Friday, February 11, 2011

Ballarat for the weekend

A trip to Victoria would not have been complete without a visit to Bill and Raylee Stoddart's beautiful mountain-top home near Ballarat.  Craig's mom and dad were very gracious to shelter us on our last two visits, when Rick and I first met Craig in New Zealand in 1992, and again when Rick and Anita joined them for Craig and Kirsty's wedding in 1997.  They also got over to visit us in 1994, and have always treated us like extended family, and it was a joy to see them again.

Bill is a master craftsman wood-worker.  He has built beautiful cabinetry and worked for years at the Ballarat historical village known as Soveirgn Hill, where the original gold-mining town is celebrated.  There he built the solid bar in the pub, restored several old buildings and furnishings, and even built a bowling alley complete with the lanes, queues and wooden balls, too.  He and Travis spent the morning in his workshed with his full line of lathes and saws, as well as antique toolery that he still uses on his craft today.  And the quality seen in his work is truly becoming a lost art, replaced as it is by cheap imports and woods in the name of price.

Raylee prepared a lovely meal of homemade savories - the boys are loving the meat pies! and a beautiful pavlova for dessert, true Aussie meal that was.  Her gardens are full of veggies, and with the extra rain this summer, delightfully green and lush.  At dusk we watched the wallabies bound on the other side of the fence, and Katie, Declan and Niahm were off chasing skanks (lizards) and bunnies.  Hard not to appreciate a lovely night in the Victoria countryside.

No comments:

Post a Comment