Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So where have I been for a week? Bendigo, Victoria, for the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. Well, that was Friday and Saturday. Wednesday we drove to Bendigo (ca. 6 hours), Thursday we drove to Melbourne (ca. 2 hours) to go to USA Foods where I stocked up on Jiffy corn muffin mix, Nestle butterscotch chips (and new white & dark chocolate chips!), A&W diet cream soda (they were out of root beer), etc. and went to a mega mall to pick up my new sewing machine that the clever Bear managed to get at a savings of $200. A Brother with probably more stitches than I will ever use but the companies insist on adding stitiches with other features like one-step buttonhole. I will give ever so much more detail and photos of the show in another posting so will just cover the outline here. We walked. A lot. And stood looking and things and talking to people. By the end of Saturday (after lunch) my legs were so sore that the muscles were starting to cramp and my feet were screaming. I had seen almost everything I wanted to altho I didn't take all the photos I had planned but I chose to retire to the caravan park cabin and rest my legs. Sunday woke up feeling really awful, lost my voice, started serious coughing and we decided to come home a day early.

I bought an inkle loom (Ashford), a set of mini combs, half a dark grey fleece (raw), a biggish bag of light grey alpaca, and smaller amounts of Finn/cashmere blend, 100% white cashmere, a small bit of silk, some more Polwarth from Wendy Dennis and when I described the trouble I had with the second lot of her hand-dyed she gave me free about 100 gms of natural Polwarth. Some Optim. Lots of dyes. There were fewer animals this time it is said due to the drought. There were very few angora goats but lots of alpacas. The special breed this year was merino and when you've seem 50 0r 60 merinos, you''ve seen them all. There were a lot more commercial displays selling everything from woks to socks.

We also got some bad news about our plans for relocating there and building a house on 15 acres. The zoning laws in Victoria really only allow "rural residential" developments with lots of 2-5 acres and "rural" which is over 20 acres. I have seen lots of ads for existing homes on the size of land parcel we want but finding vacant one is difficult. We did look at a couple that were in the 10 acre range but cost double what we want to pay but that also might be due to them being on the Melbourne side of town and are appealing to Melbournians. 10 acres was small, because they were close enough to other houses in these "rural residential" developments. Some were flat & treeless, some were very steep with trees. We need to look in other areas and perhaps reconsider the building option and look at existing homes when we are ready. There were many ads for existing homes that sounded just like what we want at lower prices than our home would sell for today, but we will have to see what happens in the years between now and retirement. I still really like Bendigo.

Roumd 16: Swannies soundly beat Richmond and looked good. Last minute inclusion due to injury was a rookie named Heath Grundy who kicked 3 goals. What kind of a name is Heath Grundy for a footy player? Don't care as he was remarkably composed for a 20 year old playing his first match. Kirky (pictured earlier) had a sickening injury when a Richmond player managed to kick him in the head in a high kick and Kirk was out cold. AFL players can easily kick over their heads and Kirky went down hard. Of course, once he came to, he was back out sitting on the bench, but that's the kind of player he is. I discovered that when you are in Victoria footy is everywhere but they forget that there are teams outside Victoria (or try to).

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