Castlemaine, just an hour out of Melbourne, is the perfect spot to spend what is rapidly becoming my favourite season. Our companions, in the autumn of their lives, are both laid back and lots of fun.
Lexy, a lively collie, is the younger of the two dogs and Molly, a mix of collie and we’re not sure what, is the matriarch of the pack. Harris is a cat, a proper, stick her nose in the air, I’m in charge cat. Our instruction sheet is absolutely correct in saying that she must be obeyed and she rules the roost with an evil stare, but loving touch.
The overwhelming surprise, for me anyway, is that Spring actually happens in Australia. The rose garden, rainy days, and dandelion strewn lawn often trick me into thinking that we’re back home. However, the sound of the banjo frogs in the creek on our twice daily walks remind me otherwise. And the cold snap still in the air means that we don’t yet have to avoid the long grasses for fear of snakes.
Bright greens and yellows abound throughout the countryside and the original buildings from the gold rush era make a brilliant backdrop for our evening viewing of “Deadwood”. We’ve even picked up some old country music tapes for the car. “Bushwhackers and City Slickers” was a snip at 50c and will, along with Dolly Parton, soundtrack our trip to the Grampians and Great Ocean Road when we leave in a few weeks.
More will follow soon on our excursions to the diggings and surrounding towns. Needless to say, we won’t be riding Lexy’s nemesis the steam train any time soon. The sound of the whistle sends her into a flurry of barking while Molly watches on, and occasionally joins in, from her daybed on the front deck. Harris deigns not to get involved, instead opting to scratch at the door even when she doesn’t want to go in or out or hovering by her food bowl in the hopes of more meat. We’ll miss them and this place as we do all the others. Seven weeks seems a long time, but really isn’t when you’re already more than half way through.