THURSDAY APRIL 21 POREPUNKAH
Today was cooler. We’d had rain through the night and some showers this morning.
I find it very cosy, lying in bed in Bus, listening to rain on the roof, knowing we do not have to worry about it leaking, as was always the case with the van, after that incredibly incompetent RV solar power “expert” wrecked the roof for us.
Daughter’s birthday today. She had texted me on Tuesday to say that the card and gift I’d sent her from home, had arrived. This morning, I texted her extra birthday wishes.
After last night’s bottle of wine, we decided to leave early enough to call in at Michelini at Myrtleford and stock up on some more of their merlot.
Hops growing near Myrtleford
The Michelini cellar outlet was on the western outskirts of Myrtleford – a newish-looking establishment, somewhat Tuscan in appearance.
The Michelini story is an interesting one: post WW2 migration to Australia, hard work, an eye for opportunity and courage to grasp same. In 1970 the founder moved to the area to grow tobacco, but noted climatic similarities to his home region of the Italian Alps. This prompted him to try growing cool climate grape varieties from there, presumably initially for private consumption. But the venture grew, the times were right, and the first commercial vintage happened in 1997.
We found their range of wines not as extensive as that of Browns – would not have expected it to be – but it covered reds and some whites. Although we knew what we’d come for, we did taste a couple of other wines, for future reference. Bought a dozen of their Devils Creek merlot, which was only $10 a bottle, which we found unreal. And we were given a bonus extra bottle. Joined their Wine Club, which meant that shipping our dozen home was free. I didn’t think we would have any trouble buying the dozen bottles a year that the membership entails! We took our bonus bottle away with us. What a find!
Old kilns repurposed, Myrtleford
Drove on to Beechworth. The town was teeming with tourists and so busy. We were lucky and found a parking spot virtually outside the Beechworth Bakery – our meeting place for lunch.
Decided Couey would have to stay in the car. Originally I’d thought that we might be able to eat at one of the footpath tables outside, and have her with us, but it was a bit chilly and there were too many people crowding past them.
Instead we were immediately lucky inside, and found a booth to sit at. The place was humming. I think a couple of tour buses had deposited their clientele nearby and sent them in the Bakery direction.
I found the lack of a system for dealing fairly with such numbers disappointing. There was a queue, of sorts, to one side, with four or five people serving, but a number of people just walked straight in and up to the counter, ahead of those who were queueing. They should have had some sort of take and number and wait to be called system.
Yet again, the pasty option was a vegetarian one! Yet again, John resorted to the old carnivorous standby of pepper pie. I had a roasted vegetable focaccia, which was excellent.
Over lunch and a couple of coffees, we had a good catch-up talk with my friend. The three of us then collected Couey from the car and took her for a walk, down past the bowls club, to a grassy area where she could have an off-lead run. Friend is a dog person, about to acquire a chocolate Labrador puppy. She was very taken with our girl.
After a very enjoyable few hours, drove back to camp the way we had come, via Myrtleford. It was a pretty drive, as they all are around here, at this time of year. By the time we’d lunched and talked and walked, it was too late to go exploring further afield. Yackandandah would have to wait for another day.
Couey had another riverside walk and play in the river.
John had fancied more bread and Milawa cheeses for tea, so had bought himself a fresh bread roll at Beechworth. I had soup and a salad – and some cheese.
Friend F from Griffith phoned. They had been travelling, with their van, in WA and stumbled across a Hino bus that had been partly converted to a motorhome, and was for sale at a bargain price. Obviously, F had been impressed by our Bus lifestyle when we’d camped with them a few years back, because they bought it. They had just driven it back to NSW, had it checked over and registered there, then flew back to WA to resume their van trip north to Newman, Karijini and across the Top End. Sounded to me like they’d gotten a bargain.