October 2004: During the couple of days back with my brother Richard and his wife, Kate, I went with Kate to visit the Gippsland town of Buchan where she attended a Women-in-Business meeting to set up an Art & Craft Gallery. Buchan is in beautiful hilly country; famous for its more than 300 caves. Cavers come from all over the country; they even have a clubhouse.
The Backpackers’ Hostel is owned by a guy, a keen caver, who retired there and built the place himself. I spent a very pleasant couple of hours with him and a 6-pack of VB. On the way home with Kate, we called in at the studio of her friend, artist Heather Livingstone (80) A great character.
The following Tuesday, I took Kate to the town of Moe for a meeting after which she would stay with friends, then turned up into the hills to find the village of Erica where old friend Brian Bright was running the caravan park. He hadn’t changed much since I’d last seen him in London on my return visit there in 1971; but, like me, he had added bald, belly and beard.
He had me booked into the hotel across the road from the caravan park. We got into the beer and reminiscences and only hit the sack at 03h15. Wonderful company. I was up at 06h00 and wandered around Erica until Brian surfaced then we took a drive through the mountains to Thompson Dam.
Then to the 1860s mining village of Walhalla which was situated down a long narrow snaking steep-sided valley which shared the old rail line. I do so enjoy historical sites but not the tourist prices. Luckily we were the only tourists there just then. Such an intriguing visit into spectacular country. Thanks to Brian Bright for the tour and the company.
When we got back, there was a message from Kate to say she had fallen and broken her arm; that I should pick her up at the regional hospital. Cheers and thanks to Brian, then I went off to collect her, but another message there sent me on to Traralgon where I found her with a friend in the Big Mac carpark from whence we headed home to Marlo and the farm.