It’s now the beginning of Winter and the cold weather has kicked in with a vengeance. After quite a mild spell during the last days of Autumn, the first days of Winter have been bitterly cold, with mornings in our yard down to 2C and elsewhere below zero. Having all these gum trees in our yard gives us a small amount of protection from the clear cold nights and mornings, but a few degrees difference is neither here nor there, it’s still damn cold. It especially feels so much colder because of the warm(ish) weather we’ve experienced over Autumn and less than a week or so ago. So much for global warming, we seem to be missing out on it big time and even our wood-fired heater seems to be feeling the cold, requiring a lot more nurturing to bring out the heat and warm the house.
The MAMIL, Middle-Aged Man (or Men) In Lycra, a sub-species of Treadlyagluteus Irresponsibilus* (yes, I made that up), is the bane of road users throughout Australia. Many are a law unto their own, especially when it comes to groups, as they take over streets and roads like the Mongol Hordes of old, ravaging everything in their path. Victoria’s Hell Ride being the most notorious gathering of MAMIL tribal warriors in Australia. Hell Riders have no mercy, razing everything in their path and woe betide anyone that gets in their way. Of course it’s always the fault of others and, as with any primitive tribe, the tribe comes together to support the tribal member. And in Gippsland, MAMILs, can appear at any time, anywhere, taking over the narrow and sometimes hazardous roads, spurning all others.
Possibly the most dangerous time of the day to be on the roads is weekdays between 8:00am – 9:00am and then between 3:00pm – 4:00pm, that’s when the family rally drivers are in their interminable rush to get their billy lids to school. Nothing is allowed to get in their way and speed limits are for suckers. So it is throughout Australia, whether it’s in the suburbs or out in rural areas such as where we live. Not only is it a dangerous time, it almost seems like insanity to be on the roads while these rally drivers are about, competing with other rally drivers that care not one iota for who or what is around them, driven only by the need to get their progeny to their various daycare centres (schools). It’s worse still if there is more than one stage to cover and they are running a few minutes late.
Anzac Day has had many ups and downs over recent years, with some in urban areas even protesting Anzac Day as being offensive. Yet despite this, and maybe because of these ‘unfortunates’ as I would call them, Anzac Day has had somewhat of a resurgence and is attracting more people to the dawn services, especially young people. Maybe the loud protestations by irrelevant and ill-informed individuals has piqued their curiosity and desire to learn more about what the protestations are all about and, in doing so, revealed a piece of history that was in danger of fading from the national conscience in so many ways. And by learning about it, they have come to realise how important such days really are for our nation, or any nation for that matter.
Summer is now behind us though the warm weather is still lingering about, which is a good thing as last year we had the fire well and truly going by now. However, with bushfires burning nearby and warnings of hot and wild weather forthcoming, and then not as it got cold and heavy rain arrived, it’s interesting to sit on our veranda and watch the comings and goings of our feathered friends. Most have been fairly scarce during the Summer, so I haven’t had much reason to bring out my camera. But recently we’ve had an influx of a variety of birds that generally pay us a visit, so once again I’ve had a chance to take a few photographs of the characters that we call our friends. We might call them friends, but I suspect that to them we’re just odd ground dwellers that somehow have food.
Following on from the first Mirboo North Italian Festa back in 2016, this event has become quite a popular one in the annual calendar. Of course it wasn’t the first Italian Festa, but it was the first that brought the entire community, and those from further afield, together to experience this unique festive event. And as the event has grown and become more popular than ever, the organisers have become more experienced and aware of the effort needed each year. I understand that the South Gippsland Shire has also lent their support for the event, which no doubt helps immensely to sustain events that draw people from far and wide. And I might also note that Paula Calafiore, one of the volunteers that makes the Italian Festa possible, was recognised in this year’s South Gippsland Citizen of the Year awards for her extensive contributions to the community.
The afternoon today on New Year’s Eve 2017 was a truly great time at Inline 4 Cafe Mirboo North. Along with many other people, we were celebrating the good times that Inline 4 Cafe has brought to Mirboo North including the amazing Blessing of the Bikes that put Mirboo North on the map. We were also there to give Marcel and Sabine our best wishes in the coming years. Had we known, I would have been there much earlier in the day to appreciate how many riders had come from near and far to say hello and goodbye. It was only goodbye in the sense that Inline 4 Cafe was moving on, not disappearing.
This is the last in my series on Mossvale Park 2017. I could go on about many things, but a lot has already been covered in other stories, so no need to become overly repetitive. One of the things that is ever present at Mossvale Park is the birdlife and other fauna. It’s not overly diverse and seems to host a resident group of familiar and not so familiar birds. There are also other hidden dwellers about, but they are nigh on impossible to photograph and can only be done at night with much perseverance and fortitude, and I’m not that keen on wandering about the park at night for an obscure denizen.
As I alluded in Part 2 of this series, Autumn is perhaps the most vibrant time of year at Mossvale Park. The European trees change colour and then carpet the grounds in an array of shapes, sizes and colours before they fade and eventually get mowed away. The onset of these vibrant colours can be variable and at times slow, as so much is dependent on the temperatures dropping low enough to shock the leaves into their coats of many colours. We don’t quite have the protracted zero degree nights and mornings that you might find in the Alpine regions of Victoria such as Bright or Mt Beauty, where the much colder weather brings about dramatic change. And European trees aren’t found everywhere, except places where the first settlers and later immigrants brought along memories of their homeland. And at least the trees didn’t bring with them the problems that other memories of homeland brought, such as rabbits and foxes.
The Barry Sheene Tribute Ride travelled through Mirboo North this Thursday on its way to Phillip Island, as a prelude to the MotoGP on the coming Sunday. Once again I thought I’d cover the ride as it travelled through town, but there’s not a lot that I can write about this event as it’s more of a fleeting glimpse of riders as they pass through Mirboo North. However, I tried to do something a little bit different than I’ve done previously and incorporated still images to supplement the video of the riders travelling through town, somewhat like I did at the Blessing of the Bikes. Of course the moment the ride was about to hit town, the sky opened up and it started a Victorian rendition of mild monsoon rain, thankfully for not too long and became just a regular drizzle shortly after.