Christmas on the rails.

18 12 2008

Last night we attended the Maldon and Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre’s Christmas Party.  It was the Maldon Centre’s turn to host the party and Leigh organised to incorporate the Victorian Goldfields Railway into the party.  The plan was for the Maldon volunteers to meet Leigh at the Maldon Station, take a steam train to Castlemaine to pick up the other group of volunteers and then return half-way to Muckleford Station for a dinner.  We were waiting at the station for about an hour as the train we were supposed to take blew a compressor.  This is the one half of the conversation Leigh heard: “It’s blown a compressor… How bad’s that on a scale of 1 to 10?… 13?… oh.”

The staff at the Maldon station were very helpful and we soon had a new engine and were on our way.  Leigh had made up posters warning the volunteers of bush rangers who had been spotted in the area and to keep a close eye out.  As we were about to leave Castlemaine with a full train it was attacked by the felonious “Black Douglas” and his accomplice “Moriarty” who had just kidnapped the (in)famous Lola Montez!  Unfortunately they robbed all the volunteers of their Kris Kringle presents and made their escape however the presents later turned up, probably when they realised the loot was only worth $5.00 a piece!  Even still, with over 100 volunteers in attendance that’s a lot of cheap gifts!!

Leigh’s panic over catering for such large numbers was unjustified as everyone seemed to get a good sized meal at Muckleford.  Wendy provided a roast pumpkin and couscous  salad which was devoured very quickly!  We were indebted to Arthur & Lyn Chapple from Chapple’s Cairn Curran Winery who not only donated bottles of their very fine wine (which vanished rather quickly…) but also the use of their portable cool room.  As a token of thanks we held a raffle of two bottles of their wine to raise funds for a men’s health night at the Maldon Masonic Lodge in the new year.  This was a great success and raised $170 for this great cause and was a fitting end to finish off the night.

Below is a selection of images throughout the evening in chronological order… Merry Christmas!


Wireless Internet is Here!

15 12 2008

wirelessToday we installed wireless internet to Palm House.  The benifits of wireless are   two-fold.  For starters, we can now access this blog from anywhere in the house which makes it easy to update.  Secondly, guests will have internet access available to their personal laptops whilst staying at the property.

After playing with security settings we seem to have reached a happy compromise.  Guests will be charged a flat rate for internet access and recieve the WAP key for the duration of their stay.

In other exiting news, it looks as if Rex may be getting a little sister sooner than we thought!  We’re heading down to a breeder in the next couple of days and will write about the outcome…

Avoiding work…

5 12 2008

Wendy’s father is coming up to stay in the spare room over the weekend.  The only problem with this is the room is absolutely covered in dust grit DIRT from Leigh’s renovation work.  The room is looking fantastic, if you spend a few moments removing layers of strata to see the finished job.  In a futile effort to save the vacuum cleaner from certain death by suffocation we just took a walk up the street.  During the lead up to Christmas the shops are staying open to 8:30 pm on Friday nights.  It was really fun seeing the shop keepers get into the Christmas  spirit by having a few drinks outside the shops – great work ethic guys!  Speaking of work ethics, back to it I guess…

R.I.P. Wertheim, you suck at your job but that’s why we love you.

Ode to the Haggis!

2 12 2008

Last night we were fortunate enough to attend St Andrews Day celebrations at the historic Maldon Penny School Gallery & Cafe. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and the feast of St Andrew is held on the 30 November (more info about St Andrew can be found here).

After a short stroll to the Penny School, we were greeted at the petanque piste by the sound of pipes and a complimentary dram (one of many throughout the evening!). Before long the old school ground was filled with tartan from many clans and we were soon piped into the building to start the festivities.

The building was very well decorated inside with beautiful table settings and St Andrew’s flag bunting adorning the ceiling. The Penny School does a fantastic job at pulling out all the stops for these events – hats off to Barry and Marilyn! There is a real air of history in the building, and rightly so as the building is classified by the National Trust and Heritage Victoria. It was build as a multi-denominational school during the gold rush and it is believed the name “Penny School” comes from the cost of tuition. Depending on how lucky the parents were on the goldfields ultimately decided on how much education a child received…

After being shown to our table we were witness to the “Ode of the Haggis” with a fantastic poetry reading by local poet Richard “Skreitch” Leech after which the Haggis was paraded around the room before being carved and served. It was a great tasting dish, nice and spicy and it really hit the spot with a local Blue Pyrenees Estate Viognier!

The main course was a true Scottish buffet with dishes which would appeal to anyone – the roast beef with whiskey gravy was a great success. Desert of summer pudding followed which was made with sumptuous berries which were tart and balanced the dish very well. Between courses we were treated to Scottish and Australian bush poetry and a few songs about the ol’ country. We finished the night with shortbread, chocolate thistles and a serving of Atholl Brose, a mixture of oatmeal, honey, and whisky. Legend has it that the Duke of Atholl overcame his enemies, during a Highland rebellion in 1745, by filling their well with this intoxicating mixture and after a the amount of food plied on us we can see how this could be the case!

After a chorus of Auld Lang Syne we wandered back home and were greeted by our well trimmed hedges and garden lights, not to mention Rex who seemed to forgive us for leaving him on his lonesome for a few hours. I don’t even feel guilty for having a sleep in this morning…

Slightly off topic…

27 11 2008

The editors of the Philatelic Database are good friends of Palm House B&B and we believe they are running a fantastic website. If you trawl their site you may even come across a few references to Maldon’s philatelic history!
Renovations are coming along well in the house – the end is nearly nigh for a few projects!! We are about to install wireless internet to help motivate us with our blogging as well as giving guests the service to plug into the network.

More to come soon…

Mt Tarrengower Vintage Car Hill Climb

2 11 2008

The smell of burning rubber and exhaust hung over the Mount’ during the recent Mt Tarrengower Vintage Car Hill Climb.  This is a very well attended event which spans two days and brings hundreds of vintage cars and motorbikes to town.  We had two competitors driving race model MGs and two representatives from Shannon’s Car Insurance staying with us – it was an odd site having race cars on trailers set up in the car park!

Palm House included in top 52 accommodation destinations!

18 10 2008

Today Palm House was included in the annual The Age – Good Weekend magazine’s top 52 accommodation destinations!  The phone has been ringing all day which must mean people agree with the publication’s endorsement.  We realise that we promised more photos of the garden but this was exciting enough to take preference.

Rex in the car

Rex in the car

After getting up early to intercept the paper we headed to Bendigo to purchase some essentials for our renovations – Leigh hit the hardware shop like a mad thing while Wendy brought some pull cords for the new energy efficient downlight’s we’ve installed in the servant’s quarters.  Another suprise purchase was an antique desk for  upstairs which we were lucky enough to get our hands on before it was restored.  Talk about a snap purchase!

Aside form this news, we took Rex to the annual Castlemaine Sheep-dog trials today (you wouldn’t know he was excited from the photo to the right!).  He met a lot of Boarder Collies who were doing their job but he seemed content to sit down and lap up attention from other Boarder Collie owners.  After today it seems certain Rex will have a new friend to play with soon…