Day 2 Friday 17/12/21, Chiltern, Sunny hot 32
I lie in bed thinking of all the night noises we hear in the van; the soft mopoke calls, the bloodcurdling scream of curlews, gurgles of rivers, surf crashing on beaches, the gentle sound of kangaroos grazing at night and leaving tail marks in the dirt and tonight… the roar of highway traffic and every half hour a train tooting at each crossing, metal on metal as the rails curve. There’ve been better night noises.
We wake early. Woody finds that the baker opens early and sells papers. Thank goodness the woman at the supermarket wasn’t quite accurate. An early morning walk around the lake reveals rabbits, baby coots, little footbridges, and grand houses. The most interesting is Lake View House the brief childhood home of female author Henry Handel Richardson who lived here in the 1870’s at the age of 6 when her father was the local GP. Publishing under a male pseudonym she lived her adult life in England, yet her books were set in the places where she had lived as a child. Possibly the best known was “The Getting of Wisdom”.
After a lazy breakfast, we walk into town and buy sausages from the local butcher as Esther has suggested. The pepper & parmesan are supposed to be delicious. On Conness Street kids are picking the eyes off the knitted Xmas characters. So far, the angels and baby Jesus are safe. Woody is picking the eyes up off the footpath and trying to stick them back on.
After lunch, Woody has a swim in the council pool just beyond the lake. Refreshed we walk over to the old Gaol, the Masonic Hall which is now a café called Posh Plonk and the elegant old post office (1863). As I stop to take a photo of the post office a bent old lady whom I assume to be the postmistress shuffles to get out of shot. When I mention that I’m taking the photo to sketch the building and may well sketch her back in she says “Don’t you dare”. Cheeky bugger. We peer through the gate that protects Chiltern’s Guinness record-holding grapevine. The vine is reputed to be the largest in Australia and was planted in 1867. It still bears fruit. All this sightseeing in the hot sun deserves a beer so we drop into the Telegraph Hotel. While we watch the neddies and dishlickers race on the TV’s above the bar, the barman himself is sampling the brew. Perhaps he’s doing quality assurance. It’s not the greatest pub we’ve visited.
Back at camp we sit outside and talk to the birds. We cook the butcher’s famous snags and have to assume that he gave us the wrong ones as they seem to be filled with carrots, peas and corn and reminiscent of a pack of frozen vegies stuffed in a sausage casing.
Behind our park is the local footy ground which folks refer to as the MCG. It has a handsome grandstand that was built in 1879 high on a mullock heap of the gold mine that was once operated. In the evenings the rabbits like munching the grass here.
Our Xmas lights are working well. At last.