Friday, October 28, 2011

a weekend away

The layout of country trains was different in "the olden days", but this clip is interesting because:

  • even though the train is suburban it still provides an idea of what a red rattler was; 
  • I wonder what movie this was stolen from; 
  • I wonder if the non-speaking extra standing at the end of the platform was typecast; and
  • it includes a Collingwood supporter.

Last weekend was a weekend for visiting mothers. The Other had a day off on the Friday, so she headed off to Seymour where I was to meet her in the afternoon.

The last time I travelled by train to Seymour it was a red rattler, so it has been a while.
The newer train was a lot more civilised [except for some of the country women getting snippy with each other because people were boarding from both ends of the carriage, and their steamer-trunk sized suitcases were too big to even move down the aisle sideways so why don’t youse just wait and give me a chance geez oi’ll be glad ter get bakome].

From Seymour, the first stop was Murchison to see Mother Fruitcake. The rear yard of the nursing home was a tad chaotic, as a monster garage sale had been planned for the next day. Mother was so stimulated by the junk and the activity that she refused to engage in conversation, so we killed an hour by rummaging around and buying things like aprons and table runners [total outlay $3 plus a donation of the rest of the shrapnel to hand].
What with the lack of conversation and the fact that someone had removed the kettle from the visitors’ tea making facilities, we eventually headed off to Shepparton where we had booked a room for the night.

Before leaving I took a photo or two in Murchison, just in case you have any delusions about my ability to compose a good shot:

This work of art is called "find the ten worst mistakes you can make when taking a photo".

The next morning, we decided to head for Albury via Beechworth.

What a great little town Beechworth is! These photos [taken by a professional] are excellent but the town offers many more interesting buildings and features than appear in this set. 
I can’t imagine why I’ve never had a look around before; we must definitely go back for a weekend of rubber-necking.

Those of you who have been to the Beechworth Bakery will know why the owner is a multi-gazillionaire with bakery franchises. There was a bit of Ned Kelly overkill, but my ├ęclair brought back memories of when grandmother could throw together some choux pastry as casually as make a pot of tea.

After spending too much on books at a local store, we travelled four inches down the road and spotted a church bazaar. Our next book purchase was equally satisfying but infinitely more affordable.
In Albury we learned The Other’s bro-in-law had – as country folk do – put his bare feet into a pair of shoes that had been sitting outside the door for yonks, and was bitten by a spider that very morning.

As The Other had been building a rock garden the previous weekend, casually wiping redbacks off the rocks with her bare hands, she had been bitten first. The timing of the bites was important, because The Other and her sister are more fiercely competitive than Olympic Champions. 
Score one point for The Other being bitten first [Ka-ching!]. 
Her left hand is still enormously swollen and she was happy to explain to her sister that the venom has even left her left side lymph glands enlarged! [Ka-ching.]

The sis-in-law claimed two points [ka-ching, ka-ching] straight up because she had had to take her husband to the Albury Hospital. They were doing blood tests at that very moment! [Ka-ching, another point.] 
Next came the ‘who has the worst symptoms’ leg of the competition, with the sis-in-law insisting that if the skin on The Other’s hand had not sweated profusely after the bite it was definitely not a red back. [Ka-ching.] The extent of the sweating on Bro-in-law’s leg was the worst the doctor had ever seen. [Ka-ching]. They think they might have to give him some anti-venom stuff. [Ka-ching.]

All of which is to say there was much running back and forth to hospital, leaving The Other’s mother more confused and disoriented than ever. So much for a nice day away from ‘that prison’ [i.e. the hostel at Baranduda] with her daughters.

I have, myself, witnessed non-sweating redback bites. So far as I am concerned, if you aren’t dead two hours after being bitten, you’re laughing. Furthermore, a few months down the track and the bite will be cleared up. In contrast, a whitetail bite will definitely put you in hospital, and is a bit like malaria: Once it is in your bloodstream it will flare up at intervals for the rest of your life.
[I might be wrong about the relative nastiness of various spider bites, but as I wasn’t a sibling and I'm not so silly about rocks and shoes, my opinion is irrelevant anyway.]

