Now that Christmas is over and the gifts have been given and gratefully received, I can tell my short tale of the adventure I embarked upon to find the perfect gift for the man in my life.
Whilst Hubby was gloating that he had my gift purchased and nicely wrapped ready for the big day, I was still racking my brain as to what special gift to buy him.
My man is a keen bread maker, and he is always looking to improve his baking skills, so I thought I’d research bread making courses available in Melbourne.
Olive Bread baked by Hubby
I was surprised how many of my emails to cookery schools were totally ignored, still to this day I have not received replies from two schools.
Then after a long while of searching I found The Convent Bakery’s website, I could not believe how perfect it seemed. I was pretty sure I had hit the jackpot. The setting looked beautiful, the location was fairly easy to get to and the fact that all the baking was done in a wood fired oven was the icing on the cake!
The light bulb above my head was illuminated, but was I being drawn in by a very well designed website?
I sent an email enquiry to check they could meet my requirements in terms of my need to pay in person, in cash and collect the voucher at the same time. Being able to do this would allow me to keep my purchase a complete secret, no receipts to be reconciled, no worrying about what was in the postbox.
By return the Convent Bakery replied, all was good. So I arranged to visit them the next day. They even helped offered advice on the best way to get to them by train from Belgrave, a complete contrast to the totally lack of a response from the other well known schools.
It was time for a little adventure, time for a trip to a new part of Melbourne for me.
Now, I am a fairly independent woman, but what I have in confidence I lack in a sense of direction. I have been known to get lost in shopping Malls on more than one occasion. Even hubby has suggested having me GPS tagged so he can phone me to say, “Hey Blondie, turn around, you are going the wrong way!”
So, accepting my failure in the navigation department, I spend a good while getting myself organised. I checked the required train route and timetable, I printed a step by step street view from Google Maps to help me with the walk I needed to do once off the train. It all looked straight forward enough.
I woke early, excited to be heading into Melbourne. Hubby kindly dropped me at Belgrave and after short wait, I was on the train heading to Parliament Station, where I changed onto the Epping line.
Just a few stops from Parliament I was at Victoria Park Station. Now here came the test. I had my Google street view in my hands and as I exited the station I stood staring out at the scene ahead me. Nothing on my printout looked anything like the what I saw in front of me. Do I turn left of right? I could not believe I was having this conversation in my head so early on in my “on-foot adventure”.
I went for the old ip-dip and left was it! Off I marched, map in hand, eyes peeled for street names to match to my map. For a long while nothing seemed to correspond and I confess to doubting my decision to turn left. But walking on proved I can find my way, even if it is more by luck than judgement!
I turned this way, that way and everything was looking just like my Google Street view map, thank goodness.
I arrived at the Convent. I found the bakery and decided I would have a look around the convent and it’s gardens before sorting out my purchase.
I found myself in a beautifully peaceful oasis with manicured lawns and stunning displays of flowers. But the most striking feature of the garden was the tree.
The garden at St. Heliers Convent
The tree was large, the tree was a vision of lilac blue, the tree was like nothing I have seen before.
The glorious tree at St. Heliers Convent
I headed back to the Bakery and was greeted by friendly serving staff. When I said I was there to buy a gift voucher for a course, they made a quick phone call and in no time Daniela arrived and was soon getting everything arranged.
I sat in the sunshine enjoying a cappuccino and a freshly baked fruit bun whilst Daniela prepared the Voucher. This is how Christmas shopping should be, it was bliss!
I paid in cash and thanked Daniela for her emails and her help.
My walk back to the station was hot, but at least I knew where I was heading this time. I waited for the train with Collingwood AFL stadium behind me, it was a very cute oval, black and white stripes on the roof of the building by the station.
The train took me into Finders Street Station, my main business done, I was now free to indulge in some photography and browse for some little extra gifts to add to the envelope safely tucked into my backpack.
I had great fun enjoying the Christmas vibe in the city and, before I knew it, I was catching the train to Belgrave in the rush hour, much later than I had planned.
I sat uncomfortably with bags and boxes on my knee, it was hot and the train was very crowded. But I was happy.
I had phoned Hubby to tell him arrival time and there he was waiting for me at Belgrave.
He turned his head as I loaded my bags onto the back seat. I hopped in the front, “I have a secret!” I said with a grin.
I spent ages artistically wrapping the envelope, I spent the rest of the day covered in glitter and glue!
The results of an hour with a glue stick and some glitter!
Christmas morning arrived and I was so relieved, keeping secrets is a nightmare, the number of times I nearly gave the game away.
Hubby’s face when he opened the glittery wrapping said it all. I had indeed hit the jackpot, he was thrilled!
Hubby's face said it all!
He cannot wait to book in for his bakery course and I can’t wait to eat the produce of his day.