meant we had a later start than intended yesterday. My nephew and his wife are here until about noon today. They brought their first born over to 'meet' her great-grandfather. My father has had three blissful days of "baby who can be handed back when in need of feeding, changing or just getting a little grizzly".
I have to admit that, as babies go, she has been incredibly well behaved. We have only had one real problem all the time she has been here - and I have to concur with her views on that subject.
But, we eventually got moving yesterday at about 10:30am. By that time she had settled down for a little snooze in her baby capsule. We all headed west and then north. The idea was a visit to the go-kart track to see my two nephews here perform high speed manouvres before heading off to the Barossa Valley for something a little more civilised.
None of us had actually been to the track before but I knew it would be very noisy and windy and rather chilly. It was. The Little Princess hated it. She screamed. I do not blame her. I did not care for it myself. My father was not impressed either. He does not like noise or speed and the sight of his precious grandsons in those machines really bothered him. We left quickly.
The Barossa Valley is a different story. For those of you who have never been here it is the premier grape growing region in South Australia. It has wineries - and more wineries. There are small towns (villages to you residents of the UK) with names like Kapunda, Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Eudunda, Bethany and Angaston. There are hamlets of wineries with names like Yalumba, Seppeltsfield, Wolf Blass, Saltram, Simpatico, Penfold's and Jacob's Creek - to name just a few of the more than fifty wineries in the region. It is also home to Maggie Beer's establishment.
I do not drink alcohol. It brings me out in an uncomfortable rash. All this fuss about the finer points of wine is lost on me. My brother enjoys it, so does my Sydney nephew. They do not over indulge but they do appreciate - or so they tell me. I leave them to it. We ended up at Peter Lehmann's for lunch. Dad and I are happy with that. The surroundings are magnificent there even if we had to eat indoors because it was a bit chilly. There was a nice wood fire burning. My father and the Little Princess were happy to take advantage of that. I wandered off to look at the art while the others investigated tiny quantities of wine with a view to taking some back to Sydney. We had a sort of Ploughman's lunch. (Very pleasant - I naughtily risked a teaspoon of excellent beetroot relish...and the vinegar in it made me feel only faintly itchy afterwards.)
It was well after two before we finished but we went still further afield.
This is where such journeys get interesting for me. I would like to have stopped to explore old graveyards (mostly Lutheran) and some of the older buildings. There was a lovely dry stone wall that we all liked. I would have liked to veer off and visit Collingrove - originally home of the pioneering Angas family. I will be forever curious about the lone and lonely gravestone in the corner of a field and continue to wonder who built the ruined house. What happened to them?
South Australia's settled history does not extend that far back but it does have some interesting moments. It has many sad moments too.
We all sit cosily in the car. My brother, used to Sydney traffic, finds the driving a pleasure. We are able to watch the countryside and wish we had more time. And, all the time, I am conscious of the Little Princess. She has yet to discover all this.