Its that time of year again, the cold weather has arrived and it’s time to head north to a warmer climate. On the road by 10am our first stop Shepparton staying overnight at the Victoria Park caravan park, which is situated on the Victoria Lake and close to the Goulburn river with only a short walk to the Shepparton shopping centre. Although there has been some good rain and the paddocks are green the countryside is still in drought, a green drought. At least the grass is coming back and soon the farmers will have feed, this will be a huge saving as the cost of hay has skyrocketed.
Tuesday 11th June.
It was freezing last night and we were pleased to be on power and able to have the electric heater running, a comfortable night’s sleep. After breakfast we went for a walk along the Goulburn river past some magnificent old River Gums with fungi starting to come through after the rain. This is a popular track with joggers, cyclists, and people walking their dogs in what is a beautiful area.
We so enjoyed the walk we lost track of time and had overstayed our time at the park as such our pass word would not operate to open the boom gate, fortunately a kind young lady assisted and we were soon on our way to Yarrawonga where we caught up with Phil Clarnette a previous neighbour of ours, coffee with Phil and Ros caught up on some family news then on our way to Rutherglen. Phil mentioned that Yarrawonga is booming several new estates and two new golf courses being developed, which we noticed as we were leaving this area, lunch at a parkland bordering the Yarrawonga Lake, great spot with some very nice modern houses in this area.
We arrived at Rutherglen by 3pm and checked into the Only caravan park in Rutherglen, which borders a small lake currently being given a face lift considerable land scaping being carried out, it will improve the area and benefit the caravan park. The promised rain is starting, with a forecast for damaging winds and heavy rain, we were battening down the hatches in preparation.
Wednesday 12th June.
Up early the rain was only light during the night and now with a break in the weather we decided to take a walk around the lake to the golf course with a view to playing nine holes but the weather put a stop to that. As such off on a drive and we called in to see if Bill Chambers was at the winery, his son informed us that Bill was at home and we should call in to see him. As we neared the house we saw Wendy in the garden collecting some veges, we called out to her and she was pleased to see us, we walked together to the house where we were invited in for coffee.
Coffee turned into lunch then into afternoon tea, a lot of catching up to do and as always Bill and Wendy were magnificent hosts. Our reason to call into Rutherglen was to catch up with old friends and I was hoping to arrange dinner with Colin & Prue Campbell and Chris & Robyn Pfeiffer, however three weeks prior Colin had passed away from cancer, Colin was a great friend and no doubt he will be sadly missed by his family. I had asked Chris if he thought Prue would join us for dinner, he suggested dinner be at their home, which he felt would be more comfortable for Prue, however she declined as she was not ready to circulate, understandable.
Chris insisted we come to his home with Robyn preparing a roast lamb in the wood fired oven. We arrived at 7pm bringing Cheese, Chocolates, Portuguese vintage port and a Mataus Rose. Robyn had organised a beer, cider and ginger beer tasting, which was interesting and a bit of fun, all went down well with the cheese.
The lamb was to die for washed down with some Pfeiffer medal winning cabernet and the lemon tart went marvellous with the port.
A toast to absent friend’s discussions about the industry and the Rutherglen area in particular made for a wonderful night.
Andrew Hickenbotham asked me to pass on to Chris two bottles of his award winning Pinot Noir, which I did. Chris suggested I call in tomorrow morning to pick up two of his award winning Cabernet to be passed on to Andrew, these I will nurse until put into Andrews safe hands.
Thursday 13th & Friday 14th June
The rain had been steady all night but nothing like what had been predicted and now it was starting to ease, We packed up the van and drove to the shopping centre to buy flowers for Prue Campbell, this done we took the flowers to the winery and passed them to the fellow at the tasting area who said he would make sure Prue received them that morning.
Off to Pfeiffer’s to pick up the wine for Andrew and to pass on the book I promised to give to Chris, which I forgot to bring with me last night. Robyn offered coffee and we talked about their wine distribution in the UK and Canada their two biggest export markets, the weekend being the Winery Walkabout weekend all sorts of activity was taking place at the winery removing Marquees and furniture and a general cleaning up. As we were about to leave one of the stakes holding the marquee when removed caused water to start flowing from the hole, the stake had punctured a water pipe. Chris now with plenty on his hands, we bid our goodbyes and got out of his hair. Our next stop Morris Wines to hopefully catch up with David Morris, but first lunch at the bakery as we have heard that they have great and interesting pies. Pam wanted a pastie but they were all sold out so she settled for a beef pie, I had a kangaroo pie, which was delicious, it even had a kangaroo shape on the pastry.
On arrival at Morris wines we were informed that we had missed David by about 10 minutes and they were not sure how long he would be, I asked that David be told of our visit and that we would catch up next time through.
Our next stop The Indigo Valley to catch up with the Henderson family arriving at 3pm we set up in our now reserved position connected to power then called down to the house Sarah hadn’t realised we had arrived. Some excitement the police had arrested two suspected terrorists at Barnawatha we had just driven through that area where there was a small police presence gathering information.
We spent two relaxing days with the Henderson’s. During our stay Sarah mentioned that someone had purposely contaminated their water tanks whilst they were in Melbourne a white powder was found in the guttering of the house and on the top of their tanks with a hatch forced open on one tank with white powder around it. The water had a terrible taste and was found to be strongly acidic, but the foreign material was not able to be identified. They involved the police but no finger prints were found nor any other factors that could identify the offender who they believe they know. A security camera will soon be installed. Tomorrow we head towards Sydney.