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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Alive 18,993 days - give or take a day or two

2014, I spent my birthday in the exotic surrounds of bustling Kathmandu (including a rather morbid couple of hours watching bodies being burnt at Pashupatinath Temple  - one of the most sacred Hindu temples of Nepal on both banks of the Bagmati River).

For 2015 (and the BIG FIVE O NO), we were in Jaipur, India and visited the stunning Amber (Amer) Fort and had a fabulous dinner in the evening.

Last year was spent, in the not quiet as glamorous Bendigo, but had a great long weekend doing the Blues Tram and visiting several attractions.

And so this year my 52 birthday slipped quietly by without actually going anywhere!  Not strictly correct.  Aitana arrived on the 7th, so lots on. Visited the long awaited Leisurefest the 8th and happily pottered around poking and opening everything in the 100's of caravans on display.  From slide out pantries, swivelling loos, full size showers to every mod con you could imagine.  Caravans have come a long way! I just can't wait to pack up and drive off into the sunset in one.  Makes the $8,000 practice vans we're looking at seem rather unglamorous, but gotta start somewhere. 

Party pies, pizza, bubbles and cake with family rounded off the night. I saw nothing wrong with my improvised birthday candle.

The 9th dawned grey and drizzly (similar to me - grey and grizzly).  How have I possibly had 52 of these??  But a tick off the list awaited.  Ride Puffin Billy.

A bit of history.  The line between Belgrave and Gembrook, opened on 18 December 1900 and operated over 18.2 miles (29km) between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook until 1953. In 1953, a landslide blocked the track and, because of operating losses, the line was closed. But who doesn't love a good old choo choo train and sure enough, public interest resulted in the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, whose volunteers along with the assistance of the Citizens' Military Forces, by-passed the landslide and reopened the line to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and finally to Gembrook in October 1998.  Toot Toot, Puffin Billy was off and running again.

So setting off from Belgrave we settled into our first class carriage for a three course lunch through the lush forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges.  The lunch was excellent  - a pleasant surprise.  Short stop at Lakeside for a stroll around and to watch the thieving kookaburras - I've seen seagulls dive bomb for chips but never kookaburras.  Back on board for the relaxing journey back to Belgrave with dessert and coffee.  Could really have done with a bunk for a little siesta after managing to polish off a glass of bubbles and 3/4 bottle of red.

Birthday done and dusted for another year.

Could happily live in one of these!
That candle.
Ready to board PB

Didn't get to hang my legs over!

Apparently if you do this, it removes a double chin

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