The sun beamed on Bendigo and everyone was smiling; the whole scene was alive and sparkling with colour. ANNIE YOUNG

We had lots of plans for Easter.

Two families were staying including six grandchildren. I had been gathering information on so many Easter events for weeks. The fridge was groaning under the weight of several trips to the supermarket, as I micro-managed the menus.

The grandchildren were already planning their sleeping arrangements – all of them to be scattered in sleeping bags and camping mattresses on the living room floor. We all knew what that meant – no sleep until at least 3am in the morning, but huge amounts of fun in the meantime, including midnight feasts and a very late Easter bunny visit.

Suddenly, the `best-laid plans of mice and men’ as they say in the good book were all thrown asunder. Lots of plans had to unexpectedly change and possibilities disappeared. A shorter time together meant family became the priority.

Instead, we had one family overnight and another arriving only for Sunday lunch, hardly enough time for the usual participation in activities happening around Bendigo during the Easter weekend.

Time constraints made it impossible for us to join in the wonderful celebrations I kept reading about all weekend on Facebook. What a star mayor Margaret O’Rourke has proven to be, refusing the grand limousine and walking the route of the grand parade. What a refreshing face of council Margaret continues to present, along with the remaining councillors, introducing a new vision which council will now develop to guide forward this beautiful City of Greater Bendigo.

Throughout Easter, our family mourned the missed events we have all looked forward to every year. They were quite philosophical but I was disappointed for them. On Monday, I finally visited the Rotary Art Show where I found a tempting painting for a certain senior’s major birthday and bought books for grandchildren at the second-hand book sales.

The grandchildren spoke wistfully of missed carnival rides, the walk around Lake Weeroona followed by coffee and cake, the Saturday night parade and fireworks and the waking of Sun Loong. We wanted to say farewell to Sun Loong. He has been part of our lives for many years. Easter always included cheering Sun Loong and his helpers as they marched at the end of the grand parade.

There is always so much to do in Bendigo at Easter and not enough time to do it all. This is the liveliest time of the year. We drove down briefly to shop for a couple of necessities and the city was buzzing....people everywhere. The sun beamed on Bendigo and everyone was smiling; the whole scene was alive and sparkling with colour.

This week Rob and I plan to visit the brilliant mirrors construction in Rosalind Park Gardens. I’ll take photos to show the family and hopefully, it may be enough to entice them back very soon, to catch this amazing construction before it moves on. It is made from 40 tonnes of steel and 15 tonnes of mirrors; another coup for our art gallery. It reads like something from a science fiction novel.

Next weekend our family catch up briefly again. 

This time is so precious because already our oldest grandson is nearly 16.

It won’t be long before he will be off doing his own thing at Easter and family will no longer be as important to him... for a few years at least.

We don’t plan to miss two Easters in a row. There are already discussions underway to plan next year well in advance.