… in which she discovers the gentle art of random weaving and decides that she’s not quite the basket case she thought she was.

It has been a long time since I’ve had that lovely feeling of being lost in the moment…

Completely absorbed in a simple pleasure

… facing only the simplest of choices

… sitting quietly

… engrossed in the gentle art of making something.

But that’s exactly what I was lucky enough to do this week at a random weaving workshop with south coast artist Harriet Goodall.

Throughout the preceeding week the boys (and various friends – yes you know who you are) had been teasing me relentlessly about my forthcoming basket weaving workshop.

There had been plenty of snickers.

Well you can snicker all you like my lovelies…

because what I knew and you didn’t, is that Harriet Goodall is not your average
basket weaver.

I knew a little bit about her through mutual friends who put together this video for Country Style magazine and when I heard that Sophie Hansen at Mandagery Creek Venison had snagged her to do a workshop, I jumped at the opportunity.

What I didn’t realise, is that Sophie has this fabulous background as a magazine editor and now showcases local producers in her own blog Local is Lovely. She is also a beautiful cook and spent the day – ever so quietly in the background – preparing lots of deliciousness for us all to enjoy.

So it was a good recipe for a great day.

Good host, good food, good company, in a pretty location surrounded
by snow covered hills.

But back to our weaving ….

What I love about Harriet’s work is its organic nature.

It’s relaxed and loose.

And in a world full of mass produced plastic and rubbish, the idea of learning how to take pieces of nature and craft them into something functional is very appealing.

And sure enough, as promised, within a few short hours we had all produced our own unique baskets from bits of flotsam on the floor.

I had this vague idea that I might create a woven fairy castle to hide somewhere
in the garden …

A fairy castle with its own deck.

I’m not quite sure what I ended up with.

But I had the most beautiful day, lost in the moment, creating it

… and I think the fairies will still approve.

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Baby calves and winter colours from Oberon

Steve has been regaling us with stories of the baby calves out at his mum’s
farm over the past few weeks…

So I sent he and Maddy on a little photo assignment yesterday.

Oberon is about 40 minutes from Bathurst and much higher. It’s one of the coldest
areas in our part of the world. Bloody cold! But very pretty.

Coming from the coast this world was so different to where I grew up.

Yet it’s where my boy is most at home. So in his element.

He knows every calf and every mum.

Is that cute or what!

 

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Photos: Maddy x

I’ve been to par-a-dise but I’ve never been to …

Sorry. I’m being naughty. I’ve just planted the singularly worst song in the universe in your brain for the next couple of days.

But waddya gonna do 🙂

It struck me during the week that I’ve lived in the Bathurst region (in Australia) for about
25 years and while we’ve been lucky enough to travel to some far flung places,
there are spots closer to home that I’ve never visited.

For instance… Abercrombie House (pick yourselves up off the floor local friends)
a Tudor Gothic/Scottish Baronial mansion about 3 minutes (3 MINUTES – I KNOW!)
from the centre of the city and open (ahem) every Sunday I believe.

The … (by all accounts) … gob smacking Kanangra Walls. Just the thing for a
destination: here&now girl who hates heights.

And I have never driven the historic Bridle Track from Bathurst to Hill End.
– Feedback from readers: apparently this road has been cut by a massive earthslide.
It could become a two parter 😦

And when I look at this photo I’m thinking there might be a very good reason for that.

So… two things….

1. I’m setting myself a challenge. I’m going to get out there and see these things
and I shall report back in due course.

and …

2. I’m interested to know what’s on your list. What places are on your doorstep that you’ve never visited? And I’m not just talking Bathurst here. I want your secrets – from anywhere in the world.

And I’m going to add a little sauce. I’m going to set out to do a little sketch something like these….


Refuge Beach, 2011

Capertee Valley, 2008

… and I will randomly select a winner from anyone who comments below and send you a little print of something I see.

So here it is.

The “I’ve Never Been To … But Soon Will … Challenge.”

“Ooh I’ve been to Georgia and California, oh, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacherman and we made love in the sun”

Honestly. What were they thinking.

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Abercrombie House pic courtesy Fotki. Bridal Track pics courtesy A Therapy for Pain. Kangangra Walls pic courtesy Grant Dixon Photography

Jump in. I’ll take you to the picnic races

It’s a couple of hours drive away … we’ll turn up the music

… and if we hurry we’ll make the first race.

Shall we have a bet?

I’ll have a champagne !

…. or six.

WHY did I wear high heels?

That band …  Bears with Guns?

They are fan-tastic. I mean, seriously good.

Hang on … I’ve just got to take these shoes off for a minute.

Oh come onnnn …. we’ve got to see at least one race.

( SCROLL VERY FAST )

( STOP )

Did I mention my feet?

( CONTINUE )

So beautiful …

I think I’ve got shoe envy.

The road to Bathurst and a case for going slowly slowly

As I now have a growing international following (of 3) I thought I should give you, my new overseas friends, some context of where Bathurst lies in the scheme of things. So pull up a comfy chair, pour yourselves a drink and allow yourselves to feel a little bit special…even perhaps – a little bit exclusive…because this … is for you.

Obviously if you don’t know where Sydney is, you’re stuffed.

Now. I have been driving this road for 30 years…and in all that time I’ve rarely taken a side road. Anxious to get home. Anxious to get to Sydney. Anxious to get from Point A to B – you know the drill.

But yesterday, after an emotional family funeral in Sydney and in the car by myself, I decided to go “slowly slowly”, which my sister recently told me is how their Turkish tour guide described walking leisurely. “Today we go slowly slowly.” The group introduced him to the word “meander” which he apparently jumped ship for, but me, I’m sticking with slowly slowly.

So let us now go slowly slowly through the Blue Mountains, one hell of a mountain range that burnt out many an explorer in its time.

Through the orchards of Bilpin…

…down those secret laneways (actually this is someone’s driveway but you get the idea)

…past curious gates for which I’d love a clear translation??

…and out on to the hard ridges of Mount Banks and the Blue Mountains National Park.

…till I popped out at Lithgow and thought just one more….so I made the short detour up to  Hassans Walls Lookout (another undiscovered secret until recently!) and arrived just before sunset.

And while I got home three hours later than I was intending … and completely forgot that I then had to attend two hours of parent teacher interviews for my son which went though till 9.30 … I didn’t care. A little bit of slowly slowly is important when we live in a fastly fastly world. x