Hello all! We are now on our way to Port Fairy - a little beach town about three hours south west of Melbourne. Hamish's parents have a house in Port Fairy where the Berry boys spent holidays and weekends growing up. The family has been going to Port Fairy for the last 40 years. So safe to say that they have lots of friends and share wonderful memories from surfing on the beach (sharks and freezing water - why not?), eating fish & chips (fried delight!) and going to the local pub called "The Stump" (stick to beer by the pitcher and watch yourself cause the local boys are aggressive!). Hamish lists Port Fairy as amongst his favorite places in the world so it's always a treat to be in Port Fairy with him. All in all, we are going to spend Easter weekend with the Berry clan - eating, drinking, egg hunting, walking on the beach - your general Easter festivities!
Things in Florida are holding steady but after the Easter weekend we are pulling the plug on the world tour. We are leaving Australia to head back to the US on Tuesday and will be in The Doe (ie, Orlando) on Wednesday. It will be good to lend our support and to be close - but I know it will be a hard transition for all of us. Neve has new relatives to meet and new cribs to sleep in. It's hard to leave, of course, but we need to be Florida right now and we will be back in the land of Oz soon.
Some highlights of our last week in Melbourne:
Hamish's grandmother lived on a beautiful farm about 60 miles North of Melbourne in an area called Seymour. It is an area of rolling hills and horse farms. Two of Hamish's Uncles still own Talgai - one taking the old family home and the other building a super cool modern home down near the river (it's something right out of Dwell)! Hamish's parents were married at Talgai - so needless to say, this place is a big part of the fabric of the family. We went up to Talgai with Hamish's cousin Pete and his wife Wendy and there two little ones - Hamish (my H's god son) and Charlotte. The place is really gorgeous - a rushing river, large rambling family homestead, tennis court, lovely gardens. It's really special. Pete and Wendy fed us delicious beef and we drank some very nice red wine (maybe a little too much my head was telling me at 3am that morning when Neve stirred!).
We were trying to be good people and brought chocolate bunnies for little Hamish and Charlotte, which I now realize is a total newbie, bad parent move. Sort of like giving large plastic loud noise making things as birthday presents to toddlers! Anyway, Hamish and Charlotte dove right into the chocolate and Wendy was doing a good job of monitoring the amounts. But little Hamish puked up most of his lunch and was sick the next day and, well, I'm afraid the bad bunny decision played a major role in the yaking outcome. Little Hamish is totally charming - even sick - and after his puke session he announced that he was not really sick, but was just "kidding about being sick" and could certainly have more chocolate! Hilarious! You got to REALLY love something to want to eat it after losing your lunch! Poor little guy! Sorry Peter & Wendy and thanks so much for a truly enchanting time at Talgai!
Beautiful spot for lunch at Talgai!
Cousin Pete and H with Neve on our walk around the manor.
Little Hamish - he is the cutest thing!!
H and Neve by the river which is still swollen with all the rain.
On our walk we happened by Uncle Sandy's where we were offered some champers!
We have dragged numerous friends and family down to Port Melbourne to spend time with us while we have been here. On our first day I ran by this place called the Sand Bar - which is right on the beach -- that I thought looked very inviting. Large tables opening on the beach, big deck - food, wine! We enjoyed catching up with folks there a few times and at some of the other places in Port Melbourne.
Matt and Nat with Jamie and Max. They insisted on walking on the rock walls the whole way!!
Stuart and Sarah with little Neve -- they are the best EPs!!
Friends at the Sand Bar.
Another Hamish and his lovely daughter!
Myrniong Part II
On Thursday we packed ourselves up (no easy task given our luggage explosion and Hamish's constant conference calls) and headed back up to Jane & James farm in Myrniong to spend the night. We went on a long hike, ate at the local pub and spent some time jumping on the trampoline and climbing in the haystacks with the kids. All a total hoot!
Jane & James gave us their bedroom which over looks several large paddocks and on down to the Lerdederg Park. It's exactly the view you think of when someone says "big sky country". The horses were out in the paddock and it's quite a big space but they like to stand right up against the fence closest to the bedroom window. Throughout the night, we would wake with Neve and watch them walking around or sleeping - which was really comforting is some funny way.
When Neve woke up for her 6am feed, the sky was just starting to get light and we could actually see kangaroos hoping around in the far paddock (as promised by Jane!)!!! AMAZING!! There were about 10 of them - babies and larger ones - eating grass and drinking from the damn. Just hanging around like it was totally normal that large bouncy creatures emerge at dawn from nowhere and escape back into the gum tree forest just after sunrise like an alarm has sounded.
The sky was a beautiful purple color with large misty grey clouds and where the sun was breaking through it was a dark reddish pink. So much color! What a lovely morning! Giving your sweet baby girl a bottle while looking out at kangaroos and horses and colorful birds crossing endless skies. It was all JUST PERFECTION!! Then Neve and I fell back into a coma like sleep!
James & Hamish at the pub with Neve looking like she's had one to many bottles!
The Berry Boys!
The Enchanted Forrest.
Hiking along the creek.
Such cute cows. Look America - they are eating grass in fields!! Amazing!!
Haystacks are a blast to climb in. Highly suggested if you ever get the chance!
So, spending the past few weeks in Melbourne was - as you can see - really great. Other than, of course, the weak US dollar! Australia is pretty painfully expensive so no shopping for us (not that we have the space anyway!!). I had also been doing some work trying to find a perfect (and affordable) pinot noir since we've been in Melbourne, but sadly, I am giving up. Everything I purchased was disappointing and when we left our apartment in Port Melbourne we poured out several bottles that had been abandoned after the first sad glass (or two for good measure). I think I'm going to move on to another grape. I know, I know -- pinot has always been my favorite but frankly I'm pretty discouraged. H and I discussed it and I think we are going to try some blends. Will let you all know how that goes!
Neve is thriving absolutely. She can whip that bobble head around now showing off her new found neck muscles, makes so much eye contact that it's unnerving, has an occasional smile (especially at her Uncle James who she has a big crush on), has fat rolls on her thighs and many chins and is just generally being an adorable baby. Her Australian cousins fight over holding her and feeding her and she loves to be amongst them -- kicking arms and legs around and chirping as she tries to be a part of it all. Her cousin Eloise is particularly taken by Neve. She was holding her while we were packing up today and I overheard a conversation where she was discussing how great it was that Neve is so much more adorable than most babies -- how adorable is that! Eloise even helped me out with a couple nasty pesto diapers and that my friends, is true love!! Neve is an Aussie and has loved being here and being doted on by her family!
My little peacock girl!!
So, Mr. Rattle Puppy, what do you say we bust out of this place!
More on Port Fairy and our trip back to the US later -
Love to all,
G, H & N