THE fishing wasn't good, in large part because very little time was spent anywhere near flowing water. Flowing fluids of another kind, well that was a different matter. Red fluids, white fluids, amber fluids, distilled fluids, fortified fluids, fluids made by monks, drunks and, in the case of something blue and labelled as Caracao, skunks overfed with oranges -- all those and several other varieties being amongst the hazards of bush hospitality. But the weather, aahhh! By Monday, the sun was out and the foothills leading up to Hotham -- still amply covered with a white blanket, despite all those flim-flanneried predictions of snow-free winters -- were coming alive, as only the bush in the southeast corner of our great land does. In the sunny afternoons, little lizards in the dry bark along the creek banks; at night, the first of the warm months' microbats, fresh from a winter's slumber, flashing through the porch light's penumbra.
Get up that way if you can manage the trip. Do the four-hour walk to the top of Feathertop (an easy climb if you take the Harrietville track, less so if it is the path closer to Bright, which ascends from the vineyard) and marvel at a folded landscape stretching 360 degrees as far as the eye can see. And if you have the time, go "over the top", through Dinner Plain, past the Blue Duck (a fine spot to replenish many fluids) and on to Omeo and Bairnsdale.
One caution for those inclined to ill temper: Try to ignore the blackberries, broom, rabbits and foxes, all to be observed in profusion. It will only get you angry at the thought of the millions swallowed by government departments ostensibly devoted to protecting the bush. They don't. They protect their desks and comfy office chairs while the bush gets nobbled and gobbled by invasive species. If they baited Spring Street with flexitime forms soaked in 1080, the bush would be a lot better off.