Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Lola the Explorer goes to Lake Eildon

I love mini-breaks.  We went to a place called Frogsong and there were 2 other doggy's there.  Now I'm not really a doggy dog (other dogs can't scratch my belly and they try and sniff my butt all the time), but they were both OK.  Lots of good smells (no frogs, but plenty of rabbits and kangaroo poo) and I wandered around exploring.  Our cottage was nice.  I visited the other cottages - just to check out what they were like.  So what else did I do:
  • Went down to the big lake. 
  • We visited a big campground and there were people living in canvas houses and lots of other dogs around, so I peed on one tent - kinda like "Lola was here". 
  • I got to drive the new car - good thing too, cos I think we were lost!
  • Had a shower because I had poo stuck to my butt and dragged it on the floor - oops
  • Checked out the depth of the mud when the car got stuck (not my fault)
  • Ate chicken, sausages and bacon - excellent! I even shared my treats and sausages with Dio.
That's it from me (my mum has it covered). Back to the couch for a snooze.

Love and Licks Lola

This was my neighbour - she was super friendly
Just call me Alonso

Confession time - I peed on the tent

A trip to Lake Eildon

Labour Day long weekend and we decided to make use of the accommodation I'd booked last year when we were supposed to go to Eildon for a fishing comp and somehow booked a place that was the other side of Lake Eildon and 100km away.  Who knew that Lake Eildon was so big?

Off we went, relegated to the back seat with Lola so I could prop the ankle up.  Stopped in Mansfield for lunch and wow what a busy place.  Lots of cowboys around due to a local rodeo.  Short stroll, but managed a visit to Country Target. 

Frogsong Cottages in Mountain Bay are around 20km from Mansfield.  Found the place OK and the place was cute, although only a ceiling fan so a bit warm.  There are four units and our neighbours had a lovely dog named Dio so Lola had company.  Drive around and a couple of stops along Lake Eildon in Gough's Bay.  Another busy place - the lake, the town itself is tiny.  Fishing was out so whilst I went back to the cottage, Emi and Aitana headed off to try their luck.   

Lola and Dio
Now if ever I wanted to check out "Freedom" camping, this was the place to do it.  Along dirt and gravel roads (dream come true for Emi, the new car performed admirably and was covered in dust), there were camp spots and heaps of tents and vans of all sorts and shapes.  Some great set ups and how they get some of them down by the water, beats me.  My addiction to Big Lap Facebook pages has stepped up.  Can't wait to hit the road! Although how I would keep the dust out is something to be investigated.

Somewhat restricted in activities, so bubbles and books for me. BBQ's for dinner, naps and even managed a couple of movies.  No TV or phone reception, so certainly relaxing. Lola enjoyed wandering around and made herself at home over at the neighbours units as well.  Bit worried about snakes, but all good - no mishaps.

That's as close to Lake Eildon as I got
Well one slight mishap.  Heading home we decided to stop off at the lake around Bonnie Doon.  Oh look, mud. Oh look we're stuck.  Luckily, another group of lake campers were on hand to pull us out.  One very dirty and muddy Colorado.  Lola not to be outdone, also decided to explore the mud. Once all out of the mud, we headed off, stopping in Yea (Yay!) for a coffee.

The hole in the mud
Lola checking out the mud

Final stop - Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory.  Wow, never been and couldn't believe the number of cars. The place was jam packed.  Always wanted to visit - so a bonus.  Gorgeous views, free samples, huge servings of gourmet ice-creams and the chocolate. Chocolate heaven. Winning. Even got Emi some sugar-free chocolate Easter bunnies

- just to counteract the double scoop ice cream.

The Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Art of Frugal Hedonisn

 The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More, is a book written by Melbourne locals Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb that I read recently.

Ties in with my rather feeble attempts at leading a more minimalist life (it's a slow process, but I continue to chip away at excess and reconsider purchases) and is a quirky, interesting little book.

What is Frugal Hedonism?  It's basically the idea that what we spend money on is not necessarily what makes us happy.  The books ideas are nothing new or mind-blowing, but it does make you stop and think about waste and consumerism. I want to get off the hamster wheel that is work more to buy/spend more - it's just a habit we get into.  I figure that sometimes consciously trying to be more frugal makes you more inventive and you end up with a few more dollars in your pocket to boot.

So what do I hope to achieve?  I'm not going to be quiet as radical as Annie and Adam - no bin rummaging or eating road kill just yet.  I feel a little list coming on.....

