Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Grand Final

I can't allow this weekend to pass without mentioning the football!  We're not passionate football supporters - at least, in comparison with many others - but even we were sitting on the edge of our seats when Hawthorn scraped home in their Preliminary Final.  And I guess we'll watch the Grand Final on the TV.

Looking at the images on the internet, it seems things were a bit damp at times during the Grand Final parade.   Nevertheless, it's impressive that the crowds were still there.

They're Hawks at the newsagent!
Around here, when Collingwood were playing in the GF, there were a number of  houses with black-and-white displays, but Hawks supporters (and Swans, if there are any) don't seem to feel the same need to publicise their loyalty. Perhaps that says something about the nature of Magpie fans?  However, a couple of the shops have invested in some balloons!
Thomas Dux tries to have it both ways

Friday, 28 September 2012

Train problems

I acknowledge that I may prattle on it a bit about our local train services - but this article suggests that there may be some justification:
Note that the "minutes to departure" column on right-hand side is blank for city-bound trains!
It seems that the number of cancelled trains may have decreased - although cancellations definitely still occur.    But two things in particular irritate me.  One of them is mentioned in the article, that is, there are trains that are supposed to run through the loop, but don't.   You can live with this sort of thing when it's an inbound train (because it's not a big drama to change at Richmond or get to your city destination from Flinders St) but what is really, really annoying is when you're waiting at a loop station and "hear" (if you're lucky) a garbled announcement that the outbound train you thought was coming is not now coming, because it is running direct from Flinders St to Richmond.   The barely-audible announcement is often made at about the time the train is due - in other words, frequently after you've let a train or two pass that would otherwise have taken you to Richmond where, with luck, you might have connected to the errant train.

In fact, this happened to me this week.   The problem of garbled announcements at Flagstaff was avoided - there was no announcement at all! Only by closely observing the monitors did I discern that the train wasn't coming.

The other thing is when a stopping train is changed to an express, so as to make up time.   This is often done with little notice, and in this case also, the manual announcements are often very poor and there's a massive risk of confusion.

Admittedly, in such situations, the reason seems often to be because the train is already late, and so the wait for the next train - if it's on time - may not too great.   However, this isn't always the case.

It's interesting that the statistics seem to indicate that satisfaction is down.  This may have something to do with the fact that, of the cancellations and other issues that do occur, many are at times when large numbers of people are travelling.   For example, in one case recently the train I caught at quite a busy time of day was the only one in a group of three that was operating - both the train before and the train after were cancelled.  On top of that, the display suggested that next scheduled train after that was running about 10 minutes late.  Instead of waiting until after the peak period to get their trains back into order, I suspect that Metro make changes at the first opportunity - even if this means that a greater number of passengers are inconvenienced.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Burke and Wills

We appear to celebrate Burke and Wills, even though on most counts their expedition ended in failure.  I suppose they were the first explorers to cross Australia from south to north (if tasting salt water counts as getting to the Gulf of Carpentaria), but it does seem to me that this is a somewhat hollow feat if you don't make it home!  In his book, A Walking Guide to Melbourne's Monuments, Ronald Ridley comments that, "The heroisation of the two men out of all who took part in such an appallingly ill-managed expedition is a story without parallel in the history of such monuments".  Interestingly, it is Burke who is placed in a domineering position (apparently in line with his character!)
Yet I note with interest that their statue in the city square has been brought forward, so as to be right on the edge of Swanston Street.  I wonder if we were starting all over again whether we'd choose to use this prominent location for a statue of someone else.

However, there is in fact some justification for the prominence given to this statue.  It was (according to Ridley) Melbourne's first public monument.

The sculptor was Charles Summers, and the monument was originally unveiled in 1865 at the corner of Collins and Russell Streets but was moved in 1886 to make way for the cable trams.  It was moved to outside Parliament House, then to the Carlton Gardens.  When the underground loop was constructed in 1979 it returned to Collins Street and after restoration was set up at the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets.

