Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The COSMO


I've mentioned the COSMO in past posts. These photos are prior to it having an internal fire and possibly in the 70s judging by the cars. Today the COSMO is a thriving hub of the community.
We often eat here and enjoy catching up with fellow locals.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Life is a Blur

Where does it all go and where is it coming from. Is it planned or does it all happen around you?
I really don't know but possibly we should just embrace it. Sure we can change things but if you think to hard, it may not just be the best thing that can happen.

People do ask us, "How did we choose Trentham - we didn't, it chose us".

We drove by many times as we were thinking of where we would retire. Sure, Melbourne is a nice place to be but no longer for us. We needed to make the most of our investments for the life ahead.
A place that gave us an opportunity to integrate to the local community but not too far from our city life.

We bought a plot of land in Trentham - Then we did the panic thing. We had to finish our house pimping for sale. It all worked out and we love being here.

So, we bought the block. 2nd day on the market and put in a bid. Holy %$#@ is was ours.
Now to finish off the house for auction over the next 2 months.
Then we sold our house of 30 years. It all worked well. Www could not be happier.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Spring has Sprung

Must be time to change our masthead photo soon.
No more snow and the gardens start to bloom.

Life goes in circles as does nature. We moved to Trentham in mid-summer, 10 months ago and since then our life has experienced many events. Trentham had two snowfalls this winter plus a small flurry or two.

Friends in Melbourne ask why move to the Cool Country Climate of Trentham. I tell them that the area is cold but the village is warm. Tonight at the local pub, we met up with many locals which would not happen in the city. We could not be happier.

Its been a tough year emotionally though. My father's passing away this year, Sue having a serious fall while in France and only today our lovely burmese cat, Gem was put to sleep. 
It is very emotional but my father lived to be 96 and Gem - well she had 20 amazing years in our family. 

Sue is now slowly improving and I'm sure that the spring weather which brings the rebirth of the garden and new wildlife will help her get over her sadness and injuries.








Friday, September 15, 2017

Reno Opportunity

I was looking for a renovators opportunity in Trentham.
What's your thoughts on this one?


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

More Snow at Trentham

It was just a light dusting however its still exciting in Victoria. Sure we get snow on the mountains but we are only at 720m above sea level.
The snow doesn't hang around when the sun eventually peeks through the clouds but its nice to see when it does fall.




Thursday, August 24, 2017

The world has changed!

When was the last time you bought milk in a glass bottle - you probably purchased it in a carton or a plastic container that clogs the bowels of the earth. I remember collecting discarded soft drink and beer bottles for pocket money. (probably bought a 10 pack of fags with the money) We had a recycle style of life back then when we repaired broken things rather than replacing them with new.





Thursday, August 17, 2017

A lot has happened in one week.

Although we didn't mention it on the Blog, we reported on Facebook that Sue took a tumble and looked like a black eye and sore back muscles, turned out to be torn muscles and worse still, two fractured vertebrae. This all happened four days before heading home from Paris. On arrival Monday night, she was in so much pain that we had her transported by ambulance to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where the factors were discovered by CT scan. Its been over two weeks since the fall and a week since coming out of hospital.

Today as I write this we have a "Celebration of Life" tonight for my father Jack who passed away while we were in Belgium. He was 96 - a very good innings although he was striving for a century - not out.

On to more brighter topics. The weather is miserable - no, not really. We are having a good dowsing of rain and the rural districts can do with it before the summer heads our way. It will fill the reservoirs and dams - the fields will turn green....

We have a creek that runs behind our block and in summer this becomes dry. Since the rains came, it is now a full flowing babbling brook. The ducks are enjoying it as well as the small ponds in the lower levels of the fields. Even the kangaroos are enjoying grazing on the soft moist grass.

Its been so wet that our pets don't want to venture out.

Trent Creek is normally dry in summer to Autumn and until recently was only a trickle.

I really should have put the mower in the shed before the rains came.


I took this photo from our back porch of the house. These guys come to graze at the back of our block most days.

After tonight's tribute to Jack, we concentrate on getting Sue well again and getting back to normal life in Trentham.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

