The incoherent blathering and deranged rantings of the self-styled Guru Bob...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Catching up

This past weekend for some reason we Australians celebrate the birthday of a woman who rarely if ever thinks about or comes to visit our country. In true Oz style we celebrate in the most appropriate way possible by having a holiday!!

So for the Queens Birthday long weekend Sweet Thang and I packed up a range of gear into our little automobile and headed out to the country.

An old friend of mine has a house on a small block of land in Sutton Grange which he ocasionally makes available to friends. If you don't know where Sutton Grange is you won't be alone but it is a stunningly gorgeous part of the world between Castlemaine and Bendigo. in the heart of good shiraz country here in Victoria.

So off we headed for the land of low clouds, gold rushes, bushrangers, cold nights, red wines and wood fires known as central Victoria.

On the way we dropped in to Kyneton to see some old friends and check out their house and baby, who has grown enormously since we last saw him. Then we arrived at the place got the fire going and then headed off to the Railway Hotel at Castlemaine for an amazing meal accompanied by Bress wines. I had the venison sausages with a beetroot mash and Sweet Thang had the best parma to be found in the state. For some reason chicken parmigiana has become the definitive pub food here in Melbourne and this one put most that I have tried to total shame...

Driving back to the house the 20 minute journey became quite a bit longer as we had to slow right down to get through low lying clouds on the winding road, but we got back to a wood fire and few more drinks for the designated driver (myself).

The next day we headed into downtown Bendigo to wander around and see what was on at the excellent Bendigo Art Gallery. It turned out to be the artistic circus which is the annual Archibald Prize. I have seen this show a few times at the AGNSW in Sydney and it always draws a crowd of people who want to see a range of portraits that are huge in scale and mediocrity. It was interesting to see that the former husband of Hughesy was featured there, a friend of mine called Ian Smith usually enters a portrait of the big man himslef, but this time it was another artist who got selected.

For a former gallery person like myself it is always a treat to visit the Bendigo Gallery - it was one one the original regional galleries in Australia, well over 100 years old by now and has had soem very good renovations over the years. The two former directors both went on to direct the Queensland Art Gallery and it has always been a place I would have loved to have worked at. Seeing it packed to the gills with visitors was actually pretty exciting too, any Director would love to get those crowds in the door.

Bendigo is a great old town that was made rich by gold in the 1800s and now puts a lot of time and effort in to attracting tourists for its art, food, wine and history. So we had a great wander around and then had an excellent lunch at an old bank that was chockers of wine. Then we picked up some provisions and headed back to our little shack for a big pot of Spag Bob...

We also managed to visit the excellent Sutton Grange winery which has never been open on previous visits and buy a bottle or two.
After a freezing night in the shack we had to pack up and head home the next day, but it had been a great trip away from the big smoke and has renewed our debate about whether we could make a 'tree change' and live soemwhere like Woodend or Kyneton and commute to work...

Which is probably the last thing we should do, but it is a nice idea!


  1. Does anyone else have lots of trouble trying toformat any blog entry with pictures in it?

  2. Yup mate, particularly if they're not large (full-width) ones on 'centre' alignment. All over the place with line spacings etc. If you go large/centre only it comes up pretty much OK.

    Sounds a good trip.

  3. Fuck, yes. Pictures in Blogger suck arse like nothing I've ever seen.

    Tell the mum in the photo from me that motherhood sits well with her, eh? The grin is the same as ever, even though the hair's not pink this time around.