Sydney, Narana and Torquay

This week I’ve been to Sydney, Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Torquay, all to do with emus and my picture book ‘Emu’.
I don’t have photos yet from Sydney, but here are some from Narana and Torquay.
This is Mama Emu. Yes, Mama. She was mighty curious about me, pecking at my watch, camera bag and even my camera. She wasn’t aggressive at all, just not terribly respectful of my personal space. Fair enough, I was not paying her a great deal of attention, and I was entranced by her chicks.
The chicks are about 5-6 weeks old and growing fast. They weren’t that fussed by me, I don’t think. They lazed about, and occasionally did laps of their enclosure. It was fun to watch them. They stretch tall and run in a quite upright fashion, but their balance is still developing and they took the odd tumble. Then scrabbled straight up again and kept going. If you want to know what this looked like, put your arms inside a shirt or jumper and fall over. Now, without using your elbows, get to your feet. Not so easy, is it? I bet the chicks did better than you. 
 Those stripes are fairly bright here in the short grass, but let ’em loose in longer-grassed surroundings and they vanish from sight. 
And then there’s time to rest.
When they were done with me, I bid the emus farewell and hit the beach. 

Oh, alright, I watched the beach. And the surfers. Not sure I’d have been in the water, even if I had had the time. But watching is mesmerising.

On to Torquay Library, where the lovely Kim had been working hard to support my visit. I had a goodly group of young people and their families and we had plenty of fun talking all things emu.

First we read.

Then we danced.

Then we made emu beaks. There was another egg-based drawing activity, but emu-beaks were definitely the hot-ticket item. 
Thanks to Geelong Libraries, Kim and the enthusiastic audience.

Flowerdale in Spring

Last Christmas, our boys gave us a getaway in the country. This past weekend, we finally connected our calendars and were able to take it. This was the view from our room’s front door.

 We were at Flowerdale Estate, between Strath Creek and Flowerdale. Victoria turned on them most amazing weather,firstly for travelling about the place, but then for walking through the extensive grounds. Love these stone steps, staging the descent to river bank level.

The views were just beautiful, even the sheep seemed to have been placed for maximum effect. Although, there was something nqr about the trees on the hill behind.

This may look like an aged cow pat, or an old lava bubble but it’s actually an exposed tree root. Not sure whether this presentation is due to some bug or fungus, but the shape was fascinating.

Green, green, green grass, gently rolling hills, trees galore.

And a river.

Late afternoon sun on the hills

Raucous yellow-tailed black cockatoos staking their claim for the evening.

Indoor swimming pool, with the best of outdoor views.

The wisteria-covered verandah … should I go on?

As if all this gloriousness was too perfect to be believed, add a touch of fantasy. Welcome to the first ever murder mystery weekend. Thirty people signed up to frock up in 20s finery and spend 24 hours in character as well as costume.

We were welcome, we were told repeatedly, to join in, ask questions, or just observe their antics as they tried to unravel the mystery. 

It seems a shame to cover up these coat hooks.

 and the pressed metal wall wainscotting was stunning.

This image was painted on the wall, and had a twin on the other side of the piano

 A full size pool table, in a full size pool room, with custom carpet, ensured that only quality games were played. Score? One game each.

I forgot to take my camera to dinner and it was a shame. The new season asparagus with hazelnut glaze was amazing as was the spinach canneloni with artichoke. Oh and there was dessert, the most delicious apple tart. I also forgot to take my glasses but a kind gent on the next table lent me his.

This morning we took another stroll after breakfast. This is a Furphy watercart, famed for the verses that Mr Furphy cast into his ends. This one didn’t warn about the dangers of whisky, as others do. It did however suggest that ‘good, better, best .. ‘ was the way to go. The wheels are cast Furphy productions too.

These water carts were filled, then taken into paddocks. Similar carts, although apparently not Furphy’s, were taken to North Africa during WWI.

We found the chook shed, and the dog that is wearing deep tracks around the fence as she tries to round up the chooks … from outside.

Today was a meander home through old towns and new. Tonight is a delayed Father’s Day dinner, prepared by our three boys.

And the sun shines on.