Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Devastation to Willow tree

On sunday when we had driven into the city hoping to go to the Art Gallery we had passed a restaruant in St Kilda Road called The Willows. We had patronised this restaurant many years ago and it had two enormous willow trees in the front garden. Well not so now the storm on saturday had snapped one off near the base..possibly hit by lightening. We stopped for a closer look on our way home on monday...a lot of the branches had been cleared away but you can see where it struck the front fence and the stump that was left shattered. So lucky to have fallen forward and not back onto the marquee!

Spur of moment travel part2

We went to Pfeiffer's Winery to buy some of their fabulous "Pfeiffer's Pfizz".. a wonderful sparking red wine. Tried a thing called "Seriously Pink", a rose liquer that is great chilled over ice or as a long drink. We went down onto the bridge at the winery to observe the turtles and take in the view. It all looks very lush with the recent rain and the turtles are breeding madly!
We also visited Warrabilla Winery known for their big reds..which I left Mike to enjoy. Though if i was ever to drink a red it would be probably one of theirs.
We stopped in Rutherglan to sample Parker's Pies for lunch, we had seen them advertised on local TV as award winning and "The Best"...tell you what they were pretty good and we would highly recommend them.
Next stop a local cafe/bakery for a coffee and cake...the young lass serving was so earnest and and eager to please...10/10 for effort, and to Mike's delight they made a long black coffee correctly...and did not top it up with water!
Last stop Anderson's Winery where we had a nice chat to Howard to owner winemaker. Bought some of his award winning Sparkling Shiraz and "Melanie" which is a red dessert wine...mmmmmmmm heaven in a glass.
Getting on in time and as we have a 4 hour trip ahead of us we figure it is time to hit the road.
Time was made to pass quickly by sharing the driving and doing crossword puzzles while listening to some good jazz and kd Lang. We only hit a few more rain squalls.
We came into Melbourne thorugh the back roads north of the city to find a whole new area of suburbia opening up. Took a quick picture of the city skyline out the car window and along Bulla Road as we got closer.

Spur of the moment travel!

This past weekend was a long one here in Victoria to celebrate Labour Day we had monday off. We had not planned anything where in past years we have gone with friends to a Wine and food festival in Rutherglan, NE Victoria. There were devastating storms across Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, damage to some major infracstructure saw venues evacuated and venues closed. No damage here in suburban Gardenvale thank goodness. Sunday saw us head into the National Art Gallery to have a look at the "Ron Mueck" exhibition only to get to there to find the gallery closed due to water damage!
Well on the way home Mike asked what I wanted to do and I said it would have been nice to go to Rutherglen. Well we went home packed the toilet bag and our night clothes ...by 2.30pm we were on our way! Now it is a 4 hour drive and being a long weekend with the food and wine festival on we were taking a big chance on getting any accomodation. Listening to the radio we also heard that major storms were predicted for just the area we were headed for! Mike had his laptop and mobile net connection up and running and started to look for accomodation in the vicinity of Rutherglen. No luck at any B & B's and we were wished "good luck" by numerous people! By the time we reached Wangaratta it was about 5.30pm and the rain was starting. We drove through town and went passed a couple of motels with "vacancy" signs. We stopped at one that looked reasonable and were able to get a room at a fair price. A quick drive round to a local pub for tea found us getting inside just as the heaven's opened! Popular spot with a large contingent of year 12 students occupied the tables next to us and I suggested we get in the queue to order ASAP...wise move as they joined the queue just after us and after we had placed our order and were again seated we watched for a LONG time as they were processed. Our meal arrived quickly and was very nice.
We stopped to have a quick look at a newspaper before going to the car and ended up sitting for 20 mins waiting for the rain to ease! It did not let up much so we made a run for the car and back to our motel. Lightening and thunder flashing around us.
The next morning after a very nice breakfast we headed off to Rutherglen, the rain had stopped though more was promised for later. Our motel had faired alright but the one across the road had had to evacuate 5 upstairs rooms during the night as water was coming in! Our motel host said it was the most rain he had ever seen!
The drive to Rutherglan had us driving past low lying paddocks covered in water, lots of small lakes amongst the trees.
All this water is not good for the winemakers as the grapes will be prone to mould and it can be quite devastating to the crop. There was a strong wind blowing monday afternoon and this made one winemaker we spoke to happy as it was the best thing to dry out the grape bunches, better than the sun as it just added to the humidity and hence more chance of mould!