Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Grampians Texture Adventure

Already it seems a lifetime ago. Grampians – what happened?!! Sunday: Well, the 4:30am pick up went not so smoothly, with an impossibly hungover Svenja struggling to throw herself together in time. I managed to leave behind my camera and my medication. Yay. Luckily, Jenelle had her camera, sans charger, but I’d packed mine and she also had a Canon, so that worked out well! Yay to the Virgin Lounge, where we had coffee and a thimble of yoghurt and muesli.




Then onto the ‘plane, where we took our first photo of the trip – Chupa Chup man! A Samoan man clearly in need of stocking up on Chupa Chups for the journey had found the perfect pantry – his curly, curly hair!
After a reasonable uneventful take-off we were in the air and on the way to Melbs! The claws came out during landing, as there was a little turbulence and neither Jenelle and I cope with that terribly well. Luggage collected (I think that’s when I strained my shoulder, picking up my overweight suitcase!) we rang the hire car company to come and pick us up.  A lovely lady turned up with our silver Nissan Tiida, and made our day by asking if we were in a band. Pink hair, black clothes and a leather jacket (not to mention radiating hungoverness) will get that reaction!
Just after leaving the car hire depot, we saw Lazy Moes on the way to the highway – which, as Mean Moles, we thought could just as easily be Lazy Moles!!
First stop, Ballarat, to pick up supplies. I’m sorry Jenelle, but I have to list the cheese. 2 Castello washed rind, 1 pot of bambini boccacini, jarslberg, raclette, cottage cheese, … actually, that’s not that bad!!!
The liquour shop was in upheaval and had shocking prices, so we thought we’d try our luck in Ararat. Mistake. Big mistake. Even worse selection, prices just as bad. After spending 15 minutes looking for Fourex Beer before I realised I was now in Victoria, we ended up getting a reasonable stash that by this time, I was ready  to tuck into. Can you believe, the cashier could not lay her hand on a bottle opener for my beer?! So a Vodka Cruiser it was, whilst Miss Jenelle drove us on.
Feeling mildly sick, I was enjoying being driven, until we drove past a lake which Miss J couldn’t see….  Yes Jenelle, it’s blue, and it’s water! No, it’s not the sunglasses! That’s when I got a little worried! By this time we had tucked into some of our shopping, absolutely starving - we broke into the Eggplant dip (which looked like vomit/faeces) but tasted great! Unfortunately, we had no hand wipes, and I broke my golden rule of not eating after touching a shopping trolley ….  This came back to haunt me later in the week…..
At one stage we passed a crazy 3 wheel car, and as it passed turned to look incredulously at each other and say “did you…?!”
Finally we reached Halls Gap, both delirious with tiredness by now. We settled into our little cabin, and broke into the stash of wine and cheese with great enthusiasm. Although we didn’t want to, we dragged ourselves down to the open day of the workshops that had occurred over the weekend. We got to see where we would be working for the week, in the Hall,

and browsed the traders, where I found a fab necklace, the perfect paint to finish off my WoW piece and some new tie-dyed petticoats for my wardrobe!

I was delighted to meet Miss Martien there, and after shrieking hello and hugging, answered loudly “I’m so F&%$ed”, when she asked me how I was! Not the best of moves in a hall full of largely over 50’s ladies!! Oooops.
Back to the chalet for more wine, cheese and sopressa. Unfortunately, these revived us to the state of a ‘second wind’, which saw us staying up until midnight! Early in the evening, we were sitting on the deck enjoying our drinks, when all of a sudden a mob of ‘roos shot through at very close range! We were stunned at their speed of arrival and departure, and ended up gaping at each other like goldfish  saying ‘what? Did you see..?’.  We followed them up to the next cabin, drinks in hand, where we met Jeanette, a fellow Grampian Texture student.

She was locked out, so we invited her down for a drink and a bit of show and tell. Her housemates soon arrived home, and we went up to join them. What a trio, or trifector of disability, as I believe Jeanette put it! Tessa in a wheelchair, Chris very deaf, and Jeanette in her own words ‘mentally defective’! These chicks had nothing on us! And most nights we’d hear them giggling (and shouting!) until nearly midnight, having a riotous time! Several hours were spent looking at fabrics and chatting, before we dashed home for a boiled egg dinner around 9:30pm!
Monday morning:  saw us up early for a run, where we were amazed at the amount of Skippy’s we saw!

