Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I spent the last few days with DG and P&B in Newstead, in the heart of the Victorian central goldfields. A&A own an old miner's cottage there which we have been visiting on and off for the last ten years or so. It's a lovely place to kick off the shoes and sit back and relax; eating and drinking is nice, too.

I was picked up by DG on Friday morning and we arrived around lunchtime, P&B arriving an hour or so later. We had divided up the evening meals between us: Friday night came courtesy of P who had cooked a wonderful casserole similar to cassoulet, chock a block with pork, beans and root vegetables. Delicious. Then on Saturday I cooked my favourite, chicken with preserved lemons and olives served with cous cous; DG's offering came on Sunday evening with a barbecue of local bullboar sausages, pork chops and char-grilled eggplant, served with home-made potato salad. B arranged cold meats and cheeses for our lunches, as well as discovering a special deal on cleanskin wines, which turned out to be a good bargain.

Most of the time not involved in eating and drinking was spent sitting reading, with the occasional interruption for talking and the odd walk. We also went for a drive to Clunes, the site of the first gold strike in Victoria, which is now a rather quiet, but pleasant little town. On Saturday night there was a light fall of rain, which is desperately needed in this part of the state. Of course by the next morning the ground was completely dry and parched; the rain gauge showed the fall amounted to 1mm.

While I was away JW kindly fed Puschka but managed to completely overlook the Easter egg I had left in the fridge for him -- it even had a large note addressed to him on it. I'll have to get it to him during the week if I can manage to keep my hands off it.

Back to work this morning. It's amazing how rapidly the time off disappears in one's recollections; I feel as if I've been back a week already.

Reading: The dark is rising cycle by Susan Cooper (for the umteenth time)
Listening to: Symphonies by Kinsella; more Berlioz; de Rore Missa Praeter Rerum Serium


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