Considering the tendency for said siblings to constantly rearrange trays and adjust oven temperatures while the rival was not looking, dinner was nice and the roast lamb surprisingly tender. Mother Other got to hold her new-born grandchild and her confusion was forgotten.
So, all in all, it was a successful visit from many points of view.

The next day we returned to the Beechworth Bakery, and after morning tea chanced upon a second hand bookstore. It had a surprisingly extensive, top quality collection with no rubbish at all, the purchases were satisfying, and the price a reasonable compromise between unaffordable and dirt cheap.
At Murchison again, mother was finally in a mood to talk, and we didn’t care about the kettle because we weren’t desperate for a cup of tea. But geez we wuz glad ter get bakome.

Link to Beechworth Bakery's website - not a LOT of pictures that do justice the enormous range of fresh cakes to choose from. [But you will see that it is not the run of the mill bakery.]


  1. Oh, come on! If you REALLY wanted to take a photo, why not take one of the Beechworth Bakery for your salivating blogland friend at the other end of a hot internet connection?? I've already put Beechworth on 'the list' - bakery, books and buildings? It's not just the alliteration that makes it attractive ...

    Have a great weekend!!

  2. I've seen the movie but I can't remember what it was. I see Vince Colossimo and I think Noah Taylor. I travelled on a country train, well, actually the same one you did a few years ago and it was very nice, and ever so different to the country trains of my childhood. Now, I am rather familiar with Murchison East and not so much Murchison. Is Murchison the posh part?

    I recently read a blog post that thoroughly dissed Beechworth. I quite liked it when I saw it a few years ago. Of course we bought something at the bakery.

    Pretty interesting post :)

  3. I loved reading about your weekend.

    The spider bite competition sounds like something in a quirky novel or movie.

    I've never heard of a white tail...spider? I'll have to go look that up.

  4. Crikey, Moses, what a weekend away!!!
    Yep, I've heard of the success of Beechworth Bakery, just haven't got past the Dunolly Bakery to sample their wares, yet lol.
    And the damn Red Backs are trying to set up house with ME under MY roof!!!

  5. Hi Red,
    Today I found myself in the city wishing I had a camera. Not working out how to take a decent photo, mind, but at least seeing things I would like to take photos of. It's a start.
    I'm adding a link to the bottom of the blog so all youse salivaterers can look at pikchas of the cakes, okay?
    So far, the weekend has been fantastic, thanks.

    Hi Andrew,
    Had to go back and take a girl's look at the clip this time, and had an "Oh my Lord, it IS Vince Colossimo!" moment. Gosh it must be an old movie. Maybe the reds were still rattling when the movie was made.
    Murch east is three fifths of not much. Murch 'proper' is part posh and part not so posh. Does that help? - Good, always glad to help a friend.

    Hi Dina,
    My real life can't be all too boring if you think the competition sounded quirky :)
    The great thing about red backs is that they like dark spots where they won't be disturbed, and as I tend to leave them alone, they leave me alone. So far as I know, we don't have any inside the house, just under rocks, or the lid of the compost bin. White tails, on the other hand, move around inside the house, frequently. [In fact, I think it's time to ring the pest control man again.]

    Hi Jayne,
    Is the Dunolly Bakery worth a visit? The one at Murchison is big and roomy, but they don't get enough passing trade to offer much in the way of fresh cakes that need a fast turnover. They are lovely people, and once they realised a 'bacon and egg sandwich without the bread' was something they could do, I've enjoyed more than a few civilised breakfasts there when domestic affairs demanded long stays in the area.
    As for redbacks moving IN, this is no time for you to be a PC greenie - just go in for the KILL. We can share the environment, but we must never surrender!