Victoria trip Tuesday 15/1/08

Sunday, 27 January, 2008

This is our Dandenongs day. (The Dandenongs reminds me of the Blue Mountains here but I suspect that saying that will offend some Victorians.)

Liwen and I soon get into a routine where she rises and showers first, and then I rise and shower, and by the time I'm back, she's made the bed. Ramya is right: she is really the neatest traveller I've ever met (not that I've met that many). Her luggage is always ordered and tidy, whereas mine looks like a bomb hit it. And I'm not that messy (just ask my work colleagues!)

Breakfast is pomegranates mixed with yoghurt, muesli and peanuts, accompanied by green tea (with a hint of mint which is very interesting because normally I'm a purist and drink my green tea straight). We drive to the Dandenongs, me subjecting my indulgent friends to more of my music. But this time I pick things I think they will like—well, more that Anita would like; I haven't quite worked out what Liwen likes (Eminem seems highly uncharacteristic, and you wouldn't expect that of her if you'd ever met her). So it was Thirsty Merc, Radiohead (Anita seems to be the only one on the planet who has never heard OK Computer. Later we tried looking for it but nowhere in Melbourne had it for $10 which I thought was appalling, given its ubiquity) and Stone Temple Pilots (which Ben thinks isn't characteristically me but anyway ...)

Sean the TomTom gave us directions which Anita found rather odd but that could be because she's used to approaching the Dandenongs from the east. We ended up in a quaint little town called Olinda, parked and went to walk around the shops.

Cafe on the corner in Olinda, Dandenongs

I bought some Reese's peanut butter cups for Ben because he likes peanut butter chocolate and developed a taste for it when we were in North America, and a candle snuffer with a wooden handle (which unfortunately will not dispel the myth that I like candles and that I am a candle person [Liwen and Anita say I look like a candle person], so I suspect I shall continue receiving candles as gifts until I die. At least I now have something to put them out which is classier than blowing on them). There was this lovely little lace shop that had black lace parasols like mine and these frilly ruffly ones from the Boston Umbrella Company (part of the “Frou Frou” range). And one shop had a beautiful dark red handbag that both Anita and I found lovely but was also very expensive (but we went back later to have another look at it anyway). One shop had very cool felt hats and fancy clothes, and this jacket that I thought Liwen should buy (but she resisted my encouragement). It also had these lovely hat boxes (I'd like a decent hat box for my hats ... like this one [and the rest of that site is very nice too! And of that store just happens to be in Melbourne ...] but I thought it a bit ridiculous to take a hat box back to Sydney on the plane, and also I wasn't quite sure of the measurements of my hats so what if I bought one that was too small?

Mugs in baskets outside a homewares shop in Olinda

One of the shops was simply amazing: Mangana Arts and Craft. I reckon we could have spent hours in there. There was jewellery, Tiffany lamps, masks—

Venetian masks in Mangana, Olinda
More Venetian masks (these ones with more glitter) in Mangana, Olinda

—furniture, magnifying glasses, book boxes (for storing your books ... except they look like books ... very odd), walking sticks (like the one I gave Karen years ago, complete with a little vial that pops up when you unscrew the head), glass paperweights, chess sets ... and so on.

We poked around the shops for a little while longer but we were getting hungry so pushed on to Sassafras and Miss Marple's Tearoom:

Miss Marple's: exterior shot of the cottage restaurant

We knew that Liwen just had to see it! We had lunch there (quiche lorraine with salad and chips for me!), and talked about culture and Christianity, movies and books. The lunch was so filling, there was no room left for jam and scones.

Miss Marple's: interior shot of cosy tables and chairs, and black and white photographs on the walls
Anita's green spider
Teapot, teacup and basket of chips at Miss Marple's

I bought some jam to take back to MM for the jam-lovers (Emma called while were in Olinda to ask about some Briefing-related thing and clued me in to who likes what). I don't even like jam, but Miss Marple's is the best jam I've ever tasted.

Then, of course, we had to pop next door to Tea Leaves which was choc full of teapots, tea canisters, a shelf full of coffee grinders and, of course, tea:

Porcelain teapot with green pattern
Teapot like a Tiffany lamp
Shelves full of tea
A shelf of hand-held coffee grinders

I bought some tea for Bec and Kathleen (and then worried about whether Kathleen would like hers since I don't actually know what kind of tea Kathleen likes) and then thought later I should have bought tea for other people too, but anyway ...

More shopping ensued. This bath and body shop had an interesting display inside: I like how they've attached the lipsticks to the branches:

A tree of lipsticks and hanging crystals in a bath and scent shop

In the antique shop where we encountered the teddy bear in the pram—

Vintage teddy bear hangs forlornly over the side of an antique pram

(and lots of Michelin Man paraphernalia), in the back I found this lace ... thing:

Lace overcoat

Yes, it's very goth! I'm not sure what you call it. (I'm not even sure if what I'm wearing under it goes with it.) But it was only $10 so I bought it, and we also made Anita buy this really cool satin-ey dressing gown cut like something out of the Reformation (we argued that it was good philosopher-wear).

Shops were closing so we piled back in the car with our goodies and headed to Sherbrooke Forest. Anita wasn't quite sure where it was and you can't search for that sort of thing on the TomTom, so we were going in circles for a little bit. Strangely, I seem to have a fairly good spatial memory, so when we turned a corner, I said, “Isn't it back there?” And, what do you know, it was!

When we got out of the car, Anita put a handful of birdseed into each of our hands, and then the birds just flocked to us, perching on our fingers and wrists, to eat it.

Karen with rosellas perched on her wrists, eating out of her hands
Karen with a rosella on her shoulder

I'd love to know what sort of bird these ones are if anyone knows:

Beautiful green bird perches on Karen's wrist and eats out of her palm
Green orange-breasted bird eats out of Liwen's hand

Once our seed was all gone, we headed into the forest for another little bushwalk. I was highly amused by this sign:

A sign saying 'Limbs may fall'

It sounds like a line from a horror movie.

The tree where this photo was taken is still there. Anita makes me do a Pan's Labyrinth shot:

Karen steps out of a tree, Pan's Labyrinth-style

(Though in the movie she steps into the tree ... but let's not get picky; there wouldn't have been enough room to shoot inside that tree!) In retalation, I get Liwen and Anita to do it too.

We walk on to the falls but there isn't much water and there are a lot more rocks showing. But there are other interesting things to be seen:

Berries against the forestscape
Sherbrooke forest, with its towering gum trees and flowering ferns
Orange and yellow kangaroo paw flower

And a wallaby bounces across our path on the way back to the car.

We drive home, stopping at the supermarket for supplies (I need to buy a new comb to replace the one I broke that morning). Anita makes this delicious chicken dish with arborio rice. Feeling rather useless in the kitchen (as all my offers of help were rebuffed), I read to them from The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, accompanying my reading with my own commentary. (I should note here that it was Anita's copy I was reading: I sent it to her for her birthday last year, along with some chai tea from The Tea Centre which she would only use for special occasions because it was so good.)

Liwen makes a cheese platter with wafer thin crackers and Lavosh, and mountain ash goat's cheese and Costello white cream cheese. Jacqui joins us, and we settle down to watch Amazing Grace the movie which Liwen and I had never seen before. Anita and I knitted throughout the whole thing which I hope didn't bother anyone.

Afterwards, even though it was late, we watched the special features. I went to bed dreaming about it.

Posted in: Victoria 2008

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Nice george shirt!

That sounds like a wonderful trip - all of it. Sigh.
I’m excited about the tea smile
And the falling limbs sounds like the tagline to a horror movie

Saw 7.2: Limbs may fall.


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