Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 15, 2012

Sunday, 13th May 2012 – it’s Mother’s Day here in Aussie, and Bill is back in Ballarat!!

This is the day [like Valentine’s Day] when the price of fresh flowers suddenly sky rockets!!! I would buy some later in the morning when I got down to Ballarat, although I think I got a reasonably good deal on that occasion! Anyway, for my Sunday morning program on  Mother’s Day, I tried to select as varied sample of classical music that I thought might appeal to some mothers out there. As far as I’m concerned, the highlight selections were the Adagio as composed by Albinoni;  and three songs performed by Yvonne Kenny with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra  –  We’ll Gather Lilacs [from ‘Perchance to Dream’’  Songs My Mother Taught Me’ and Danny Boy. A little later, Sara Macliver sung Bailero from Songs of the Auvergne. There was of course, much more, as always.

As soon as my show ended at 9am, I was on the way, heading down the various highways towards Ballarat. Bit of rain about but generally the weather stayed fine, though very cold. It was actually quite a busy weekend in Balllarat – described as ‘Vintage Weekend’ with visitors coming from all over the State for such events as walks, tours of heritage buildings, rides on vintage trams, buses and horse drawn vehicles, an historical tour on bikes [with riders dressed in period costume], a Mother’s Day run for cancer,  a ‘Frock Tails’ show t the Art Gallery [which I didn’t get to this time] featuring the fashions of the 20th century  –  overall, various activities that brought the cafes, hotels and the local galleries ‘alive and pumping’ and parking around the city area at a premium, as Heather and I would discover later in the day.

My arrival in Ballarat – well, it began with the obligatory visit to the local ‘public’ stopping point!!@  Then across the rod to ‘White’s Florist’ establishment – I’m sure this shop was on the same corner of Sturt Street when I was here back in the mid-1960s!  As I was meeting Heather & her daughter first thing this morning, decided to buy a small posy [or plant actually] for each of the two mums, as well as a few white flowers which I took up to the Crematorium. Expected it to be quite crowded up there, but in fact, while I was at Mum & Dad’s memorial there was no-one else around for a few minutes, but I was out in a very strong and biting cold wind. I actually ‘dug’ those flowers [for Mum] into the soft earth beside her memorial plague [Mum, 30 May 1990; Dad, 24 December 1969] because it was obvious that if I just left them lying there, the wind would have quickly dispatched them elsewhere.  I didn’t remain up at the Crematorium site for long – drove from there around to Lake Wendouree where quite a bit of activity was already beginning to take place. My intention was to text Heather but not meet up with her and Vonda until she was satisfied they had had enough mother and daughter time together – that came earlier than expected, she got in first, and invited me to join them – on the other side of the Lake, at ‘Racer’s Restaurant on the corner of Wendouree Parade & Webster Street – the family used to buy icecreams here, s kids, way back in the year’s when the establishment was probably a little less classier than it is now.

Racers was not very crowded when I got there, though by the time we left 30 minutes later, the lunch time patrons were beginning to build up the numbers. It had been crowded earlier for the breakfast rush, the purpose that Heather, in her usual way, had gone there – for her regular ‘dine out’ breakfast, though not the same place every day. No wonder half of Ballarat knows her!! This place is actually knon as Racers Bar & Café, of  2 Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree  –  described as a ‘trendy bar and café overlooking picturesque Lake Wendouree [ideal] for a quiet glass of wine with friends, ideal spot for a cocktail to start your night, or settle in for the afternoon and watch the swans on the Lake as you eat your way through a generous cheese platter’ – I settled for a cappuccinio, having just walked in from a freezing breeze and the beginnings of a sprinkle of icy rain.

Think it was around 11.30 when we left Racers – Heather & Vonda said their goodbyes, then I followed the former back to her place, and from there soon after, around to another of Heather’s favourite eating places [can’t recall this name but she was hoping it would be within possible walking distance after her knee operation later this week]. It was there that I was shouted to a light lunch [having not eaten anything since 5.30 this morning] while Heather sat back with a glass of wine and something to nibble  – I was the ‘agreed’ driver for the rest of the day, so no wine for Bill – actually that was my choice, can’t seem to manage more than a glass at a time these days!!

From there, we drove into the city central part of Ballarat, where we discovered the shortage of parking on this busy heritage weekend, but eventually had some success, not a long walk back to Sturt Street to another fascinating little book shop  –  in fact, to ‘Known World’ –  Quality second hand & collectable books, expresso coffee bar & [upstairs], a boutique city apartment. Didn’t get to see the latter part of the establishment [and the proprietor, whom Heather knew of course] was upstairs, cleaning at the time we were in the shop. Apparently, this place started life in 2001 as Buninyong Books, located in the small historic former goldmining township of Buninyong [where Heather’s daughter, Vonda lives. In June 2008, they relocated to Ballarat, at 14 Sturt Street. The new premises, are in an 1880s Victorian building on this main thoroughfare of the city, and is much larger than the former shop, and offers a wonderful selection of quality second-hand books, together with an espresso coffee bar, in a 1930s Art Deco-inspired atmosphere [rarely for us, we didn’t actually have a coffee on this occasion!!]. I must say however, that the place  held a fascinating collection of books, though generally not particularly cheap for ‘second hand’ books, but the collection is comprehensive, with quality literature, modern classics, books on the arts, history, philosophy, Australia, militaria, science & technology, poetry and more. There is also an excellent collection of children’s literature, including childhood favourites and classics.

