William Rickett Sanctuary and Red Shield at Shoppo

It had been a strange week last week. Loads of work deadlines plus the spectre of leading the small group discussion on Thursday night at the Maury’s home. So on Friday, after a relatively low productivity arvo, I left a wee bit earlier than usual and Tress and I went for our go-to local Italian just down the main street not 10 minutes from our home.

I used to lead small group discussions on a weekly basis. Then, some 4-5 years ago, that stopped and since we started at St Alf’s back in early 2013, we have done very little, other than showing up in as many forum as we could. So the handful of small group discussions we’d lead to date had become the rare – and therefore stressful – lead occasions we’ve had. So when that was over after Thursday night, the weight off my shoulder was near tangible.

After a very relaxing dinner at Luigi’s joint, we went home to watch a very exciting Swans v Hawks game. Defeat to either team would have signalled a season’s end, even at this early stage. Lead by Burgoyne and Roughead, Hawthorn prevailed and continued its dominance in Sydney over the bloods and it was a happy finish, sporting wise, to the week as Man United had on Thursday morning, beaten Ajax in the Europa League final to sneak into Champions League qualification next year. My one-off subscription to “Be In Sports” (the game wasn’t on free to air) was worth every cent.

On Saturday, I hurried to the shopping centre near our home and did a hairy. A new lady attended to me this time and Tress and I are both happier with the outcome and my thinning top appears a little easier on the eye.

After getting home to freshen up, Tress and I took a drive to the Dandenongs. We had wanted to view a property there but late on Friday I received a message saying it had been sold. We went there anyway, but instead of property viewing, we checked out the William Ricketts sanctuary. His sculptures were beautiful but the assembly, lay-out, and the mountain ash gums and fern tree variants enveloping the area all combined to creat a weirdly eerie setting. I think the outcome is the now familiar sensation of a kingdom of sorts where the green god ruled, ever less surreptitiously.

We then left for lunch at the Olinda Café, where it was teaming and the crowds appeared excited to simply spend time amongst a busy lunchtime place. After lunch we walked through the town in Olinda. We’ve been coming to this area, on and off, for several years now and this time, I somehow feel the hippiness of the area has eased off. It has become a lot more touristy. The number of cyclists coming up has steadily increased, as have Melburnians from a wider source. We met a lady at William Ricketts sanctuary, who had come from the Macedon area – which would have been close to a 2-hour drive.

Later that arvo we did our usual grocery shopping and later that night we got on Netflix and chose a quirky Brian Cox movie known as “The Carer”. A young Hungarian lady who is also an aspiring thespian sneaked in as a carer for Brian Cox’s character – the ageing Shakespeare prince who apparently once played a searing and unforgettable King Lear. Now old and dying with Parkinson’s, the once revered actor slowly gravitates to his smart and warm carer. The young-lady-and-cranky-old-man formula somehow worked (for me) in this one.

Sunday after church and lunch at our usual spot, we did a couple of hours of volunteer work for the salvos. It was the salvos’ Red Shield appeal and we rattled the change can at shoppo. The very busy Sunday arvo crowd in Doncaster’s shopping haven was quite willing to respond and while my arm tired from endless rattling to rake in the roubles, it was a happy arvo.

Back home after that, we walked the little fellow, did some cooking, and cleaned up to ready ourselves for another week’s heads down grind.