Saturday, 3 January 2015

Playing catch up. Episode One

We are coming to the end of our Australian sojourn.  We leave for home on Monday evening.  I have a stack of photographs from various walks, visits, beaches, etc etc, all of which have a commentary composed in my head at the time of snapping the pic.  But we have had such a busy time, what with a wedding, Christmas, New Year, catching up with old friends and being on holiday, that I have posted very few photos.  Generally the photos speak for themselves, so I think I will just do two or three posts, with a few words, to say where and when, and just catch up with the wave that way!  After all, it's last year's history now!  Time to move on.

We have made a few trips to the Mornington Peninsula on this holiday.  Our second visit was to stay with old friends who live in Somerville.  One afternoon Mrs E took me for a walk through the grounds of an old estate called Coolart.  There is a lovely garden, old farm machinery, rusting gracefully, and a large wetlands area with bird hides, and, of course, birds - some sculpted, some live.
I did manage to post a few photos of this superb blue wren a week or so ago.  The photos were for my friend, Kittie Jones, printmaker and lover of birds, but the little wren is so superb that I thought he deserved another airing!  The blue is iridescent and vivid - he's a stunning little bird.
The delicate, purple flower below is the black anther flax lily.
Now this bundle of spines is an echidna, the Australian version of our much smaller hedgehog.  I spotted him just off the path, burrowing his long snout into the ground.  We spotted a second one as we drove away from Coolart  clocking up another bit of Australian wildlife to add to my modest list.  My ambition on this trip is to see a koala bear in the wild.  Watch this space.
This is one corner of the very grand house of Coolant.  It is now state owned and, sadly, becoming very run down.  It is free to visit the estate, so maybe it's time to start charging a small entry fee to put towards some restoration work, before a rather wonderful place falls into complete disrepair.
Our friend in Somerville has befriended eight or nine sulphur-crested cockatoos.  They fly down into her garden to be fed.  They are very entertaining, waddling around and establishing their pecking order.
We arrived at the beginning of the Aussie summer and gradually, over the weeks, the flowers have been coming out.  This is a beautiful white plumbago, tumbling in bridal profusion over a garden fence.  I thought it was lovely.
The bark of one of the many gum trees - not sure what this one is called, but I loved the colours.
Our friend has a stall in the Vintage Shed, at Tyabb.  It's a feast of retro and recycled stuff.  I spotted this quaint bit of headwear from, probably, the 1920s, decorated with pretty silk flowers.  I particularly liked the pansy and there were other flowers on another hat, little blue forget-me-nots, just like the ones we had to decorate our wedding cake (they were old at the time, we are not 1920s vintage!).
The Vintage Shed is a real emporium, you could spend hours in there, trawling through all the different stalls.  Every so often you see an item you haven't thought of or seen for decades, giving a jolt back to childhood, or past times.  
Still on the Mornington Peninsula, we visited what we thought was a lavender farm.  It turned out to be a retreat and was not open to the public, but the lavender was there for all to see.  My favourite thing!
And then to a beach, of course.

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