Thinking we were all in good time, it ended up being a mad rush to get ready and put all our gear in the car for the 2 minute drive to town! We found our way to the hall and met the lovely Phyllis Hoffman, who spent a little time introducing herself, which was nice. Being late, we got the last tables, which were the lowest, but it turned out they were right at the front, and we both got a second one in the end, so it turned out well! One woman tried to sell me her cans of tomatoes to raise my table…….
Then it was straight into it – and the pace never slowed from here, as we had a lot to achieve in 4 days! I had other people during the week come and say how hard all the felters worked, and what a taskmaster Phyllis was! The first day was spent drafting a basic pattern from our own measurements, and it was interesting to see the difference in pattern shapes. Being fairly small, Jenelle and I did not have to use darts etc to accommodate ‘fullness’, which was almost a shame, as it would have been good to learn! We were disappointed with our arm measurements, but we were still comparatively small!

That evening I was supposed to be at a TAFTA board meeting, which I was very glad Janet postponed once she realised how exhausted we all were! So it was home for drinks and cheese, and the now legendary ‘egg bunneh’!!! Let me explain….. A few days before we left I sent Jenelle a picture from Lolcats of a ‘Camoflauge Bunneh’. 

Jenelle likes her eggs hard boiled, so having done mine to googy perfection, I left hers cooking longer but it was still not done. So we popped hers into the microwave – all good. Sitting down on the couch to eat, Jenelle noticed her egg was flat on the bottom after being microwaved, and resembled a certain ‘bunneh’. She used her knife to carve in some eyes, and the egg bunneh said ‘Poooooooh’, and we jumped. Then it said ‘POOOOOOOOH’ and exploded, and I will never forget the sight of Jenelle jumping away on the couch, trying to escape the fury of the egg bunneh!!! This is a pic of the second egg bunneh, that did not wait to leave the microwave before saying 'POOOOOOOH'!! Once again, a mad dash for Miss J to escape an exploding egg bunneh!!

Tuesday morning:  I realised the repercussions of eating with unclean hands – I had a cold. I still dragged myself out with Miss J for a walk, and despite good intentions, we were late to class again! We were laying out the wool today, so there was a bit of pressure to get it laid out and felted within the day. It was two tables wide and one table long, but luckily was only two layers.

After finally wetting down after lunch, it was on to the rolling – 200 x 2, 500 x 2, 500 x 2 – what happened to roll one hundred, drink beer, as happens at studiosvenja? After class it was off to the TAFTA board meeting at the petanque club, where Martien and I enjoyed  a few bubblies together. Then it was off home to the ‘little lady’ who had prepared my lovely dinner of tofu, but before that, we had to finish our felt by rubbing and bashing. We were very pleased with the results when we finished just after 8pm – still light!
Wednesday morning:  I stayed home whilst Miss J walked to Stony Creek, and I found the ‘sock bunneh’ that Jenelle had made with my washed socks!!

We were early to class, but exhausted after staying up late watching the Ya-Ya Sisterhood until midnight and drinking everything we could find! We were laying out the wool to felt the sleeves and collar, and having run out of black wool, had to buy some more. However, it was 24 micron instead of the usual 19 micron, and we learnt a hard lesson regarding the way this effects the felting process. We rolled, and we rolled, and we rolled, and the felt didn’t shrink down, remained coarse, and loose ( see second half on the right).
Lesson Learned. Miss J was extremely over it after 3000+ rolls, and started to stamp her little hobbit feet, (they're not really!) and mumble about just making a sleeveless vest instead of a jacket! We were both delirious with exhaustion, and I completely lost my s#$t for 5 minutes when Jenelle (I did Accounting) asked me (I did Art) something about how many rolls of 500 were in 2000. The look on her face just killed me…
We finally got home to consume restorative cheese (all but one very neat square left). Went to the laundry to spin out our felt so it would be dry in the morning for sewing, and the laundry was locked! We went to reception, to meet the wife of chalet man, who said “I know, he’s gone off with the keys!” With her Eastern European accent, we couldn’t help but say “My husband, he no so good!” as we walked back to the chalet. We eventually ended up spinning it out and drying it in front of the gas fire (steamy chalet!) in readiness for cutting it up the next day!
Thursday morning: We finally got our pictures with the plastic Punjabs next door on our walk. It was a strange place – it looked like a house, yet it was a restaurant, with many, many plastic Punjab sculptures. As we posed with them, careful not to touch (signs warned us not to!) we felt someone was in there, (possibly about to come out!) and after a few shots, quickly escaped. Bizarre......
It was tough, cutting into our beautiful felt, but it had to be done! Renowned for sewing sleeves in back-to-front and inside-out, I was very careful!!


