Friday, April 28, 2017

Step Back In Time

Paul : Hello.
Lady : Good morning, young sir. And how are you doing today? 
Paul : I'm doing quite well. How about you? 
Lady : Not very well, I'm afraid. You see, my dear beloved husband finally went back to the Lord just last night and I'm preparing for his wake. 
Paul : Oh dear. 
Lady : Yes, he caught a terrible fever down in the mining camps and returned home looking quite peaked. Not much the doctor could do unfortunately, not even with all the new remedies and balms that just came by coach from Melbourne. 

Sounds almost like an English primer from school, doesn't it?

Though what is far more remarkable would be the fact that the lady in question finds herself appropriately dressed in severe Victorian mourning clothes with a delicate lacy black veil over her ashen face. After having been vouched earlier for having an irreproachably respectable character by a suitable chaperon, I was admitted to the heretofore sacrosanct ladies' parlour for a brief conversation. Any longer and it would certainly have given rise to gossip in this small town. From what I gleaned from her words, it was no surprise that her husband succumbed to whatever mysterious ailment struck him; given the meagre - and oh so doubtful - medicinal supplies then available in the mid 19th century.

And yes, it was the 19th century.

Or at least everyone there would have you believe it so.

Lest you think I've inadvertently fallen into a bafflingly spooky M. Night Shyamalan thriller, I didn't really buy into their far fetched stories either. After all this was Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, a living museum set on a goldfields town dedicated to life in the 1850s - and frankly one of my favourite places in Victoria. Thoroughly enjoyed myself there the last time I visited and wondered whether I would feel the same two decades later.

With much relish, I can wholeheartedly confirm that I love the place quite as much as I did the last time I was here. Perhaps even more, now that I have the time to explore every nook and cranny of the lil town without being rushed by my friends who had little interest in such make-believe historical proceedings.

Having that extra coin in my pocket helps a bit too since I can finally afford a pie or three rather than the packed sandwich I brought along that last time.

Thankfully the charms of Sovereign Hill seemed to extend to all ages so it didn't take much to persuade Rambling Raoul and Chatty Carmen to go. Ever so kiasu Chinese in search of that treasured nugget of gold, our hellbent Raoul spent half the afternoon earnestly panning for gold in the little creek with yelled instructions from his sister.

I however walked down every alley in Sovereign Hill, chatted to as many costumed townfolk as I could and just enjoyed the life in the 1850s. Wonder if they need an extra hand over there!

No comments: