During our stay at Lilydale we were invited to a party at one of the Guzzi club members house in Olinda which is right at the top of the Dandenong Ranges that sit to the East of Melbourne.The second photo is Olinda’s hall built in 1913.
Our hosts Pam and Rob deserved a medal for the catering for us all because in the end there were about twelve of us. It was a great party which was in honour of Keir’s birthday and mine too when they found out it was that week also, it was mostly Guzzi club members whom we already knew but it was good to meet up with some of the wives who don’t always attend club meets. Later on in the evening Rob raided the dressing up box with hilarious results as you will see. Nancy made the cake which was delicious.
Most of us stayed over and we enjoyed breakfast with a view despite the morning chill. Over morning coffee Rob was telling us that they were just about to go on a holiday to the U.S.A incorporating a cruise and would be away for seven weeks. “Have you got someone to house sit?” we asked, arrangements had been made but they were not ideal as the grass needed mowing and there were a few other jobs to do. Rob rang us a few days later and said “You’re on”.
Their house is in a stunning spot with views right down over Gippsland. In exchange we fed the chooks, collected their eggs (yummy), looked after Bridie the cocker spaniel (such hard work!), mowed the large lawns using a ride on mower, attempted to keep the rest of the garden tidy and emptied the bins. I also did a bit of work on some of Rob’s bikes.
We loved the Dandenongs, it’s a beautiful area it was also about 2 to 3 degrees cooler in Olinda because of the altitude than in town and considerably fresher. Something we appreciated in the build up to summer. Our time spent at Olinda was pivotal in Karen’s rehabilitation as she was just beginning to walk on her crutches. The property was on a steep sloping plot and at first all she could manage was the walk to the chook house but by the end of the seven weeks she could manage not only the whole garden but even short walks in the nearby arboretum with Bridie.
Here are some photos of their garden, the last two are the arboretum.
Another bonus was the stunning sunrises well worth the really early wake up to view. The last photo is the same view during the day.
Not too far away was the National Rhododendron garden and as we were in peak Rhody time it seemed sensible to go and have a look. We were just in time as the place was a riot of colour. It is owned and run by Victoria Parks so the other bonus is that entry is free, here are some pictures to show you it’s full glory.
As we were wandering around a wombat ran across the path right in front of us obliging us with a picture. Karen did really well that day as it was over 104 acres all up hill and down dale, we didn’t do the whole gardens and she only whimped out on one bit resting by the lake while I explored a bit more.
We had more wildlife closer to home, just before they left Pam told us the King Parrots often come down of an afternoon for a handful of the Chooks sunflower seed. They have got so tame that they will take it from your hand.
We also had a few visits from this cheeky cockatoo, they normally fly around in big mobs and you can hear their screechy call coming a mile away. We fed him a bit more judiciously as locals warned us that they can get a bit bolshie and destructive if they don’t have to find their own food. We wondered if this one was an escapee pet or had been ostracised by his peers as he always seemed to turn up on his own, he was a real character.He was looking over the edge of the table at Bridie who was trying to chase him off.
Part of our duties and one of our perks was to give the cars a run, the rest of the cars were fairly ordinary but we really enjoyed driving this open top Mazda MX-5. I must admit I thought these were a bit of a fake sports car but my preconceptions were blown away when I drove it. They are rear wheel drive with a copy of a Lotus Elan/Alfa 1800 twin cam engine and are great fun to drive especially around the tight and twisty mountain roads.
Bridie was an absolute pleasure to look after, she had a lot of love to give and shared her cuddles evenly. Pam said she must have been a Maori in a former life as she loved nose to nose greetings. She also encouraged Karen to venture further round the garden or on walks. One of our other perks was this spa with a view it helped sooth Karen’s aching bones after too long a walk too.
Next up – The Mods and Rockers run