However, I doubt if the tourists taking photos of  this monument appreciate that, at least for some of us, its significance is not the men that it commemorates, but the place that the statue itself has in Melbourne's history

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Rockfall in Cinque Terre

There have been reports of a rockfall in Italy:

Seemingly this rockfall occurred on the Via dell'Amore (the path connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola) - the most famous and popular of the Cinque Terre trails, a wide, well-graded path and certainly not an adventurous track. And from what I've read so far, the rockfall appeared to have "just happened" (albeit that the wet weather a few months back may have been the underlying cause).  There's been no mention of an immediate trigger event, such as an earth tremor or heavy rain at the time.

Not only did we walk this path last year, but what brings the impact even closer to home is that one of the four Victorian women involved is a friend of Sue's, who saw her just before she left for Europe.  

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Spring is here, it gets light earlier in the mornings and, it seems to me,  the flowers are particularly abundant  this year.


Monday, 24 September 2012

Places not to visit?

I recently mentioned a book called 101 Places Not to Visit (see  The book doesn't purport to be a comprehensive list of every place in the world that's not worth visiting, of course, but it could perhaps be expanded to 102 places with the addition of Tobolsk.   

Iva at a remote location
What, you may well ask, has brought this place to my attention?   Well, my one-time colleague Iva has just been there!   See

Perhaps if Tobolsk were located closer to civilisation it might be worth dropping in on, but seemingly it's a 10 hour overnight journey by train north of Yekaterinburg (which, although remote itself, is at least on the trans-Siberian railway).  And then 10 hours back!

At the time of this post. I am waiting with great interest for other instalments of Iva's travel journal, but  they seem to be still on the way!

I don't have any pictures from Tobolsk, so I have had to compromise with an image of a ger camp, in Terelj (Mongolia).  Would you believe that this is actually a lodging place for tourist groups?

Saturday, 22 September 2012


We had a weekday lunch at Barca to celebrate a birthday.   Stylish surrounds, attentive service and OK value for the quality that you receive, especially if you take advantage of the "lunch special" (main course for $25, including a glass of wine or a coffee - available 7 days).   I had the black gnocchi, and enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, we didn't check our allergy issue, on the assumption that we'd be OK at a place like this.  But ... not so!    Just shows, if you have an issue, you always have to check.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Different technologies?

I was on my way home from buying my newspaper this morning, when I saw a queue outside the Optus shop, an hour before it opened.

A little research showed that Apple's iPhone 5 is being released today.

What a technological difference.  There I am, looking forward to reading the print media over my muesli;  there they are, queuing for the latest in "technology" (not sure if that's quite the word, but it will have to do!)

Edit:    is it just a coincidence that the following article appeared in the Age today?  See

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Google acquires Frommers

I was interested in the news - a little while back, I admit - that Google have acquired the Frommer's travel-guide business:  see, for example,

Given that Google started its existence as a "no frills" search engine, I wonder just what is intended here.  There's a comment that they plan to integrate it into Zagat.   I had never heard of Zagat, but perhaps that's not surprising because it doesn't seem to cover Australia.  However, my assumption is that is, or is destined to be, an on-line review/advisory site.   There seems to be money in this area, especially where travel is concerned.   Apparently both TripAdvisor and Expedia  are listed entities in the US.  In fact, Wikipedia states that TripAdvisor was spun off from Expedia in a public offering in December 2011.  Perhaps Google wants to get in on the act!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Telephone numbers

I see that the authorities think we need more telephone numbers: see

Of course, there's nothing wrong with mobile numbers expanding into the 05 range from the 04 range.  But the interesting thing is, as ACMA states, that's an additional 100 million phone numbers.    The existing 100 million will apparently all be used by 2017.   So, together with numbers already available, the total number of available phone numbers for mobile devices is going to be 200 million (perhaps just slightly less, if not every number is considered to be suitable). 

 Let's see now, that's 7 or 8 mobile devices for every man, woman and child in Australia?   Sounds like a growth industry to me!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


We went to Traralgon for a Memorial Service for Grace (mother of brother-in-law Rob).    The service was a fitting tribute to a lady whose mother died when she was 19 months old (in the 1919 global Spanish flu epidemic) and who herself, as a baby, spent time in the tent hospital at Broadmeadows.  We were reminded of the ups and downs of the years in Traralgon in the 50s and 60s.   We already knew of her great affection for her family but we learned that later in life she travelled to Europe 18 times to stay with one of her sons and his family in London.    She certainly packed a lot into her 94 years, and her autobiography (edited by Rob) has been published:  it's called A Charmed Life (see, and really is very interesting reading.

