I had to nick up to Dunkeld in western Victoria for some work this weekend which I saw as a great opportunity to catch up with some friends that we haven't seen since mid-last year. Their farm swept me off my feet! They live in the Victoria Valley which is nestled in the Grampians and there is no argument that this is such a stunning part of the world. Their farm is half cleared and half native bush, full of birds, kangaroos, snakes, lizards...you name it. It was a chance for me to set up the camper for the first time and test her out. Full marks have been awarded. Although the noise of camping in the Grampians is deafening. It was SO quiet that I could hear my ears ringing like the hum of a diesel generator. With the canvas windows zipped closed I could have slept with my eyes open for the blackness. I was also grinning from ear to ear with the serenity which kept me up all night. Possums, Owls and that beautiful sound of Mastiff bats, buzzing overhead doing their nocturnal business. My hosts cooked a great BBQ, with sweet potatoes, ribs, steak, chicken, salad, you name it they had it. They really looked after me, when all I thought I was doing was cooking over a campfire with some jacket potatoes and snaggers. We had a quick shoot for some white tail, although we were having too much chit chat over dinner and missed the good light. None of us seemed to be bothered, it was more about catching up than shooting game. We had important things to discuss, like our future camping adventures, growing garlic, Landdrovers and fixing canoes. In any case at first light I went for a wander in search of the elusive Victoria Valley rabbit population. I meandered around the 88 acres of heaven, trying not to wake my hosts with unnecessary discharging of magnum rounds. The only thing I caught was a few dew filled cobwebs and the odd prickle or two. But I didn't mind. The serenity, it was everywhere.
As I drove away on Sunday I realised that I had a bad case of 'man shed envy'. Totally incurable.