Our local council has created this gorgeous candlelight memorial for all the people in our local government area of Corangamite Shire who have passed away in 2020.
Most of these people‘a families were very limited in how many they could have at the funeral. The way we have mourned and comforted one another has had to change. Our ability to travel and see each other has been limited or, at times, impossible.
Gestures like this help us to feel less alone, and to know that our loved ones are remembered. It’s very touching that the community as a whole is able to acknowledge their absence from the towns and social circles in which they lived.
There are 129 lights burning through the night. That’s 129 families like mine that have been changed forever. And, I’m sure, it’s 129 families who appreciate the thoughtfulness of a local government that thinks beyond budgets and logistics to stop for as long as it takes to light 129 candles, and invite the community to stop, remember and reflect.
My sister and I went to see the memorial tonight, to pay tribute to our dad and to share the sight with our family interstate via video.
Thank you to the Corangamite Shire and the local community members who helped make this happen. It is very much appreciated.
For many years, families have made a tradition of going into the city to see the department store Christmas windows.
We don’t live in a big city, or near one, but shop windows decorated for Christmas have become popular out here in the country, too.
Tonight we had the unveiling of the Christmas windows at the local hardware. They made an event of it, added in some competitions and games, and generated a lot of interest among the community. A good number of community folks turned out for the event, and there was a lot of excitement and chatter among the crowd.
The Christmas windows at H Hardware in Cobden, Victoria.
The windows, each decorated by a different staff member, are fabulous. They all show creativity and a sense of humour, and they are sure to be a feature of the Christmas lights viewing in town.
“Why would you live in Cobden?” is a question I get asked from time to time. My standard response is, “Why wouldn’t you?”
An evening like this is just another reminder of just a few of the reasons why my town is a really great place to live.
After several absolutely brutal weeks, my bestie and I headed out to spend the day together— a day just for us.
We didn’t talk about grief, or death, or funerals, or wills, or medical treatments. We just enjoyed each other’s company and pretended as much as we could that the rest of life and corona and lockdowns and work and pretty much everything else was not happening.
Don’t get me wrong, though. We sanitised , we distanced, we avoided people as much as we could. We’re neither stupid nor irresponsible.
We drove up-country and visited places we haven’t been to before.
We stopped in a little country town, took some photos, bought a Coke, and kept going.
We stood on top of a mountain — well, technically it’s a dormant volcano, albeit not a very big one— and saw as far as we could see. We watched in silence as a wallaby fossicked for sweet blades of grass to eat, then hopped away. We listening to birdsong and tried to work out how many different birds we could hear.
We visited a bookstore, as we always do on our expeditions, and we both found a couple of new treasures to bring home with us.
We visited two different waterfalls about 9 kilometres apart on the same river, and looked at rocks and water and cascades and lichen and soil profiles.
We ate lunch as we watched the water running and leaping its way down the rock face, and as we watched other visitors walk all the way down to the river bank and back up again. That’s a great way to wear out the kids during school holidays! We packed up our rubbish, along with some left behind by some other less considerate visitors to the park, and put it in the car to bring home with us, then returned to the falls to take photos.
We watched the most delightful older couple walk hand in hand as they explored the park around the waterfalls, obviously as delighted with each other’s company as they were when they first met. She used a walking stick with her other hand, and he carried two umbrellas. The way they looked at each other was just adorable.
We looked at trees and enjoyed their beauty, their shapes, and their different profiles. Then we drove down country lanes where the gum trees on either side almost made a tunnel and commented on how magical and beautiful that felt.
We found a campground we want to go and stay at. It’s nestled in the bush near one of the waterfalls, and it’s just natural and quiet and beautiful.
We met a lady with a gorgeous little dog named Milo, who insisted on wrapping his lead around my legs not once, not twice, but three times. We laughed.
Oh, it felt so good to laugh. It felt so good to breathe fresh air, to not feel pressure from time or commitments or places and things that reminded me of my losses.
It felt so good to just be. No responsibilities, no demands. Breathing deeply, enjoying the moment, and feeling refreshed. I can’t remember the last time I was able to do that.
I am so blessed to have a friend with whom I can share days like today, but who has also supported me so faithfully through the trauma of the past few weeks. She has been an absolute rock for me, and I am thankful.
I am blessed to live in a place where I can go and spend time in nature and feel at peace there. I’m very blessed to not be in an area that is locked down, as Melbourne has been once again.
Today didn’t make all those other things go away — far from it. But it gave me time to breathe, and it was very good therapy.
A Day For Healing. #therapy #emotions #grief #trees #waterfalls #personal #reflection #blogpost
While in Bendigo for the Tudors to Windsors exhibition this weekend, my best friend and I hatched a plan to take another trip soon. We want to visit Daylesford, a beautiful town renowned for its quirky shops and several vintage bookstores.
My friend wasn’t travelling home with me today, though, as she had to go to Melbourne instead. So, I had the opportunity to go exploring and find out more about where we were planning to go.
The prospect of road trip on my own is one I welcome. As an introvert, that kind of time alone is hard to come by, and the past five weeks have been intensely busy and very people-y. So, after I dropped her at the Kangaroo Flat railway station for the 10.27am train, I headed off to see what I could see which, as we all know, is the reason why any bear goes over the mountain.
It was a cracker of a day. The sun shone broadly in a big pale blue sky, but it wasn’t hot. It was, in fact, a perfect late Autumn day for driving through the countryside.
