Stewart Grainger!

Trip Start Dec 22, 2011
Trip End Apr 18, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some of these swank hotels have no idea.
No, really, none.
We have discovered that Australia is the land of Health & Safety gone mad, but this was really top notch on the scale of ridiculous.
In the bathroom, there were some scales.
Now, to start with, that is fairly ridiculous; but written on them in large letters was WARNING!
I read no more and heeded the instructions, keeping well clear.
A close call.

Yesterday we had no instructions from our great leader, Ricardo, today we had loads. The Intercontinental is not the easiest place for 24 cars to pack up and leave at the same time. With this in mind, we did the gentlemanly thing and dallied over breakfast until almost everyone had already gone. How selfless.
Our first stop was a smart one. Oh yes. An assignation at Government house, no less, to meet the Governor's secretary, have a tour round and then tea. As it was only 10 minutes up the road and we had been given a fresh off the press map, no worries, mate.
Leaving the hotel last meant we arrived at Government House last. Or, it would have done had one or two people not taken a more scenic route.
The house is surrounded by the Botanic Garden, with security guards on the gates. It is a beautiful pile with a splendid gravel forecourt on which we all parked. What a terrific sight! 
Charlie, the governor's official secretary, (aka Sir Charles Roderick Curwin CVO, OBE, Hon.LLD.) was there to welcome us. Typical public school product, with crisp pale blue chinos, tassles on the brogues and cravatte carelessly nestling where his top button was undone. Ex Harrow and Hussars, you know the sort, with that slow crooked smile which crinkles slowly and spreads gently over the entire face
Can I help it that he was a dead ringer for Stewart Grainger?
Portraits of royals on every wall, including one of Dame Nellie who looked pretty stern. No flies on that one, methinks. The dining room table would have sat at least 30, but to be honest, would have taken way too much polishing for it to be really useful.
The last room we saw was a sort of throne room all done out in blue and gold, with a throne at one end behind gold rope and below a coat of arms with the royal coat of arms. with an inviting dance floor and masses of space, this must be a great place for parties. To one side was a sort of canteen area; does her Maj line up with her tray like all the rest of us? Looking for the one clean dry tray without someone else's splodge of tomato sauce? I wonder. On the other side, the room open out onto the lawn, with an ornamental fountain in the centre. 
I had just stuffed a small walnut topped brownie into my mouth when Sir Diddly Diddly sidled up and started chatting to me. It was a delicious brownie, but one of those really sticky ones which leave a film of gooey chocolate on your teeth. Perfect timing.
Apparently we were both sent away to boarding school at the age of 6. Firm friends already, despite the brownie incident. Actually he was a nice bloke, with a distinct twinkle.
Leaving the cars there we all walked to the Botanic Gardens where we had a guided tour, before heading off to the Point where we were to meet more Aussie Jag owners for tea. 
This was also not a long way away, but the map was more than a little misleading and did indeed mislead most, if not all. What should have taken 10 minutes, took anything up to 45, some people arriving with smoke coming out of not just their exhausts.
We had seen people blasting off in the wrong direction, John and Sally going for gold by doing a magnificent U turn in front of an oncoming tram, with XKs and E types heading off in every direction. None of us knew where we were headed, the map (also hot off the press) had missed out several roads on a whim... but it is always good to have a challenge, n'est ce pas?
There was a TV crew at the point who took footage of the cars, with the lake, grand prix circuit and black swans in the background. 
We meanwhile scuttled in and settled down to a cream tea, whilst watching a group of youngsters dinghy racing on the lake. When one capsized, he almost got a round of applause. Really it was a case of killing a little time before heading off to the ferry, The Spirit of Tasmania, which once we had been cleared as not having any vegetables or other ammo with us, we were finally allowed to board.
Tassie here we come!  
Slideshow Report as Spam


Bibbi Stebbing on

At least no one can say you have not included photos of the Jaguars this time...

Ragnhild Evjen Andersen on

I deeply admire the parking skills shown by these drivers

Rosa Maria & Ronald on

Dear Alison Nick,

thanks to Richard's latest email we found your great travel blogue. We love it and will continue to follow your adventures down-under. It relieves the pain of not having been able to join you. Our best wishes to you and all our XK friends. Enjoy the tour and travel safely,
Rosa Maria & Ronald

alicebeetle on

@ Ragnhild : You really need to be there to appreciate this to the max....

alicebeetle on

@Rosa Maria & Ronald : We miss you! And the dancing. And stuff.... x

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