It's been a while since I've written, but new relationship foo plus holidays to Daylesford plus more new relationship foo plus work have made me lazier than usual. Difficult, I know, but there you have it.

Relationship wise, things are going well. Skippy and I have been doing a lot together. Much of it is stuff I've not done in ages or never done before: bowling (I still suck), movies, going to the football and playing various games with his friends. This includes the beginnings of teaching me to play Magic, which I'm enjoying but finding a little difficult to follow because it relies pretty heavily on knowing what cards other players have out on the table. Since there's a huge number of cards (we're talking tens of thousands), memorising the decks is not a good strategy. I'll work something out.

The games stuff in particular has been with a group of his friends who all play together. I haven't introduced him to many of my friends yet; my circle of friends is (a) all across the damn country and (b) not really a cohesive group even when you get down to the people in one city. So that will be a slow process.

Our time in Daylesford was lovely, persistent stomach bug aside. For those who don't know, it's an area of Victoria about an hour and a half from Melbourne by car, farm country where they seem to do little besides potatoes, wine, cattle and day spas. It's green country, probably the most English looking landscape I've seen in Australia.

Ellie loved romping in the yard at the place we stayed in, and we spent a lot of time in local wineries and chocolate shops. Tough gig, that. We also explored some of the local area and found that the Tangled Maze out near Creswick is much better than the one near Rosebud. Bigger, more (and more varied) things growing in the maze, and they've set up a treasure hunt activity to do while you're in there. The mini golf course wasn't bad either, but watch out for the 15th hole - it took me about 28 shots to complete. We also checked out the mineral springs, which have beautiful, bubbly, tasty water in often peaceful surrounds. Not so much true of the one located right next to a firing range, but I don't want to seem too picky.

One of our more random "Let's get in the car and see where we wind up" destinations was Mount Franklin. Yes, like the mineral water company, but that's not where the water comes from. Having tasted at the springs, I doubt it even comes from those. Mount Franklin is notable for two reasons. Firstly, anyone who has been anywhere near an actual mountain will fall into a hysterical giggling fit when they realise the size compensation issues going on with the name.

Secondly, it is creepy as all hell. The mountain looks unnatural for the area: about two thirds of it is covered in mostly pine trees, which you don't really see anywhere else in the surrounds, while the lower bits just suddenly stop having trees on them and become grass. I got a bad feeling just looking at it. Then we drove up and got to the picnic area. Skippy got out of the car first and asked me to join him to see how creepy it was. I got out of the car, stood for two seconds and then went almost head first back in. I have never gotten into a car so quickly in my life. The feel at the top of the mountain was better, but I'll be glad to never, ever go near it ever again.

More positively, we came home with too much wine - this region does some good pinot noir - and a loaf of the beautiful fresh bread we'd been gorging ourselves on from the Daylesford bakery. Yum. Since then I've been back at work, but it feels different. Less of the not-coping and feeling like I'm not doing so well, though that's still there. This week will be busy again, though. Sydney day trip tomorrow and Harry Potter with The Girl Guide Extraordinaire on Tuesday.
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