Back in January, in the middle of our hot Australian summer, we escape to the Southern Highlands for two nights.
It is an impromptu decision, made late one night when I discover a beautiful cottage available at a very affordable price.
We pack lightly: just a couple of bags for the six of us. A family record!
The estate is beautiful. The driveway is flanked by tall, hundred year old trees. There is a wide paddock filled with horses and cows. One of the horses – a white one – is particularly handsome. The main building looks grand and proper, and almost haunting in the twilight. Ivy abounds, and virtually every wall is covered with the alluring greenery.
Upon arriving at the farm cottage, we discover that there are three bedrooms. It doesn’t take long to work out the bedroom arrangements: Angus and Jamie will sleep in one, Pete and Bear in the other.
Angus and Jamie settle quickly into their double-bed arrangement. Pete is not so lucky – Bear cries for an hour the first evening but Pete patiently endures it until his little brother finally falls asleep…
The first night, I hardly sleep, for fear of being bitten by the mosquito that buzzes intermittently in my ear. Despite the heat, I cocoon myself with the sheets, anxious to keep my skin completely covered. On the second night, we turn the fan on to disturb the mosquitoes’ flight (a handy tip from Rick’s mum) and, to my great delight, I actually sleep.
In the daytime, we wander around the property, chasing the peacock and the chickens. We play hide and seek in the house, take naps, read books, and watch ABC2. I also attempt to play songs on the piano. We revisit the Minnamurra Rainforest on the second day: we speed along the track in less than thirty minutes and indulge in lemon ice blocks and hot potato wedges. In the evenings, we eat thai food at Bowral and once the boys are in bed, I go for walks by myself while Rick stays behind at the cottage and reads.
And of course, I photograph. I document every moment that moves me. I fill up every frame with light and love.
We return home refreshed and sated, all of us grateful for the chance to escape into another world. But more than that – for our two days of togetherness as a family.