Young at Heart: Being tourists in our own land

WE'RE not going anywhere this year. Moving was a big enough challenge and we need time to adjust to our new environment and find our place in this new community.

We‘ve waved off many good friends chasing the sun or off overseas, but not for us, we need time to regroup.

The Long Weekend loomed large with nothing really planned, so we set about planning it.

We no longer needed to throw ourselves into a large garden, home maintenance and all the other demands we had previously tied ourselves to, so we decided to become “tourists in our own land”.

Our first trip out of town on Saturday was to a gathering of patrons of the Theatre Royale, which show all the New York Metropolitan Opera film series in Castlemaine throughout the year. 

Off we travelled to the theatre to enjoy a night of champers, nibbles and Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, which was beautifully presented.  

I managed to nod off frequently as the night went on... too much food, too much champers and a confession... Mozart doesn’t really do it for me!

Leaving Castlemaine, we were stopped by a police car and two very courteous young policemen (the police are all young these days, aren’t they?) politely asking Rob to blow into a breathalyser. 

We were free to go, and off we went into the night.

On Sunday we chose to explore Heathcote, with its wine festival in full swing. 

If we were in Tuscany or Burgundy we would count ourselves incredibly lucky to be there at this time of the year. 

We drove along dirt roads and the gentle hills of Heathcote, sampling beautiful local wines and cheeses, dips and farm produce created by clever home growers in the district... and thought we were incredibly lucky to be there... in Heathcote 

We met young and old exploring the wineries, tasting the wines with great enthusiasm and deep pockets, enjoying the day.  

We welcomed those winter fires in wine sheds, and the sun shone warm on our backs as we sat on verandas sampling the amazing variety of wines and eating pizzas.  

The growers are a rightfully proud, knowledgeable lot when it comes to describing their wines. 

They produce a great product.

We too managed to buy the odd bottle of red. 

Into the township of Heathcote we drove. The art show was worth a look, as was the wool shop for a little retail therapy. 

We drove out of Heathcote and straight into a line of drivers waiting patiently beside a police van, set up to catch the over-indulgent after a day around the wineries.  

I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered but they took one look at us and waved us on, much to the envy of the drivers on either side. We sailed on feeling much pleased.

On Monday we met friends for lunch at Wombat Hill Gardens Cafe at Daylesford, and a stroll around the Convent Gallery. 

On to the second-hand bookshops, one in the main street, one down by the lake, finishing the day with coffee and cake, overlooking the Daylesford Lake.

As we drove out of Daylesford there were our Boys in Blue again. Good on them! 

Once again they took a look at the couple in the front seat and decided we were no danger to anyone. How right they were. We had had nothing to drink all day except coffee and water... the glass of red from Heathcote would be waiting for us at home.

We couldn’t have done any more, or enjoyed three quite different experiences any better had we been travelling around Europe.

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