Now that we’re settled into our home for the next four days the en-route dramas are well forgotten. The road trip from Melbourne to Echuca was comfortable in our people mover. The men did a marvellous job of packing suitacases into the luggage space. No small feat considering we all took our baggage allowance seriously. We did the ‘compulsory’ drive around the block from the car rental offices as the GPS established its link with the appropriate satellite.
Once out of Melbourne the landscape changed dramatically with the road stretching beyond the horizon and drawing us along at a great speed. From the comfort of the car we passed a variety of faming options; beef, dairying, sheep, goats and I fancied alpacas but that ‘vision’ may have been a result of the speed at which things whizzed by.
The canola fields stretched far beyond the horizon. Apparently Australia produces 2 – 3 million tonnes of oilseed crops each year of which canola forms a large proportion. As you can see the flowers make it a distinctive Winter crop with, apparently, strong cabbage smells that come from being a hybridisation of the brasicca family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard and turnip). Those of you who have been subject to boarding school cooking will remember teh stench of overcooked cabbage … not nice.
As early as the 13th century, European countries were using canola oil to fuel lamps although wasn’t the earliest recording of people making innovative uses of this versatile plant. Google tells me that as far back as 2000BC people were discovering ways to turn this crop to their advantage.
We stopped for lunch in a sleepy town with no name (not really, I can’t recall it just this minute). The atmosphere and character of this little treasure lifted our spirits as it provided a perfect distraction from clouds that were closing in threatening to rain on our holiday. Food, wine tasting, home made preserves for sale and excellent company … and all in the one place. Life is good.
Our first night on board The Icon was everything we had expected. Whilst we figured we could live on this particular houseboat we established our four days was possibly as far as the budget would stretch. Nevermind, we embraced our combined financial limitations and enjoyed pre-dinner nibbles and a few bottles of what we all fancied.
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