Thongless in Healesville

Last weekend I had the happy occasion to attend a wedding in Victoria, where my dear friend’s daughter was getting married at Stones of the Yarra Valley. Indeed it was a big celebration because there were 3 celebrations – the welcome BBQ, the chapel wedding in the winery and my friend’s 60th birthday!

It had an international flavour, that’s for sure with guests arriving from the UK, California, Tokyo, Perth, Sydney and Tassie. My friends are living and working in Moscow.

How we managed to drive to our airbnb accommodation was a little miracle, especially as my partner and I do not own a GPS ( sat nav) and we spent more than an hour in the Thrifty car hire queue waiting for the keys and paperwork for the Corolla. It also happened to be a long weekend in Melbourne, hence the business of people and traffic.

Nevertheless, we made it to country Healesville stopping at the Choclaterie to enjoy some lunch and coffee. The views were stunning even with the dryness of the landscape.

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After leaving all that tempting chocolate and what a buzzing place of colour and atmosphere, we drove on to the main street in Healesville to wander the shops. Lively, casual and friendly are the words that come to my mind to describe the locals as I changed into my shorts and summer top ( it was steamy hot) and began walking barefoot to find some thongs. I kicked off my walking shoes and had enough of the closed in feel, opting for a relaxed and easy going footwear. I felt strange wandering around the streets with no shoes on, but it took 3 chemists shops and a cheap shop to buy thongs. This is when I discovered the hairdresser in town, the pub, the best place to enjoy a coffee and pie, the newsagency and art gallery, plus the swap meet that was on the Sunday at the Yerra Glen Racing Track. The locals are great at passing on information and guessing where you come from and why you are here.

At the swap meet held once a year we had so much fun browsing, touching, talking and asking questions of the stall holders. Eight dollars on entry, we wandered around checking out the vintage cars, antiques, collections, toys, wares and memorabilia and junk! A diverse group of people with an eye for that bargain!

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We came away with a few toys and a brass skull.

The highlight of our country stay was the beautiful wedding of Rachel and Michael.

With uninterrupted views across vineyards to the mountains beyond, Stones of the Yarra Valley is the region’s premiere destination for relaxed lunches, weddings and special events.

A soft, mint lace and sparkly gown for the bride, a handsome suit with tears running down his face,( the groom) and very proud parents and family. Set in the stone chapel with exquisite flowers, candles and the choral voice of David, the service was light hearted and sentimental with a cracking thunderstorm as Rachel walked down the aisle and a groomsman fainting during the vows. Rose petals flung into the air, the smell of rain and hugs galore – bouquets of hydrangea, roses, mint, lavender and leaves and a dinner to die for – how lucky were we. And probably the most dignified and heart warming speeches I have listened to in a long time. With the clinking of glasses, inspiring messages, and love abiding presence of the families, this joyful wedding was life affirming.

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There’s something radiant about a gorgeous bride; equally Michael’s humble and loving manner impressed everyone. They are such a lovely couple.

A little tourist drive took us to the Tarra Warra Museum of Contemporary Art where the Louise Hearman exhibition was showing. What a brilliant artist, whose atmospheric paintings are thought provoking and strikingly intense.

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Now if that’s not enough for a weekend, the next afternoon saw us at a 60th occasion where about 20 of us gathered to wish my friend a happy birthday. Set in an old Federation country homestead with views of rolling hills, the simple event brought friends together for a meal, sing-along and speeches. Our stomachs full and memories made, we all felt cherished and special. I have known my girlfriend for 50 years. I enjoyed a lemon and freshly cut ginger sliced cup of tea before departing.

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The next day saw us driving to the airport with a frenzied crowd and a long wait before returning to Brisbane.

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