We took off this weekend with friends M & R for a visit to Bairnsdale on the East Gippsland coast. Our friends had been there earlier in the year and decided they wanted a return visit. Having arrived mid-Friday afternoon we checked out the various locations of op-shops for the next days visits and found the pub, the Grand Terminus, where we were eating that night.

Dinner was very good. The Grand Terminus is one of those new pubs with bistro that are really lifting the standards of food in regional towns. While the food offered was to some degrees ‘standard’, I had caramelised pork belly, TB and M had lambshanks and R had fish and chips, all the meals were really well cooked and flavoursome. We washed the meal down with a local Sarsfield Pinot Noir (the wine list had a good selection of local wines as well as other Australian wines). To top it off the service was excellent and attentive. One staff member immediately spotted a dropped knife and replaced it before we even had a chance to ask for another. However dinner was forgotten as with other diners in the bistro we saw the first horrific footage of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Saturday morning saw our first outing to the op shops where we each found a pleasing selection of objects. R’s happy find was a David Douglas Flameware coffee percolator for $2. This is a gem of 1960’s design from the US. You can find lots of the company’s coffee pots and fondue sets on the various interweb sale sites. I haven’t been able to find out much as yet who did the designs, David Douglas set up the company but was apparently not the designer per se. All components of the coffee pot were present and correct so it was soon pressed into use.


I then found some unidentified make of salt and pepper shakers, I’m guessing from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, a simple design in turquoise with white ribs about 15 cms high.


Lunch was created out of a selection of local products from the Bairnsdale Gourmet Deli, including mixed vegetable and spice, morrocan vegetable and beetroot dips. On the more substantial side we had some of their pork pies and some locally made Maffra cheddar. We were also able to have a reviving coffee and cake at the deli before heading off to the second hand bookshop. A happy mornings hunting was had by all.

In the afternoon we headed off to Stratford on the Avon River (not that one) where in one locally developed community park we read the amazing story of the circus elephant that was killed when the truck it was travelling went under a bridge that was too low – not nice. Keeping our heads down we continued on to Sale where we were lucky to get into the Gippsland Regional Gallery just before closing time, where we caught up with the exhibition of the props, sets and character’s from Adam Elliot’s fantastic animated film Mary and Max (2009). This is a great exhibition and it was amazing being able to look at the models up close and personal.

More adventures in a later post ….

Jugiong, Junee and beyond

Before I left the district I thought I’d say a few words about Jugiong and Junee which we visited on the way to and from Wagga respectively.

Having read the recent article in the Canberra Times Food and Wine section on the Long Track Pantry in Jugiong we decided to stop there for our morning tea, rather than at Gundagai which has been our normal break spot. Having turned off the Hume Hwy we found ourselves in a hotspot of recycled metal sculpture.

At the former truck stop there was an astonishing display of life-size horse and horse and rider sculptures. The artist, whose name was not in evidence, but who has left their contact phone number, has got a fine way with a quirky piece of metal. I particularly like the fact that the horses had tongues, not to mention other anatomical features, lovingly detailed out of all types of metal objects.

When we got to the Long Track Pantry we didn’t even make it into the building as our attention was captured by the barbed wire ‘balls’ outside the Jugiong Wine Cellars, not to mention the exquisite ‘pineapple’ adorning the sign for the fruit and veg shop next door. There were more fun sculptures inside the wine cellar, including ‘pears’ made from horse shoes made by Al Phemister. Details of the other art work they sell is available and can be found on their website. And in addition to all of this they actually sell wine! Yes they stock regional wines from Jugiong, Gundagai, Hilltops (Young), Canberra/Murrumbateman and Tumbarumba.

Once inside the Long Track Pantry we did manage to order ourselves some coffee and scrummy cakes. Other travellers were tucking into what smelled like very yummy breakfasts. The quality of the coffee and the cakes certainly lived up to expectations and we will definitely be going back there again. However one aspect of the place was rather odd. I found it strange that such an otherwise good venue appeared to have no numbering system for their table service. Perhaps it was just Saturday and these were not the regular staff, but to have a waitress coming out to a room full of customers asking “did anyone order a flat white?” – No, I’m not making this up – did beggar belief.

