Friday, February 13, 2009



After another night of sleep, frequently interrupted by shake, rattle and roll caused by stretches of poorly maintained roadbed, the PA system squawks to life at 7:00AM announcing breakfast for the first seating. Fortunately, we are the second seating and have time to gather ourselves and have tea and hot chocolate in the lounge car before it is our turn to have breakfast.
We are due into Adelaide at 1:00PM and we spend the morning packing, or, as the Aussies say, "Organizing our kit," watching the world go by, reading and writing this commentary.
The train pulled into Adelaide at 1:00Pm, on time and by 2:00 we have retrieved our luggage, picked up our rent car and are heading north toward Clare Valley. The road north is slow going for more than half way as we fight traffic and road construction but, once out of Adelaide’s suburbs, it is a pretty drive.

In terms of northern hemisphere seasons, it is the 9th of August and they have finished harvesting wheat. Evidently, it is a bumper crop here also or they simply do not have enough silos because they are storing the grain in concrete trays covered by blue (FIMA) tarps and held down by huge used tractor tires. I get the feeling that this is just the way they store the crop until shipped as they seem to be set up to do it this way and I do not get the feeling that this is an emergency measure. The fields are full of wheat stubble which they are now cutting and baling. It is very dry and the fields are a sea of gold and very pretty.

We pick up the keys to Wren Cottage at Skillogalee Winery and move in to our home for the next two nights. It is a cabin overlooking a nice valley with lots of bird action.. It has a nice deck area with a gas grill (barbie), a kitchen and living room combined, two bedrooms and a full bath. All of it has squeaky wood floors, which adds much character and keeps us from being able to sneak up on each other.
We head into Clare, about 7 miles up the road, to see if we can find some steaks to cook and to pick up a few groceries. The kitchen is very well stocked for us but we are missing a few luxuries. We buy four very nice steaks in an old-fashioned butcher shop and get the other items at Woolworth’s, a national grocery store chain. The butcher shop is doing a lively business late on the Monday afternoon and we have to wait our turn to be served. The products in the case all look very nice and include prepared kebabs, chicken breasts wrapped around various fillings and skewered, beautiful lamp chops and racks, steaks, sausage and other items. It would sure be nice to have such a shop in Brenham. Also, the prices are reasonable. We paid $8.80US a pound for bacon wrapped filets. A bone-in prime rib is only $5.87US a pound.
Back at the cabin, we enjoy some Skillogalee wine and cook two of our steaks. They are delicious with potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and salad. Neither of us slept well on the train and by 9:00PM we are in bed making an unsuccessful attempt at reading.

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