This week we flew to Townsville in Far North Queensland (or FNQ as the Aussies fondly call it) to spend a few days with my sister-in-law and her son in their charming little cottage. It’s built in the Queenslander style with weatherboards, ceiling fans and deep shady verandas, louvre windows to capture the breeze and a tropical garden of palm trees to filter the strong Australian sunshine.Built that way for their summer which is hot and long.Not built so much for the winter. Especially not built for the coldest day in 74 years!!!!!!!
Yup, lucky old us got there at the same time as one of FNQ’s “weather events” with an exceptionally cold band of weather coming through the Top End and lasting the exact 3 days we were there! We had to laugh as we all huddled inside with as many clothes on as we could find to keep the cold out. There is no heating in these homes as even in winter it is usually around 23 degrees! We had a delicious home cooked meal and after some stories about the old days and a few wines we tumbled into bed which was the only place to get warm. One of the few times their duvets have actually been used!
It didn’t stop us getting out the next day and Fiona took us on a comprehensive tour of Townsville, I can just imagine how lovely the coastline and the marina would look on a sunny day but in the cold rain we were pretty happy to find a cosy Italian restaurant for some lunch and more laughs, totally ignoring the outdoors. I still find it amazing that it was colder than the South Coast of NSW, the sun literally only came out about an hour before we got back on the plane!
We were excited to see what the builders had been up to in our absence. It was a lucky coincidence that the days we were away were the days the kitchen was due to be ripped out. We couldn’t wait to grab our torch and see what it all looked like and to see the view from our new bifold window. We now have a glorious view of the back paddocks and the bonus is that the light now floods in from two sides. It kind of makes up for our once beautiful house looking more like a junk heap. Inside and out we have MESS but luckily for us the weather has been gorgeous making our outdoor kitchen slightly more palatable!
The chief Washer Upper hard at work in our camp kitchen.
The back of the house is coming together nicely…..
Bailey was very happy to be home after 4 nights in the kennels. Much as she loves going there and runs off to say hello to Charmaine with not so much as a backward glance she is also happy to come home. She starts with an exuberant happy dance around the garden and this is closely followed by an exhausted crash out in the sunshine or snuggled up in her new bed. She is like a kid back from the school camp – happy and totally knackered.
During winter most of our nice local watering holes provide their customers with a cozy atmosphere courtesy of an open fire. You really can’t beat it and whether it is the local pub or winery, a restaurant, cafe or B&B it is very tempting to stay a little longer in the warmth that only the flickering flames of a real fire can provide.Luckily we are kitchenless at just the right time to make the most of a few of these little gems….
Fireplaces of The Shoalhaven.
A local photographer, Andy Hutchinson, has recently invested in a drone and took this little video of our local coastline which may give you an idea of the beautiful beaches we have in The Shoalhaven, we can drive to all of them in 15-30 minutes. No traffic lights on the way, no parking metres when you get there and hardly anyone on the beach despite the crystal clear water and golden sand…………………..
Sometimes we just can’t get home in a hurry. We got stuck behind these guys for a while the other day – had to wait for the local herd to be encouraged to the dairy by the dogs and the farmer on his quad bike. I like the fact that there are still these ‘slow’ activities in our modern world. No way were those cows going to go any faster to suit us and that’s just fine with me.
Our little bride-to-be arrives this week and we are really looking forward to spending some time with her. She will probably be a little disappointed that it won’t be quite as homely as usual. Needless to say I usually cook all their favourite meals when the kids come home but being at the height of the renovation she will have to adapt her quite considerable camping skills to our current situation. The new kitchen is supposedly being installed on the day she arrives so hopefully after a few days the new oven will be functioning and we wont have to rely on the bbq/microwave/toaster for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Wedding ‘stuff’ is on the cards as the only other time she is home before her BIG DAY is for 3 days over New Year.I’m hoping we will get all the big ticket items sorted and more importantly I want her to feel involved and part of everything as it’s always hard when you are only doing everything online from overseas and then she will be able to make informed choices about any changes she may like to the current plan. As a result of this wonderful Mummy/Daughter time I may go a little quiet on the blog front for the next couple of weeks, I’m sure you will all understand.
At least my parenting days are now mostly of the fun variety, I kind of feel sorry for the modern Mother in this politically correct world…..