Bringing the colt back to the stables…

My husband Gary has been working on a little project with fellow volunteers, led by local artist, Gavin Roberts. Gavin discovered that the local counsel had flagged a historical building for destruction as it was seen to be derelict. Dating back to the 1870’s, the building in question was once the local police stables and cells.

Gavin had in mind to resurrect the decaying building and turn it into a working space for local artists, so with the support of the local Shakespeare Committee, Gavin sought and received funding to begin the work.

And so the work began… With a lot of hard work, the team of volunteers had the building standing upright (rather than on an undesirable angle), new floors in place, walls lined, new window frames and windows, frames by Gary with the glass etched by local artist Peter Cummings. A mezzanine level was constructed providing space for research and meetings, and it is up there that you will find a wonderful stained glass window created by another of the volunteers and artists, Bill Payne. Of course there are also bathroom facilities, with a touch of quirkiness in the design added by Gavin. Finally with a gallery space set up to display finished works for sale, it was time for Opening Night!

We had asked our son, Christopher, his partner, Olivia and the two little boys to join us at the opening, and were so excited that they had decided to come. I spent some time in the afternoon preparing our dinner, I wanted it to be a relaxed evening, and given the opening was at 5pm, needed to have as much prepared as I could.

We all met up at the old stables, where we wandered through the crowd to view the opening exhibition

Something About Fish

The boys, Samuel, aged 6 and Cooper, aged 4, took a little time to look around with their parents, and Olivia told me that there was one piece of work that sparked a beautiful conversation between herself and Samuel with regard to plastics in the ocean – he had recently had an incursion at school on just that topic. The conversation piece rAs we stood around chatting, Samuel approached Olivia, and said, “Mum, can you come and explain this to me”, he had found something else outside that intrigued him.

Eventually it was time for the boys to run around and have fun, hey, they had been stuck in a car for two and a half hours and this was the perfect space with trees to climb and lots of room for running.  While we had time with Christopher and Olivia and proudly introduced them to our friends and acquaintances.

Finally, Gavin got the show on the road, and with thank you’s and acknowledgements made, an explanation as to what the current exhibit was about,

The Art colt copy

The Art Colt

was officially opened!

This is not a fancy, flashy gallery, not by any stretch of the imagination. This is a quirky workable art space with loads of history, and has been brought back to life by the bloody-minded determination, tenacity and hard work of a group of around 20 volunteers, and now stands as a workable creative space for local artists to work and teach others their skills. I must add, that without the leadership of Gavin, and the collective creative minds of his fellow volunteers, this building would probably no longer be standing today.

The cold night air closed in, so we soon decided to head home for dinner and family time. With a little more work, and help from Olivia, dinner was ready. On the menu was my mum’s chop suey and fried rice (Mum always served these two dishes together in our younger years, generally it was served on a cold winters’ night to warm us up after we’d been out in the cold all day.), I also made caramelized chicken drumettes (always a winner in our house),

and for something sweet, hot chocolate fudge sauce with ice cream, strawberries and meringues for dipping.

Family meals are always such a special treat.

Warm Chocolate Fudge Sauce

I found this recipe on the website, Smitten Kitchen, and have found it to be an absolute favourite with any chocoholic! I have adjusted it slightly, but not too much.

Quantity: 500 ml
Author: sbaskitchen
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 160 ml pure cream
  • 175 g golden syrup
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 170 g Plaistowe 70% Cocoa Chocolate choppped
  1. Combine all ingredients, EXCEPT the Plaistowe chocolate, in a small pan, and over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer on low, stirring, for 3 to 5 more minutes until everything has melted
  3. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth rich chocolate sauce.
  4. Serve over ice cream, or as a dipping sauce or for fondue.

The sauce will thicken as it begins to cool, so might want to wait for 15 to 20 minutes off the heat before serving.

Any leftovers can be poured into a jar and stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.  Then when you need a quick chocolate fix, simply scoop out a little (or a lot) and reheat in the microwave.

Adapted from the recipe at

You will find The Art Colt

at 20 Dixon Street, Stratford, in Victoria, Australia. and on

Until next time…

Make sure you tell your family you love then, and bon appétit!

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