REIMS and the Cathedral


It was time to move on from Belgium. We've been awfully mundane in our travels by staying in the rut of France and Italy (7 times now). Having said that, travelling back into France, the difference was extremely noticeable for us. Not long after passing the border of Belgium and France we turned into the fortified village Rocroi situated in the Ardennes region on the way to Reims.
I'd read about Rocroi in the DK travel books however we've never been in the region previously. We really on just stumbled upon the village as we do in our past travels be driving the non-toll roads. We are not cheap by avoiding tolls and in fact rich by the discoveries that come our way.
Stolen from the internet - the notifications of Rocroi are in the shape of a stylised star.
The village is one of the France's group of most beautiful villages and it certainly didn't disappoint on our visit. It is in the northern French Ardennes region. We took in a glass of wine outside a small bar and as we sat down an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair started a conversation. He told us that when 58 years old while riding his bicycle he had a very bad accident that put him in the wheelchair. We talked of cycling and in particular the Tour de France and the Australian riders of which he quoted many familiar names. We shouted him his beer.
There's a certain pride with rural french villages and there are alway plenty of flowers and a neatness about them.
Most fortified French villages still retain their covered markets.
It was time to move on to Reims. Our reason to take the route to Reims was to see the cathedral in which many French Kings were ordained. The first king of the Franks, Clovis was baptised in this cathedral. Joan of Arc after defeating the English brought the Dauphin of France here to be crowned as king. Its an extraordinary cathedral and we've seen many in France including Notre Dame of Paris, Poitiers, Chartres to name a few. The restoration process is also amazing by the skilled craftsmen reproducing the intricate stone sculptures as can be seen in the photos below.

From this to;



 To this:


The statue of Joan of Arc looks up towards the Reims Cathedral to where she brought Charles, the Dauphin of France to be ordained as King of France after the defeat of the English at Orleans.











At the coronation of Charles, Joan of Arc appeared in her armour with sword and her specially made gold robe.

Scenes of Reims.








After Reims, we moved on to Fontainebleau and then Orleans as overnight stays to visit friends who live in the Loire. More to come yet.

Friday, July 28, 2017

BRUSSELS for 4 NIGHTS

Back in Brussels from Amsterdam by train was fairly hassle free. We tend to give ourselves more time than we need in case of any difficulties that may unintentionally arise.

Our son Andrew was travelling with us so we had help with luggage and directions. Andrew is a well-seasoned traveller and knows his way around. First day in Brussels, we had a mission to accomplish.
We picked up a car from the airport and then helped Andrew to move from the town of Wavre which is about 25 kms out of Brussels. He now has a room closer to the Brussels city centre which will give him better opportunities to enjoy the Brussels culture and city life. Wavre is a fairly uninspiring township for a young man.

We were given an upgrade to a Skoda wagon - Europcar must have known that we were needing the space. Anyway we were most fortunate as we were able to do the move in two trips.

Only two trips and 150 kms and Andrew was in his new residence.
With the move done, it was time to relax. The following day, Andrew's finance Ashley arrived from Cambridge in the afternoon. We met them at the hotel and walked to the "Grand Place" around the corner to the hotel. We then enjoyed a congenial beer or three with Andrew and Ashley before going to dinner at a close-by Italian restaurant.


The following day we took in the AutoWorld car museum which had a special Expo of Ferrari through its 70 year history. I took far too many photos of the many marques but I guess Ferrari has a certain mystique and so I have posted a very small sample.






Being the first visit to Brussels, we took the opportunity to finally meet up with fellow Blogger Martine (Ladybird) for lunch and then a gentle stroll through the streets of Brussels. Ladybird has a certain passion for the Loire Valley as we do and unfortunately we have never been able to coincide meeting on our various travels to the region. 
Meeting fellow blogger Martine for lunch was a special treat for us as was the food. Martine selected an excellent eating place. Locals know best.
 Martine's blog link  http://ladybirdinfrance.blogspot.fr
And so was meeting our congenial waiter, Big Willie.
After lunch, Martine took us to a beer tasting at this bar opened in 1877
It was tucked down a small laneway well hidden from the city hoards of tourists.
Four beers on offer to taste.
Four days in Brussels was too short a time being with our son Andrew and his fiancé Ashley but it was great to do so and the reason we arrange this impromptu trip in the first place. His contract with a University in Belgium has another 10 months to run and September next year it looks likely that there will be a wedding in Trentham.

It was time to leave Brussels and we now have a rental car to make our way down into France and the Loire Valley to renew friendships with people we have met on past trips to the region. We can't explain this passion we have for France but as soon as we crossed from Belgium into France, we saw changes in the scenery, the architecture and even the people. It also was comforting to hear the softness of the language, especially with the contrast of the Dutch and even Flemish language.

So for the first night in France we stayed at Reims in the Champagne region which was a first for us. Reims is a city of less than 150,000 people. As I type this post, I can hear voices at a bar below our hotel room and I hear people enjoying the mild night air and most likely enjoying a glass of the local bubbly produce for which it is famous. Earlier we enjoyed one of the best value for money dinners for most of our trip. It was washed down with a superb bottle of Loire Valley Chinon blanc. I had the Sole while Sue went for the filet of beef with bernaise sauce. Desert was cafe gourmand - espresso coffee with a selection of tiny desert tastings.

Ahhh, yes - we are back in France.

Small postscript - we think we might have made an error by not booking into Reims for only an overnight stopover. More tomorrow on Reims in the Champagne region.