Mammoth update – weekend away!

Eeek – this is what happens when I am too busy out doing stuff and not near my laptop – I forget what has been happening!

Anyway, Friday – started very well.  I was determined that this would be Larry’s first puddle-free day.  We have been comng so close but not quite making it.  He is doing really well though and generally goes to the door now if he needs out – we don’t get an awful lot of warning though so I still need to keep an eye out!

Kids were dropped off at school.  I passed a teacher in the playground and said ‘Good Morning’, my accent must be evident in those two words because she immediately turned and asked if I was Alexander’s Mum (usually a question that fills my heart with dread – what has he done?!).  She said that she loves his accent and often gets him to repeat himself just so she can hear him again!  It is no great hardship to Alexander to be asked to talk some more!  I came home and tidied up a bit.  Due to my early morning start though, I was well ahead of the game!  Dishes done, beds made, even hair washed and make-up on – good grief!  I checked to see if I had received any response from my job applications – I hadn’t, boo!

Alexander’s teacher has said that his spelling could use some work and given him home a list of words to perfect so I set about making a game to make it more fun.  I cut out lots of squares of card left over from my address cards and made letter tiles for him to spell the words out.  It took me ages because I had to go through the whole list of one hundred words to check that I had enough doubles of every letter to make every word – I know that any reason to give up will be jumped upon by his lordship!

Larry and I had a few successful jaunts out into the garden and our PFD seemed to be going well.  We did quite a bit of training and he has managed to learn ‘sit’, ‘wait’ and ‘lie down’.  Clever boy!

I went back to school to collect the kids.  Today was Jeans for Genes day so they all had their jeans on with their usual uniform and had taken in a couple of dollars each for the charity.  They were glad to be out of school and ready for the weekend – I don’t think that feeling changes no matter what continent you are on!

Ruby and I made breaded fish and homemade wedges for dinner.  She is becoming a very good little helper – as long as I tell her EXACTLY what to do, otherwise she goes a bit off-piste and dinner takes a whole new direction!! 

We had dinner early because tonight was swimming night and as their lesson is at 5.30pm it is a kind of awkward time for eating.  If they don’t eat before they go then they are famished, but they can’t eat right before they go or they’ll be swimming on their dinner!  Anyway, we ate, it was good, we went to swimming!

Alexander was zipping up the pool and seems to have improved greatly already.  David is the perfect instructor for him, firm but fun.  Ruby managed to float on her back all the way up the pool without freaking out.  She really likes David too – he is about the same age as my Dad, who she loves to bits and I think they are both really comfortable with him and he certainly knows his stuff!  I would love it, if by summer, Ruby could confidently swim alone, it will make out trips to the pool so much more fun!

When we finished there we came back to a puddle free house – I was very excited that this would be the day!  We got changed and tidied ourselves up a bit because we were heading back out to Linda’s for a Postie Party .  Michael and the kids were in the games room with Hughie and Cameron while the ladies looked at clothes and had a blether.  They were very nice clothes (mostly) but more than I would want to pay and there was nothing I couldn’t live without.  I don’t really understand clothing parties, it’s not as if there aren’t lots of shops selling clothes.  Pampered Chef parties are another thing entirely because the things you can buy are either things you can’t get anywhere else or the quality is so much better that you HAVE to buy them there!!  I wish they were in Australia!

It was very nice to meet more of Linda’s friends and neighbours and we had a good chin-wag while enjoying he lovely supper she had prepared.

We came home again to a puddle free house – Larry had done it (or not done it really!!) we had had our first PFD!!  What a genius!

SATURDAY

I had been looking forward to Saturday!  Jeni, my friend from Penicuik, had asked months ago if I wanted to come on a girls weekend being organised by a collegue of her husband, Dave.  Never one to pass up a girl’s weekend, I gratefully accepted and today was the day we were off!  I packed my overnight things in my swimming bag (my usual overnight bag is still in the second shipment so not due for another three months or so!) Jeni and her friend Kate arrived at about 11am and we took off after they had come in to goo over Larry a little!  I was leaving with the sure and certain knowledge that on my return 1) I would have to start from the beginning again with Larry regarding him not being on the furniture, 2) I would have to start again from the beginning with Larry regarding him peeing outside, 3) neither child would have eaten anything remotely nutritious and 4) Ruby’s hair would be a bird’s nest of tugs and tangles.  Still, I merrily waved as we pulled out of the drive and set off for a weekend at a winery!

We drove via Ballarat and stopped there for lunch.  We saw a wee cafe that did filled croissants, toasties and soup so we went in and ordered.  When we sat down, Jeni noticed that they sold all sorts of Scottish sweeties not normally sold in Australia – Edinburgh Rock, Highland Toffee, Tablet – and even cans of Irn Bru so we know where to come when we are hungover!

We carried on further up the road, passing signs that warned us of koalas and kangaroos by the road but we saw none – most disappointing!  We arrived, mid-afternoon, at the Warrenmang Vineyard.  It was gorgeous,  nestled into a valley, with little lodges and chalets dotted on the hillside, rows and rows of naked vines scoring the surrounding fields.  We parked the car and went into the reception lodge.  There we found Dave’s collegue, Jenny and her friend Anthea settled in front of an open fire with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese, crackers and olives.  Aaahhh, that’s better!  We joined them of course!

