POMONAL RE-VISITED!

Hello Again!

 

Well this month has seen a return to Pomonal.  I took a trip down to Victoria for several reasons, one of which was to visit my sister in Pomonal, a village at the foot of the Grampain mountain range.

 

This time I drove.  What a boring drive it is!  Now that the highway by-passes all that is mildly interesting you are left with bitumen and Caltex Roadhouses.  Did I say already the drive was boring………

The Roadtrip
The Roadtrip

 

After hours and hours on the road I made it to Pomonal and to my sisters brilliant little house.  Here’s a shot……..

My Sister's little house in the country...sweet!
My Sister’s little house in the country…sweet!

I found my sister, Helen and Denise on the porch, waiting for my arrival.  Denise is my sister’s best friend.  She is also a transexual, living in rural Victoria.  I love the dynamic between Helen and Denise and took every opportunity to get a few shots, as you will see in the following brief overview of my trip.

 

Portrait of Denise on the verandah of Helen's house
Portrait of Denise on the verandah of Helen’s house
Partners in Crime...Denise and Helen on the verandah
Partners in Crime…Denise and Helen on the verandah

Of course there’s always something to do in the country, never a dull moment.  It was time to water the garden!  We can note here that the Wimmera Mallee area has been in drought for some time now.  It’s all you ever here spoken about in the public places such as the General Store, up the road from my sister.  Endless summerising and speculation about the elements, will we or will we not, get rain today.  It’s almost as good as the road trip from Sydney.

Necessary water for the garden...country living in a red dress.
Necessary water for the garden…country living in a red dress.

That evening Helen made a fabulous dinner for us.  I picked my brother Peter up in Melbourne so he spent the week in Pomonal as well.  Denise and her boyfriend of 3 years, Greg, also attended, along with a couple of neighbours.

The lovely Denise, looking rather coy at dinner
The lovely Denise, looking rather coy at dinner
Greg and Denise at dinner
Greg and Denise at dinner
Greg looks over at Denise
Greg looks over at Denise
Greg tells a yarn.  Denise continues with the task at hand.
Greg tells a yarn. Denise continues with the task at hand.
Dinner at Pomonal
Dinner at Pomonal

 

We paid a visit to some neighbours, Nadia and Joel.  Joel has sheep and knows a lot about them.  Nadia runs the communications hub of Pomonal, the General Store.  At her General Store you can also pick up extra supplies, post letters, hire videos, get a sandwich, enjoy a great cup of coffee, buy fishing gear, get the daily newspaper, buy great “Grampians” olive oil, get some local craft items and the list goes on………  Every morning I would drive the 200m to the Nadia’s and get my daily dose of caffeine, sit and do my e-mails and have a chat to Nadia while all the locals, one by one, would file in

Joel and Nadia relax in the back yard of the farm house
Joel and Nadia relax in the back yard of the farm house
More sheep.......
More sheep…….
Nadia's nephew loves sheep
Nadia’s nephew loves sheep
Some of Joel's sheep
Some of Joel’s sheep
Nadia at the counter of her "General Store"
Nadia at the counter of her “General Store”

Next stop was a short visit to Denise and Greg’s new house in Stawell.  They had both recently moved from Pomonal where they were living right next door to the General Store.  I imagined that Helen may have been disappointed with the fact that Denise had moved away from the area however, that was not the case, Stawell is only a 20min car journey away….so they see each other almost as much as when Denise was living 200m down the road.

I took the opportunity to take a few shots of Denise and Greg in their backyard, next to a couple of cars they are in the process of doing up.  Denise was excited to tell me that both of them have joined the “Holden Car Club” in Stawell and that they intend to do up a number of old Holdens.  I tried to look interested.

The front entrance to Denise and Greg's lovely home in Stawell
The front entrance to Denise and Greg’s lovely home in Stawell
Denise and Greg in front of the "Firebird" and corrugated iron for days....
Denise and Greg in front of the “Firebird” and corrugated iron for days….
Is a "Firebird" a Holden?
Is a “Firebird” a Holden?

 

Following…..Peter and I hopped in the car and continued onto Horsham.  Horsham is the town where I went to school, swam and played basketball.  I lived a bit out of the city on a defunct dairy farm…so I can’t really say I’m from Horsham.  Here’s a couple of shots of Horsham so you get the picture.

The Horsham Wheat Silo (not far from the Railway Station)
The Horsham Wheat Silo (not far from the Railway Station)
The Horsham Railway Station seen from the "overpass".
The Horsham Railway Station seen from the “overpass”.

We made a visit to the cemetery where an ever growing number of the relatives reside then headed back to Pomonal for a swim in Lake Fyans.

Peter with some of the relatives
Peter with some of the relatives

We found an old chair not far from the shore of the lake which provided an unexpected but very comfortable seating arrangement for our numerous visits.  The lake is only a 10min drive from Pomonal and is a great way of cooling off when the temperatures sore.  Not that it was super hot at this time of year.