1. Reduce/change my spending habits
2. Find simple/free ways to spend time with family and friends
3. Do less paid work, so I have more time and energy to do other stuff
4. Get back to getting rid of stuff - just as soon as I get the bloody cast off my leg
5. Cut back on eating out and take-away

After reading the book, I went and got out (can I point out that both these books I borrowed from the library) their other book The Weed Forager's Handbook.  Another interesting little book and no idea that so many of those pesky weeks are edible and very good for you!  Maybe I'll have to try one of their upcoming Edible Weed Walks and Workshops around Melbourne. Dandelion tea anyone? Or maybe Fat Hen stir fry? Tastes just like spinach - apparently.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait exhibition and the Jewish Museum of Australia

Back on the 14th January, we went along to the Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda to check out the Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait exhibition.  Going to the Museum was also on my list.
I hadn't even known that Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) was Jewish so going along and finding out a bit more about her background was interesting.  The exhibition is a collaboration between the Jewish Museum in London and Amy’s brother and sister-in-law. The exhibition looks at her early family life, her music and her Jewish roots. Her families ancestors immigrated to London from Belarus in 1890.
Fridays and her family still celebrated traditional Friday dinners. In one interview, she said that “being Jewish to me is about being together as a real family.”
The objects on display include photos of her early life through to more recent ones, clothing, accessories, records, books and everyday items that show the untold story of a young girl with an amazing talent. What really shines through, is her passion for music and her determination. 

There are quotes throughout the exhibition from her application letter to a performing arts school. Probably the most touching being “I want people to hear my voice’ and remember me… for just being me."   

Towards the end of her life, many people would have had quiet a negative picture of her.  I think this exhibition shows the other side of her and her family and that the pressure of her success probably led to the issues she had.  The world lost a wonderful talent, but her family lost a young troubled girl.

The exhibition closes on the 25 March 2018.  Tickets for adults are $12 - which is the regular price to visit the museum. The rest of the museum contains a good collection of items - worth a look around.

Whilst we were there, we also did a tour of the St Kilda Synagogue (included in the cost of the entry ticket to the Museum) which is just behind the museum.  It's actually called St Kilda Shule and it's one of the oldest and grandest synagogues in Melbourne. Our tour guide was a lovely friendly women - happy to answer any questions.  We knew very little about Jewish traditions so it was really fascinating and worthwhile.

Tours run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 12.30pm with an extra tour on Sunday at 3pm.  We were asked not to take any photos of the Synagogue - inside or out. Which seems a bit strange as you can see it from the street, so as a passer-by you can take them, but we honoured their request.  Stranger still, I got this one from their Facebook page.  You can take pics in the actual museum.

A worthwhile visit and a tick off the list.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Left behind

So here's the thing right.  Mum and Dad left me.  Yep, off they went on their little mini-cruise and left me behind.  Now no need to call the RSPCA, I don't mean they left me all alone, they left Aitana behind as well! I can understand them forgetting her, but moi???

I've been on a boat before - in fact, I went just recently from Sorrento to Queenscliff on the ferry. It was OK, don't see what all the fuss is about.  Not sure I'd want to spend 4 days on one.  I mean unlimited bacon sounds good, but where would I go to pee and poop?

Oh well.  I had fun and Aitana gave me lots of cuddles and treats.  She's a sucker for the "sad eye."  We went to the beach heaps and that was good.

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone - here is a pic of me celebrating at the 4J's house, although I have no idea what a Thomas the Tank party hat has to do with anything. So it's Year of the Dog.  Every year is Year of the Dog for me - but maybe this one is going to be super special.

I also went to Yoyo's house (Yoyo lives with the 4J's and Chicho the cat) another night for dinner and Aitana and I went on the train!  That was different and best of all - I get to travel for free.

Love and Licks Lola xxx

Friday, 23 February 2018

One broken ankle and one short cruise

Wouldn't it be nice to have time to sit around and watch TV, snooze, read and write? Yep, that's what I always thought when trying to squeeze everything else in.  So now that the opportunity has arisen - over it.

