Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sunkist Abbey

On Wednesdays I meet my fellow cyclists at 9.00 am in the town 15kms down the road from where we currently live in Kyneton. We are fortunate that we are now emerging from one of the coldest and wet winter seasons for some time. The morning sun does the heart good but the mornings are still crisp. As I arrived at our usual Wednesday meeting point, I stopped to take this photo opportunity on my iPhone. 

About 14 of us enjoyed a 95 km ride with two coffee stops along the way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


When I was just a child of Primary School age, my father bought a 1937 Citroen Traction Avant. I remember well being in the back seat driving with my Grandfather whom Dad passed the car to. It was a Slough built model with leather, wood and wire wheels. That very early model had a canvas insert to the roof rather than all steel.

When I turned 18, my father helped to buy my first car, a 1960s baby blue Renault Dauphine. My second car was my first Citroen Traction Avant - maybe a 1951 from memory. Another 4 to 5 followed on over the years.

Other cars of French origin followed - Peugeots 505 GTI, 2 307s, and now our very first brand new, out of the showroom Peugeot 2008 SUV. Citroens still take up space with the GS wagon, Celeste, our 49 Traction plus the Xantia and the C4.

A Renault 16 was in there during the late 70s. Both British (MGs/Triumph/Mini) and Italian (Alfa Romeo) cars have at times filled our garage and driveway.

So I guess we've always leaned towards the French cars hence the reason for taking a trip to Williamstown to take in the All French Car Show on Sunday.

I'll share the experience with you with the following photos and short description.

The DS Safari is always a fave of mine as well.
The number plate say's BIG 6H. Its because it was a forerunner of the DS and had self levelling rear suspension.

This Light 15 Citroen was fitted with the DS cross flow motor and 4 speed gearbox.

This Renault Caravelle in white was rather gorgeous.
The Renault 16 was the most practical car I have owned. A great cruiser with plenty of space to transport belongings when shifting house.
Never owned a Renault 8 or even the R10 but loved their quirky shape.

Now a Renault 750 would quite easily slip in a corner of the garage.

Renault Gordini, where my first car was the standard Dauphine.

The Alpine is Sue's favourite.


This Peugeot is of the same era as our Citroen Traction Avant, although a bit more modern in shape.

What really did capture my imagination was this beautifully restored Citroen GS Break or wagon.

Hopefully we move on from cars on the next post (but they are a passion of ours) to more about the house build, the local area and food that Sue cooks.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Very French Day in Trentham

Trentham reminds us of France in many ways - its about the community in a small village maybe. Today was one of those days. We were invited to join in for a gathering of the French Solex motorised bicycles.
Our friends Geoff and Kerrie  opened up their old farm house to their fellow Solex enthusiasts which started with a small ride through the village, out to the Trentham Falls and then to the Pig and Whistle for a pot of Guinness before returning home for lunch in their old milking sheds.

Sue and I drove out in Celeste Citroen to the Trentham market first and then had a breakfast at one (of many) of our favourite local cafes - the Trentham Collective. We then drove off to follow the Solex riders on our lovely country roads.

A great Cafe - one of five to choose from.
We await the riders to catch up to Celeste. 
One of the cute French Solex bicycles 
Can't resist - another photo of Celeste - isn't she lovely 
Not only does Geoff have a couple of Solex bicycles but also this very cute 2CV.
Both our cars are the UK versions built in Slough.

Like us, I fear Geoff has been inflicted with the Francophile bug. He also owns a vintage Amilcar.

A great day was had by all.

Friday, October 14, 2016

SPRING is HERE plus other STUFF

Its been a long cold winter here in the central highlands of Victoria. We've had much needed rain and the Reservoirs are now overflowing. Snow even arrived in Trentham this year so it would be nice to see snow when we are living there next winter. Although we are thinking of a trip to the north next year, maybe Belgium, France and Spain. We'll see what happens.

The long cold winter is now behind us and the trees are starting to bud. Wild flowers are abound in the fields which have all turned to a rich green contrasted by the yellow of wattle and those little daisy things in the fields. We call them paddocks here.

We had a meeting with our supervisor Clinton yesterday. He's a good bloke to work with and being a newish employee, he's doing his best to get the job done for us to move in before Christmas.
The painters, the electricians, the plumbers are all on the site and working to meet our deadline.

We were very impressed with our painters, especially after completing our feature lounge room. This room is the only area that differs in colour from the rest of the interior colours. Sue wanted a restful area, and very formal. Being a dark grey, it will be lightened by our light grey two-seater couches and then splashes of colour with accessories. When you look out from the lounge room into the kitchen, you see the kitchen island in the same grey.