Former Presbyterian Church
 The service included the hymn "Amazing Grace" - pun intended (although I'm not sure that the Canon who conducted the service totally approved).  It was at St James Anglican Church, Traralgon.   I was expecting to find a fine old building, but no, this was a modern (1970s?) complex - very pleasant and functional, of course, but it didn't have quite the atmosphere that I had been expecting.  The earlier Anglican parish church in the heart of town, built in 1922 and replacing the original 1870s wooden church, was demolished in 1970 to make way for a supermarket.    At least it didn't suffer the fate of its Presbyterian neighbour, also dating from 1922, which today is a restaurant and bar!         (edited 18 Sept)      
Church interior
...just one of half a dozen tables!
Refreshments were offered after the service, and country hospitality was certainly evident with ample food (I hope the left-overs were put to good use!)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Glen Iris wetlands

We went for a walk along Gardiners Creek in the Glen Iris wetlands section.   It was an early Spring afternoon with a little sun, and it was nice to see the ducks and other waterbirds enjoying life.  Quite a few humans were out, too, on their bikes (this is part of the Gardiners Creek trail), walking their dogs, jogging or just walking and sitting (we came into this category).

The area was developed after the freeway was built.  There's bit of a background hum of traffic - even though there are sound absorbing walls - but it's not over-whelming.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

DJs at Malvern Central

It's been announced that Target will leave our local sub-regional shopping centre at the end of the year and be replaced next year by David Jones (see   You'll see from the comments ( )  that this has given rise to a mixed local reaction, but there are some concerns, which might be translated (in my case) as,  where will I buy my socks?

The tone of the announcements seems to suggest that it wasn't Target's initiative that they should leave, but rather that the shopping centre wanted to "re-position" itself.  But who knows?  I understand Malvern Central is owned by AMP Capital, and would an AMP entity willingly pick a fight with a Wesfarmers entity?

DJs have been reported as stating that they're modelling  the store on their smaller format stores such as at Claremont (WA) (  We were living in WA when DJs took over Ahearns, including the store at Claremont, but while the name over the door changed, the conversion into a DJs took place after our time. 

I suppose there are similarities in the demographics of the areas but I suspect there are also some differences.    For example, there's probably  more cultural and socio-economic diversity around Malvern (but, given the higher density,  I guess in terms of absolute numbers the Malvern catchment would still have plenty of people in the demographic that DJs would aim for), and it's a lot harder to move around the Malvern area by car than in the Claremont catchment area (but perhaps traffic congestion doesn't deter the sort of people that DJs are aiming at, given the number of them who do the school pick-up run and sit in Friday afternoon gridlock).  Public transport access (train and tram/bus) is rather similar, although train access doesn't seem to rate in Malvern Central's thinking, given the roundabout pedestrian access from the station (it would be relatively simple to provide a more direct route to the station, but this has never been done even though it was a condition of the original development).  Presumably the view is that DJs' customers don't travel by train.   One potentially significant factor is that the Malvern operation will obviously start from scratch, whereas Ahearns had a long-established presence.

It will be interesting to see how it goes, and in the meantime I can report that my sock drawer is already very well-stocked, with enough socks to last several years!

Friday, 14 September 2012


Once I had set up our new computer, I thought I'd try and investigate the issues that may have existed with our old computer.  Since one of the motivating factors in buying the new computer was that the old one - especially the hard drive - might be getting close to the end of its life, I deferred my investigation until after we were satisfied that the new one was up and running.  Thus if my investigations resulted in some disaster, all would not be lost.

One issue that occurred to me was  - did the hard drive need to be defragmented?  

On our newer computers, this is programmed to occur at regular intervals.   However, this wasn't occurring on the old computer, so I set the de-frag utility to work.

Over 6 hours later the process was still running - on a single partitition that only had a little over 25GB of data!    However, the bar that appeared did suggest that the data was highly fragmented.  I got various messages about progress:    a lot of the time the procedure was "de-fragging"  the drive but it also said that it was moving files and later compacting files. At other times, it didn't even tell me what it was doing, but the hard drive was still hard at work,    It might have done some other things as well, but I had better things to do than to sit and watch the progress reports that appeared on the screen!

