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