Monday, July 11, 2005

"It never snows in Tolmie" - J. Wettenhall

Tolmie trip - part 1.

"it never snows in Tolmie" were the words my good friend James announced on Friday night at his family holiday house, nestled away in the heavily forested hills of Tolmie about 20km North East of Mansfield in Victoria. Aff, Claire and myself (code named "team Canberra") drove down from Canberra (about 7 hrs drive!) to meet up with some other good friends ("team Melbourne") for a weekend of catching up, bush walking and general Tom foolery. Friday night was cold .. very cold in fact. It was also raining, which lead me to inquire into the possibility of snow. James responded very assertively in the negative: "it never snows in Tolmie", so I believed him, along with the other 6 guests who arrived on the Friday night. You can therefore imagine the excitement and confusion that woke me up in the wee hours of Saturday morning (it must have been at least 10am!) when Aff broke the morning silence by screaming "it's snowing". I thought to myself, "oh no, Aff's lost it again", but then decided to humour my apparently unstable partner by opening the curtains just a little to see what the fuss was about. I have to say, a few choice words were spoken when I set my eyes on this:

(photo by James Wettenhall)

This sparked a flurry of movement. I threw off my sleeping bag, and ran out of the bedroom, and was just about to run out the back door but was warned against this by James' very useful sign posting:

(photo by James Wettenhall)

At this point I also realised that I was dressed only in a t-shirt and shorts, and was f$%@ing freezing. We needed heat. While the house has a wood fire heater, it is not particularly efficient in warming the house up. The house has therefore been equipped with quite an arsenal of heating devices - electric (running off a generator) and kerosene heaters were available. (A warning to all Tolmie residents - in the event of a bushfire, stay well away from James' house!).
Of course, using the electric heater (and the toaster for breaky) required the use of the generator. Now, I don't mean to be picky, but I am not entirely sure James' 1500 Watt generator, branded "The Hush Master" is really as quiet as it claims to be. Imagine someone starting a lawn mower on your back porch, because that's what it sounds like. This, of course, was no bother to those of us who have visited James' house before. The chain saw like sound of the generator is as familiar to us as the chirping birds and the wind blowing through the trees.

After a shower, and some frollicking in the snow (which involved me throwing snow balls at a tree because no one else seemed quite so keen), my attention then turned to breakfast. What a feast. Pancakes were on the menu, and I consumed my fair share. Toast was also on the menu - you'd be amazed how much power a toaster needs - the generator gave a noticable splutter (or perhaps grunt) everytime someone put some bread in the toaster. I was also extremely happy to see someone had thought about our caffeine needs. Alec had brought his stove top camping Espresso coffee maker, which immediately brought a sense of joy and relief to my day when he asked me "do you want coffee". As many know, coffee pretty much accounts for 90% of my daily activity. My purpose in life is quite simply: to hunt for coffee, and then drink it (the other 10% is beer). Needless to say, breakfast was a feast, and we ate like pigs.

Of course, the primary reason for being at Tolmie was to go bush walking. It was still snowing outside, and very cold. Many of us hadn't really considered this possibility. However, despite the little voice in my head saying "what are you doing Chris! it's still f#@#ing freezing", I, along with the rest of "Team Tolmie", decided to continue with plan A, and go for the planned bush walk.

... to be continued.


Anonymous Robert Merkel said...

Now all we need is James to perform that, barbershop-style, to the tune of "It never rains in California...".

7/11/2005 05:12:00 PM

Blogger macca said...

well, I should say, James' musical talents were on display on the first night when he pulled out his guitar, and started a sing-a-long. Metallica has never sounded so cheery.

7/12/2005 10:09:00 AM


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