Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Hamlet of BASALT

There's a little hamlet called BASALT in the Daylesford - Hepburn Springs region. We discovered it several months back while taking a diversion from the main road. I was intrigued by the town's name.
All the signage seems to be made by the locals as can be seen by the photos below. most of the road leading into Basalt is gravel - there are no shops, or facilities of any kind. What the locals do seem to have though is a sense of humour in abundance.

Welcome to Basalt

A better view of Boot's Gully below. 

The local honey supplier
No sign of a school anywhere
What do you do with a tree when it falls in the forest?

As we left Basalt, we were offered other towns to visit - maybe next time. In the distance is Mt Franklin, an extinct volcano. Within the mouth of the volcano is a camping ground with walking tracks to explore. Mt Franklin is also known for its Spring Water.

You just don't what you'll find when exploring off the main roads.

Friday, May 27, 2016

MALMSBURY - A village of tongues.

It was Friday, a day when I worked a 4 day week and Friday was my day of leisure. I met a person of common interest, that is of cycling and automotive passion in our future village of Trentham. We currently live 22 kms out of Trentham in Kyneton but you who already read this blog already know this. This morning which was yesterday now, it was about 4 degrees as I rode the 22 kms to meet my cycling buddy George in Trentham. It is incredibly (bloody) hilly in this region but George and I did a 70 km ride before I headed back home as I'd promised Sue I'd take her to lunch at this converted church in Malmsbury.

Leaving George at close to 11.00 am, I made my way home in time for a shower, make myself pretty and then head off to lunch. It was a very pleasant lunch and ambience - a keeper and we will return. It actually reminds us of our stay in the Loire in 2014 due to the incredibly hospitality of our friends there.
They gave us the incentive to make the lifestyle change to a small rural village in our retirement (thank you Carol and Mikee amongst others in the region)
We would often take a drive to chance on a small cafe/restaurant for lunch in the French surrounding villages and its very similar here in the Victorian Central Highlands. Sue only commented tonight over dinner how this region is such a foodie area.

Sue had the Minestrone soup with a Local Riesling while I had the Kipler potato trout salad with a  South Australian Chardonnay.

Until our local Trentham Colibban Foodstore reopens, the small Holdings Cafe may become our regular Friday haunt.
Yes, unfortunately our Friday local has been sold to new owners and we await their revamp.

I should explain the title of the post: Malmsbury I believe had a sect that spoke in tongues. Now I as a garden variety cyclist have no idea what this means but this little village is a very delightful place to visit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Contemplating a Shed

I need a man-cave, a shed to escape the woes of the world. Somewhere to play with bikes, cars, read about bikes and cars or watch DVDs about bikes and cars. Does this make me one dimensional?
OK, maybe I'll also restore bikes and cars while enjoying a vino. Today I helped a friend put a roof on his house. His surrounding sheds impressed me and gave me food for thought for a man-shed.

This is his smaller man-shed which is now the kid's away from home cubby.

This is probably more what I had in mind.
This is my friend's house he is building. Its the third house on his acreage and probably the final project.

Today we attached the colour bond corrugated steel roofing to the south side.
My job as general dogs body was to help lift the roofing up the three levels.
A view from the front of the house.
Above is the second house they built while they lived in a very humble one room virtual shed. They have come a long way to their dream over several decades. Most impressive.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Walk Down Baker's Street

A bit of a play on Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street - a great song that still sounds good today.
Our Baker's Street in Trentham leads to the Historic Red Beard Bakery which really is just a cute lane way between the main street shops. Although only a short main street, it contains shops, cafes, restaurants and two hotels with fine meals that keep you entertained for a full weekend away from the city.

A gentle walk pass the many interesting shops brings you to the laneway leading to Red Beard Bakery
It is autumn (fall for US readers) and leaves invite you down the path. to the Red Beard Bakery.
It's not a long path but if you need a rest, or maybe you need somewhere to eat the tasty bread you may have bought.

An unused doorway!!!!

We are finally there - Historic Red Beard Bakery
For those who follow Australia's Master Chef, George Calombaris, Chef and co-compare gives it a big RAP.

Red Beard Bakery Trentham was in operation continuously from 1891 to 1987. It was originally built and operated by John Wolff, later taken over by Charlie Rook and continued by his son. the last owner and baker was Jack Groves whom one of the streets of Trentham is named.  The bakery lay dormant for something like 20 years before Daylesford baker, Adrian Kosky renovated the premises and extended the building for use as a cafe. in 2005 it fell into the hands of brothers John and Alan Reid. They were of Scottish decent where their ancestors were known for having red hair and beards, hence the name of the bakery.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Sometimes when a new person or family comes to live in a town, they see differently than the locals. A local may pass by a building most days in their travels and that building goes unnoticed. A few days back we were at the local IGA store to buy the usual groceries. On this occasion I took a walk down the side of a building as I'd seen a faded sign that intrigued me. It was about some of Kyneton's history. Why it was on the side of a building an a non-tourist area, I find puzzling however there it was.

At one time this large nondescript timber building may have been a furniture emporium or maybe a country produce store.
There is no signs of its origin that I can find.
Quite faded now, the sign depicts certain elements of Kyneton's early history.
This faded sign is in Mollison St, however the enlarged section depicts a store in the historic Piper St.
Today Piper St is the tourist section of Kyneton where this sign should really be.
The Junction hotel once stood where the more modern Safeway Super Market is now located.
I wonder if the local historic centre would have some original photos.
That part of the street now has more modern shops and offices.