Even so, initial impressions are that all this effort hasn't helped.  The hard drive still chugs intermittently and responses can be very slow indeed.  

I've also tried to check various other possibilities, such as whether  automatic indexing is running - but all have drawn a blank.   

I was once told that hard drives rarely fail without warning, so my theory remains that there is indeed an issue with the hard drive. Perhaps the time taken for the de-frag utility to run is itself a further symptom that the hard drive isn't in good shape.   Hence my intention is not to stress the old hard drive further by more investigatations and to use it only if it turns out that there's something stored on it that we find we need.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Catching Up

I think it comes with the acquisition of "senior" status:   these days, probably with more available time, I do more "catching up" coffees than ever before.  And in several cases, these are with people that I once knew very well, but haven't seen much of in the intervening years (probably mostly my fault).

A few days back, it was a pleasure to catch up with David M.   We had coffee at one of the many nearby coffee shops.   Our conversation seemed to pick up just where we last left off, perhaps a decade or more ago.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


We don't often eat out west, but we recently had a group catch-up at the Mercure Caroline Springs (also known as WestWaters).    The seniors meals were excellent value at 2 courses for $16.  I had the penne with pumpkin etc (and received a generous serve), and other choices included chicken schnitzel or fish and chips (plus soup or desert, of course, or both for slightly extra).  

They also threw in a $5 pokie credit - which of course had the desired effect of attracting a number of the group into the pokies room.  Needless to say, the venue more than made up for the cheapness of the meals.

There's an interesting outlook over "Lake Caroline" in front of the hotel.  I assume it's artificial, but there are even a few ducks on it.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Shoe tossing

A pair of sneakers has recently appeared suspended from a power line close to our house.   Of course, such sights are not uncommon, but because this is close to us, I investigated the possible reasons on Wikipedia (see

It seems that there are numerous possible explanations, ranging from the existence of a nearby drug dealing centre through to a way of marking a gang's turf.   Is it a coincidence that the power line is close to a newly-opened coffee shop?   Is there something going on in our vicinity that we're not aware of?

However, I'm hopeful that the explanation is more benign, perhaps the outcome of some adolescent rowdiness!

(edited 11 Sept)

Monday, 10 September 2012

New computer ... part 2

So, yes, I thought the initial set-up of our new computer had gone reasonably well.    However, there were just a couple of little details that I thought could be easily fixed with a few minutes tweaking.  If only......

The first related to the printer.  Initially I was happy that I had been able to print to our existing printer from the new computer as soon as I connected it, without a need to look for drivers or to run an installation process.   It's not a network printer, but so the long as the computer that it's attached to is switched on and sharing is enabled, other computers on the network ought to be able to print on it.  And that's how it used to be.   But, try as I might, I couldn't print from other computers via the new computer.    

To cut a long story short, the issue turns out to have been that the new computer runs a  version of Windows 7 (64 bit) that isn't compatible in certain respects with the versions that the other computers use (32 bit).   Hence, a 32 bit driver had to be installed on the new computer.   Just as well I'd found the original CD with the drivers on it, because there was no way that the new computer could be persuaded to install the necessary drivers from the internet (the wizards are all about getting newer versions, not older ones).  And, no, it was no use installing either the new or old drivers on the other computers.....   I tried every possible combination (and quite few other things, such as double-checking all the "sharing" settings) before I stumbled on the approach that finally worked.   By the time I had googled for the solution, checked out numerous false leads and so on, this little exercise took more than 3 hours!

The second issue related to getting sound from the new computer.   It clearly didn't have a speaker built into it, yet when I plugged external speakers in, nothing happened (edit - and the speakers in the monitor didn't work, either) . 
This time, as a result of googling, I was led to the Microsoft "Fix It Solution" centre - and almost unbelievably, the downloaded problem finding application identified the issue straight away (which I think was that the new computer hadn't managed to identify the not-very-new generic speakers that I'd plugged in), and actually managed to get the sound working.  Total time - less than an hour (most of which was taken attempting to adjust the various "sound" settings before resorting to google).  It's nice to know that Microsoft can sometimes actually come up with something that's helpful (instead of just stating the obvious and/or platitudes). 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Football Lunch

Not a great image - one of the table decorations
A colleague encouraged me to attend a Football Finals lunch.   Not really my scene, but I have to admit that I actually enjoyed it.   There were short interviews with a number of well known figures in the football world (including Messrs Daniher and Walls), and a couple of current players, namely the Grimes brothers.  The interviews were short and snappy, and the MC was very well informed and re-visited various past incidents apparently well-remembered in the football world (and the discussion was interesting even to those such as me who weren't familiar with the details).  Inevitably, some views were expressed about what might occur in the current finals series and there were a number of strongly-expressed opinions about current coaching moves.  There were also some views from John Elliott (I haven't mentioned the venue, but there's a clue!)

