It’s a beautiful spring morning in our pretty little village of Loch in South Gippsland. As the morning sun reflects off the dew from the previous chilly night on our deck at The Old Hospital, you can hear the kookaburras and magpies stir to life.
Our visiting guests from the weekend – a group of lovely craft ladies that had returned to us – were very creative and produced some beautiful fabric purses and felting work amongst other things. One lady was enjoying her very first craft weekend away with a group and said she had thoroughly enjoyed herself and The Old Hospital “had absolutely everything she needed for her weekend”.
Now that they have left for their respective homes it is down to business – cleaning, vacuuming, stripping and making beds.
As well as our work at The Old Hospital, there is also the community work to get involved in. Sunday morning witnessed a group of dedicated volunteers assemble on the outskirts of Loch to clean out and prepare ground for a tree plating to beautify one of the entrances into our village.
To the sound of tractors and chainsaws, gnarly willows were cleared and pretty soon some fresh plantings will appear. We are very fortunate to have an active and dedicated community.
The village also has recently formed a Social Gardener’s Group. While the focus is primarily social, they organised a Trivia Night to raise funds to plant a new garden at the Loch Community Hall. The group had enormous support from the local community and the garden is now growing. Their next event is the Loch Village Open Garden Day on November 11th, which will tie in with Remembrance Day, and the gardens will open after a short ceremony at the Cenotaph at 11am. The group have crocheted, knitted and sewn poppies to decorate the village and to sell in the lead up to the day, with proceeds going to Legacy. Around eight gardens will be on display and maps will be available to purchase for $5, which will cover entry to all gardens. There will also be some small plants for sale and maybe even a homemade cake or two.
Dig under the surface of our village and you will also find the very active Loch Country Women’s Association, about to host it’s Peruvian day for the Australian CWA’s 90th birthday, with food, crafts and even a guest speaker showcasing a recent motorcycle journey through Peru.
Funds go to helping local families and farmers who are doing it a little tougher than the rest of us.
The Masonic Lodge are another active community group, with a long history in the town. They are a great support base for men who need to share their stories.
The Lion’s club run the Loch Community Market and barbecue delicious sausages and hamburgers on the 2nd Sunday of the month.
These are just a few groups that come to mind, that make up a wonderful community of people who are always there to support each other in times of need, or to just share a laugh and a chat with.
I have them to thank for the fact I can even contemplate writing a post for our website while holidaying in Vietnam, let alone being able to check bookings, reply to enquiries, mark off payments and send invoices.
It may start to sound like not much of a holiday but all of this only takes an hour of the day and at 36 degrees with high humidity here in Hoi An, Vietnam, retiring to the air-conditioned room for a short break during the heat of the day is quite okay.
Things are as easy here as hooking into WiFi wherever we go – airports, our hotel, cafes, bars and even the most basic of street food restaurants and mini marts. Asia is so tech savvy, although connectivity can sometimes require the patience of a Buddhist monk.
Over the many years of our travels through Southeast Asia, we have stayed in some pretty remote areas. Most houses in these villages are very basic little huts, where three or four generations eat, sleep and socialise together in the same room. But there on the roof is a massive satellite dish, inside is a big flat screen TV, the whole family are on the internet (even grandma), and everybody has a mobile phone.
Almost 10 years ago we spent a couple of nights out in the middle of Halong Bay on a “junk” boat with two teenage daughters. Our eldest was happily texting her boyfriend from way out yonder on the water – thank goodness she had connection or we may have had to live with the consequences if she could not reach him.
Another time we were on a catamaran in rough seas on the Lombok Straight and as the waves washed over the bow and inside the boat, the said daughter was texting the said boyfriend again, telling him she was drowning – to be fair to her she probably panicked a bit when they played the theme from Titanic over the loudspeaker!
We have been lucky enough to escape the winter for a couple of weeks and leave the running of The Old Hospital with good friends. It has been an interesting mix of emotions leaving the guest house in the hands of someone else – (a bit like handing your baby to a babysitter for the first time), with the added thought they may just do a better job than us!
As we arrived at the airport (and checked our e-mails, Instagram, Facebook pages and What’s App’d the kids), we put our concerns behind us and were suddenly excited to be going on holidays. We knew that in the unlikely event our trusty relieving managers encountered a problem, we were only a mobile call, text, email or What’s App or Skype message away!
Thanks be to Tim and Steve.
Preparations are well underway for an evening with Melba Opera Trust next weekend in Loch. Saturday 18th at the Loch town hall is building to be a gala evening. The village is frocking up for the black tie evening and with supper provided and drinks at bar prices no one will go wanting.
Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861 – 1931) was Australia’s first world famous opera singer and one of the greatest celebrities of her day. Born in Richmond, Melbourne she moved to Paris and went on to enjoy an enormously successful career as a prima donna in Australia, England, Europe and the United States during the 20th century.
When she died, Melba bequeathed a generous amount of money dedicated to the development of young opera singers “so that another Melba may arise”. This unique and direct legacy from Melba is strengthened by the continued patronage of her late granddaughter Pamela, Lady Vestey which continues today through Melba’s great-great granddaughter, The Hon. Saffron Foster.
Melba’s gift established the Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship, which still exists today with Melba Opera Trust.
Tickets are still available at trybooking.com/399746 so if you feel like a fun, formal evening out, we’ll see you at the opera.
We were thrilled to receive such warm and genuine responses from you all.
Peter and Michelle have enjoyed listening to the laughter and chatter as everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves at The Old Hospital. It’s lovely also for them to chat to guests as they settle in and provide information on spots they wish to visit in the surrounding areas. Peter (“Mr Google Maps”) furnished one lady with directions to head to the Kongwak market via the scenic back road route.
Guests are sleeping soundly on our Plush Pillowtop Back Care mattresses. One lady with a few back “niggles” has taken away the manufacturers details and is considering one for her home! Our microfibre allergy free quilts have been personally road tested by the owners, who bought one for themselves along with the guests quilts. They easily passed the test of a chilly Gippsland winter – one of the coldest last year for many years.
Another guest spotted our 6 burner barbecue as soon as he saw our outdoor deck. He took charge as head chef to his group. Even on the second night when the others headed to a local pub for dinner, he chose to stay in with the remaining few and rose to the challenge of barbecue king again.
The guests have been utilising our substantial library and games area – and we are told the card games got quite competitive on the Meet Up groups first night in!
So again we say thank you for your continued support, as all groups intend to return to us – an endorsement that makes it all worthwhile.
Spring has arrived today in Loch Village. It’s a perfect 19 degrees, there’s no wind and the blackbirds are vocal with their springtime tunes. It’s a perfect day for a cup of tea in the north facing sunroom at The Old Hospital, Loch Village.