Thursday, 24 September 2015

Endless Green

The Yarra Valley, Victoria

We’re breaking some rules this time round, but I’m reminding myself that I was here so that some credibility might survive. Not too far from my door (an hour’s drive from Melbourne also) is the stunning Yarra Valley, a picturesque setting everyone visiting and living in Victoria should drive through; if you’ve got wheels, use them because it’s one of the ways to take everything in. Motorcyclists are also encouraged to join in.
 The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken by Ash and Jessica Stacey, 2015)
 The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken by Melissa Ong, 2015)
The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken 2015)
I’ve done the drive many a time already; I had family scattered throughout the area for several generations so weekend visits were in an abundance during my childhood… but in all of that I’ve rarely delved into what joys this land can provide. I’ve always enjoyed the plentiful greens hills, the trees waving in the breeze and going over the rock creeks. Embarrassing to some degree, I know, but this sheep happens to know what outsourcing is.

Pinching a few words from some friendlies, with their willing consent of course, I’ve evidently managed to scratch something up. Yes, I could talk about my owns history with the Valley; my grandfather once fired a miniature cannon across the Maroondah Highway and mine knew the family of the singer, Dame Nellie Melba (they were neighbours) just for bragging rights, but that’s kinda where it ends.
There’s an endless landscape of green (think of what Charlize Theron missed out on in Fury Road), inviting towns (Healesville, Coldstream and Yarra Glen just to name a few) and wine abundant; I figured this would be of more interest.

With it already being stated, wine is what you’ll find in the Valley. Wineries and vineyards stand dominant so if you can’t find one there’s something wrong on your end kiddies. I’ve been in and out of several for varying reasons, one of which was when I worked at one decanting old bottles of plonk for a week (DO NOT DO THIS unless you enjoy getting drenched in bad booze), but I’ve made a conscious decision to give the wine industry a backseat in this travel rant.

The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken 2015)
Not to be a disappointment, I will point out that Balgownie Estate and Mandala have their choice liquids and Stone was where I attended, what was described by another, as the funniest memorial ever! So, with that all out of the way, here’s what I’ve got to share about the rest of the place.
First off the block is the Yarra Valley Dairy, an old fashioned set up that can even draw in the lactose intolerant. These walls I’ve actually stepped into so I won’t be entirely hopeless (there’s a pyramid-shaped cheese coated in wood ash that should be considered). If it happens to be a foodie experience you’re in search of, this is the way to go.

Yarra Valley Dairy, The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken by Melissa Ong, 2015) 
With a paddock of cows greeting you, you’re invited to try the gourmet cheeses, wines and other delicacies gracing the shelves, all the while being treated to a splendid view of the land. My peep, who was recently there, greatly appreciated the use of local produce and the homely farmhouse feel of the place (I was once there. I agree with her!) We’re going through an age where some places can get hectic and be in your face, but the Dairy is the complete opposite. I assure you!  

Next I’ll point you towards the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie… which is what it is; indulgence. No doubt drawn in by guilty pleasure and the three big bowls of milk, dark and white chocolate rocking the front counter, it’s how interactive the Chocolaterie can be that has the other peep hooked. There was also a Willy Wonka vibe in her words, if I’m not mistaken.     

Yarra Valley Chocalaterie, The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken by Rachael Asbury, 2015)
Think about it, you’ve got a family you need to satisfy and an unrealised yet closeted desire to give yourself diabetes; the answer is here. There’s so much to choose from, some of which comes in tennis ball form; it’s fresh and you can see it get made and take shape even. Don’t turn away, even if the acne takes over! Ice cream is also involved and that’s a universal language.

Onwards, this is where I share what I truly appreciate about the Yarra Valley. Driving and riding are two means to see what’s going on, but now I share with you the third.

During my since regretted working stint I was fortunate enough to enter the winery, just as the early morning mist was clear and the sun was starting to show, and fixed in the sky were the all too common hot-air balloons. This you could easily spend a good lump of time just looking at. My final contributor (whose Facebook posts inspired this Blogspot one) decided to take the wife, hop in the basket and see everything from another perspective.

The Yarra Valley, Victoria (taken by Ash and Jessica Stacey, 2015)
I’m not one for heights, but I’m convincing myself that an argument will be made one of these days when the income suits; for those who enjoy the scenery, a balloon ride over the endless green might give you a feeling of completion. Peace and relaxation mixes together whilst you float over the hills, with turbulence coming along for the ride, but that’s only (and it can be) a minor setback. Another might be the sound that comes with the jets going into effect but we’ll leave things at that.

Despite having only taken part in one of these experiences, please don’t go judging. I’ve always welcomed the drives along the winding roads and that’s what my dear bloggie is all about; taking what’s most enjoyed and sharing it with others. This time around I’ve just sought out what others have taken most from the setting and done what I’ve always done. There are three new sheep about; be afraid… or don’t, but if given the opportunity, go out and see the Yarra Valley.
Endless green is all you’ll need. 


Thursday, 3 September 2015

So It's Been A Year...

Currently sitting on 2558 views from all over (less than half of which are my own), I find myself thinking of those times I see a lady friend or relative who is expecting a child. You see them at the start of the pregnancy, don't see them for the full nine months and then get word that the kids has come out; it feels like the time has flown by. I say this because it describes my reaction to my learning that it's now been a year (according to that 'On This Day' app thingy on the Facebook) that The Sheep Was Here first hit the blog circuit.

Am I pleased? The answer most certainly is yes, in part because I've got something to write about (another travel post is on the way), but mostly because I never gave this whole travel writing idea the flick whatsoever.

White Haven Beach, Queensland (taken 2011) 

Just a few fresh reminders, this little exercise started following a food court discussion (most of said discussion's content will remain in my head for the sake of the children) with a friend who I will forever be indebted to, as well as the others who told me of what kind of good a blog could do for its writer. Blogging about the travels was not just a means to share my stories, but also to keep my love of writing alive.

It was always the dream to be a novelist but in this age it's become more and more difficult to get the stories out to the people. One day I hope to have my madness printed in book form, with my name on the cover and mugshot no where to be seen, but until that said day I'll be happy with what I'm doing now.

In the last twelve months I've racked up views from across the world (Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Iraq, Fiji, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Poland, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, France, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Romania and all the others that I apologetically can't remember) which has left me pretty besh on the subject. To all of those who I nagged to have a peek, and those who found this assortment of big and fancy words during your stints in cyberspace, I thank you with some big hairy arms.

Add to that, there are a few highlights that came my way; the first being when I was asked to contribute my post about the Royal Melbourne Zoo to the St. Kilda News (Zu Dayz, for anyone needing another reminder) and when the writer of Never Ending Footsteps, Lauren Juliff, sent me some much appreciated advice and big words meaning 'good' and 'nice'.

Another much thought about highlight was the single 'on the blog' comment from 42 Pounds (that's the name that was listed) about my thoughts on the home city of Melbourne; I've most favourably taken to heart 42 Pounds' envy of my seeing Joss Whedon speak in public. That said, more comments are most welcome.

These little travel stories, a collection of once rusty messes that have since changed over time, and all of those one off posts (when the 1000th view was recorded and when I started writing about the overseas locations I've visited) are still in the making so I invite you to keep reading. All of this was about inspiring people to take their own steps out into the world, which I still intend to do (two continents are in my sights for 2016), because who really wants to stick around in the same fish pond?

The Next Odyssey (taken 2015)

Thank you for the views. Thank you for the kind words, of which there have been many. I look forward to sharing more of my stories with you. Peace.