The day dawned still and warm, maturing into a pleasant 26°C. With a picnic lunch packed, we drove to Churchill Island, a car journey of about 20 minutes duration. Joined to the Phillip Island land mass by a narrow bridge, Churchill Island can be seen from many viewpoints as a small hump of land with a knob at its centre – the knob being a tall Norfolk Island pine, planted in 1872.
After coffee at the Churchill Island cafe we strolled around the gardens surrounding the heritage listed farm cottages. Red flowering gums, red hot pokers, a magnificent lemon-scented gum, and an orchard with fig and chestnut trees laden with developing fruit, sunflower seed heads and an ancient olive tree thought to be about 150 years old -- all these and more flourish on this small island.
A scarecrow guards the vegetable garden: a place where bananas grow in the humid micro-climate created by the garden. A solid timber pony -- created with a chainsaw-- begs to be hugged.
In the farmyard, a blacksmith's workshop displays horse shoes from pony size to Clydesdale, and nearby, a Clydesdale waits patiently to pull a cart load of tourists around the garden. I love his large feathered feet.
There are Scottish Highland cattle, Suffolk sheep and Cape Barren geese whose honking calls compete with the soft clunk of a nearby windmill and the sound of wind playing in the trees.
There's a cow to be milked, sheep to be shorn, a working sheepdog display, and whip cracking. For Asian tourists in particular, these activities are of interest and pleasing to observe. And the farmyard would not be complete without turkeys, peacocks, ducks, geese, hens and roosters.
Later in the day we took the dogs for a walk along 'our' beach. No one else was there! Major carried a large stick along the sand and then out into the water. He and Del swam, and then thrust their noses deep into piles of sea grass, enjoying the smell and sensation of soft wet seaweed on their noses. Oh to be a dog!
After 46 years of marriage I'm fortunate to be able to say that Doug is my best friend, my husband and my lover. We have a rich and varied life, both on Phillip Island and in Mitchell outback Queensland.
To touch perfection is a rare state of mind -- and a privilege.
Next week I'll take you into the heritage listed farm cottages situated on Churchill Island.