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Friday, December 06, 2002

Ararat is a small town west of Melbourne. I had been there before, but I particularly wanted to visit a winery that I had found interesting a year ago. The town is tiny and, to the eyes of the widely travelled, undistinguished. However, it has one of the invariable features that make travelling such a joy, in Australia: somewhere to get a really good meal cheaply.

The Vines cafe is to be found in the main street. It also sells wine, retail, and it is worth looking at their stocks. Those that I recognised were of high quality.

My lunch consisted of Tuscan roast vegetable salad and a glass of Mount Langi Ghiran (local) Pinot Gris, 2001. The wine was excellent, if a little too cold, and the total bill, including tea, was well below $20 - that's about 7 pounds in 'real money'. You begin to see why I love Australia?

The journey to Ararat, once I was clear of the Melbourne traffic, was sublime to one used to the crowded roads of the UK: long stretches of dual carriageway with cars often kilometres apart. That's the sort of boring I can handle...


Yesterday, 4th December, as I sat looking out of the window in Maryborough, not far from Melbourne, it went prematurely dark. Clouds had already obscured the sun so I was unable to observe the partial eclipse there, only its effects.

Elsewhere in Australia, in Ceduna, South Australia, for example, the eclipse was total and the sun was not obscured, other than by the moon. The pictures on TV today (5th December) were as impressive as always; better to watch on TV than with the eyes, for obvious reasons. I doubt if this event made the news elsewhere in the World.

Another piece of news that will probably not have travelled is about the Salvador Dali exhibition that has been touring Australasia. Apparently, there are many rarely-seen works and the exhibition has just opened in Melbourne. They include a sculpture on the theme of time. A fuller report on this will follow if I can find the jolly old exhibition. I'm sure you will enjoy it greatly, Mrs T., especially as I am getting nearer to being able to post pictures.

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