Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dragons, Pottery and Gold!

Glen and I finally had a weekend off together last week. It'll likely be our last days off together until Christmas day and even then, we won't have the day to ourselves.
We took advantage of the freedom and spent the day in Bendigo. The drive was quick and easy - basically we get on the freeway near the house and keep driving and it takes us straight there (no turns or anything!). One thing to keep in mind is that Bendigo basically closes on a Sunday. The streets were very quiet and a lot of shops were closed. Thankfully some of the touristy things were open.

Random shot of our rainy drive home.

We started off at the Chinese Museum and the Chinese Gardens (essentially a koi pond - not something I'd pay to see separately but admission was free when you buy a museum ticket).

We got to see the longest imperial dragon and the oldest imperial dragon.

The longest imperial dragon in the world - Sun Loong

Random other dragons (one is a guardian lion I think)

We walked through some gardens and saw a whole heap of bats (silver headed flying foxes).

We picked up a free tourist guide at the museum and we flipped through it to look for other things to do. The pottery place and the gold mine happened to be open so we decided to take a drive out to the pottery place first. The pottery place was AWESOME. I thought it might be some fancy-schmancy-arty pottery place but most of the pieces were utilitarian type things - sugar/flour/tea canisters, mugs, plates, bowls etc. We bought a few Christmas presents for family and picked up a sugar container for us. I'd love to go back and get their flour and tea bag container.
After that we drove over to the Central-Deborah Gold Mine and took a 75minute underground tour. That was awesome too. I thought I might be a little freaked out by taking the elevator and being 20 storeys underground but I was fine. Part of what made the mine tour great was our tour guide and there were only four people in our group (us and an older couple). They have an even longer tour available (you go further underground!) and I'd definitely consider doing that one as well (and it's definitely on our list of things to do when people come to visit).

We did a little bit of driving around Bendigo and happened upon this great sight:

Unfortunately it was closed so we'll have to take a trip up again.

We're in the process of planning an even more exciting trip for around March but I'm sure we'll get in a day trip or two before then! (more details when we have a few things confirmed!)

Temperature: +17C
Sunrise: 5:56am
Sunset: 8:16pm

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Soggy Spring

We have a had a cold and wet spring. Everyone has been complaining - especially about how cold it is. I just kind of shrugged because I remember when I first came last year I was SO cold in the house and it took me a while to adjust to the cooler temperatures coming from summer in Canada (and in Montreal no less).

Well, I may be converted to thinking that we actually are suffering with colder weather. I just went to look at some pictures from this time last year - and posts so I try to repeat myself as little as possible (since I was thinking about talking about the Melbourne Cup) and this time last year we were at Wilsons Prom soaking up the sun on the beach.

The plus side to all this cool wet weather is that our dams are at 50% which is a first in many years (I've read varying reports from first since 2006 to first in 30 years... Either way it's a big deal).

Anyway, the first Tuesday in November is Melbourne Cup day - the major race in a spring horse racing carnival. It's the race that "stops the nation" and everyone at 3:10pm stops to see who wins. We thankfully had the day off though we were surprised at the amount of stores that actually opened.
Glen and I put a small bet on a horse each and spent the day at his sister's house with the rest of the family. We all picked two horses out of a hat and put $1 in just as fun (convenient in a family of 12 to have 24 horses running).
If you don't go to the actual races, having a BBQ and having family over is a pretty typical way to celebrate.

I spent the day yesterday getting the spare room into better shape. We inherited a great old (large) shelf from Glen's grandpa so I wanted to start unpacking some boxes to get the room in working order and then I'll be able to suss out what other furniture I'll need for in there (looks like a few short bookcases like we have in the living room and a table as well as storage bins).
Here's a picture of the shelf with tonnes of stuff piled on it (it's a great shelf made of real wood - it's solid and heavy - a real quality piece of furniture - there's two doors on the bottom that open up to small shelves).

I managed to empty 7 boxes yesterday (or condense a few anyway). I think I have around 10 more to empty before we're completely box free.

Temperature: +21C
Sunrise: 6:07am
Sunset: 8:01pm