Rushing home last Wednesday 14 February, I twisted my ankle and went down arse over tit.  Strangers quickly came to my aid, helping me up and checking that I was OK.  Yes, the ankle hurt, yes my knee hurt and yes my palms hurt, but I was OK.  Embarrassed and glad I was wearing pants - granny knickers stayed safely hidden.
Managed to hobble on to the train. Who happens to be on the train and carrying an icepack?  Angel Maree of course.  Ankle still swelled like a golf ball and hurt like hell, but made it to Hampton station where Emi had to half carry me to the car and off to Sandringham hospital we went.
Now we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, but still not where we wanted to spend the evening.  Anyway, finally got checked out and x-rayed and fears confirmed, ankle fractured.  Difficult decision, take pants off and go home in knickers or slice them.  Enough embarrassment for one day,  chop them - and on went the cast.
Home with a pair of crutches that I was crap at using and in danger of falling over and breaking the other leg - or worse.  Anyway, pain wasn't too bad, idea of relaxing with my foot up looking good.

Next day, managed to get to the loo and hiring a wheelchair was easy enough - because crutches were never gonna cut it. Main objectives for the day accomplished. 
Farewell favourite black pants!

Friday 16th we were off on our 4 night cruise and navigating passageways on a rolling ship on crutches was not going to happen.  Doc didn't think there was any reason not to go, although dancing was clearly going to be a challenge. 
Packing was OK. Shoe requirements instantly halved (3 shoes - not 3 pairs, just 3 shoes).  Being in a wheelchair certainly had some advantages  - priority boarding. No lines and straight on.  And would you look at that, a bar 3 steps on.  Good place as any to wait for Joanne and Fernando (with Josh and Amelia) to board with a glass of bon voyage bubbles.
Overall, the cruise was OK (except for the lack of dancing and didn't even play bingo).  Cruise ships are probably better set up to handle wheelchairs than home and the staff were very helpful. We enjoyed a few of the shows and of course plenty of food.  Showed great restraint in the cocktail and bubble department as falling over was not an option. Fabulous catching up with Joanne and Fernando - the things we need to do to see each other!

So why didn't I get heaps of reading and writing done?  No idea.  When you have to sit still, you don't want to.  And the ankle?  It's probably more painful now than it was, trying to keep it raised as much as possible, but finding that by the end of the day its  swollen and aches. Still not getting as much writing done, but doing well on the siesta front.
Fingers crossed that x-rays next Tuesday show things are healing and the visit to the orthopaedic doc on Thursday has me out of the cast and into a boot.  Because I am not very good at keeping still and not doing anything. 

Well would you look at that - chipped nail polish

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Australia Day 2018 - Queenscliff

Happy Australia Day! The first mini-break of 2018. Complete with our new car - hello shiny red Holden Colorado - you have big "boots" to fill. 

Headed off early, destination Sorrento to catch the Ferry across to Queenscliff.  Searoad Ferries sail between Sorrento and Queenscliff and take around 40 minutes. Tick off the list! 

Great experience and we were very lucky to be joined by a group of friendly bikers on their annual charity ride for The Hayden Butler Foundation.  Hayden aged 20, was a former Melbourne Storm youth player who  relocated to Queensland and committed suicide on Australia Day 2015. So each year since, this group do the around the Bay ride and his mum joins them to raise funds for suicide prevention and awareness. Good Stuff.

Great house in Queenscliffe, large and near the beach.  Hot weekend, so what else to do but pop the bubbles, put on the air-con and relax! Oh and of course, fire up the BBQ - it was Australia Day after all.

Saturday, Aitana and I paid a visit to Fort Queenscliff.  This coastal artillery fort still operates as an Australian Army base and therefore to visit we had to do the 1.5 hour tour.  Our guide was great and we heard a bit about life at the barracks between 1860 and 1946.  Very interesting and the views across the bay are gorgeous.  Another tick off the list.

All aboard the ferry - including Lola
The Blues Train.  This has been on the list for ages and today was the day! The Blues Train has been rolling since 1994 on the Bellarine Railway. After some dinner, we set off in Carriage B.  Some of the scenery along the way is lovely and with some fantastic music and plenty of bubbles it's a fun night.  After each stop, you move along to the next carriage that has a different performer.  All up, four carriages including the dancing "party" carriage.  A very hot night, but fabulous.

Sunday dawned and it was obviously going to be another very hot day. However, we had spotted the market and had high hope that we might find the.......Giant Spring Rolls. And we did! Yum. Breakfast sorted, it was time to head home.  Geez, 43 degrees as we drove through Werribee.

A great weekend away.

The Blues Train - bubbles and water

B always wanting to steal the mike
In search of giant spring rolls