My first destination was Castlemaine, a pretty little town with tree-lined streets and lovely old buildings that date back to the Gold Rush, like so many other towns in this region, Bendigo included. I boosted the local economy with my purchase of a large coffee, and kept going.
You don’t have to travel far out of Castlemaine before you’re in Campbell’s Creek, where there is a fabulous used book store called Book Heaven, where I stopped— in the interests of research, of course. I excelled myself by only staying half an hour and only buying three books, even though I was entirely unsupervised and, in all honesty, I could have been there all day without even realising.
Driving on toward Daylesford, I came to a small town named Guildford where there was a sign to the left, pointing up a sandstone track, that said ‘Guildford Lookout’. I’m the kind of traveller who loves a good lookout, so I headed up the track to the top of the hill where I found myself surrounded by pretty countryside dotted with a few autumn coloured trees. It was a really good opportunity to break my journey with a bit of a walk before continuing down the road.
Daylesford seemed quite vibrant and busy. I didn’t really feel like walking the Main Street and shopping, but then, I very rarely feel like shopping, so that came as no surprise. Instead, I followed some signs and headed down to Daylesford Lake.
What a gorgeous spot! Walking along the shore was lovely, with a wide and level path that led past a cottage to which I paid very little attention until I was on my way back and I saw a sign on the back of the building.
If that wasn’t fate inviting me in, I don’t know what it was. It was lunchtime, and this wonderful little shop sold books, coffee, and food. Perfect!
Once again, I found three lovely old books to add to my collection while my lunch was being prepared. My lunch was delicious, and I was very pleased to find that all the books were half the marked price— until I discovered that the shop is closing down. That was a real disappointment, as I was hoping to come back next time with my friend.
Even so, it was a very happy and satisfied booknerd that walked back into the car to drive the rest of the way home.
I have had the most delightful weekend: time with friends, exploring bookshops, connecting with history, and a relaxing drive home. It really would be greedy to ask for anything more.
Occasionally I experience the discomfort of hearing people laugh, or at least smirk, at the town I live in because it’s small, rural, and offers less than the bigger cities.
It’s not surprising that this gets my hackles up.
Our little town of 1800 people has more to offer than most people realise.
We have doctors. We have our own pharmacy, fully stocked hardware store that also sells building supplies and pet supplies, and a newsagent/stationer that also sells lottery tickets, toys and gifts.
We have two boutique gift stores, a clothing store, lawyers and accountants, and a fantastic hairdresser.
We have a large supermarket, two banks, a top notch bakery, a cafe, an Asian dine in/takeaway restaurant, two other places for “fast food”, a real estate agent, a laundromat, and a butcher,
You can buy furniture, flooring, curtains, bedding and upholstery supplies.
There are two places to get fuel or and three where you can get service for your car. There’s a place that sells tools, trailers, and automotive/engineering supplies. You can get your tyres changed and your wheels aligned and balanced at three different places in town.
And that’s not even starting on the number of plumbers, electricians, and other tradies around.
There’s a pub for getting a drink or a good meal, or hosting a party or event in. There are also two rather lovely bed&breakfast establishments.
We’ve got a miniature railway, an historical dairy park, a go-kart racing track, a skate park, and a dam for fishing in, complete with geese and ducks. There are two big parks to play in. There’s a golf course, and a golf club that serves great meals and drinks.
We’ve got a footy/cricket oval, tennis courts and netball courts. The footy team go alright, and win their share of games and finals matches. We’ve also got both an outdoor and an indoor swimming pool!
We have a police station, and police officers who are active and involved in the community in positive and proactive ways. They’re helpful when you need them, they work to keep us all safe, and we don’t have to live in fear of harassment or prejudice. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been a police shooting in this town.
The schools here are full of kids. Really full. There’s no danger of the schools being closed, or teachers being out of work.
We’re only ten minutes away from an excellent hospital, and 45 away from a really big one with all the fancy bits and pieces.
We have people of varying faiths and ethnic backgrounds, living in harmony with one another. Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, JWs and whatever other faiths exist here, all get along just fine, because we’re neighbours and that’s the way it’s meant to be.
People greet each other in the street, and say hello, and wave as they drive past. When someone is in need of help, they get helped. Our healthy collection of churches and service clubs make sure of that.
And we have Christmas music playing in the street – not just Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, either. They play songs about the birth of Jesus, and the wonder of God’s love for the world. It’s true that “Winter Wonderland” was slightly out of place in yesterday’s summer temperatures, but I know I’m not the only one who yearns to be back in a place they love where it is winter at the moment, or who is, in reality, dreaming of a white Christmas.
Christmas is celebrated in town with activities in the local park, followed by Carols by Candlelight, where hundreds of people gather to sing and celebrate together, on the Sunday evening before Christmas.
We also have Easter celebrations where the churches in town join together and worship Christ as Saviour in public, and plant a cross in the park to remind people that the true meaning of Christmas is actually Easter.
We also celebrate Spring with a big town festival, including parades, art exhibitions, rubber duck races on the dam, and lots of other merriment.
Nobody is offended. Nobody hates on others because they don’t agree. People just keep on smiling, and waving, and saying hello, because that’s what we do.
This town should be the envy of anyone who lives in a place where even one of those things doesn’t happen.
On top of all that, we’ve got fresh air, beautiful farmland scenery, rivers and creeks, and the amazing Great Ocean Road and beaches galore within an hour’s drive.
People shouldn’t be knocking my town. They’re just jealous and don’t even realise it.