A miracle happened last Friday. A small miracle but a miracle nonetheless. At 8.50 in the morning we (husband, daughters and cat) left our house for our long weekend road trip. We have friends who leave at 5 in the morning. I know, five am!? I seriously doubt that will ever be us, however, we managed to leave town well before midday. The exciting part about such an early start was that we got to stop at new places along the way.
You know those signs for interesting places you always zip past on the highway, hurrying to somewhere else? Well this time when I saw the sign for the Wild Trout Hat Shoppe in Gordon I said "Stop!" to the lovely G who was driving. He said it was too late, we'd already gone past. Luckily for me the lovely folk at the Wild Trout Hat Shoppe had placed their enticing sign well before the turn off to Gordon.
Walking into the restored old Anglican church filled with hats and a fire burning in the wood stove was delightful. As was meeting Bob who said on meeting me, "Here. Try on this hat." He was in the middle of showing it to another customer who was reluctant to try on a hat. It was the beginning of a lovely hour trying on hats and taking music, perfume, figs and markets with Bob and Sheina. They were so charming that we ended up buying not one, not two but three hats. The only reason we didn't need up with four was the G was strong and resisted their charms and delightful headgear manfully. The hats are wonderful and made in Australia or New Zealand. We bought the girls a celtic gypsy hat each (and they look so stylish!) and I got a Harris Tweed beret. I could have easily bought a gypsy hat and a cloche with a cutaway at the back plus hat pins with feathers for each. Folks, I think that I am about to develop a serious hat addiction. I may need help.
Oh and that lady who wouldn't try on a hat? She walked away wearing the first hat Bob handed me to try on.
The reason for our trip was to visit the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum for their 10th Annual Vintage Rally. The museum has a collection of historic buildings from around the district that have been pulled apart piece by piece and rebuilt at the museum. There's the Woorak church, Antwerp blacksmith's shop, Tarranyurk hall, Albacutya homestead and Detpa school. I remember coming here as a kid and sitting at one of the desks at the school and having a lesson from the olden days. There's also an old portable shelter used by shepherd's when guarding their flocks. The buildings contain an eclectic range of tools and paraphernalia from early Australian pioneer life. Shoe lasts, clothes, butter paddles, furniture, preserving jars, meat grinders, milk churns, wash boards, wringers, saucepans; you can see anything the pioneers used here.
There's a big collection of machinery, tractors and ploughs. Near a damm is a collection of water pumps from different eras. The girls loved winding them and pumping water. We had just been talking about how drinking water from rain water tanks tastes different and about how lucky we are to turn on a tap when we are thirsty. No walking for miles to a well or polluted river for us.
Over two days a team of volunteers brings the museum to life with demonstrations of blacksmithing, sheep shearing, chaff cutting, knife making, heritage crafts, woodcutting, vintage printing press and more. Gareth liked the display of classic cars. Airlie loved watching the blacksmiths working at the forge and pulling red hot metal out of the coals to work before quenching in a bucket of water. Phoebe was super keen on the horse and coach ride that went around the town pulled by two gentle clydesdales, Lofty and Tiny. I enjoyed meeting and talking to Pip about preserving food - she did an incredible 365 days of food preserving and told me all about water baths and pressure cookers. It was a great day for the whole family.