Pete’s birthday dawned cloudy after another night of thunder storms. We had card and present opening in bed, the gift I found at the winery yesterday, was a hit. It wasn’t wine! We had coffee all together and then Pete and I went off for a walk along the river. We walked the length of the meandering Collie River, basically doing a circle of town. It was pretty, but slightly run down, though hiking and mountain biking are both big in this area, and there are clear and well marked trails. It was all just a little unkempt, and the overcast conditions made for grey scenery.
We still had an enjoyable walk, seeing a few friendly locals along the way, and steadily accumulating an entourage of flies. Just after I took the picture of Pete below, both his back and his hat were completely black! We came back through town, and stopped at the old train carriage for coffee and a breaky wrap, and I located a suitable birthday cake in the local bakery. I managed to buy it without Pete seeing it or knowing what it was.
Back at camp, we all slowly got ready to head out to birthday lunch. You may think, when you look at the pictures, it was an Avalon Now theme party! It sprinkled with rain on and off, and the odd grumble of thunder continued in the background. With very limited choice of venues, Pete wanted to lunch at Harris River Estate, so off we went in the van, this time Pete riding shotgun to be able to admire the scenery. We drove out to the dam first and had a walk around, and saw some blue wrens flitting among the scrub. It was a lovely location, with great picnic facilities, and very interesting scenery, from steep rock walls to forest and little wooden bridges, then hidden behind the trees, the water plant and massive earth dam wall. It was very peaceful there, with just gently running water and birdsong for the soundtrack.
We arrived at the winery around 1300, and had a look around first, then tasted their selection of wines. As we had plenty still in the van to get us through the last 2 days, we only needed to decide on what to have with lunch. Going through the selection of white, rose and reds, we all agreed that a rose would be good with lunch. Pete and Dad also tried a cider before we ordered lunch, but agreed that wine was the way to go. We ordered a delicious tapas type spread, with chorizo, meatballs, croquettes, chicken wings and dips, and sat on the verandah looking over the vines, enjoying both food and wine. We finished off with affogato, but unfortunately no candles. It was a delightful afternoon, despite grumbling thunder persisting and a couple of lightening forks in the distance.
Eventually we headed back to town, by now the sun starting to peak through, and after a quick visit to Coles for lime and tonic so we could finish the gin when we got back to camp. We sat outside the van and had gin and tonic, then we got cool as the sun set and headed into the camp kitchen and pool table. A pool comp was of course required and Pete won, it being his birthday! Then we opened the champagne, lit the cake, and enjoyed a lovely evening of cake, wine, pool and conversation, in the warm, fly-less environment of the camp kitchen.
Happy birthday Petey!