An hour or so later and all the other girls (16 of us in total) had arrived.  We had spotted a hot tub just down from our chalets and so we arranged to gather there with our swimming cossies on.  It was chilly so Jeni and I were very grateful that we were in the chalet next to the hot tub and it wasn’t far to dash, wrapped in our fluffy white towels! 

We lounged in the hot tub for an hour or so.  One of the very clever girls had brought a lovely cheeseboard with crackers and apple slices so we lay back in the warm water, with steam rising into the cool early evening, munching brie and drinking wine while looking out over the beautiful scenery.  ‘It doesn’t get any better than this,’  I thought to myself – but I hadn’t had dinner yet!

When we were feeling brave enough we hopped out of the hot tub.  I say hopped, it was more clambered really, there isn’t a very dignified way of getting out of a hot tub!  We dashed back to our chalet, showered off the chlorine and got dressed for dinner.  On our way over to the dining room we spotted a Mummy kangaroo and joey at the top of the hill.  We stopped to look at them, they stopped to look at us, they got bored first and hopped off over the hill.  It is so strange to see them in the wild!  We met again in front of the fire in the main reception and then went through to the dining room for one of the best meals I have had in a long time.  I had the souffle and then the pork.  Both were totally delicious.  I could rant about them for ages but even thinking about them is making me hungry so suffice to say, they were DELICIOUS!  Dessert was a berry millfeuille and it, too, was scrummy!  A bottle of their un-oaked chardonnay and a hot chocolate to finish with rounded the night off perfectly.  Apart from being told off by the waiter for having my elbows on the table (I didn’t, I had my forearms on the table, as is good manners, otherwise people can’t see what you are doing with your hands – you could be up to anything!!) it was a flawless meal!  We were joined in the dining room by a group of ladies celebrating a 40th birthday.  They had chosen the wrong destination.  Here we were in this relaxed, but classy venue and they were all dressed up like something out of Austin Powers and kept spontaneously bursting into Abba songs.  They were very well oiled when they arrived and legless and extremely bad mannered when they left.  The staff eventually asked them to tone it down but about an hour too late in my opinion.  It made my ‘elbow-gate’ pale into insignificance!

Back to the chalet and into bed all before midnight made it slightly different from Jeni and my usual girls weekend experience (no circle-of-death, shots or ‘I am the music man’) but as we had an early start it was the sensible option – Oh dear!  Are we getting old, Jeni?

I slept like a LOG!  It was so nice not to have a dog whining to be let out, a child climbing in beside me and to have the heater running all night!  I woke up just before my alarm went off at 8am which gave me plenty of time to get dressed and ready for breakfast.  Breakfast was another lovely meal.  Eggs benedict, bacon, sausages, toast, juice, tea – yum!

After packing our bags and checking out we met again at the cellar door for a tour of the inner workings of the vineyard.  Taking us on the tour was Luigi Bazzani, owner of the vineyard, who had moved here some 30 odd years ago.  He retains his Italian accent and charm and listening to him talk about how he has built up his vineyard was a real pleasure.  He obviously loves his work and shared his passion effortlessly.  We tried a few different wines, all delicious and interesting and then some of the group bought some bottles to take home.

Kate drove us homeward, via Daylesford, a little town known as something of a Gay haven.  Jeni explained about ‘The Pink Pound’ in the UK and we tried to think what the Aussie equivalent would be ‘The Dyke Dollar’ was the best we could come up with.  The town itself was a funny collection of gift, curios and artisan shops.  We had a turn around and then went for cake and a coffee (in case we should fade away before making it home, poor famished souls that we were!) then Kate took us to Hepburn Springs where we tried some of the natural spring water.  It was fizzy!!  I was baffled!  It doesn’t take much to surprise me but fizzy water coming out of the ground seemed very odd!!  I could only imagine a whole load of fairies with soda-streams just underground!  It wasn’t really my taste but there were people there filling bottles and bottles of it.  Cheaper than buying I suppose but still not my thing!

Upon arriving home my lovely Ruby was waiting for us in the drive, looking like the wild woman of Borneo with her hair in all directions.  Larry practially turned himself inside out with excitement at my return – which was nice!  I bid goodbye to Kate and Jeni and came in to see what mass desctruction had occurred in my absence! 

Nothing too major, except that the kids had been drawing with permanent marker which had gone through the paper and onto our new coffee table.  Michael assures me it will come off.  They had a lovely weekend without me – trips to the cinema, DVDs at home, pizzas and drive thrus and cousin Cameron for a sleepover!  All survived with no broken bones and no-one lost – success!

I don’t have a grocery picture today because Michael did the shopping.  As a result we have no meal plan and very few ingredients but lots of brand name snacks!  This will make cooking this week very interesting!

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One Response to Mammoth update – weekend away!

  1. Yerda says:

    Sounds like a great weekend!!! We’ll have to go to the winery in November.Well done (or not done) Larry! Well done for Alexander & Ruby – doing great at swimming lessons!

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