They do take a great deal of pride in the collection at The Known World, being proud of their books, and of the service they  provide our customers, both there at the bookshop, and to their online customers.  That latter aspect attracted my attention, and no doubt I will be in contact with them on future occasions, but decided I would certainly be back here in the shop. Once thing I discovered in recent weeks through my friendship with Heather is the amazing little collection of bookshops hidden around parts of Victoria!!  An interesting little promo note from this place  – ‘I hope you enjoy browsing our collection as much as we enjoyed assembling it’ [Michelle Coxall, presumably, the proprietor].  Anyway, we purchased a couple of books while we were there – in fact Heather bought me a little booklet called a ‘Guide For the Advanced Soul’ by Susan Hayward, described as a ‘book of insight’. I think she wanted to show me that there were other means of creating faith and seeking assistance in life troubles in addition to both of our Christian backgrounds  – this little booklet began it’s introduction with the words “Your life is a journey. In it you will face challenges, then leaps forward; setbacks and despair; joy and sadness. But whatever life holds for you be sure of one thing: that your reality is what ‘you create’ to give you the opportunity for growth  –  A Guide For The Advanced Soul is a book of insight to be consulted in times of indecision and crisis to help you understand your questions, and give guidance…………and with it, you will come to understand that every problem holds a gift for you in its hands”.  Interesting philosophy and ideas,  and no doubt over the weeks ahead, this writer will come to share with his readers some of the thoughts contained therein. Meanwhile, this will no doubt shock my friends out there in the wider world who would not accept that words of guidance could come from any source other than the Christian Bible.  Meanwhile, Eileen Caddy’s quote on the back cover – ‘Be at Peace and see a clear pattern running through your lives. Nothing is by chance.’

From bookshops to electrical stores, where without a great deal of knowledge about such matters on the part of both of us, Heather purchased a DVD player, which incorporated the ‘Blue Ray facilities, apparently the follow up medium now available to DVDs – the limit of my understanding of Blue Ray!! Anyway, Heather needed the DVD to make use of while she was ‘cooped’ up in her home after this week’s operation, and not allowed to drive for 6 weeks or so!!

The afternoon was passing quickly – we’d not participated in any of the ‘special’ events happening this weekend, but nevertheless, time was flying – appropriate, as Heather’s personal inscription on the inside cover of the above mentioned book was simply ‘Come fly with me’!!  That saying will form a part of this weekend’s Face Book ‘poetic entry’!

I took Heather back to her place, where she had a few tasks to attend to. She was a little disappointed that  she had not heard from her son, on this Mother’s Day. Although over the years, that had sadly not been an unusual occurrence! In the meantime, I drove across to the Eureka Lodge Motel [where I’d decided to stay the night, rather than return to Sunbury this evening – becoming my regular relatively inexpensive place of accommodation these days in Ballarat, modest but comfortable and certainly suitable for my comfort].  Early evening, and back to pick up Heather, and take us both out to dinner, back to Sturt Street again, this time a beautiful cosy little restaurant  – the Red Peppa on Sturt [at 34 Sturt Street, described as one of the best restaurants in Ballarat, and yes, the prices did reflect that! Quite crowded for Mothers Day night as to be expected, in fact, I don’t think they are normally open on Sunday nights, so did some good business on this occasion [including from us!!].  The promo material refers to a menu which is  updated regularly by head chef paul burge and reflects the latest in culinary trends.  Lunch Specials: *Chicken wrap, *Grilled Fish, *Chicken Parmagiana, *Open Steak Sandwich, *Seafood curry, *Risotto, *Piri Piri spiced calamari salad, *Pasta, *Duck Salad, *Open Sichuan Spiced Lamb Souvlaki, *Includes a complimentary house wine or soft drink. Dinner Menu: *Soup, *Garlic bread, *Bruschetta, *Red Peppa platter, *Prawns, *Duck Pancakes, *Trout Salad, *Market Fish, *ice-cream.  We actually only had the one course each [actually, Heather had two entrees including the Duck pancakes, while I had the main Duck meal plus a salad, and was very pleased with the outcome Heavy means have been the curse of me of late, or simply having a course more than I really need at present. This dish was perfect for the purpose of avoiding a heavy meal. Again, a glass of wine for Heather, but not for yours truly!!

A rather pleasant way to finish up a very pleasant day, and I think I can add with some certainty that my accomplice enjoyed the company and the opportunity on this Mother’ Day to have her mind relieved of the need to dwell too constantly on both,  the recent loss of her own mother, and he impending medical procedures she herself has to go through over the next few days. I would be back later in the week to see her, in the Ballarat Hospital, in which place we were actually both born, six weeks apart some 65 years ago!





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