We took the train to New Gisborne on the weekend. The train moves reluctantly through Melbourne’s western suburbs and comes out into the sort of countryside post-apocalyptic film makers are drawn to – a flat, grey landscape interrupted by Calder Raceway’s bald banks of clay before the land tails off into the backends of paddocks strewn with car wrecks and open acres of weed that might well have survived a nuclear holocaust.
By the time the train pulls into New Gisborne (which is actually old Gisborne) the hand of a more gentle civilisation and the green from a bit more rainfall has prevailed.
The first Sunday of each month is market day in Gisborne but we were off to a family and friends autumnal gathering with our two jars of uncured chutney, made as a novel experiment the night before, to swap for more refined culinary contributions. The walk down to Gisborne township (which is the new Gisborne) is a lovely wander past some pretty houses and their shady gardens.
By the time we’ve walked along a bit the sun comes out to watch the under 10’s scrabbling like a cast of crabs for a football somewhere at the far end of the oval and there is a sudden rush of dogs and people heading back from the market.
A couple of bridges criss-cross Jackson Creek which has been revived by a local friends group into a sparkling, plant rich watercourse on its run through Gisborne from where it trickles along southward to join other streams to form the Maribynong River, which finally finds its way into Port Phillip Bay.
Parts of the creek would do well for a Millais painting – although thankfully we didn’t spot any fair maidens along the banks looking a bit depressed. The fair maidens of Gisborne were (by contrast) seen riding skateboards down steep grassy hills on the other side of the creek and generally having a good time.
Finally arrived for the preserve swap and what amazing things people had made or grown. The sparkling mead and double chocolate stout were snaffled up quickly!