Category Archives: backyard pool

Kyneton. The home of Annie Smithers Bistro.

I think I was the only one in Melbourne last week who was excited to go on the V-line for the first time. Well me and maybe a six year old in Bendigo who was going into the big city to visit his Aunty in Clifton Hill. Maybe.

V-line was to be our chosen method of travel (that I like to now call “The Carriages of Adventure”) to our fifth chapter in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival prize I won. The train was going to take us to Kyneton where we would get to stay for the weekend and also experience the institution that is Annie Smithers Bistrot.

As I google everything prior to any unknown region, I noticed that the highlights of Kyneton were the local Botanic Gardens and a public swimming pool. More on those later. Kyneton is situated north of Melbourne, edging into the Gold Rush region that Victoria is famous for. Eureka,canvas tents and gold pans. Arriving at Southern Cross Station, we boarded the V-line train and settled in for the hour ride. The children with iPads nearby barely made a noise and the two hungover teenagers remained fast asleep the whole trip.

We pulled up to Kyneton station after about three chapters more through the book I was reading. I will not specify which book exactly, but it may have been made into a musical and involves a green lady. The train station was old and the bus timetable stated there was no buses on Saturday. I called the local taxi surface, and within five minute a Prius Taxi pulled up. The taxi driver was full of personality, sniffing several times due to a cold and grunting the total of the fair when we pulled up in the main street. I don’t know why I expected some kind of Kyneton tourist talk.

We were informed on our instructions for the prize to pick up the keys to our apartment from a homewares store. We entered into the cosy little shop just as the owner was leaving to show another couple their room. She asked us to look after the store until her return. So within a minute we had exited a cab and played shopkeeper. As I was versing for how I would talk up the handmade soaps, the owner returned and warmly welcomed us to the apartment which was literally the door next to the shop. It turns out the apartment was above and behind the shop. It was awesome, pretty much an entire house to ourselves, with open gas fires and a little cottage garden. I would pay to stay there! It turned out to be a great spot for the evening and with Annie Smithers Bistrot about 50 metres away, could not complain it was far from anything.

This was the view out the back, with an old stone church behind our yard.

We strolled down the main street for the afternoon and there were plenty of little stores with antiques and home-wares. Such a peaceful and beautiful street, full of character/s.

We got ready and headed out the door, leaving plenty of room to get to the restaurant on time. 84 seconds later, we were through the door, and greeted and taken to our seat. The place smelt of different woods, whether it was a candle burning or just the natural smells of the many types of wood that were evident in the swedish style decor. Our menus were provided and I immediately picked up on the fact that it reflected the season and what was fresh and country-like. Thats pretty observant for me. Being the Vego, it was an easy pick with one dish on the entree and one in the main that was suitable but both looked fantastic. A leek tart for entree, and a cauliflower and truffle gnocchi for main. Though there were other meat type meals that even I thought looked great, such as duck and the lamb. But here is the full menu.

I now insert a photo of my tart.

Dessert time came upon us and someone told me once, if you ever get the chance, order everything on the dessert menu. So we did, apart from the soufflé, as that takes a little longer and I will be honest, I am not very patient. So really, I am yet to order EVERYTHING on a dessert menu. Though I can say we ate then all and then I used my finger, when no one was looking, to scoop up the last of the amazing sauces.

We said goodbye to the super friendly staff and strolled up back to the apartment on the old street in the cold, all tuckered out.

Woke the next morning and after a breakfast that was provided for us to cook ourselves in the country kitchen, we packed our things and strolled through the town to the station. Thankfully we didn’t plan anything in the town as most things were closed on a Sunday. It’s true what they say. We walked by the Botanic Gardens and we were a tad underwhelmed, but at the same time, my home town doesn’t have its own Botanic Gardens so good on them. Then we went by the local swimming pool, which was empty and looked like it had been closed for ten years, the sides of the pool now an art gallery for local teenagers. My local town’s pool has water in it, so we even out in the end.

I just hope some Kyneton kid isn’t sad…

Jumping back on the V-line with a bunch of locals going to the footy, we headed back to that Melbourne place. Thanks Kyneton, and thanks Annie Smithers! I wish I could weed your garden,help you sow some carrots or wash a cabbage for you.

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What noise do pirates make?

I was in bed last night looking at my calendar after being out all day. My plans for the following day would involve cleaning my apartment as I had an open inspection in the afternoon. I reviewed the time, though there was nothing entered into Friday. I looked to Thursday and that was where I had entered it. I confirmed the date and time online on one of the real estate websites and yes, the open inspection occurred already. I had had a bunch of random people walking through my untidy apartment without me even realising, while I was off walking around the city wondering about whether Kevin Costner really would make a good bodyguard. I glanced around my apartment and there were still M&Ms on the floor (from a spillage out of my bag), underwear on the floor, and the best of all, a small note I wrote to the ants in my apartment saying, “piss off ants”. I wonder if anyone applied for my apartment.

I went to Sydney last weekend for the first time since last November. As always it was great seeing my family and just chilling out. Was also warm enough to swim in the backyard pool and all four of us siblings were there and swimming. When you are an adult, the backyard pool really is not as interesting. Once you are cool, you are cool. And then you kinda just wanna get out again. Though we had my nephews and nieces in the pool too and seeing them having fun really kicks it up for you again too. I has diving sticks and so had my niece throw them into the pool while I dove down to get them. It was a precision exercise and pretty much could guarantee if my niece was some high executive of a diving company, I would be getting a bonus for my diving skills.

One morning, while I was staying at my brother’s house over the weekend, I had the job of looking after my two nieces for the morning at the park. At first it was exciting as I get to have quality one on one time with them as I only see them a few times a year. Quickly though, it became evident that there would be a lot more to it. When we had arrived at the playground, the oldest niece began to complain that her Dora the Explorer doll was not talking:

“Dora isn’t talking”
“Oh that is a shame, what is wrong with her?”
“She isn’t talking”.
“Ah well yeah, that is sad”.
“Uncle Lloyd, YOU have to do Dora’s voice”.

I then try to channel the brief glimpses of the show I have seen. She is South American, no? So I attempt to say something Dora would say, “Yo, where in the playground do you want to go?”
My niece looks at me, unimpressed.
“No Uncle Lloyd, a GIRLS voice!”
I clear my throat and look around and channel girl’s voice, “I think we should go to the swings, hola!”
I think in most other environments, people would look at me and wonder what the hell I am doing. No, not this time. I was in the company of other parents in the playground, who just smiled knowingly. One father actually gave me more context for the accent and more phrases to work on. Success.

I arrived back from Sydney feeling refreshed but also excited to get back home. Cal and I are a bit like ships in the night at the moment, he was heading for Sydney the following day so we spent time together for the day. I walked around with him while he gave a tour about the graffiti of Melbourne to Boston University students. Whoever thought my boyfriend would be so knowledgable about spray paint in Melbourne. OK I am simplifying the beauty and creativity that is graffiti, I failed the lesson. As usual I was just slightly deliberately awkward with the students. But hey if you were a young American student in Melbourne for a few days and some Aussie fella comes up and just chats with you about how good cats are and that Australian power poles really express the city’s inner desire for power, you would probably not know exactly how to react. I didn’t either.

Sitting at a bar, I observed Cal peeling his beer label off and a primary school myth sprung to mind. Hmm actually more high school than primary school cause you don’t talk about sexual innuendo in primary do you?? So yes, high school. The myth being that if you peel a label off a bottle of soft drink, (alcohol doesn’t exist when you are a teenager) you are supposedly sexually frustrated. I always assumed I was, as I love peeling off labels of bottles. And chewing styrofoam cups, around and around the edge so it becomes a cup no more. I pointed out to Cal that he must be sexually frustrated and laughed. Then I realised, oh wait.. that means.. OK that backfired.

My jobs are going swell. Letting you know.

And I just had a bunch of products arrive from Portland General Store. It took a while as the first lot became lost in the mail, when really, I think that the beagle at airport customs just nicked them. So the products are pretty damn cool. The package contained male grooming products such as shaving gel, shampoo etc, but the great thing about them is they have great earthy smells, very masculine and it came in a recycled cigar box. All organic with natural ingredients, I am sold and will be ordering more. Just need to report that nasty beagle**.

February is almost over and more change is around the corner. And malted milkshakes rock.

My nephew is obsessed with pirates currently. For a two year old, sailing the open seas and killing people and stealing their riches is a refreshing occupation. When I ask him what sound they make, he says “Ahhhrrrr” but about two octaves higher than the normal pirate, so it sounds like a lost puppy.

His idea:

Obvious reality (including watermark):

** Beagles in general are lovely animals and I am only referring to this one beagle that I assume exists and steals men’s grooming products. What he does with them, who knows.