The toughest part for me was the collar – having made quite a wild jacket, I really did not want a ‘normal’ collar! We ended up using the entire scrap piece from my sleeve yardage and pinning it onto the jacket. Miss J got to do a tab across the back of hers (very jealous – no room to do so on mine, but adore the look) and a Nehru collar.


We were both pleased with our silk fabric frill sleeve edges. After a fashion parade to mark the end of the 4 days, we were done, and completely done in. Having restocked the fridge, it was back home to celebrate the Jackets of Awesomeness!!


Awesomeness - we haz it!!
Friday morning: We went for a walk, but first I managed to drop the key through the deck! Having taken it off the lanyard to fit in my LJ pocket, I watched in horror as it dropped, thinking ‘please land flat’. Of course it went straight through. Luckily we had our felting towels hanging outside, so I was able to use one as a blanket as I shrugged under the deck to rescue the key – viola!!

After packing up, we treated ourselves to a lovely breakfast at a café just down from our hall – beautiful scrambled eggs and chorizo for Miss J  and smashed avocado with goats cheese and egg for me.



 After a little shopping, it was off to Melbs! I was driving, but had to give up half way there as I was falling asleep! Miss J got us beautifully to the Victoria Hotel, where we could have happily set up camp for the night and not moved! After a week in a bunk bed, the queen size bed was MINE, all MINE!!! And so we convinced ourselves that we were here, in Melbs, and simply HAD to go out for a drink! I tried desperately to find the bar that Matt & I had previously been to for great Mojhitos, but to no avail! I even rang him, and he came up with the same description as me – dingy alley, upstairs, good Mojhitos. Very helpful.  Hells Kitchen, I now know.
So we ended up doing a pretty classy Melbourne Bar Crawl, starting at Solarina (where some lovely gentlemen were most keen to take a photo for us!)

to another alley bar, C&B, where I indulged in a Cosmo. It was a two frontage restaurant – we had walked past one front, looked at the menu, thought, no – this isn’t us, then went down the alley and looked at the other bar frontage and thought yep, cool! The minute we sat down I recognised the menu and informed Miss J that we were now sitting at the place we had just dissed!!

What a hoot! Great service by the maître d – so often the full-on Melbourne approach turns me off, but this guy was just good fun with good attentive service. It was a pleasure to watch him work it. From here it was on to Hairy Little Sister, where we spent the next few hours drinking Bubbly, Pear and Ginger Mojhitos, dessert wine with our cheese platter,

 to finish with some lovely Pinos Gris!

Our hotel door was in sight from here – examallent!! We tottered on over, made our way through the 2 building- 2 lift system, to watch a bit of tv tucked up in the Queen bed together, whilst Miss J had her sure-fire hangover cure of a coffee and I had mine of a Berroca. She soon bailed, and I followed suit, in readiness for our early exercise start and Queen Victoria Markets.
Saturday we rose early, and got ourselves together for a walk through Melbs. It was pretty cold, so I ended up with a couple of layers on. After the previous night’s efforts, we were reasonably sedate, but when we ended up at Queen Vic Markets by 8 and them not being very happening yet, we ended up running a few laps of a local park before sitting down for a coffee (no pastries for us!) at the markets.
They were obviously off to a late start, but we were running out of time, so started shopping. We bought some nice warm tights for our overseas travels, I picked up some nice leather gloves too, and a pair of earrings (NOT the George Jensen ones I coveted!!) Happy with our purchases, it was off to pack  and leave the hotel, off to the hire car place ready to be dropped off at the airport. All checked in, we settled in at the pub for a brekky of omelette and beer (for me!)

Off then to the glorious Virgin Lounge, where unlimited bubbly got me nicely ready for the flight – I WANT IN!!!! A short delay, and then two tired but happy Mean Moles got ready to go home to their boys

 – THE END!