Today we drove to nearby towns to check out some very quirky things. It's funny because, like the Shepparton cows, they are precisely the things that I would avoid if not touring, or even if touring closer to home. They are kitchy and silly and meaningless, but when you're in a totally new place they provide an excuse, an excuse to get around, and in getting around you see other things.
So we went to Railston, which is The Town Of Topiary, and saw a whole lot of plants shaped into different creatures and creations. Here Joel tasted a Rabbit Pie! The townspeople gathered one evening a week to create the metal shapes upon which their creations would grow. The topiary were in various states of completion.
We drove to Sheffield which is full of murals. One section is for an artistic response to an annual poem and the rest of the town has murals depicting historical elements of the area. V. good quality and well explained. In this town we also went to a wonderful glass blowing place where we bought some marbles and the boys had fun working on a few combinations for an engineering feat of great significance - a marble path. We also visited a general store here which has been running in the same family for over 100 years. Their "Missed Opportunity" was an offer by the father of G.J. Coles to invest in a new venture his sons were starting - the infancy of Coles. They turned him down! We hypothesized that the people here were probably happier, but the lady behind the counter assured us she could be just as happy if she was very rich - but I guess we can never know such things. In the shop they have a fantastic system which ran for many years and which they demoed to an interested Joel. A flying fox where they sent up money and received back change and a receipt, completed by the granny (second generation) who sat in a tiny little office jutting out into the shop, at ceiling height. She worked there till she was about 90 - when decimal currency came in!
We then drove through Wilmot which is renowned for weird and wonderful letterboxes. Yes, LETTERBOXES - silly but cute, and a great way to bring a community together. Each letterbox was a contribution to the future of the town by contributing to bringing in silly tourists like us. In the town itself we saw a shop which was owned by the father of G.J.Coles.
As a result of the visits to these funny little features we were looked over by a magnificent structure which we thought was Cradle Mountain, but was in fact ....
We saw some beautiful horses - never get bored. Every time call out "Horsie, Horsie" and often got Stan to stop so we could have a better loving gaze.
Saw cute little lambs run excitedly over to their mums, push into her, and wiggle their tails as they got the first taste of sweet milk.
Saw amazing countryside. So green, with a dark, rick soil revealed underneath.
Saw cows and ECHIDNAS!!! and goats and sheep baaing at us.
In the evening we scoffed down some chips - yuk - and then went on a platypus hunt with a guy from the local Landcare group. Well - we saw a few far off, just glimpses really, and had one who gave us a little more of a look close up, but didn't hang around for very long. So it was quite disappointing. Still, how can you begrudge parting with $20 when the guy tells you about all the work he and the group have put in over the years in trying to bring the area back to what it looked like in their childhoods?