For our 11th anniversary, I took last Friday off and we took to the road in our dirty station wagon heading towards Mt. Dandenong off all places. The weather was more than kind, and it felt just great to be going somewhere other than Bagshot for a change. Kim had heard about the William Rickets Sanctuary, and so we stopped and paid out 6 for a half hour stroll along mossy paths through fern-lined, mountain-oak understory. The guy who created the hundreds of clay-fired, surreal and spiritual sculptures would have been quite a fellow, judging by the 1970’s inspired aboriginal diaramas. Did he die of overwork or overdose? We drove on (mildly inspired) and talked about happiness, leaving a legacy and how the Kenney’s had missed some awesome weather. At Yering Station in Yarra Glen, we dared to be a bit different and walked away with a Marsanne Viognier Roussanne (MVR) blend and the most expensive bottle I’ve ever bought – a cheeky 2002 Shiraz Viognier for 58. I saw a review of it in the newsagent the next day which pretty much said “drink in 2017”, so I’ll have to hide it well. They had a wine journalist in the tasting room, so they’d broken out the good stuff and were being extremely friendly. They were even more friendly when we said we’d buy one. Our destination was the innocuous Healesville Hotel (known to foodies everywhere as a rural holy grail) where we were sat along bench tables of 30, and were plied with courses of good Italian fare (Chicken Broth, Lasagne with Venison, Roasted Quail, Rolled Lamb with figs and green beans). To finish, it was Tira Misu and the smallest expresso on the planet. We picked the longest sounding Italian wine we could (Umani Ronchi Montepulciano D’Abruzzo) just so I could write it in my weblog – it was fine. Kim spewed up later, being unused to all the rich food. Ha. Next morning we cursed our noisy drunken neighbours – tap dancing on the upstairs balcony at 2am (egad!) and slugged our way through toast and coffee across the road before scooting home in glorious sunlight. I’ll say this though – that place had great sheets. The dogs were excited and restless to see us again, so they got a walk – much to the dismay of the Fergus.