Winter is here.
According to the official calendar, we’ve barely reached the start of Autumn, but that’s a lie. As I write, the grey clouds are gathering, the rain is falling, and the cold breezes are blowing against the window.
There’s also a guy with some sort of power tool outside, which is rather ruining the chilly ambience.
But let’s return to the issue of queue-jumping seasons: I’ve known Summer was finished since a day in late January when I bundled myself up in long sleeves, stockings, and a capelet for a daytrip with the Chef.
This wasn’t to be any old daytrip. If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I like to have a theme to my trips – anything ranging from How many lighthouses can we see this weekend? to How much cheese can we fit in the back of my car? I haven’t tried the cheese one yet, but it would be an awful lot and now I’m tempted to give it a go.
This time, the theme of the day was country op shops. I planned out a loop of country towns and noted down all the op shops and their opening hours, then hoped the cold and rainy Summer weather would hold off long enough for us to visit them all.
First things first, though – we couldn’t possibly get through our itinerary without fuelling up.
The Chef was delighted and in no way mortified when I pulled out my camera and photographed my breakfast like some sort of Instagram tragic. Honestly, I love taking photos of food. If you ever drop in to my place and I force you to sit through photos from all of my trips – particularly the ones with the Failboats – you’ll be starving hungry by the end of it.
Besides, Church and Main in Healesville served up a delicious breakfast. They have an extensive breakfast menu, so we’ll need to go back and test out some more options.
And photograph them, of course.
The best bit about the café was that it was incredibly close to two op shops.
This wall of buttons is in the Lions Den op shop. I love the Lions Den; it may not be the cheapest op shop, but I always seem to find treasures there, especially when we venture into the basement.
It’s mostly furniture down here, but there’s also a little room for haberdashery, including a stand of fabric that is neatly measured and tied up. I found some lovely pieces of fabric that came complete with a cunning plan: I’m going to make a skirt and top out of both of them so I can mix and match.
Everything goes with polka dots, right?
We dropped into the Salvos, too, but didn’t find anything there. These op shops both opened at 9am, but the next one on our list – MOPS in Marysville – didn’t open until 11am. Luckily, there’s a waterfall conveniently located near the town, so we decided to put our time to good use and see some falling water.
We were expecting it to be pretty impressive since a massive amount of rain had fallen the day before (your typical prodigious Summer rainfall).
There was even a bonus mini waterfall in the carpark that was better than some actual waterfalls I’ve seen in the past.
We still had plenty of time before the op shop opened, so we followed the path to the actual waterfall.
It’s an easy walk to the viewing area for Steavenson Falls. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could always climb to the top. I did that once, but the view’s actually better from the bottom.
I’ve been to Steavenson Falls many times and this was easily the most impressive show it’s put on for me. If you look closely, you can see a spotlight to the left of the first two photos – it’s part of a lighting system that the waterfall powers itself, thanks to a small hydro-electric plant.
We returned to town, slightly deafened by the impressive volume of water in the falls, and headed to the Marysville Op Shop, delightfully known as MOPS.
I conveniently failed to photograph my purchases here, but they included a few vintage knitting patterns and a gorgeous floaty fabric with a bird print on it. This will go perfectly with the floral fabric from the first op shop!
We still had two towns to go, so we picked up coffees at By The Falls Café (conveniently next door to the op shop) and set off for Alexandra. Two more op shops awaited us! Here’s one of them…
How many polka dot garments is too many? Asking for a friend.
We often drove through Alexandra when I was growing up but never really stopped in town. As a result, I remembered a milkbar and a suspension bridge quite clearly, but nothing else! It was fun to wander up the main street in a fruitless search for the second op shop (it turned out to be almost directly across the road from the first one).
If we hadn’t taken the longest route possible to that second op shop, we never would have discovered a secondhand bookshop, so it was worth it in the end.
After a wander through the bookish goodness, we made our way to the second op shop and the Chef made his favourite purchase of the day, if not his entire lifetime: a butter knife.
It’s a pretty good butter knife, I’ll admit.
My plan after this was to find the suspension bridge I remembered as a child and then the Chef’s plan was to walk along it after me, making it bounce as much as possible.
The suspension bridge happened to be right near the tourist information centre, so we popped in so I could buy a magnet for the fridge. We came out with a bottle of cherry liqueur, but no magnet. I’ve had terrible luck finding town magnets lately – don’t people understand my fridge decorating needs?
We had one op shop left: St Luke’s in Yea. I was also pretty keen on the idea of lunch – we’d been op shopping and exploring for quite a while and breakfast was a distant memory.
St Luke’s is one of my favourite op shops because it’s open on Sundays and public holidays and it has an entire little room dedicated to haberdashery. It’s also right near a secondhand bookshop, so obviously we had to visit both.
The bookshop was giving their cooking books away – “They come in and no-one ever buys them,” the volunteer explained to us – and I could have walked out with a giant, unused CWA Classics Cookbook for free, even though it’s almost $50 brand new. I couldn’t do that, especially since it was a Friends of the Library bookshop and I am rather keen on libraries. So I paid $10 and headed into the op shop in search of more treasures.
And that’s how we do daytrips around here. Does it always involve op shops? Pretty much. Are there always waterfalls? Only if we’re lucky.
All this reminiscing about this daytrip has made me hungry for more, so it’s lucky that Winter is here, after all, because that’s my favourite season to go roadtripping!