A nice red wine (too tempting) and a good steak - consistent with the football theme, I suppose - rounded out the event!

Friday, 7 September 2012


I heard an address by a Samsung person at a meeting of the PC User Group on the way of the future - as seen by Samsung.   In a word, it's all about having "smart" homes (and offices and in fact lives) as a result of "convergence". By this, Samsung envisages that all our devices - preferably made by Samsung, who seem to be a little more advanced than some of the other manufacturers - will wirelessly communicate with each other with technology that in fact is already available.

One example given was that in the office, powerpoint presentations will be seen by attendees on their tablets, rather than on the screen.   In the home, our smart phones/tablets etc will be able to share images with the TV, and the TV will likewise be fitted with a camera so that it can act as a Skype terminal, or even as a monitor of what's going on in the room.   Our portable devices will be able to communicate with our heaters, toasters, stoves and other appliances, even the refrigerator.   Fear not if your toaster or washing machine isn't geared up to be controlled remotely, you'll be able to instal an adapter on the power supply that will serve the purpose.

The idea seems to be that, if you're travelling home, you'll be able to instruct the heater and kettle to turn on so that all will be in readiness for you when you walk in the door.  Likewise you'll be able to monitor your security cameras while you're away, so you can watch the housebreakers at work!  And refrigerators of the future will be fitted with bar-code readers to keep a record of what's put in and taken out, with the obvious consequence that you'll be able to ask it via your phone when you're in the supermarket whether you need to buy any more milk.  I've taken a couple of liberties with what was said in the presentation, but you get the drift.

To me, an interesting aspect is that none of these concepts involve any really new technology, just a somewhat more sophisticated application of technology that's already with us.    What these concepts mainly involve, it seems to me, is a mindset that is accepting of these things, although of course devices that are easier to use will assist.    Perhaps my generation struggles with the need for this.   We're content to wait until we arrive home to turn the heater on and to look in the refrigerator before we leave for the supermarket to see how much milk is there.    But I admit that I may have plateaued.   I wonder.   I think of our parents, or grandparents, who survived without mobile phones and were content to wait until they arrived home to make a phone call, or to use a public phone by the side of the road for an urgent call.  Are we heading for an era when it will be just as natural to check the amount of milk in the refrigerator on your phone as it now is to make a call saying that you're delayed?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

New computer

The oldest of our computers seemed to have been struggling a little.   There didn't seem to be any specific problems, but it's nearly a decade old, it runs on XP.......So I had been wondering whether the time had come to think about a new computer.   

We had the discussion as to whether a laptop was appropriate, but decided this wasn't necessary (although desktops apparently don't usually have Bluetooth), and for somewhat similar reasons, didn't see any need to move forward to a tablet.  I looked around Officeworks and saw that we could obtain a computer that would be perfectly adequate.     But then, a special was advertised at Aldi.   For not all that much more than the cost of a basic model from Officeworks, an impressively configured computer (fast processor, 4 GB RAM, large hard drive .... ) was going on sale for significantly less than a similarly configured computer from Officeworks (or even Computers & Parts Land, which I think is regarded as right down there on price - and with a similar level of service).  The only thing it appeared not have was a solid state drive - but from what I've since learned, I don't think we need this.

Aldi, do I hear you say?   What support can they provide if you need it?   As it happens, that's where I bought my netbook some time back.    And I had occasion to call the support line at that time.  Needless to say, my query arose because I had overlooked something fairly basic, but I was sufficiently satisfied with the reaction (by the Australian distributor, not Aldi)  to my query that I was prepared to trust them again.  So the purchase was made.

