We arrived as planned (after a luxurious flight from Auckland, I might add) in the land of Oz.  Bridget was waiting at the airport as expected and it didn’t take long to make our way to the hotel she had booked us for a night in the big city.  Melbourne could be Montreal without the French or Toronto before it sprawled out.  The best part of the downtown area is they have laneways that are full of cute shops and bars and bistros.  We found a really nice rooftop bar called Siglo, facing the parliament buildings.  Very chic!  We were rather underdressed.  It took me back to my twenties, when I lived in Montreal and worked downtown.

spotted this shop in Melbourne, named for my brother in law?
lane way mall in Melbourne

The next day it was off for the final lap of our journey to our new home.  No roos on the way, sorry.  Just a highway.  Bendigo is lovely!  It’s an old gold rush town that has retained its old buildings and has a touristy feel to it.  Our home is in the suburbs of the town.

Although I had seen the house in pictures, I wasn’t prepared for its Tuscan style backyard.  It seems our hosts have been gardeners and farmers in their past lives.  At the rear of the house, there is a large deck, much of it covered, a pizza oven and a brick patio.  There are all kinds of trees and shrubs in the 3/4 acre lot.  We have found an apple tree, what looks like small plums, possible peaches or apricots, many roses, rosemary, geraniums, citronella and assorted succulents.  Just fantastic!!  There is even a small veggy patch with lettuce and something called silver beets which have delicious edible leaves, like spinach without the sand.  I made a salad with these today to go along with our egg and tomato sandwiches, out on the patio.  Already we are settling in, making this patch of paradise our own.  What is most fascinating to us right now are the sounds of the various birds and insects.  Yes, there are lots of spider webs and we are trying to get those swept away. But there are so many interesting birds, like magpies and parrots, and cicadas (like a noisy cricket).  The place is alive with sights and sounds.  Click here to hear the magpie singing.

Crested pidgeon - right in the yard

We got ourselves sorted out yesterday in terms of getting the car ownership transferred and the insurance activated.  It was so simple, it is embarrassing.  The biggest concern for the car insurance seemed to be where “it sleeps”.  Our particular sleeping place must be really good because the insurance was half the price here than what the previous car owner paid last year.  Go carport!!  Leon insisted that I drive today.  I finally consented to trying a few streets in this quieter area.  The thing that makes me most nervous is the round-abouts, coming from the wrong direction, right?  And there are lots of them in this country from what I can see.

I want to give you a brief description of the house, for the benefit of my “Martha Stewart” friends, yes, you Marlene!  It’s what we would call a side-split bungalow but the basement part can only be accessed from the outside and it used for storage.  The inside is mostly parquet flooring with cathedral ceilings and tall windows.  The window frames are all natural coloured wood, so it has a rustic feel.  There is a large fireplace in the living-dining area and lots of area rugs all over.  The rear doors to the patio are massive wood sliders.  So much better than our flimsy vinyl ones.  So from the dining or kitchen areas, you get a lovely view of the yard.  The house has 5 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a jacuzzi tub and what we would call a full ensuite bath in our master bedroom.  Very spacious!!  Oh, and I didn’t mention the walk-in closet.  Leon and I could probably dance in there.

Tonight, we are having dinner on the patio, mosquitos permitting.  Well, there had to be a downside somewhere, come on!  Our dinner was graciously provided by Donna’s friend Rossie, an excellent cook, I might add.  We arrived to a fridge full of goodies, fruit and cookies.  Those Anzac cookies are amazing, by the way!!!  I will have to get that recipe to pass on to all of you.

Tomorrow, I have been invited to lunch with the French teachers.  They have chosen, appropriately, a bistro called Cafe au lait.

I’ll post pics when I get a minute.  I have a busy week ahead next week already.  Meetings, meetings, meetings.  Australia day is next Wed and there will be no stopping after that.