La Plagne Reunion
It was poor timing on our behalf when we arrived in Balladean to visit Dylan and Sarala. They had one more day of work after an extremely busy Easter weekend working as new managers at Mason's winery. They had landed themselves a sweet deal running all areas of this nice building in a beautiful location. It was so good to see them, but felt weird not to be in the snow!
On our arrival we took Monica to a barn near D&S's new shared house. The barn is pretty sparse at the moment but has the potential to be amazing. It was perfect for Monica, James and I. In the mornings we would wake up to see families of Roo's enjoying the grass. At night when we braved the short trip back from the house we could see the yellow glow of the Roo's eyes glistening in the torch light.
I should mention that D&S are living on a farm come winery. I say farm because they have three hens called Lenny, Penny and Henny and by the time we left two piglets called Arnold and Snortsnegger, but more about them later! The winery is own and run by Glen and Robbie a lovely couple from Brisbane, where they spend half of their time. Staying in the house was another couple who they all knew from the catering scene, Leanne and Greg. It was Greg's birthday so we were able to join in the celebrations. To us it was like every day was a celebration with amazing food every night and wine on tap!
We tried to earn a bit of keep by offering our services. One day we helped with the grape picking which was fun but possibly only because of the novelty value! James was taught how to ferment the grapes and did this life threatening job with Dylan when Glen and Robbie went to Brisbane for a few days. We spent lunch service assisting Dylan in the kitchen at Mason's and were rewarded (much more than we deserved) with an amazing lunch and some goodies to take with us from the local farms.
It was so good to see Dylan and Sarala and spend some time with them reminiscing about the season and sharing travel stories, including lots of tips for future travels!
Other than the obvious amazing cuisine and wine we did enjoy some more active pursuits during our stay. Gleny mentioned one evening that he had Fight Club in the morning. After hearing more about it I asked if I could join him. When you hear the words Fight Club, brutish men and angry spunky women come to mind. The reality of Balladean Fight club was middle aged women and men, slightly overweight (apart from a trim Gleny of course!) and all very friendly. It was so much fun that I went two more mornings to endure the wrath of the attractive instructor! James and I went to the nearby national park with a picnic and took a walk past some more Roo's, a stream and giant boulders.
On Dylan and Saralas day off we got driven to the river by Glen and had a quick swim across, it was a bit cold but a nice bit of exercise with nature! In the afternoon we had a very exciting task. As I mentioned before they have two piglets. When we first arrived there were no piglets and I jokingly suggested they should get some. As soon as the words left my lips Glen explained that he was actually owed two piglets from a neighbouring farm. He had done them a favour earlier on in the year and the way of these villagers is to return favours by the means of livestock! Sarala organised the pick-up and James and I went along for the ride. The piglets were all so adorable and we had been sent out to collect one. However, the pig owners insisted that we take two otherwise it is unfair and the pig all alone can get depressed. James was giving the task of holding Arnold. Arnold did not want to be taken away from his siblings and let out the most horrendous noise I have ever heard. A pig squealing is an awful sound that goes right through you. It was so heart breaking that Sarala and I were almost in tears and we are now scarred for life. Poor James had to hold onto Arnold very tightly. It was like a ball of muscle wriggling and writhing to escape! When we got them into the car and back to the farm they settled in quickly, demolishing their feed. The chooks were a bit wary of them at first but it didn't take long until they were a happy little family.
Our stay in Balladean was awesome; it was such a treat to be looked after by our amazing hosts and to catch up with great friends. Hopefully we will be able to return the favour one day!
Piggy Update-Arnold is living with a group of sows enjoying the lady pigs. The news on Snorts is not quite a cheery; he got a bit too big for his boots and turned into a bully. He is now providing the people of Bent Road winery happiness in a different way... in the form of lunch and dinner! They have replaced the two boys with two lady pigs who, as far as I know are healthy and happy along with the chooks.