Jousting with fire

Jousting with fire
Ballarat, Australia

Ballarat, Australia


Our plan for today was to spend the day at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. I can remember going there on my Grade 4 school trip and really enjoying it, so I imagined that Kramstable would love it. Despite him saying how much he liked History as a subject, he didn’t seem especially keen to go and find out what life was like in the actual olden days (as opposed to what he sees as the olden days – when I was a small kid, because we had black and white TV).

Aunty T had said that Sovereign Hill turned into a bit of a mud bath when it was wet, and the morning forecast was for rain, so we decided that Kryal Castle might be a better option. We told Kramstable that we’d be going to “the castle” instead of the goldfields, and he was so excited that we knew it was the right choice.

I’d been there too on my Grade 4 trip and I can remember thinking it was great. I don’t remember much about it, other than the torture chamber, so it was pretty much like going there for the first time. I think there have been a few new things added since I was there – it was built in the early 1970s and underwent a major upgrade in 2013.

First up was a walk through the Dragon’s Labrynth, which tells the story of the castle, the missing children and the dragon Ushnagh. We then wandered up to the archery range where we all attempted (with varying degrees of success) to fire some arrows. I’m not expecting a call up to the Olympic archery squad any time soon.

One of the highlights was the horse trials, which involved two knights on horseback going through their paces, including jumping over some pretty serious flames. It was pretty impressive stuff.

We also made our way through the maze, and watched one of the Wizard’s gorgeous apprentices concoct some fascinating potions from ingredients such as dragon ash, goblin eyes and pixie wings (the dragon ash comes from dragons who have died naturally and turned to ash and it’s taken with the permission of the dragons, and the pixie wings are shed like snake skins – not removed from living pixies).

It didn’t rain but it was cold. I think the max for the day was 8 degrees, so after a couple of hours we’d had enough ( we decided to give the torture dungeon a miss this time) and we headed into Ballarat for lunch. It’s a pretty town with some beautiful old buildings and apparently quite an interesting arty side, so I’d like to come back and spend some more time there wandering around, because that’s my favourite thing to do in new places. Lunch was ok, apart from having to send my meal back because it was cold in the middle. They fixed it, replaced it and were very apologetic, so I was happy with that.

After lunch and a flying visit to the tourist centre (my other favourite thing to do in new places), we took as side trip to Red Duck Brewery, a Mecca for craft beer lovers. It was very hard to limit ourselves because many of their beers are limited releases and so only available for a short time. We were very excited to see that the “Amon Ra”, one of their series of Egyptian bread ales, was there. We bought a nice little mixed stash that will see us through the first few days of the road trip.

And then we headed back to Bacchus Marsh to spend some time with the family. They treated us to a nice dinner and some board games, which was a lovely way to end the day.

Advertisements

P365 – Day 322 – here be dragons (eggs)

A while very long time ago, Juniordwarf and I met up with the fabulous Kim from frogpondsrock to create some dragons eggs
One of the highlights of that day was walking through the bush and finding the huge eggs that Kim had made for the event and hidden in the bush for people to find. Here are some of the fantastic eggs that Kim created.
Unfortunately, some people decided to help themselves to the eggs, and several of them went missing, which was a very disappointing end to a fun day.
Kim very kindly offered to give me the sculpture that I had featured on my blog post about the event and I was thrilled that she’d offered it to me. 
I had an idea that it would go very nicely in the little sanctuary part of my garden that I’ve set aside just for me and my herbs.
It was just a matter of organising to catch up with Kim and picking it up, together with the dragon eggs that Juniordwarf and I had made in February, after Kim had fired them in her kiln (or, as Juniordwarf thought, killed them in the fire).
Well making a time to meet took longer than expected, but after a couple of false starts, today we finally organised to meet Kim at the Off Centre Gallery, in the Salamanca Arts Centre,  where Kim and a group of ceramics and glass artists display and sell their work.
I didn’t have much of a chance to take much in at the gallery, but I’ll be sure to go back in the next couple of weeks when I don’t have to keep a watchful eye on the small person, so that I can have a good look at everything. From this brief visit, it looks like there is a lot of beautiful work in there.
Juniordwarf had been looking forward to getting his egg from Kim for months, and he was so excited to find out we’d be going to get it today. 
He asked Kim whether it was going to hatch, and when we got home, the first thing he did was sit his little dragon on his egg to hatch it.
That approach being unsuccessful, a couple of hours later, he decided that he’d have to sit on it to make it hatch.
You have to admire his persistence!
I’m very excited about having a feature piece to put in my herb garden. I feel very inspired to get out there and make it all happen. Now if I can just manage a couple of days off work to spend in the garden, I might start to make some progress.
And thank you again Kim, for your very generous gift. 

P365 – Day 235 – here be dragons

A few years ago, Slabs and I watched the movie based on the book Eragon. I didn’t think much of the movie, but had a feeling that the book (or books – it’s a trilogy, with the fourth bok due out sometimes later this year – apparently there was too much to fit into the third one, so it turned into a quadrilogy) might be somewhat more enjoyable.

It was, but Slabs told me there were better books about dragons around.
That year for my birthday, one of my presents was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, the first of a series of books about the Dragonriders of the planet Pern. Dragonflight was published in 1968, and the series is still going strong, with Ms McCaffrey’s son Todd writing (and co-writing with her) some of the more recent books.

I loved it, and had to read the next in the series, and the next and the next. Fortunately the State Library has all of the books, so I’ve been able to borrow them as I’ve been ready to read them (or as quickly as the library can get them to me).
I found this reading list that lists all the books (up to 2008) both in publication order (which is the order that Ms McCaffrey suggests they be read in) and in chronological order, which is the rough order I read them in, once I’d read most of the books that followed on from Dragonflight.

I finally finished the last book, which was written by Todd McCaffrey and released in 2010, late last year.
After that, I felt a bit lost without any more new dragon stories to look forward to, so I was very excited to find out that a new book, Dragon’s Time, written by both McCaffreys, would be released this year.

As soon as it was available to order at the library, I put a hold on it, and today I finally picked it up. I can’t wait to read it!

P365 – Day 26 dragon

What else do little kids do on Australia Day but go to family days out and get their faces painted?
Stop it with the photos, Mum!
juniordwarf is quite into dragons at the moment, so that’s what he wanted painted on his face. 

Reflective dragon
He’s a big fan of Shrek and he loves the scene where the donkey is trying to get away from the dragon. I think his favourite bit from that scene is where the dragon roars, so he loves to roar like a dragon.
Dragon roar!