Lake Fyans (near Pomonal)
Lake Fyans (near Pomonal)
Peter thought he get his gear off and go in for a swim
Peter thought he get his gear off and go in for a swim

Speaking of the weather…….I mentioned that it was hot enough for a swim.  That was true for the first 2 days however, a chill hit on the 3rd day,  to the point that the thermometer dropped to nearly zero some evenings.  I wasn’t prepared for that!  Apparently this time of year can be a bit up and down and you have to remember….it is Victoria.  But seriously it is a great time to go to the Grampians….all the native flowers are out in bloom, the landscape is greener than usual (in spite of the ongoing drought, it still looked quite green) and the weather is nice and mild, not too cold and not too hot.  Of course, the other climatic scenario in this area is the annual bushfires during the summer months.  You are surrounded by the the charred remains of eucalyptus, evidence of the frequency of such events.

Across a paddock......full of nice yellow flowers
Across a paddock……full of nice yellow flowers
See what I mean....charred remains of eucalyptus trees everywhere!
See what I mean….charred remains of eucalyptus trees everywhere!

 

Helen thought that Peter and I would like a drive to an historic village, to meet a friend of hers and have lunch together in his rather large house.  Why not?  Off went went to near a place called “Willaura”.  I wouldn’t say it’s a bustling metropolis…..I didn’t see any people until I walked into the bakery and purchased a macadamia nut slice from the young man behind the counter.  I reckon they’d make good bread though….I just felt you’d get good bread at this place. Here are a few shots.

The bakery in Willaura
The bakery in Willaura
This is the shop where you can buy really cool scented candles
This is the shop where you can buy really cool scented candles
The bustling main street of Willaura
The bustling main street of Willaura
Looks like this building could be an old bank....
Looks like this building could be an old bank….
The Silo in Willaura
The Silo in Willaura

 

Lunch was delicious.  Peter and I enjoyed her cooking all week.  We ate with Rob the owner of a large bluestone homestead on a farm, 10 mins drive from Willaura.  He was a generous and welcoming host and we had a great time.

Interior of the disused bedroom wing of the homestead
Interior of the disused bedroom wing of the homestead
Bluestone homestead where we had lunch
Bluestone homestead where we had lunch
The front of the amazing blue stone homestead
The front of the amazing blue stone homestead
Helen and Rob in the kitchen
Helen and Rob in the kitchen
Lunch is underway at the homestead.
Lunch is underway at the homestead.
Helen, my sister
Helen, my sister

I suppose I should say I was fortunate to be in Pomonal during the week of the Stawell Show, the annual carnival of local produce and various activity.  I say this because it meant that Denise had decided to enter, once again, into some of the baking categories for the chance to take home the blue ribbon.  This also meant that Denise and Helen had organised a “baking evening”, the night before the entries had to be delivered.  Little did I know that Helen and Denise would be going, at it, until 2am in the morning, squeaking and giggling and basically preventing anyone with normal audio capabilities from sleeping.  Helen had the cook books, handed down through the generations and offered her tutelage during the long, noisy process.  She wasn’t allowed to touch any of the ingredients or have any kind of hands on involvement…..these were some of the rules that they both respected.

All in all it went fairly well.  There were 2 items (the date loaf and the nut loaf) that had to be re-made for various reasons.  The best bit is that Denise won every section she entered on the Saturday at the Show.  She was ecstatic!  All the hard work and late nights paid off.

 

I think there was a problem with the batter adhering to the cake tin........
I think there was a problem with the batter adhering to the cake tin……..
Helen watches on, as Denise chops
Helen watches on, as Denise chops
Helen started the afternoon by making her own version of a Tarte Tartin, with pears
Helen started the afternoon by making her own version of a Tarte Tartin, with pears
Beating well the mixture is really important.  I think we are seeing the mixing of the Orange Cake
Beating well the mixture is really important. I think we are seeing the mixing of the Orange Cake
Denise is hard at it
Denise is hard at it
A lot of concentration is demanded during the preparation process
A lot of concentration is demanded during the preparation process
Nothing says you can't have a quick taste of the mixture to make sure things are on track
Nothing says you can’t have a quick taste of the mixture to make sure things are on track
Denise shares with the camera
Denise shares with the camera
Denise holds up the winning square of butter
Denise holds up the winning square of butter
Denise takes a break to pose for one of the shots
Denise takes a break to pose for one of the shots
An advertisement for the Stawell Show was erected beside the road, in front of Denise's little house
An advertisement for the Stawell Show was erected beside the road, in front of Denise’s little house

See the little house in the background of the shot above.  That’s where she lived for sometime before moving in with Greg.  The house sits on my sisters property.  You can’t see it, but my sister’s house is just behind.  By a stoke of luck, Denise discovered the house on another property in the area.  The owners were going to demolish it and Denise took the opportunity to ask them how much they wanted for it.  She scored it for $100…not bad!  I imagine it cost more to organise for it to be transported from where she brought it to where it is now.

 

Denise sitting on the verandah of her small home
Denise sitting on the verandah of her small home

 

I left Pomonal with a warm feeling in my stomach, having spent a wonderful 5 days in rural bliss.  My sister was an amazing host.  She even gave me her bed.  Now Helen’s bed is the most comfortable bed I have ever experienced.  It’s like sleeping on a cloud with a silver lining….you float!

I stopped in on my friend Ned who lives in Melbourne to say hello and take a couple of shots.  Here’s one below.  Ned has a fantastic companion called, Merlin.  I made it home to Sydney, refreshed and happy.

Ned, pictured with Merlin, car & house
Ned, pictured with Merlin, car & house

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