Christmas, jingle bells and kissing under the mistletoe might go together, but in the Aussie bush up our way Mistletoe is a killer.
Spy a dead or dying tree and invariably a quick search reveals the culprit as a mistletoe branch that somehow drains the tree of all its nutrients and so the tree itself dies.
The nearest of the four stately Yellow Box eucalypts overlooking our new house dam had a huge, prospering mistletoe branch that we’d not noticed until the dam went in. Not only did it worry us, it also spoiled the view.
But 10 metres of the ground above a steeply sloping bank, a ladder just wouldn’t reach.
Ros’s bridesmaid Sue Wilson from Tamworth called in yesterday and suggested throwing a rope over it and breaking off the branch. Why hadn’t we thought of that! And yes it worked.
So of course the joke goes…
Stand JR under the mistletoe and you might want to kiss the more attractive mistletoe instead.
Early Saturday morning visitors greeted me with “Do you work here? Do you manage it?”
Carting a small water tank on the back of my Toro buggy for plant watering, I guess I didn’t look too impressive.
When I responded: “In fact we own it…” surprised looks from our visitors gave way to a description of being at Adelaide Oval last week and while tuned in to the ABC, watching Chris Rogers and Gerard Whately doing the roof-climb of the stands to do their broadcast.
Soon I learned they were family of a wedding that afternoon at the nearby Flowerdale Estate – and I told them the bride Sara had sounded us out for a bit of cricket before the 4pm wedding, but in the end couldn’t quite pull it together.
Instead we’ve got a Buck’s day for a different group going on. The 3o-ish groom is getting married in Singapore soon to a long-term girlfriend, so 20 of his mates were sending him off at the VG in style.
“We’d thought of paint-ball, going to the races, and then a cycling tour up the Great Victoria Rail track from Tallarook to Mansfield, but wanted something simpler.
“When the thought of cricket came up, we discovered most guys had played just backyard cricket, but were keen to try it”, Ryan commented.
So they dressed for it, borrowing ‘whites’ from friends, and as the cricket started, so was the spit fired up, the music turned on (not too loud thankfully), and eskies positioned adroitly at square leg.
By the laughter, fielding spills, chat and sledging, they look to be enjoying themselves.
Pretty good pink-ball test, huh? Brought back a few memories for us too..
Just as Ros Rogers would shut her eyes to every ball as son Chris faced up in his test matches, she got the same amount of nervous – and did just the same – for the Queensland youngster Matt Renshaw.
Few debut batsman have ever faced a sterner test – having to bat with just 12 overs to go on Day 1 with the opposition throwing the kitchen sink at the openers; and batting under lights when the new pink ball is supposed to wobble and seam all over the place.
He’s a bit gawky is Renshaw with elbows and knees jutting all over the place, but what a great job he did in surviving to stumps. If Steve Smith had to go in and got out in the gloaming, then a ‘nil-3’ whitewash was a much more likely scenario than the eventual Aussie win.
Ros and I are both pretty uncomfortable with heights, so Chris being conned into commentating from the top of the stand didn’t exactly thrill us. Good pic though.
Back here at the Village Green, the oval and pavilion have never looked better after our best-ever winter and spring rains. We lost just one day’s cricket through wet weather, and the pitch had excellent bounce, pace and carry. We’ve been able to stripe the ground Adelaide Oval –style – and the roses are in full bloom, especially the ‘Greg Chappell’ orange ones and the ‘Sir Donald Bradman’ bank that are the colour of cricket balls. The pink ‘Jane McGrath’s’ are also doing well.
We’ve a “Buck’s Weekend” booking in our bunkhouse this weekend with 16 or so guys extra keen to get out on the Oval.
Our Friday night cafés are increasingly popular with the locals and quite a few people from towns 30-40kms away – Kilmore, Seymour, Broadford Flowerdale and Yea – are coming out to sample Ros’s home-cooking, and sit on the balcony with a cool ale or glass of wine as the sun sets.