The tilers are still working away and the herringbone style dark grey tiles in the en-suite and its looking good. Can't wait to see the basins and taps installed. We will eventually be able to brush our teeth in unison. How lovely. You'll be happy to hear that we don't have dual toilets!!!

Somewhere to chuck ya shampoo in the shower.
 I'm working on a plan for our landscaping. I'm sure it will change many times before we actually start. Its a good thing that our son Mitch is not only a gardener but increasing his talents by doing a horticultural course. There are several established trees already on the block - some conifers, elms and maples. We have a need for an addition car area in the form of a carport. Sue needs a veggie garden and we want some little gravel paths leading to secret gardens. I guess it will all come together with the passing of time.

I think my Petanque court may just have to make way for Sue's veggie garden.
This weekend we are off to our local market in Trentham, then meeting up with friends for lunch. My fellow Citroen friend is having a Solex day and we are invited. A Solex is a French motor assisted bicycle and he expects a gathering of a dozen enthusiasts on the day. Sunday the enthusiasts of French automobiles are having their All French Day gathering so I may just call in for a look as we will be in Melbourne. Gosh, retirement life is busy......

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Modern Classic

We've always liked pre-loved furniture, weather that was a preference or just more suitable to our budget is a subject for discussion. Moving into our new life it seems our tastes are changing. After 30 plus years of maintaining a period home - I must have painted the timber Californian Bungalow period home 3 times on the outside......The interior saw many changes and renovations. In fact it got to the stage that I was renovating the renovations.

With the sale of the Cal Bung, we are now in the stage where we can treat ourselves a little in retirement. The new house is now coming down the home straight to the finishing line although we are still anxious to see if the builder meets our need for a pre-Christmas move-in.

If you have been following our saga, you would agree that our new home is designed for modern living and so we find ourselves moving towards a new style of decoration and furnishings.
Last Sunday we needed to be in Melbourne and so decided to look at a modular suite for the family area. We initially saw it in a magazine we regularly buy called Country Style.

We needed the versatility of a modular suite so that we could rearrange furniture to suit our various needs as a new home will become a party house. Since moving to the country, we have a constant stream of visitors. The suite can be converted from a full size one piece L-shaped couch to two 2-seaters. If we have more than two couples stay in the 2 guest rooms, we can convert the suite to a double bed or even two single beds...
It will be covered in mid-grey fabric rather than the leather shown below.

 But then as Sue walked around the showroom, she discovered a chair she just fell in love with. Once she sat in it, put her feet up, she decided it just had to be part of our family room as well. The fabric will be in a teal colour and I hear her planning to have some teal cautions or maybe a teal throw-over for the long suite to pull the two pieces together. How exciting?

We may have some more news on the house later in the week as the inside painting and tiling is coming to a close. We do have a few problems to sort out with the builder however it was always expected that the occasional stuff-up would happen somewhere - more on that subject later.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Only late last week we took a drive to another waterfall in our area. There are three that we aware of. Trentham Falls near our future home town is running well with the Coliban River flowing over the falls.

Another river, the Campaspe runs through Kyneton where we currently live. The Campaspe River runs from the Central Highlands and meanders all the way to Lake Eppalock where it meets the Coliban River then flows on to the great Murray River. With the historic rainfalls this winter, the Campaspe has widened its banks and is flowing very quickly. This creates some stunning scenery, especially as it reaches Turpin Falls.
These falls are nowhere near the height of Trentham Falls which are the highest in Victoria. Nevertheless they are stunning with the amount of water that is currently flowing over them.

I'm told that the falls are very popular with rowers being brave enough to take a leap of faith.
Looking down on the falls
Once over the falls, the Campaspe River runs to the next catchment area of Lake Eppalock. 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Our House is a very nice House

Today we had to meet the window furnishing people on site and it gave us an opportunity to see the progress on the inside. A few glitches have arisen however I guess when you get to this stage, it is expected. Unfortunately the Tilers discovered that our Builder under-estimated the amount of tiles to complete the job. Painters had not completed their work which also slow down the Tilers (probably an additional week).
I must say though that up until now, progress has been excellent and I think our Site Manager, Clinton is pushing hard for us.

However we forge on and keep the pressure on the Builder to perform to meet our expectations. I keep telling Sue, "We are the customer and we hold the purse strings". I figure that's good incentive for performance.

En-suite vanity and floor have now been tiled. The floor is a charcoal grey which is not unlike the floor tiles in our old home.

The splash back has been tiled in a herringbone layout.

All of our en-suite and the second bathroom have floor to ceiling clean white tiles.