Kyneton claim to have formed the first rural district band - Melbourne would have predated them.

This photo shows the side of the building beyond the faded sign.
I note that the building also has another sign - not so faded or historic. It is either a For Sale or For Lease.
One can't help thinking that the building has a limited life span and will go the way as the Junction Hotel and make way for so called Progress.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Retiree

Today I woke up, always a good thing. My 95 year old father looks in the obituaries to ensure he's not there and the gets up.

I was invited last night at the Cool Country Classic Car Club meeting to join a group that play Petanque Thursday mornings. Now I've never played this before but I'm hooked and what a great way to join in the local community. I met forgetful Frank who turned up late as he forgot it was on.
John brought his tape measure to adjudicate the results and I finished up on the winning team. I actually surprised myself that I was a worthy team member first time up. I'm hooked.
The game was finished with a coffee at a local cafe in Trentham - bit like cycling really but more about that later.
My new friends in the world of Petanque -good thing we have a Citroen and a Peugeot..

That's me all rugged up with the Trentham cold about to have another magnificently successful shot.
I did take a little look at the block which is looking good but with a sprouting of mushrooms or toadstools but because I can't tell the difference, they stay there.
If the kangaroos don't eat these, neither will we!!!!
On the way back home to Kyneton where we are renting, I saw in the corner of my eye a ruined stone building that made me turn the car around for closer inspection. You look at these buildings and wonder who lived here, what was their life like, how did they make their living and was it prosperous? This building had signs of expert masonry.
Check out the precision masonry on the very left. I imagine that this was a very nice home in its glory many years ago.
I finally arrived back home where Sue and I enjoyed lunch together, did some reading, discussed the future of the house build.

By mid-arvo, I decided to take a little 40 km ride in the country through the hills and vineyards out the back of Kyneton. It was filled with a little sadness and then some brightness. The sadness was due to a couple of kangaroo lying on the side of the road which were hit by fast moving vehicles. We see kanga but if you limit your speed, then you have the opportunity to avoid harming wildlife and not damaging your vehicle. A friend of mine rang to say he was going to be late for a ride yesterday as he discovered a dead kangaroo on the road. It had a very young joey in its pouch - he described it as a pinky, a very young joey still suckling in its dead mother.'s pouch. Very sad.....He took it to the Vets and hopefully it will survive.

However on my ride this afternoon I saw a magnificent wedge tail eagle floating on the wind. He was hovering above me for something like 10 minutes and all I could do was enjoy the wonderfulment of this great bird of prey with an amazing wingspan.

Not great photos but it took my breath away for the time he was there.
Hardly a movement of the wings - just floating on the wind
With Lamb Shanks for dinner and after a short black coffee and a glass of muscat, everyday is a new experience in the day of a retiree.
Dinner was absolutely  fantastic.
And in bed before 10ish for a 5.00 am get up to enjoy a ride with my new country bike riders.
Well, the do have jobs to go to.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Last Saturday we experienced our first Spud Fest that Trentham holds each year. The area is well known for growing potatoes and each year this small town with a population of 1400 swells with an influx of 4000 people for the day. It's a great family affair with events to suit all. Food and produce stalls are set up where you can buy a variety of potatoes or if peckish, you can buy the cook variety in its  many forms. We wanted to try the spirals however the wait in line was very long.
The local CFA fire truck was used to block of the street.
Potatoes of all kind on sale. Many tried a variety to take home.
We missed out on the potato spirals - the queue was just too long
They even offer advice on what is best suited.
Early potato harvesting machinery - still transported in hessian bags.
We will collect a few of these and have them framed for our Alfresco area of the house.

Accommodation for out in the fields

Some of the workers cottages still exist in the paddocks

The kid's loved moving amongst a special enclosure with baby farm animals.
This area is popular for Alpaca and these little guys were lavished with much patting.
Joining them were lambs, chooks, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Spud Fest is not just about potatoes though. The disused railway station is used for Trentham's monthly food and craft market which on this occasion coincided with Spud Fest. We also have a car club in Trentham known as the Cool Country Car Club and not to be left out of Spud Fest, they put on an exhibition of around 50 cars.
The Austin 1800 Land Crab - the utility model was very popular in Australia

Contrasts in the world of cars

Another attraction was the Tractor Pull competition. Now we have never been to one of these previously but it seems that many of the small towns in the area have them regularly. Once the concept of the competition was explained to us, we became quite interested and found ourselves, clapping and shouting encouragement.
The tank behind the tractor is full of water and as is is pull by the tractor, the tank digs deeper into the earth.
There's a gauge on the tank that is graduated in 5s to 100. The object is to reach 100 before the tractor can pull no longer.

Once the competing tractor finishes, another drags the tank back to the start for the next competitor.
Earth is graded flat prior.

Other than the tractor pull, there were also other exhibits from the days when the train would run from Daylesford to Woodend with Trentham being a major station for transporting potatoes and timber to Melbourne - but that's another story for another day. I need to visit the local historic society for some research on those early days.

I think we will enjoy this Country Life once we have our house built and we settle in Trentham.

Footnote on the house:
It seems that we may finally get to the final stages of signing off plans and the building contract before the end of this week. It has been a slow process to this stage however we have seen a few houses from the same builder in our area and once construction starts, build time seems quick.
Here's hoping.