Noy's 4th Walkabout
Margaret Watson (Richard's Australian "girl friend" with whom we're staying for this leg) met at the airport and we drove to her house in the leafy suburb of East Malvern. The weather was sunny but not hot and after a bit of lunch we walked with Margaret to her local park. The brown leaves of autumn are on the ground yet camellias are in flower, the buds are ready to flower on the rhododendrons and the lemon trees are STACKED with fresh ripe fruit...so which season IS this?! They say it's winter but we're not so sure! Jo (remember Erika and Jo? or have you not been paying attention?!) popped over after breakfast with our other things and now we think we may have to post MORE things ahead of us back to the UK as we're up to about 55kgs of luggage and should have only 40! Wednesday came and we took the opportunity to introduce Margaret to friends from Richard's time of work out here 10 years ago, Colin and Phillipa Bannister (C&P). They now live in Port Melbourne, once fairly seedy but now the "in place" to live. We arrived for lunch at 1 o'clock, fully intending to be gone by 3. In the event the reunion was such a joy and Margaret found she had much more in common with our friends than could have been expected, so that we left (in shock at the time!) at 6.00pm and were due out again with the Simpson clan at 6.50!! So there's no picture of the outside of C&P's house which would amuse, as it could best be described as looking like the warehouse that probably stood on the ground years before! Inside was a very trendy "studio apartment" with the living area having a very high ceiling. C&P haven't changed and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch during which Colin opened 4 bottles of wine and they were all empty (or very nearly) at the end! Then quick change at home and off to our favourite Pinocchio's for another farewell to Mike, Sally, Sarah, Tom, Jonnie, Jen AND Jemima...yes, the baby came too! Thursday came and with it a day of culture. Margaret had arranged to take us to an Italian style house built over 100 years ago on the Mornington Peninsula for a tour with a difference. After morning tea we were taken round house and garden (no interior photos allowed) and then given a light lunch before the performance of the Noel Coward play, "Still Life", adapted for radio and performed for us as if in a radio studio. All quite bizarre but entertaining. The reason for the close connection with the arts was due to the last owner being one John Tallis, an impresario and sponsor of theatre in Melbourne for many years. He left his house to Victorians (the state, not the age!!) and we came away thinking that they'd all got a bit carried away with his bequest of a house with a load of clutter in it (which they haven't ever had the heart to sort out!), albeit that some of the clutter was quite valuable! The garden was in a similar state - so we were rather underwhelmed! The evening was better; Margaret is, herself, a patron of the arts and she took us to a play, performed brilliantly in her local theatre, called "Proof". The cast came out and met us all afterwards and it was a memorable evening. Friday we just unpacked and repacked cases before trolling down to Melbourne on the tram, just to see it and say goodbye! Will we ever come back again? Who knows? That evening Erika & Jo kindly invited us, with Margaret and others, to a meal of gargantuan proportions but Richard didn't take his camera so unless Jo beams him some of his then you're reprieved! Main course on the menu was German Kartoffelpuffe (Potato pancakes) with a choice of Apple mousse, syrup, lemon and sugar. Yummy but very bad for the figure except it improved Richard's...they made it rounder! Time flew and it was 11.30 before we got to bed and we had to be up again at 05.00 on Saturday morning. Our beloved hostess would NOT stay in bed and she arose, sprightly as ever (amazing for someone over 80!) to see us off in the taxi. Check in was a doddle - no one seems to want to go to Bali now and the plane only had about 100 people on board, leaving140 empty on the Boeing 767! The service was excellent, champagne included and we reached Bali on time at 12.30 (their time, we're now only 7 hours ahead of the UK again!) where we greeted by Mansu, the Tour East rep who very professionally took us to our hotel and made sure we were settled.