Second bathroom is in keeping with the en-suite theme.

I now know how the tradies keep up their energy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Only recently our very good friend Ell came to visit us - she still berates us for leaving Mentone and Melbourne, our home by the Bay but on each visit understands the joy we have in this transition.
Yes, we do miss many aspects of our former life. The Bay is beautiful as are our friendships however as retirement drew closer and our home was being hemmed in by high rise and high density living, we found that we didn't fit the square anymore - we had become the square peg!!!

Smiles and friendly gestures are all part of the day here, even in Kyneton which is a small regional town on the way between Melbourne and Bendigo which is a large regional city. The region where we live is known as the Central Highlands - Macedon Ranges. Trentham is part of the region and in fact pretty much slam bam in the middle. We have our fair share of culinary delights within the local area and several of them have been featured in the recently published book,

It takes in the towns and villages of Kyneton, where we currently live, Trentham where we will be living and the lovely towns of Daylesford, Castlemaine, and Gisborne. The smaller villages of Trentham, Musk, Sailor's Falls, Shepherd's Flat and Smeaton are way up there.

Our new home town of Trentham which probably has a population now of 2000, has four listed Cafe's/Bakeries/Restaurants which is excellent when other larger towns were less. We are spoilt in the region for great food and wine.
That's not to say we thought after reading the book, we thought many more should have been included. Note our comments in the photo captions.

The book is called "Flavours of Victoria" - our blog deals with our own region of the Macedon Ranges.
We discovered the book while catching up with Rhys at "The Collective" in Trentham. Along with David the Barista and the friendly staff, it has become a favourite spot for us. This photo was taken by our friend Ell without knowing. You can tell how friendly the place is by the laughter.
The Macedon Ranges takes in a region of an upside down triangle spreading from Gisborne via Kyneton to Castlemaine , across to Daylesford to Trentham, Woodend and returning to Gisborne. Within that triangle, a weekend does not pass with the local producers bringing their wares to the Saturday/Sunday markets every weekend.
The Collective is a family concern with Rhys and his mother Joy. It's our local for the best coffee by David the Barista. Breakfast is a treat. There are another two Cafes we enjoy in town being Chaplin's which is my Thursday morning place for breakfast before playing Petanque. The other is Wylde Thyme, recently replacing the former establishment, The Colliban Food Store which up until its closure was our Friday afternoon place to be.
We are spoilt for cafes in Trentham.
The "Cosmo" has been reborn after a fire burnt part of it. Built in 1866, the owner, Rod Hughes breathed new life in to the derelict, fire damaged building and every weekend it is full of travelling tourists. There's a leafy tree shaded garden out back to enjoy a cool beer or wine in the summer and inside during winter you can enjoy a tender steak with a glass of the many local reds available. Our local car club meet here once a month. Oh, yes and there's Trudie behind the bar whom I met at the Collective when dressed in my full cycling Lycra kit.
The Cosmo is not our only local Pub - The Plough which has won many awards for the food and front of house staff is our favourite although disappointingly was not featured in the book. The food is superb and again washed down with local wines. We met Mitch, the front of house guy in our early visits through Trentham before we bought in.

Kyneton's Duck Duck Goose is not only a great breakfast spot but out the back, you can wander looking at produce, gift ware, foodie books and be tempted to spend that little more than you intended. Across the road is my very favourite bakery in GRIST. Chris was probably one of the first local proprietors that I warmed to. He makes an unbelievable Cornish Pastie, his pies are great and he also makes a croissant that I would be prepared to say are the best I've tasted compared with the local French bakeries.
Now Tim at La Bonta is a great host. His menu is based on modern Italian with some great local as well as Italian regional wines. When ever we drive down Piper Street, Kyneton, Sue will always say - we need to go back to La Bonta. I think we will this Friday night.
There's also "The Source" and " The Midnight Starling" for fine dining. There are several other more casual dining places in Kyneton along with the local pub meals which are way up there on the foodie scale.
Trentham's Red Beard Bakery is renown for their sour dough bread but some of their more sweet delicacies are worth a try.
I love their Autumn Spiced Pear Cake with my Latte or Cappuccino. I've also had their Bread and Butter Pudding - Yum!!
Red Beard run baking classes so that you can take their secrets home with you.
Red Beard is not the only local bakery as in the main street there is a long term local baking bread and making pies which I  often buy to fill that empty spot. Not as good as Grist, but not far behind. 
I'm pleased we bought this book as it will open up new delights in our region - the ones mentioned in this Blog Post are the ones we frequent. Victoria is a rich foodie state within Australia and this book will take us further from our local area to explore further afield.