June seemed to be all about relationships – meeting new people and renewing acquaintances with friends I made last year in October, November, and December. In the blogging master class I made the acquaintance of a few women who were disciplined bloggers, who I am now trying to emulate. Through a friend of mine in the UC-Riverside MFA program (who is a freshly minted MFA in Screen- and Playwriting) I met a delightful young woman with whom I shared a flat white coffee and a few hours of conversation. Judith and Milton’s daughter and her partner have become new friends, as well.
A journey up to Bendigo to visit with Judith and Milton seemed like a good thing to do. I had taken the train up a couple weeks earlier to see an exhibit from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, “Grace Kelly: Style Icon” which displayed gowns and dresses from her movie roles and her role as a Princess. (By the way, there’s a really obnoxious ad before this video starts …Just a warning.) The exhibit was crowded and over-heated (note to self: don’t wait until the final weekend of a show) but the gowns were fabulous to see, especially to someone who loves textiles and still sews.
I still like Bendigo immensely, and the hospitality was without fault. Although it’s a provincial city of only 100,000 people (I think it’s 100,000 – there’s no metric conversion for population, right?) it is the third largest city in the state of Victoria. Bendigo Art Gallery is the only venue in Australia that will host the Grace Kelly exhibit. The Bell Shakespeare Company (out of Sydney) presents there regularly. With the growing population come more amenities plus, it’s an easy distance from Melbourne and its activities.
While I was there J&M and I visited the Sutton Grange Art Show, a yearly event that is not juried, although prizes are awarded. There was a preponderance of water color landscapes, and a number of oddities, but I liked the sculptures. According to the nice people collecting the $2 admission at the door, there were more than 200 paintings entered.
Visiting my friends down in Marlo, Debra and Andrew, also seemed like a good thing to do, so I set out from Bendigo on train one morning (not quite two hours on the train) connected in Melbourne to the Bairnsdale train (another 4 and a half hours) and then hopped on a bus to Marlo in east Gippsland (another 2 hours). Cities and towns aren’t close together in this country.
Cold weather in northeastern Victoria is pretty typical as it’s on the south coast and enjoys lots of rain in the winter. I think the weather might slow down the photography business, but A. is quite extroverted and we had many lively discussions – he does possess a contradictory streak, god bless ‘im. D&A’s house is quite comfy, though, and I had a room with a heater all to myself. When I arrived, Ming, a Chinese student, was staying through Helpx. When I left, a French student, Camille, had just arrived. Since the Helpx thing was covered, I got to relax and visit – and didn’t even have to wash windows this time.
After a week in Marlo, I caught a bus in Orbost to Canberra (4 hours) where I stayed overnight at the grubby YHA hostel, then caught a train to Sydney the next day (4 hours) and stayed with my friends Susan and John. (We attended the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Sydney Opera House last year.) Then, on to another train to Tamworth (6 hours) where I’ll be a Helpx-er to Kate and Phil. I’ll paint and hopefully get back on a horse if Phil is ready to mentor me since it’s been awhile. He used to be a bull rider (has the championship belt buckles and saddles to prove it) and still , in his words, “messes around” with horses on his ranch in the hinterlands of northern New South Wales. Should prove to be an interesting couple weeks.
This entry is short, I know, but is intended to just be a space marker between my time visiting in Melbourne and starting my journey staying on organic/sustainable farms. I feel as though I am finally getting into the true purpose of my time here.