I’ve had to take a little break. It was totally unintentional and I’m not sure if I’m really back. I’m looking after an elderly person with dementia, I’m not a full-time carer, but it is taking its toll on me. Before someone tells me to just step away I need to say it’s not that easy. I’m not being paid which makes it sound as if I can stop at any time, but family is family. I’ve found myself unable to write, this is the second time I’ve sat down to write these words and the first time I’ve succeeded. Next time I have brain space for writing I’ll be writing a few words about The London Boys by Marc Burrows. After that it depends on how I feel. I’ve continued reading and have a small pile of books to write about.
In the interests of looking after myself we went away for a few days. Mooroopna is just outside of Shepparton, north of Melbourne. It’s a lovely little place with some friendly people and some great little places to eat. I won’t tell you about the Chef’s Special I had as it might not be on the menu when you go, but it was totally worth it.
Mooroopna has been one of places hit by the floods across Victoria recently. I was really concerned for them and worried they’d still be flooded out. It turns out my concerns were misplaced for some buildings and totally valid for others. The motel we stayed at was fine, the water only came onto the driveway a little, and also came up the drains in the driveway. They couldn’t get out of their property as the main street was totally awash, it took a week for the water to slowly go down.
If you look at Shepparton on the map you can see the Goulburn River next to Victoria Park Lake. The river had come right up to the Lake and merged with it. By the time we were there it had receeded quite a bit and we were able to walk around the Lake. For a given value of almost being blown off the footpath, it was very gusty that day and my walking stick is very good at catching the wind.
I did consider trying to get some video footage of the water that’s still sitting where it shouldn’t be, but decided it was too hard. I kept reminding myself I was on a break to recuperate and that didn’t really include taking footage for YouTube.
What I will notate here is that there were lots of sandbags still in situ. Most of them have been tidied away and probably kept for the next floods, but some are still in evidence. Most of them are in piles waiting to be taken away but some are still stacked up in place to do their job. As we drove through Mooroopna, Shepparton, and some of the surrounding towns some of the floods were still in evidence. We could see the trees standing in water and the footpath kept appearing and disappearing as we drove. I’m not sure how well the trees are going to be after this. It’s a long time to be standing in water.
We spent a bit of time in the Museum in Tatura. During WWII people were rounded up as ‘Enemy Aliens’ from various English managed countries and sent to Australia to be interned. Some of them were on the ship called The Dunera and were referred to as The Dunera Boys. We know a number of people who were Dunera Boys and felt it important to have a wander around the museum. It is wonderful how inventive people can be when they have so little. They used spokes from a bicycle to make knitting needles. I took no notes so can’t be certain, but I felt they also made a working lathe from spare parts. The museum was interesting and informative. It was also wonderful to see the names of people I know.
The last thing I want to talk about is the Silo Art Trail. It is a wonderful trail traversing large parts of Australia. The towns have had people paint their silos. The artwork is spectacular, partly because if the sheer size of the paintings, but also because of the talent of the artists. You can have a look at Australia Silo Art Trail website to get some idea of what I mean. We only visited nine silos over three days but it was well worth it. Try and take some munchies in case the shops are shut, some of the locations are very small. We wanted coffee and cake and it took three towns to find as we were travelling on the day that one town seemed to be closed for staff training. Probably not the whole town, but the cafe and the pub were both closed. We didn’t get coffee that day. But also because we have such a big country that it can easily take several hours to only see two or three towns’ silos. Everything is well worth seeing, I’m sure we’ll be planning more trips in line with more silo art.