Working from home

I read this article about office culture and practice having worked from home for more than a year I concur that instead of having to justify to work from home the mind set is more so justifying the need to come back to the office. The question now of how to work and the nonlinear office hours mentality of working 9 to 5. From March I had started to go back to the physical workplace two days a week. However in the last week of March our library was a COVID exposure site and a number of library staff had to isolate for 14 days. I was in the fortunate position in being alerted by colleagues, getting tested, getting a negative result, talking to the COVID hotline and then getting a call back from the Department of Health to not have to undergo the full 14 day isolation. Where as 22 of the other 25 library staff who were present on the day had to. Which included being called upon during the week by Department of Health staff and an army office to check in on them but also to check that they were isolating. During this week there was a significant outreach within the library to assist those who were isolating. Being an eye and ear for them. Assisting where possible with getting food to them. Offering to take pets out for walks. In some ways the experience brought the library together to support one another. Having just started the process again to come out of a lockdown situation the return to the physical work place will no doubt be a lot more cautious, less enthusiast and slower I imagine. As we tick off our yearly (and delayed due to COVID) staff appraisals (Career Success) and look towards the daunting University “transformation” read restructure to be revealed in mid-July it will be a rocky road ahead.

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Afternoon Swim

After a strict lockdown and an increase in being to travel from home 5 km, 25 km zone, to no zone, for the last few weeks the next progression is that we have been allowed to go outdoor swimming again. Last blogjune I wrote about swimming after a much longer restriction. The outdoor pool was at 27 degrees. The air temperature was around 15 degrees. The bonus of this week as opposed to last week was that you could use the change room, but no showering. Changing at the side of a cold outdoor pool was not so fun. I was plugging away with my laps feeling fairly mundane thinking I might give up. However a younger faster swimming joined in the lane next to me. That sparred me on to extend the distance I had originally intended to go for. Results are recorded here on STRAVA

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An outing into the city of Melbourne at night.

I went into the city for Men’s Table tonight. An exciting night as two new men joined our table for the first time so an anticipation to get to know them, see how they’d fit in, and an unknown of what personality types they had. Also the change of dynamic for our existing group to grow with two new members. They were great and fitted in very well and were open to share of themselves. A testament to the existing group that they felt comfortable to share from their first night. There was also an exciting but anxious reality of lockdown rules and being allowed out within the 25 km zone and having a facemask when outdoors. We had to have table service by rules not the usual go up to the bar to order drinks and our meals. When I left the car there was still some time before the zone became unrestricted so I paid a parking fee. However when walking further away I had the doubt of whether I had locked the car and whether the car locks itself after a period. All fine when I returned to the car after a great night. Locked.

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Dinner Plain

Dinner Plain is beyond Mount Hotham. Primarily it is a snow resort. However in Summer there are still a raft of activities that can be done there. On the last day it was suggested that as a group we go up there for a walk and go out to dinner. It was suggested that the parmas at one of the restaurants there was one of the best they’d had. Being Summer and just past lockdown one of the group who suggested the parma checked the availability and booked us in for dinner on Dinner Plain.

Most of the group went up in the afternoon and did the Dead Timber Hill Walk The place we went to for dinner was unfortunately understaffed and were trying to work with an app to individually checkin and order your meal. However it was not working well for a large group. The Parma was okay but maybe not as good as it had been hyped up to be. We left early enough to come down the mountain still in day light and rested up in anticipation of packing up and heading home the next day having said our farewells to the group.

View towards Razerback walk which some of the group did earlier in week. A few even stayed overnight in their tents.
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Lake Buffalo

The group decided to go to Lake Buffalo on one afternoon. It is 24 kms beyond Myrtleford so took some time to get there. I have never been there before. It would be a nice place to go on a hot day and take a picnic to. There are no shops there so you need to take supplies with you. There were some with boats and jet skis on the lake and some swimmers in the water. We sat around talking and played games.

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Bright Canyon Trail

Another thing over all the years of traveling to Bright that I had not encountered before which I did this holiday was walking the Canyon Trail or Canyon Walk. It is an easy 5 km walk and starts in the heart of Bright in Howett Park near the township.

