03 January, 2013


Well there we were, Patsy and me enjoying one of several meals of food left-over from Christmas festivities. As we paused prior to enjoying a cup of coffee, I complimented  Patsy for the creative way she had decorated the house. I commented that the Christmas tree in the summer room was more colourful than past years, and that the Christmas cards on string around the walls in the same room effectively supplemented the beauty of the Christmas tree. It is in this room, on the evening of Christmas day, that the family gathers for the traditional Kris-Kringle giving of gifts.

I reminded Patsy that the basic plastic Christmas tree, which had been a gift from my Uncle Bill, had been an enduring feature of our family celebrations for at least 30 years. We look upon this tree as memorial to Uncle Bill, a single shy gentleman who had lived an uncomplicated and simple way of life.

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In the light of all the work that Patsy had done prior to Christmas, and her preparations for the family get-together on Christmas day, I asked Patsy to suggest how I could reward her for a job well done. I was prepared to spare no expense as an expression of my gratitude for Patsy’s commendable efforts. She pondered on this suggestion and shared aloud some of her thoughts. Patsy, to my surprise, requested that I organize a day’s return journey on public transport to Hurstbridge where we could have lunch.

We left Cheltenham on the 9.40 a.m. train and arrived at Hurstbridge at 11.58 a.m. The journey from Flinders Street to Hurstbridge is vastly different to what we have become used to on our many train travels from Flinders Street to Cheltenham. The initial part of the journey from Jolimont to Heidelberg saw us travelling through old established suburbs. By the time we got to Rosanna, we realized that the suburban way of life was gradually becoming merged into more of an open rural setting; the exception being the very large and modern suburb of Greensborough. Beyond Eltham, we entered the fringe of the countryside north of Melbourne; the distance between remaining three stations increased noticeably.

The aptly named Post Office restaurant is located about 200 metres from the station. The weather-board building has the appearance of an old home; the entry on the left hand-side was that for the post-office and that on the right-hand side was for the restaurant. After a cool refreshing drink of water we settled into enjoying our lunch. A couple of pots of cider proved to be an ideal beverage for our dinner of pork chop, rice and salad. With impeccable timing we finished our coffee and took advantage of the 10 minutes remaining to casually stroll to the station to catch the 2.00 p.m. train.

As the train pulled away from the station Patsy suggested that, instead of getting out at Heidelberg to do a Cooks Tour by the Smart Bus to Mentone (a two hour journey), we return to Cheltenham by train. After a most relaxing day we arrived home about 4.00 p.m. Patsy said that she had really enjoyed her special day, a day in which we enjoyed some of the simple pleasures of life.

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