20th November and through customs quickly. I have found it very interesting watching Border Patrol Australia in the UK: visitors try to hoodwink customs, but no problem for me. Great to meet Darryl again; having seen him last when he stayed at Forlan in 2014. We travelled out to Kingsmere and I met Graeme and Shirley, Darryl’s parents. I unloaded my cases Darryl prepared a packed lunch and we drove to his farm at Yea. Darryl had a vet coming to check his cattle for their micro-chips. After lunch we gathered the cattle into the holding pen and after the vets visit I admired the gardens around the yard. We made our way up to the neighbours place who have the most beautiful rose garden and on the way I was introduced to a blue tongued lizard. After my blue tongued lizard encounter there is a little bit of a blur; did we pick cherries that day?
Next day, feeling good, we walked across the road to meet a neighbour enjoying a cup of tea and a chat. They too had stunning gardens with a wonderful view. Later l remember sitting chatting to Shirley at Kingsmere and feeling as though I had fallen off the garden seat; my mind was playing funny tricks. I believe this was my first taste of jet lag. I had to have a lie down and slept for over 2 hours. I was woken for supper which was a good thing as if I had slept through I may not have adjusted to the time difference.
Over the next three days I had a short day time rest (unheard of for me) but finally i adjusted to Australia time.
The gardens at Kingsmere are stunning, not any soil to be seen as every area is covered with plants; especially succulents. The roses were a sight to behold! The garden had little twists and turns, with secret areas and pretty garden seats. I was impressed; so much imagination to create such charm.
I met Charlie the cockatoo who greeted everyone several times a day with “hello cocky” and was so good at imitating the cat that I kept opened the door expecting the cat to walk in. Charlie, also rang a bell when he wanted a peanut. He loved me giving him dandelion flowers as a special treat.
I met the two welsh ponies a welsh cob and a thoroughbred. The lovely black (A) Glynyarra Trinket (section A) now 25yrs and Manhattan Glen Diamantina a champion welsh cob (19 yrs); both owned and have been shown by Darryl.
24th – We were to visit Tatura Park (about two hour’s journey) where the Victoria All Welsh Show was to be held, Darryl was making final arrangements as Chairman and Ringmaster. To my surprise, and even Darryl’s, we came upon a Koala in the wild. It looked as though it was hitching a lift on the highway. Now this was a very busy road so we pulled up and another car stopped in front of us anxious to because to prevent this endearing little chap being run over. He looked a little intoxicated but I guess he wasn’t… We ushered him to the side of the road. He climbed the bank and struck a pose for us in the tree. ( The eucalypt leaf is very low in viable nutrients and koalas have a slightly lower body temperature and consequently a lower metabolic rate than most other mammals. They reduce the amount of energy expended per day by sleeping 18-20 hours. Their waking hours are used to feed, move and seek out mates during the breeding season. They do not get drunk on eucalypt leaves.)
We visited a stud of WMP and Cobs produced for dressage and with great success. Did I mention that I was longing for sun! Having had so many warnings not to get burnt, where was the sun? Seemed to be huddled in my jumpers most mornings for it to warm up very quickly, found out later that Melbourne and close surroundings are known to have four seasons in one day.
25th A lovely drive making our way to Echuca and the Murray River.
The Murray river was very low and murky, and the paddle steamer was over 200 years old. I tried to imagine how the ladies with their long skirts managed. Upper class passengers had more comforts than others. (Paddle steamers and paddle boats have been on the Murray River and in the Murray-Darling Basin since 1853 when William Randell launched the first steamer the P.S. Mary Ann near Mannum, South Australia. Today you can choose to see the Murray in various locations with some great boat cruises.
Australia has the largest collection of active paddle steamers and boats in the world, so this is a great way to experience the Murray River and its bygone era. An excellent article online about Paddleboats & Paddle steamers on the Murray River.
The trip was for over an hour, a great experience and a good use of my imagination. Alongside the river was the town with one street given over to how it would have been in 1800 hundreds.
Returned home and enjoyed a DVD about Yarra Glen Hunt; their celebration of 100 years in 1980. It featured well known families from the UK who had formed this popular hunt.
26th and a day free from travelling other than driving into Lily dale and visiting Op Shops ( Charity Shops to us in the UK). Fascinating in the UK we find racks of woman’s clothes labelled “outsize” but the Op Shops were more subtle with racks labelled “Voluptuous clothes for woman”. Visited the equivalent to a B&Q looking at succulent plants as I was formulating a plan for my garden at home….strange how i kept thinking it was summer at home.
27th My visit to see friends John & Denise Tate�s Alianna Stud who have visited me at Forlan. Lovely ponies that went back to well-known imported stallions. I saw Eppynt Shot. The last time I saw him was when, as President of Glanusk, I made him Supreme Champion. This same year Denise & John purchased him. Enjoyed lunch and so much to catch up on and such enjoyable company.