18 June 2009

Winter Winelander Part 2.

We woke next morning to a fine, clear but mildly frosty day. I decided to have a shower as Helen wanted to stay in bed a bit longer. I didn't blame her, they were toasty warm and lovely and comfortable. We slept like logs.

There was plenty of hot water and good pressure, so I jumped in and started washing my hair. The next thing, the hot water disappeared and left freezing icy cold water. I got such a shock, I could only gasp. Which was fortunate, I could have alarmed the whole motel complex with blood curdling shrieks if I wasn't in such a state of shock. I fiddled around with the taps and fortunately, managed to get the water back to my liking and was able to finish my shower uninterrupted but in record time. I did not want to be caught again.

I warned Helen about the vagaries of the shower but fortunately for her, she had no trouble. I learnt later that it was probably because nearly everyone decided to take their showers at the same time. However, no one got the rude awakening that I did.

We met outside for breakfast which was fruit, cereal and fruit juice to start with. This was followed by a delicious second course of sausages, bacon, tomato and eggs cooked on the barbecue along with toast, followed by piping hot coffee. Most people sat in the indoor area but a few of us hardy souls sat at the picnic tables outside in the sun. Even though it was frosty, it wasn't particularly cold. For once, Stanthorpe was not the coldest place in Queensland.

While at breakfast we received the sad news that one of our fellow travellers had passed away during the night from a heart attack. I did feel for his wife, but her family travelled overnight from Brisbane to be with her. He was an avid train buff and at least he was doing something he loved.

At 9.15 am we were taken by coach to the station for the return journey back to Brisbane. We didn't have the complimentary champagne on the return trip, but we did have another wine tasting, of reds this time. Then after lunch the buffet car was open for happy hour or three.

There were a group of New Zealanders in our car, who were thoroughly enjoying themselves. They kept us highly entertained with their conversation, no doubt with the lubrication they had, they thought they were having a very intelligent and witty discussion. Take my word for it...they weren't. But they were very funny.

There was a raffle, the proceeds of which went towards the Australian Historical Railway Society, which arranges these excursions. We'd had one on the way up and the same man one first prize in both. Good sport that he was, he returned his second first prize to be redrawn. There was also a lucky seat number...neither Helen nor I were lucky in that or the raffle.

We stopped for half an hour at Warwick and a few of us went over the O'Mahoney's Hotel. We had spotted it on the way up but because we were running behind time, we were unable to go and have a look. It's Heritage listed and a beautiful old building. I took some photos to show you below.

However, the half hour just whizzed by and someone with sharp ears heard the guard's whistle so we started back to the train. Apparently we weren't moving fast enough because the next thing the engine driver gave us a great long blast on the train hooter. That made us move.

We had another delicious luncheon of cold meat and salads, but with different salads this time. Very tasty and relatively healthy, too.

I went back to my seat while Helen, Sandy and Trish stayed and had a cup of tea. There was a very humorous little incident which happened while I was waiting for the others. Three people came through after the last wine tasting shift. First a guy then two women. One of the women was dancing and singing as she went through the door and her friend behind her said, "Gee, Sheryl, I never realised what a nice arse you had." Well, I just burst out laughing. This lady spun around in shock. I don't think she realised I was sitting there. I was still laughing and she grinned sheepishly at me and scuttled through the door. Later on, when we were looking through the old pub, I came across the three of them and said, "Oh that's right. You're the lady that likes Sheryl's arse." There were great gusts of laughter at this and she replied, "Oh dear, I'm never going to live that one down."

I had great delight in regaling the other three with that story. Every time I saw that lady after that, I grinned at her. To give her her due, she'd grin back at me.

Later on, sometime after we'd past through Toowoomba and were going down the range, a young chap in a very crumpled shirt staggered through the carriage, out the door and into the Ladies'. We all looked at one another, but turned to see a lady come out of the carriage in front and wait at the door for whoever was inside to come out. We were interested to see what would happen next. Out stumbled this young chap, totally oblivious of the fact he was in the wrong loo. The lady waiting her turn had a bemused look on her face as he came back through our door. He paused, the train gave a lurch and he fell slowly and elegantly into the seat beside him which, fortunately was empty. We grinned and made comments to the fact that he might be feeling very sorry the next day, to which the young guy replied, "It's ok, I'm used to it," and staggered back from where he came.

