Summer escape

The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.2The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.
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.

  • niru said:

    dear old friend, so happy to find you.
    it's simply beautiful and quiet here.
    blessings for all you've achieved and will, as you walk this journey.
    love to you

  • Tori said:

    What a delight, Ronnie - to have escaped, together, for that time. To have appreciated it in the way you so obviously still do. Such magic.

  • Katrina said:

    That piano looks so beautiful, I can almost hear it.

  • Heike said:

    Dear Ronnie,
    Short escapes from daily routine and hustle and bustle are the best for being with family and also just for being, breathing, walking, watching the sky, reading…
    Short escapes are so fulfilling, a little bit of magic and happiness.
    Your descriptions are always so real and your words are so beautifully chosen. You are painting with your words like a painter and I am full of emotions.

  • alexa said:

    So wonderfully and gently evocative ... I always love your writing. Not to mention your photography :). It sounds a blissful few days ...