Our farewells began in Leopold, where we spent the last night of our Great Ocean Road trip. Leopold is west of Geelong, which is around the bay to the west of Melbourne.
Robin’s made some good friends during his tours, and the four of us (the twins and their respective partners) were warmly welcomed by two of them, Adriana and Milton Harwood, as well as their two friendly canines, Josh (poodle) and Chappy (boxer).
Here we were, four people descending on them with less than a week’s warning, and they greeted us in true Aussie fashion, with such open-hearted friendliness and generous hospitality that we hated saying goodbye to them the next day.
Adriana is a terrific cook, and Milton keeps her well supplied with appliances and gadgets and lovely gifts from his extensive travels. (He manages installation of some pretty massive electrical projects.) Not many men enjoy shopping, but Milton’s an exception. What’s more, he has great taste.
The morning after our special evening with the Harwoods, Michelle (Robin’s daughter) and Miriam (her beautiful partner) arrived to collect us. They’d driven all the way from their home in St. Kilda to pick us up and take us to Box Hill (both Melbourne neighbourhoods but about 45 minutes’ drive apart).
Saying goodbye to David and Jeannette was hard. We’d been underfoot since January, except for a few days in Port Elliot, ten days in Western Australia, and three weeks of house sitting for their neighbours.
We all know the saying about the similarity in smells between fish and visitors that have overstayed their welcome. Yet we’d been in each others’ pockets for months and were still great friends. It was doubly hard to say goodbye because we’ve no idea when our next trip to Oz will be. Thank goodness for Skype.
Saying goodbye to Adriana and Milton was hard too. They’re the kind of folks we want as neighbours, warm, accepting, down to earth. We know we’ll see them again. We just don’t know when.
Arriving in Melbourne, for one of Darren’s and Natalie’s gourmet feasts, we found Lily had lost some of her baby fat and gained a new skill – walking. How good it was to look around the table at the four beautiful young people who made our November-December stay in Melbourne so special and made me feel part of the family.
We spent the first half of our brief stay in Melbourne with Darren and Nat. Then Michelle picked us up to spend the last half with her and Miriam.
The stay was entirely too brief but added to our quandary. We’d had a fabulous time in Melbourne and then another fabulous time in Adelaide. If we live in Australia, where would we want to be? We need to win the lottery so we can have a home in Adelaide, a home in Melbourne, a home in Kelowna, and maybe even a home further north in Australia, out of the worst hay fever zone. (Robin suffered the whole five months.)
We didn’t have time to catch up with everyone we’d like to have seen in Melbourne, but we did pay a brief visit to two homes. The first was in Brunswick, home of Max, the silk terrier who wrapped his furry self around our hearts. Lyndal and Allan were visiting relatives and friends in ireland while we looked after Max. We’d kept in touch by e-mal while they traveled so were delighted to have a chance to see them before we left.
Our last visit was a fitting end to our time in Melbourne. We’d gotten to know Rick and Mario when they were fellow passengers on the cruise from Seattle to Wellington last September. In Melbourne we’d been able to bring them and Michelle and Mim together for dinner and an evening of stimulating conversation. Rick and Mario invited us all over for one final dinner in their gracious Albert Park home. The meal was to die for, the conversation a delight, the company the best. What a great ending – well, almost ending, as Easter weekend in Sydney was yet to come – to our stay in Australia.
One last photo before I close off this entry. Here’s Robin, aka “Popsy” with the little munchkin who’s stolen our heart, granddaughter Lily Jarman. As I write it’s actually Mother’s Day in Canada, and we’re awaiting news of the arrival of Lily’s new sibling.
P.S. Just one more photo. This one from Darren. How many places in the world do kangaroos hang around watching golfers?