Now the funny thing about it was that we'd never seen this guy before and we never saw him again. It was starting to worry us...after all, we hadn't had very much to drink. When the train reached Brisbane, we asked Ray our tour manager, if he knew who it was. We told him about the earlier incident. "Oh, yeah," said Ray, "That's Kevvy. He's a little developmentally delayed and takes the bus up to Toowoomba and gets onto the train there. Once the train reaches Brisbane and all you people leave, he's the hardest working guy around. He takes bags of rubbish out and cleans the carriages. He's a really good little worker, but he works behind the scenes."

Well, I'm glad that mystery was solved. We had visions of a stowaway in the luggage van.

So, people, that was our weekend. It was a great experience, we had a lot of fun, met some lovely people and tasted some very nice wines. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Now, when's the next trip...

Our motel in Stanthorpe. That tree in the centre is a grass tree.

Bringing around a platter of fresh fruit, cheese and crackers during wine tasting.

If you enlarge this, in the distance just under the hill on the right, you'll see a brief glimpse of a little of Colley's dam which supplies Warwick and the surrounding districts with water.

O'Mahoney's, the beautiful Heritage listed pub.

Look at this chandelier. Isn't it magnificent?

Another smaller chandelier and the pressed metal ceiling of the ballroom which, by the time they got an orchestra in, seating and tables, would be lucky it if held 12 people.

The beautiful original stained glass panels over the front door.

Two velvet covered vintage chairs in what passed as a foyer, but was in reality just a corridor. Aren't they wide?

Beautiful iron lace work on the back verandah.

An old telephone booth. We were expecting Clark Kent to pop out. Pity it wasn't a blue policeman's box, I'd much rather have the cute Dr Who.


Liz said...

What, no photo of the nice arse? I suppose if it had been a man's ...

Death on Winelander Express. A case for poirot?

Jeanette said...

Ohh Robyn sounds like you had a lot of fun,I giggled as I read about the lady with the nice arse.Sounds like she was having a very merry time,Love all youe photo's (Ii enlarged all) specially the old pub with all the lace work and metal pressed ceiling.. Hugs Jen

Jack K. said...

What a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing.

Great photos. It is always nice to see photos of other places in the world.

Gattina said...

I just read the whole post ! what a nice excursion to test wine and get champagne for breakfast ! Apparently you had a lot of fun despite the cold shower and the passing away of a fellow traveller, my goodness what a story !
I am in my luggages again, this time with Mr. Gattino who is getting on my nerves because he is in my way and suffers from travel fiever ! I am almost done and tomorrow we drive down to the Garda Lake in Italy where we will meet Dario and Marieken. So the whole family will be together. We stay 10 days. I hope internet will be better this year then last year !

Peter said...

Great story Robyn, it had everything, a death, a mystery man, a nice arse, good food, and a mental picture of you under that cold shower.... WOW.

Margaret Cloud said...

Some times it is nice to snuggle in for a bit more, seems like when we wake up the bed seems the most comfy. That is too bad about you fellow traveler. Sounds like you had fun again, it is always nice to travel with someone, then you can share much more memories about the trip. I always like to see photos of people's trips, make it more enjoyable and they were very nice pictures. Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend.

PEA said...

Yes, yes, yes, I so enjoyed reading about your trip and all the fun you had:-) Isn't is such a shock to suddenly get a cold shower, it's happened to me before and nothing wakes you up faster than that! lol

Oh dear, how sad that a man died while on the train. Good thing his wife wasn't left alone for long and that family came for her.

I feel for that gal you overheard telling Sheryl she had a nice arse...I've had that happened and you would not believe how red I can become, much to Steve's delight! lol Brat!

Good thing you were able to discover the mystery behind that young man! lol The people can certainly make or break a trip, can't they:-) xoxo

Merle said...

Dear Robyn ~~ Great story Robyn and
you told it very well.
Glad you had fun which you always seem to do.

Thanks for your comments and sympathy for my ear ache. It is better and I remember the warm olive oil, but the heat pack heated in the microwave did the trick. I am glad you warned me about the Paracetamol being swallowed, not put in the ear.

I was disappointed no one seemed to recognize, George Clooney and Brad Pitt- as God's gifts !!!
Take care, my friend, Love and Hugs