Along the trail there are historic placards mentioning about former goldrush developments and use of the river, indigenous aspects, and fauna and flora to look out for. It gets quite narrow and rough in parts so is really just a walking trail. I don’t think you could safely ride a bike around the whole path unless you were an experienced mountain biker.

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Tronoh Dredge Hole Harrietville

Over the thirty years of marriage we have traveled and holidayed in Bright many times.  Even as I child I have a memory of a holiday in Bright with my parents and one of my brothers.  Going up Mt Hotham riding on a toboggan cutting my hand open and having to travel all the way down the mountain again to get my hand seen to.  Over all those years I had never heard or seen he Tronoh Dredge Hole which the group referred to as the water hole in Harrietville or Joop’s Jetty.  Via this webpage it mentions it  was created in the mid 20th century when a section of the Ovens River East Branch was cut off from the main river course to dredge it for gold. The hole has filled up with water to create a small lake. It was enhanced as a swimming destination by local volunteers, who have since added a quirky named jetty and a floating swimming pontoon. The lake is nestled in amongst a mix of tall native and European trees, with walking tracks around the edge of the lake and through the surrounding forest.

The lake, or waterhole, has a green tinge and this again according to the webpage is due to algal blooms.   For those in the know it is popular.  Bright can get very hot and this waterhole is cool and there is a sense for the fearless too as there is a swing rope for the brave to plunge into the water.   My wife and I are not that brave.  I went there on an early morning bike ride to explore it.  And then a couple of times later in the week we walked around the perimeter of it on a walking track.  A short distance from the waterhole in the town of Harrietville there are a few lovely cafes including a bakery that do a wonderful vanilla slice. 

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Bright bike rides in January

Over the years in traveling to Bright and the surrounds I have had a number of biking adventures. A few times when going away with biking friends I have climbed Mt. Buffalo. A few times with family and friends have done the rail trail including one time with my son on a ride from Beechworth back to Porepunkah where we were staying when a storm came through that resulted in some tree damage.

One time I went up with biking friends and participated in the Alpine Classic up Lake Mountain and over and back up Tawonga Gap. That was strenuous and turned out to be a very hot day on return. On this holiday a few ladies of the group have got into cycling not in a big way but had brought their bikes or were going to hire bikes with the intention of going on a few local rides. My wife even bought a bike intending to go out on a couple of these local rides with the group. She has not ridden for quite some time.
On my road bike I got up early most morning and rode for a couple of hours so as not to disrupt participation with the group if we chose to. Each ride was recorded with the STRAVA app and uploaded using my Garmin to record the ride. Internet Wifi was non existent at the camp site so I went into Bright and used wifi at the public library a few times over our stay to upload ride data.

A couple of mornings I rode up Tawonga Gap On these rides I realized how I was not as fit at riding hills as I used to be. I also noticed on decent of the hill in my first ride that my brakes were making a bit of a noise on the rims so had them checked and replaced at the local bike shop.

A couple of times I rode over towards Harrietville. The first time to explore and suss out an off road trail from the Trout farm to Harrietville for a group ride which we did later in the week. On the first bike ride I tried to climb up Mt Hotham. This was quite a challenge and within the time and effort I was prepared to give it I only got a short distance up the mountain. In Harrietville the group introduced us to Joops Jetty at the Tronoh Dredge and swimming hole. I will blog about this in another post.

A few rides into Bright on the bike trail and then once out to Wandiligong On one of these rides spotting a couple of kangaroos close to Bright in a field

The other times on the rail trail from Bright to Porepunkah Bright to Myrtleford and once with my wife and a couple of the group from Bright to Porepunkah and out to Berry Farm Coming back from Myrtleford I did encounter a snake crawling off the rail trail which was a bit of a fright and wake up call to keep alert.

So over the 11 days 8 rides 300 kms and an elevation of over 2000 metres.

