I thought I’d strike gold, but I found something better …

The wattle is out.

It can mean only one thing.

It must be late August.

The quintessential Australian sign that winter is nearly over.

A riot of delicate yellow fluff …

A promise of sunny days to come …

I wanted to capture it for you ….

but by the time I’d finished work …

I’d missed that beautiful late afternoon light

I’d missed the yellows ….

…but I found you some blues.

Have a lovely week.

And stay tuned for I have some surprises in store 🙂

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It wouldn’t be a farmers market without the farmers. Thanks for coming!

On the 4th Saturday of every month, Bathurst hosts a farmers market in the
grounds of our historic showground.

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I take my hat off to the producers who turn up each month, especially in the depths of winter because the showground is so so so so cold!

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The pavilions were built in the late 1800s

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and while the architecture is superb

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I don’t think they had any notion about passive solar design

back in 1896.

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It is the perfect setting for the markets though

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How can anyone resist these

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or these?

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It’s lovely to turn up and see what’s on offer each month.

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I so admire the fact that people take such pride in what they do

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and that they are rewarded for their efforts.

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I love running into my beautiful colourful friends

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and talking to people who care about the world we live in and the food we eat

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It’s also the perfect excuse to put on your pinkest shoes and wear that pussy cat bag you’ve been itching to wear…

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and to buy the best damned olive oil this side of Liguria.

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Everything is so fresh

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and enticing

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and made with love.

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Until today I’d never really looked closely at the old paintings that decorate the interior walls in the showground pavilions. Does anyone know anything of their history?

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I particularly like the one of the apple pickers behind our new friend Con up top.

I think it might actually snow this weekend. I have nothing to back that up except we’ve just braved the sideline of the rugby field to watch Darcy play and scuttled home to get warm. It’s a snuggle-down-in-front-of-the-heater kind of weekend me thinks. Stay cosy x

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Thanks to all the producers who kindly let me take photos this morning (some of which were duds I’m sorry), including Con & Rose, Stoney Creek Wildflowers, Linda’s Chilli Relish, Ploughman’s Hill Olive Oil (love your work!), Castlereagh Seed Savers, Saltbird Flavoured Salt, Cabonne Country Honey, our local vignerons and Milnes of Mudgee. I wish I could include everyone who makes the effort to come to Bathurst every month but on behalf of the community – thank you.

… not even a flock of crapping pidgeons can dull her spirit of adventure

I went exploring where I probably shouldn’t have been exploring today.

And I turned a corner where I probably shouldn’t have turned a corner.

But look what was waiting …

I nearly missed it through the cracked windows.

Bathurst was at her colourful best this afternoon …

… and this is one of my favourite little precincts.

It’s the area behind the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, a beautiful building built in 1876 which housed the original Bathurst Public School.

Thesedays it’s home to the internationally renowned Somerville Collection and the main headquarters of Bathurst’s resident pidgeon population.

Warren Somerville spent a lifetime building up one of the world’s leading private collections of fossils and minerals.

And then he donated it to Bathurst.

As you do 🙂

It’s gobsmacking. Not just the extent of the collection but the fit-out of the museum itself is stunning. But that’s not for today. Because today we’re outside … enjoying some sunshine

… strolling in amongst these old buildings of red brick, so typical of their time.

Taking in the angles and the lines and the textures.

On the lookout for bomber pidgeons ready to drop their load.

… stealing away for just a little while.

… catching the last of the sun on a cold winter’s day.

wish you were here … dreaming of a winter camp

When Steve lights a fire up the back

and the paints come out

it makes me think of winter camps here

And trippy canoe rides with friends

A world turned upside down

where everything seemed so right.

It makes me think of summers on the far south coast

of a treasured spot amidst the tea trees

where all we worried about was our bed, our belly and our kids

and time stood still …

and we bathed in a sea of turquoise.

The power of a simple fire.

We are overdue for a camp old friends. Overdue!

 

 

 

Abercrombie House. It’s only taken me 25 years

Last week I was musing about how I’ve lived in Bathurst for 25 years and yet there
are still some places that I’ve never visited. Iconic places on our doorstep.
So I set myself a challenge.

And I ticked one off the list today …

A few minutes out along the Ophir Road, just west of Bathurst.

Beyond the sprawl of new modern homes.

Abercrombie House.

It’s just so startlingly different from anything else in our area. I’ve seen photos
of it over the years but it’s really hard to get a sense of the scale unless you visit.

It was built in the 1860s by the Stewart family, originally from Scotland.

And as a girl who appreciates beauty and craftsmanship …

and verandahs and sunlight

and tiles and turquoise … (more about my love of turquoise here) …

… I had the loveliest couple of hours …

alone …

exploring on a beautiful blue winter’s day.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying putting together this blog for you.

It’s making me take time and make time to look at the world in a completely different way.

It’s taking me in unexpected directions.

Making me stop and appreciate the beautiful details of life.

And wonder…

at what is on our doorstep.

It’s hard to do a place like Abercrombie House justice in just a few photos

but then I have to leave something for you to explore 😉

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Thank you Christopher and Xanthe for letting me wander through your amazing home today. I don’t know how you do it. Just the thought of strangers regularly tromping through my house would do my head in 🙂

Here’s the website for Abercrombie House. And here’s a tip. Don’t leave it 25 years.

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

Winter sweet moments in a garden of grey

Winter is doing her thing here in Australia. Last week we had snow in the high country.

Our garden is bare … sticky, stalky, exposed.

In amidst the seeming nothingness there is one little bush that you could easily overlook

… but look a little bit closer …

…because in the depths of winter, when everything else is sleeping … she reveals herself

Chimonanthus praecox

Winter sweet.

…quietly, unobtrusively…

Close your eyes. Her scent is intoxicating.

Like a friend who is not immediately beautiful …

but who, with time, becomes so special to you

that just a glimpse of her will light you up … even on the coldest of winter days.