Our return journey was focussed on visiting as many op shops in as many towns as we could manage on the way back to Canberra. We visited 5 op shops in Wagga before we left the city. Junee was our first stop (2 op shops) before we headed off to stock up at the Green Grove Organics Licorice and Chocolate factory. I was buying up the Junee White Gold (white chocolate covered liquorice) while TB bought liquorice straps. Neither we, nor our travelling companions, could go past the Chocolate Coated Ginger special – a 2kg bag for $31.

The people who run Green Grove Organics are continually developing their outlet. The latest edition is a large boutique-style giftware shop on the upper floor of the factory. Not particularly my cup of tea but no doubt a ‘great little earner’. More attractive to us was the lunch menu which offers, among other things, roasted organic lamb rolls, not to mention de-luxe organic lamb burgers. Our party was evenly divided between the two.

Suitably restored we headed on up the road to Cootamundra (2 op-shops) and then onto Harden to the Anglican Church shop (on the main road opposite the bowling club) where M made the buy of the day. An attractive little starfish shaped dish, purchased for 80 cents turned out to be Wade Starfish pin dish.

Thanks are given to M’s partner who patiently drove and stopped and drove and stopped and drove and stopped for the entire weekend.



Setting the Table

I’ve had great fun at the YMCA Sale (Yarralumla) and Revolve this past weekend. Where once I used to look for mainly for clothes I’m now looking to also ‘dress’ my table. At present my taste seems to be definitely retro table ware from the 70’s and early 80’s and napery from anywhere from the late 50’s onwards.

I particularly like souvenir tablecloths, yes those ones with tourist scenes and themes. They are all printed on linen. It started with a Fiji tablecloth (I’ve not been there but TB has) found in one of the Woden op shops. I’ve now added a Northern Territory and an Australian Wildflower cloth. I also found a lovely Scandinavian daisy patterned table cloth at the YMCA Sale last year. As Andy Muirhead of the Collectors says once you go past three of anything its a collection!

I also had some inspiration from Adrian Franklin’s book A Collectors Year (New South 2008) which I’ve just bought. Flicking through the book I saw the Midwinter ‘Stonehenge’ pottery range of which quite a bit was apparently sold in Australia. This was due to our comparative wealth to that of the UK at the time. I was somewhat surprised to see several pieces of the ‘Sun’ and ‘Creation’ patterns at the Y sale, which I promptly picked up. Interestingly, right next to these pieces were some look-alikes which had no identifying marks. Later in the day we stopped in at Revolve on the way back from taking the Christmas decorations back to the storage unit. We were completely stunned to find three complete plate settings of the Midwinter ‘Wild Oats’ pattern.

We will definitely be using these sets, as you can see from the toast with our most recent batches of strawberry and blackberry jam!

I’m also getting a bit retro in the garden. It started with four concrete 1960’s pots inherited from my late Aunt. I’d really like to get some more as I really like the shapes. I hadn’t really known where to look but at Revolve I found two anodised aluminium pots. The flared one, sadly missing its drip tray, is quite large and may end up housing my Lemon Verbena plant. I think the smaller upright pot might do for a succulent. See even my taste in plants is going retro, as I recall that as a child one of the first types of plants I grew were succulents and cacti. I’ve also included a photo of my Autumn-flowering Crocus, just because they look so good!

I’ve also included a photo of two late 50’s early 1960’s place mats which have clearly never been used. I picked these up at the Y sale. Quite a good day when all was said and done.


Find something special

Op shopping is always fun in a different town. We found four op shops on the main street in Cessnock and visited others in Hamilton and Maitland. I was looking for fabric for my dyeing of which I found plenty. I also found two shirts for myself, and a Melmac (Melamine) Ornamin 1950???s/60???s cup and saucer in corn yellow. Interestingly the cup has no handle. I found this article on melamine from Plastiquarian magazine (

However one of my best ???finds??? was actually made just outside my sister???s back door. It is a shell-shaped concrete pot which I presume belonged to my Aunt, now sadly ???late??? (you need to read the Number 1 Ladies Detectives Agency series). Apart from housing a spider it wasn???t in immediate use so I???ll take it home and plant a succulent in it.