers in the printers box for show.
If you now just look across to your left you'll see our dining area. It looks out into the garden and alfresco area. The double doors open out bring the outside in... 
We actually brought all our dining room furniture with us. Maybe this is part of the reason we have acclimatised to our new home so quickly! 
I call it Sue's kitchen - its her domain. The large stone island bench incorporates both a double power point and USB ports for keeping your devises, phone, iPad or laptop charged. Many of sue's recipes come from the internet so to have your iPad  on charge is very convenient.
The Butler's Pantry is my room!!!!
We transplanted the double sink from the island bench to this room. All the prep-work and cleaning up is done in here.

Although we live on a town block in Trentham, we have this area of crown land behind us that gives the impression of our land being twice the size it is. We mow the grass and will plant some more trees so that offers a more beautiful outlook that it currently is.
We'll show you around to some other rooms on your next visit including our outside work to date but that's another day. We also want to show you our local area, the businesses and the people who run them. Most of all, we hope to share with you the life in a small rural village in Victoria's Central Highlands.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Building in Trentham

We should return to almost three years ago to explain why we now live in rural Victoria. In 2014 we returned on our sixth visit to France. Our good friends Carol and Michael asked if we could house sit and look after the tribe of cats that Carol had adopted. We knew others along with C & M that were escapees to rural France in the Loire. After we house sat, C & M kindly offered their cottage for us to experience life in rural France. It was this experience that gave us the confidence to move from fast moving Melbourne to where we live now in tranquil Trentham. We are only 1 hour from one of our sons in Melbourne. The other is in Belgium so maybe we will visit next year. (another opportunity to pop back to the Loire to renew friendships maybe).

After we sold our house in Mentone, the building process in Trentham started taking place. We rented for 12 months in the larger town of Kyneton (20 kms away from Trentham) and finally moved into our new Trentham home just prior to Christmas. The process of making the house into a home has been amazingly quick as we both love being here - the house, the village, the people and the relaxed lifestyle add to the experience.

So, lets do a little recap on the early building period which in actual building took 6 months. With the administration we had a further 6 months added so in full, it took 12 months from signing contracts to moving in.
The following photos with captions give you an insight to the process.

First of all, we had the block cleared where the trees were in the way of the house footprint however we retained some marvellous trees. We also had this wonderful hedge at the front of the block which was trimmed.
Then the concrete slab was poured - would you believe on the day it snowed!!!
Once the concrete slab cured, the frame went up.
The roof then went on making it more pleasant for the bricklayers and plasterers to weave their magic.
With the plastering coming to completion, Sue's kitchen was starting to take form.
Appliances installed and she started to become excited. 
Stone benches and cabinets created more excitement.
Next after the painters completed their tasks, the flooring went in.
We had both carpet and bamboo floating floorboards fitted.
The open plan kitchen, dining and family area was now finished and we started thinking about decoration.
Rather than documenting the full process in on post, we'll save some for the next few blogs. We must say though after 3 months living in Trentham, it's all and more than we hoped for.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Petanque in Trentham


Thursday is Petanque day in the Trentham Town Square. Our numbers are growing as you can see by the amount of balls we have!!!! I believe we had about 12 Trenthamite Pertanquers with a few onlookers.


A few of us really immersed ourselves into the French flavour today by riding our VeloSolex bikes to the square this morning. 

The town square is just across from the local watering hole - the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
The Cosmo in recent years has been renovated after many years of being out of service due to a fire that started in the kitchen. Today it is very popular with both tourists and locals.


Above are three of our players contemplating  the situation. They look resplendent in their "where's Wally" shirts while "Farmer John" adjudicates the scoring.

Seriously though, we don't take ourselves very seriously and its a chance for us to get together and share a few laughs. With five cafes in town we tend to rotate around them for our after game coffee.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

6.30 am in Trentham

It was a mild 19 degree morning in Trentham this morning at 6.30 am.

Not bad for an autumn morning - not sure how I'll cope mid-winter when we get snow and below freezing mornings.
We have a small local group of cyclists in Trentham that I've met up with. We leave from the local Post Office corner. This morning's ride was a quick 35 km circuit that brought us back to our local cafe for coffee. Trentham is an amazing community. At 6.30 am I heard noises from our Post Office. Lizzy who runs the PO was at work sorting the morning mail. At 8.00 am when we were having coffee, she did a delivery to the owner Mel of Chaplin's Cafe - how is that for service?
While enjoying our cuppa, we had Barry, David, Greg, Tony all stopped by for a chat.
Geeez, I love this life here.

BTW, I had to go to the Melbourne CBD for a lunch with friends - so many people - so many contrasts. Suits walk briskly be homeless sitting on the side walk. It was great to meet up with my city mates for lunch but I was relieved to get back on the train to Trentham.

This building was once one of the many hotels in Trentham when gold and timber brought prosperity to Trentham. Today it is an antique shop.
Today there are two hotels - one is only open from Thursday to Sunday.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tales of Trentham begin

It's been some time that "Our Country Life" has had regular postings. This was partially due to not having internet access since moving to Trentham late December. Now that we are pretty much settled in our new house, its starting to feel like home. The process took a full twelve months with both the administration and building.

We are often asked how we chose Trentham as our place of retirement - the answer was always, "We didn't - it chose us." It must have been 2 or 3 years ago we decided to spruce up our Mentone home to sell and move from "Melbourne - Our Home by the Bay" (remember our past blog title?)
We considered many places for retirement - Launceston, Tasmania was one that attracted us. Then there was Warrnambool on the far west coast of Victoria. Both were too far from family and friends.
Then we started looking at towns no more that 1.5 hours drive from the Melbourne CBD.

Trentham Falls in early winter
During this stage, I had transitioned to a 4 day week and on my Fridays off, we would search out houses within that time frame from Melbourne. Strangely we kept driving through Trentham. We would stop for lunch or for a late afternoon glass of bubbles. We had friends who lived here so we would occasionally pop in to say hello.

One sunny spring afternoon while sitting outside our favourite wine bar in Trentham, a local couple pulled up in their C3 Citroen and being a Citroen tragic I struck up a conversation after which they joined us for a drink. Anyway after they left, we looked at each other and agreed that we both could live here. That's when house hunting became serious. A block of land came on the market and we fell in love with the existing trees, the size of the block (not too big, yet not too small) and the fact that it had crown land behind it which also had a small creek.

Trentham Falls in mid winter when the rains came.
Trent Creek running in mid winter is at the far end of the reserve behind our block. It feeds into the Coliban River which flows over the Trentham Falls.
The thought of building a modern home to suit the climatic conditions of Victoria's Central Highlands seemed an obvious choice. We'll explain more on subsequent posts.

So! Our Country Life now changes to TRENTHAM TALES. It will bring you stories of the local history, the surrounding scenery, eating and drinking establishments, festivals and just the local lifestyle of this small and magical village of Trentham.

Leon and Sue