Me and my beautiful niece Megan

Cos I’m a proud auntie and because we like a good frock-up here on the blog, I thought you might like to see some of the action from my gorgeous niece’s debutante ball, held recently in my home town of Mount Gambier.

But first, some adventures from the trip south…

We took a bit of detour off the Hume Highway to Holbrook, whose famous submarine, the HMAS Otway, had been yarnbombed and transformed into a true yellow submarine. Doesn’t that make you smile? Even on a gloomy day it’s bright and happy. Holbrook’s a great place to break your drive along the Hume. Call in, if you get the chance.

HMAS Otway covered in yellow crochet squaresAs you can see, the weather wasn’t much chop. Even the poor old Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai looked miserable.

A wet Dog on the Tuckerbox at GundagaiLeading up to the big night, I did a some talks at Ballarat Library, Wiridjil Hall and Warrnambool Library – all fabulous events that I enjoyed hugely. But I’d like to give a special shout out to the wonderful people at Wiridjil, a tiny place a little inland from the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. We had the BEST time. Thanks to Margaret and Terry for asking me to come and for organising the event. And thanks to all the people who turned up on such a blustery cold day. It was such a delight to meet and talk with you. We sure warmed that hall up!

Here’s me with fans Cheryl, Kristen and little Harley. As you can see, there were lots of smiles!

Me with fans Cheryl and Kristen at Wiridjil HallJim and I arrived early, so to kill some time we drove down for a look at the Twelve Apostles. Oh boy, was it windy. Good thing there was solid railing or I might never have made it to the talk.

Cathryn at the 12 Apostles, VictoriaAfter the talk and a delicious morning tea, we did a bit of cheese tasting and buying on the way to Warrnambool (as you do). Delicious it was too! But how’s this for a bit of dairy humour at Apostle Whey Cheese. Loved it.

A Loch Ness Cow at Apostle Whey CheeseWith my talks done and a day or so to spare, it was time for a bit of R&R at the old whaling station of Port Fairy. We stayed in the most amazing historic cottage at Seacombe House. Open fire, four-poster bed, massive bathroom with spa and the acclaimed Stag Restaurant almost at the door. Sigh. T’was very romantic. Going to do it again.

Also snuck in some golf at the Port Fairy Golf Links. As you can see, it was a tad nippy. That’s a fleece beanie and fleece ear-warmers, not to mention about five layers of clothing, that I’m wearing in this photo. At least the sun is out at that point. When we teed off the rain was sleeting sideways at us. Urk.

Playing Golf at Port Fairy Golf LinksThen it was on to Mount Gambier and an old-fashioned frock-up!

Hundreds of proud mums, dads, relatives and friends packed the Barn Palais to watch twelve girls make their debut on what was a typical winter night in the lower south-east of SA. In other words, cold, wet and miserable. But it was warm, happy and buzzing inside, and that’s what counts.

Before the ball itself we had some entertainment…

The Blue Lake Highland Pipe Band!

Pipe BandHighland dancers!

Highland dancersAnd fairies! I’d show you a snap but they moved too quick for the camera.

Then the big moment when the girls were presented one by one to the Mayor and Lady Mayoress, complete with super-cute flower girls traipsing behind. All the debs and their partners looked stunning. But none more so than my niece Megan. Must take after her auntie (hee!)

Here she is about to be presented. The Dress Stewart sash and brooch Megan is wearing is the same as I wore for my debut back in 1985.

Megan about to be presented

Doing her debutante dance with partner Mitchell…

Debutante danceAnd here’s me with Megan. Yes, she’s very tall and I’m short…

Me and my beautiful niece Megan

And here are all the debs, their partners and flower girls looking beautiful.

All the debutantesAfter a good time was had by all in Mt Gambier (where I whupped my dad’s butt on the golf course) it was off to Melbourne for more R&R and to see the Italian Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

On the way, we ducked into Dartmoor to visit the Memorial Streetscape, which are carvings made from the stumps of a section of the town’s cedar tree Avenue of Honour. A lovely local lady was kind enough to come out into the cold and give us a brochure explaining all the carvings. Wonderful. Very much worth the detour.

Dartmoor Memorial StreetscapeThe Italian Masterpieces exhibition was spectacular, as were these bears in Federation Court by Italian artist Paola Pivi. The installation is called You started it…I finish it. I’m not sure what it all means but aren’t they happy things? So much fun!

Red bear at the NGVBears at the NGV

And because I’m a romance writer and these things appeal to me, here’s a photo of all the locks on the Yarra footbridge at Southbank in Melbourne. Lovers clip the engraved locks to the footbridge’s wire rail and throw the key into the Yarra River as a sign of eternal love. Awww.

Locks on Yarra footbridge, Southbank, MelbourneSo ended our mini-break. Since our return home it’s been settling back into routine and full steam ahead on my next romantic adventure.

After all, gotta keep these books a-coming!

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