Thursday, 7 February 2008

The simple things...

We went away last weekend with three other families, staying in shearing quarters on a Victorian Heritage noted property. The shearing quarters were of bluestone, built in a U shape around a central courtyard. 22 of us there were, in fairly basic accommodation. Immediately the tables and chairs were moved into the courtyard and that's where they stayed for the weekend. Alfresco dining!

The children (some of whom are adults) were a bit underwhelmed by the facilities until the owner told us of a waterhole edging the property. Never touched the bottom, she said. Cliff on one side, but accessible from our side. Cliff was right, a sheer drop of almost 10 m. Too high to jump from, right? Wrong. First one, then most of the children and some of the adults succumbed to the call of the heights. Others looked on and hoped that no one would earn the dubious honour of finding the bottom of the waterhole for the first time. Fortunately no one did. Some of us, myself included, were happy enough to jump from the lowest possible ledge. Adventure enough to observe.

We opted for a roast dinner cooked in the big wood stove, but no one warned the stove that it was to be pressed into service. It woke up slowly and dinner plans were slightly delayed. No mind, a late evening repast in the courtyard on a perfect summer evening was no hardship.

The property boasted many original buildings including a smokehouse, laundry, manager's house, stables and more. There was a formal garden, with century-old pines and olive trees and a glorious view down the valley. The house has been restored and includes glass panels in the ceiling which reveal the original roof trusses and wood shingles.

In the past 21 years we have met as a group in many places around Victoria. Some accommodation has been flasher than others, but all have been memorable. The children never fail to find entertainment even where none is immediately visible, the older watch out for the younger, the adults never run out of conversation and there is always plenty to eat.

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