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Bright/Freeburgh January Holiday

In January we holidayed with friends in a caravan park in Bright. We stayed in a small town 8 kms outside of Bright called Freeburgh. Around October when lockdown was coming to a close we bumped into a friend whilst walking. This friend we have known for quite some time and have an association with as a former member of Brimbank Church of Christ. He has a wider connection of associated former and current members of the church who have gone away with their families on January holidays on a regular basis for around 15 years to various places. What is nice to observe with this group of twenty or so people from five or so families is that it has evolved and been inclusive of their children as they have grown up to be young adults and now includes the boy friends, girl friends and partners pf these young adults.

In the earlier years of joining the church around 2005 we went away with the group a couple of times but with slightly older kids than the group, and not being so much into tent camping, we were never so much committed to the regular holidaying with the group. We have maintained a friendship and connection with most of the people associated with the group. When we bumped into him he said they had booked to go to Bright/Freeburgh this year and if we wanted to come we were quite welcome to join them. We investigated and found that there were a couple of cabins still available at the caravan park. We had to make a decision quickly as post lockdown there was a nervousness of potential boarder closers in crossing state lines so local Victorian holiday spots were filling up quickly.

I mentioned in an earlier post about my reservation about using our Subaru to transport us. We loaded her up and although there were some loud thuds each time we hit a pothole she performed perfectly. The weather was amazing. Almost everyday started out crisp but sunny and clear and warmed up as the day proceeded. Over the ten days I don’t think we experienced much rain. And we did not experience extreme heat. Sometimes in this alpine region of Victoria there can be some very high temperatures. Just a year before there had been some fire danger around the region.

Over the years we have holidayed in and around Bright a number of times and so are quite familiar with the area. However over this holiday we experienced a few things and places with the group we had not seen before. I will share these over consequent blog posts. Cycling is a big thing in the Bright region with rail trails, cycling events, road bike, and mountain biking facilities and infrastructure. Part of the enticement to go away with the group and to take the aging Subaru was to fully load the car with our bikes to take advantage of this as we have done over most of our previous trips

View from the cabin decking. The group were staying in tents closer to the river front. Just a short walk away. One of the group were staying in a caravan a bit closer to us.

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Tiger Lily loses some of her 9 lives but lives on.

Over the sixteen years of having Tiger Lily our cat in our lives she has been very healthy. As she has aged she developed over the last four years a food intolerance or some element that made her vomit occasionally but this has been largely managed by going to the vet and getting regular injections. I mentioned in a blog post how the passing of Jerry the cat brought a new renaissance for Tiger Lily. A freedom to not be bullied and to get all the attention And in her older age she has embraced that by sharing her love around the family by sitting on whoever is available.

Over Easter we had plans to meet up with some people and vague plans to maybe get away for an overnight stay but had not booked anything. We had church on Friday and had gone out to meet friends for a coffee and walk in a local park. When we arrived home in the late afternoon my son shouted out that it looked like Tiger Lily was going to be sick. We took her outside and she was in the midst of having a fit. It lasted for a few minutes and it was an all over epileptic like fit. After that she was exhausted but adamant to try to get up. She staggered up and walked around in circles. We scooped her up and took her to the emergency vet which I luckily knew about having heard about it via friends. Being a public holiday it was surprising how fast it seemed we were allowed inside (COVID restrictions still meant limited numbers within the waiting room) and we saw a vet. We were given a dire initial prognosis to prepare ourselves for the worst. It was explained that they would do initial tests to diagnose if it was in intracranial or extracranial cause of the fit and get back to us in a few hours.
We were called a few hours later with good news that tests had shown that for her age she was in remarkably good health and that her body organs seemed fine and so not an extra cranial cause of the fit but intracranial. The option was to pick her up and/or to leave her overnight for a price but then post that she should fully recover but be on watch for a future fit which might prove more fatal.

When we picked her up the next day she seemed tired but quite alert and fine. She had eaten food was fully aware of her surrounds and more or less back to her old self. We were told to keep an eye on her and within a week to go to our local vet where a copy of her discharge papers would be sent and to take her there if she had another fit.

A couple of days later she did have a vomit but then post the vet visit with her regular injection she has been fine and recovered well to live on.

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