Spring soon swooping back to life

If the forecast is correct (now, stop that) as you read this you’ll be tucked under a doona or in a rug, binge-watching DVDs as the temperature struggles to make double digits and the wind whistles through the agapanthus.

SONG OF SPRING: The magpies have begun warbling at night, a sign that breeding and swooping season are on the way ... and that means spring.

SONG OF SPRING: The magpies have begun warbling at night, a sign that breeding and swooping season are on the way ... and that means spring.

But winter is starting to move off, and here’s the proof.

1. The bushland parks and reserves around Benders are ablaze with the Cootamundra wattle yellow blossom. Yes, yes, we know it’s widely regarded as a weed here, but it’s pretty. It’s always a surprise when it explodes into colour around mid-winter, but a nice hint of warmer months ahead.

2. While you’re looking at our bushland, there’s another bit of evidence that we’re either at or passed mid-winter. The deep, sloppy mud wallows caused by illegal off-road activity are at their peak. Near DTM’s HQ the wallows are so big even the nocturnal mud-pluggers seem to have given up, leaving behind an odd collection of broken mechanical bits.

3. The magpies are singing in the change of seasons – in the dead of night. They begin their annual mating rituals about now – just before the swooping season – and it often involves repetitive carolling around midnight. We had one going off like Dame Nellie Melba in the middle of a heavy downpour at 11pm this week.

4. Big stores are starting to advertise lawn mowers. In a one-hour TV program this week, one of the bigger retailing chains advertised its cheap mower 10 times. 

5. We’ve started to note a few Christmas decorations for sale. There are only 128 days to Christmas. Sorry.

There, doesn’t that warm the cockles of your heart?

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Here’s an anniversary we missed late last year: the 100th anniversary of the construction of nearly 18 kilometres of the main road to Melbourne at Ravenswood.

In late November 1916, the chairman of the Victorian Country Roads Board, William Calder, officiated at the opening of the newly-gravelled Ravenswood stretch.

It ended a lot of grumbling from Bendigo motorists, according to the Mount Alexander Mail.

“This piece of road of nearly 11 miles was always a bugbear to travellers, and did much to isolate Bendigo from a road traffic point of view.”

The paper went on to suggest the new section would make it possible for Bendigo people to have a nice drive in the country on Sunday afternoons … except for one thing: the pot-holed, washed-away dirt track from Ravenswood to Kangaroo Flat.

Those of us who lived through the decades of angry debate about the Calder Freeway and the now-under-construction $90 million Ravenswood-Calder Alternate interchange will find it all so familiar.

Ahhh, it’ll be a nice road once it’s finished.

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