The box!
The biggest challenge after getting home with the box was configuring it - downloading and installing software, setting up email accounts, transferring bookmarks across, patching it into the home network (including disabling Windows 7's unhelpful "HomeGroup") and the like.  I even located the printer driver CD - and then found out that I didn't need it, because Windows  goes looking on the internet for these as soon as you connect the printer!

We were provided with some helpful advice about transferring information from the old computer to the new, but in the end decided to be selective.    

However, various issues arose when setting up the various email accounts on the new computer.   We've accumulated a number of email accounts.  They've been set up at different times and for different reasons - and have different passwords!    Yes, our passwords were all carefully recorded in hard copy.  In fact, hard copy back-ups existed, too.  But there are different passwords for different functions (the main optus billing account vs the individual optus email accounts.......  it gets a bit confusing..... ). And, once or twice the passwords had been changed - but in at least one instance, this wasn't recorded on the back-up copy!    I won't go into any more detail, but the afternoon I spent sorting out all these issues was, shall we say, a little frustrating!

Nevertheless, I think we've got to where we need to be, and it seems to have been worthwhile.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


A group of us had a very good meal at Maris.   Maris was quite renowned a few years back, but for some reason doesn't seem to be quite as "in" these days.  Perhaps it's a little out of the way.  However,  if our meal is anything to go by, the standards have been maintained.   

I had the crab soup, which came with a little side dish of prawns, followed by the roast duck flavoured with juniper and other things, which was great (and I don't usually eat duck).   I think everyone else also enjoyed their meals, with the slow roasted  lamb in particular coming in for favourable comment.  

The prices were OK value for what we got, and the service was professional.   We liked the fact that you can BYO (even though corkage is $9 per bottle), although the wine list appeared to include a varied and interesting selection.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Railway costs

I'm indebted to this publication (  for the information that, apparently, Melbourne’s railway costs per passenger are 47% of Sydney’s.
I don't know if it's related, but I must admit that it strikes me as strange that, in Sydney, it seems to take 3 people to be involved before a train can leave a station (at least the larger ones) - namely, a person on the platform to wave a flag, a guard who rides in the middle of the train to shut the doors and, of course, a driver to drive the train.

Now, I know that here in Melbourne we sometimes have various people on the platform who help with the boarding process.  For example, at Parliament, announcements are made urging passengers to get on board and to move down the train (sometimes an exercise in futility, when the train is full),  And even at our local station  there are a couple of station hosts who sometimes bid you "good morning" and even wave a white disk in the direction of the driver at times.  But most of the time, trains seem to be able to depart under the sole control of the driver.

Perhaps the difference is that Victoria had Jeff Kennett and NSW had Ms Keneally and her predecessors!

Monday, 3 September 2012

101 Places Not to Visit

I saw a book called "101 Places Not to Visit" in the op shop, and even though it was slightly out-of-date, I couldn't resist, after checking to confirm that Ulaanbaatar is on the list.

But when I got home, I was a little disappointed.  Yes, it has a few good lines, but at the end of the day, most of it isn't really funny (which I would have hoped), and factually it's all pretty superficial (not that I expected much).

I smiled at the entry on Paris, however.  It states that one reason not to visit Paris is that the city is full to the brim with two things that are on most tourists' list of things to avoid:  other tourists and Parisians.
Ulaanbaatar boring? Well, now that you mention it ....!

For the record, one of the comments about Ulaanbataar is that it is said the chief activity of tourists  is heading to Sukhbaatar Square at the city's alleged centre to organise a trip into the Gobi Desert, the only place on earth with even more nothing in it.

Saturday, 1 September 2012


Although separately managed, Salix restaurant is co-located with Willow Creek Vineyard at Merricks North. We called in recently on our way down to Cape Schanck and had a brief tasting session of the Willow Creek wines.  While they were fine, the reality is that we're not really "into" pinots (which are of course the specialty down this way) and so couldn't bring ourselves to pay the prices asked.

The restaurant was a different story.   We had the gnocchi (as a main) and the comfit of duck with lentils, and were really impressed. The desert was nice, too. All this was washed down with a nice bottle of Strathbogie shiraz (under the Salix label, apparently from a vineyard in which the proprietor of the restaurant has an interest).

The outlook in the restaurant over the vines creates a good atmosphere and the service was friendly and helpful.  The prices, while not exactly bargains, were, we thought, reasonable for the quality offered.