Category Archives: travels closer to home

Beyond the city walls but still in Oz.

The Bush Hut @ Brooman




Packed up in a box and shoved high on an unreachable shelf in the back shed. Better yet, dropped in a river like a Jumanji gameboard. Whatever you do, don’t open the box.  DON’T OPEN THE GODDAMNED BOX!!!!  “But the drums!! The drums!!”  FUCK THE DRUMS, DON’T OPEN THE GODDAMNED BOX!!

Dad always said “No point in looking back” so we won’t.

Exxxxceppppt …for some unfinished business on the south coast… at Brooman, about 35 minutes inland from Milton, about three hours south of Sydney.

We have friends from university days who have bought a little property, a very special little property. It overlooks the old village of Brooman and the mighty Clyde River, hidden just behind those trees on the right.


And just a little bit further up the hill, tucked away in the bush you step into the 1900s, into a wooden hut, the Bush Hut @ Brooman, hewn from local hardwood and built with love.

bush hut @ brooman

Verandah inspired by On Golden Pond.


A catcher of late afternoon light and bird song. Kick back at day’s end. Off the grid. A drink? You betcha.

bush hut @ brooman

bush hut @ brooman

Simplicity. A little sanctuary to unpick, defrag, stop and smell the grevilleas.

bush hut @ brooman

bush hut @ brooman

Candle lit baths under the stars.

bush hut @ brooman

We were given permission to explore the Brooman village ruins on the adjoining property, the wobbly remnants of a gold rush – back in the day.




Textured and a little bit twisted, just the way I like my men 😉




Weaving and wandering, a valley full of laughter, a river of canoes.

bush hut @ brooman

Freshly picked bounty from Julie and Bob’s garden where the lines between flowers and vegies are pinked and blurred.

julie and bob's garden

Could I live this life? 35 minutes from town, near neighbourless and self contained? After the year that should not be named it’d be tempting I must say. Peaceful, healthful, cupful. Brimming in so many ways. I’m not sure. But as an escape, yes, this is me, us. A warm bath under the stars.



But the drums!!

What drums?

There are no drums.




If you’d like to know more about Julie’s and Bob’s bush hut which is available for rental you can see it here on Stayz or Airbnb.


The healing place …

Along a dusty road, past many twists and turns, there is a place with no phones.

And no computers.

Some thought they were a little crazy to buy it.

But then they visited.

And they too fell under its spell …

blue reeds

What there is – in great supply – is time, too rare a commodity thesedays.


Three little huts, built with love – and this past weekend filled with friends – cling to a hidden hillside and look down the barrel of the Clyde.


It really is a piece of paradise.

A healing place for a family that had been to hell and back. In the process of buying it, someone tried to gazump them, but the elderly owner said no, this family needs this place.


He must have been a wise old soul.

I would cue the frogs if I could and lend you the slap of oars on water, but all I can offer is some fading light this evening. More to come, I promise…

0s5a1960 0s5a1963 0s5a1967

You just need to be a little bit patient with me 😉



Sculpture in the Vineyards

“Trust me,” I said. “When have I ever given you a bum steer with accommodation?”

“Well there was the night we landed in Damascus at two in the morning … No sheets, no blankets, no lock on the door.”

I conceded that one. It was a shocker. In fairness though, it was the wrong hotel. We found the right one the next day, but not after a lot of nervous giggling and very little sleep. Would that we could wind back time.


But this was different.

Yes, it wasn’t your typical motel. In actual fact The Vine Valley Inn is an old hotel, right in the main street of Cessnock but it has been converted with love and an artistic eye and a funkiness that I couldn’t resist.

“It’s on top of a bloody pet shop,”

“Trust me,” I said.

vine valley inn

And the moment we walked in he was hooked too, chatting away to Simon the owner and enjoying the crazy mix of art and kitsch.

vine valley inn simon and steve

vine valley inn cassock

In the space of a week we’d gone from 35 degrees in Delhi, to six inches of snow in Duckmaloi (in mid October!), to the main street of Cessnock to deliver a sculpture to Sculpture in the Vineyards, an annual sculpture competition and exhibition held at four different vineyards in the beautiful Wollombi Valley about two hours north of Sydney.

Sculpture in the Vineyards 2014

Our friend (and artist) Harrie Fasher, has been encouraging Steve to start putting his work out there so he was very chuffed to be accepted into this year’s exhibition. His piece is on display at the Stonehurst Cellar Door. Thanks Haz x


And I was very chuffed to be able to tag along with camera in hand, especially when I laid eyes on the Stonehurst cellar doors!

Stonehurst Cellar Door

Suddenly India didn’t feel so far away …

Stonehurst Cellar Door

Stonehurst Cellar Door

It’s a really big deal making the leap towards making art, putting yourself out there, opening your work up to criticism.

This week he launched a website: and a Facebook page – with a little help of course 😉

Steve and The Australia Policy

The Australia Policy

And today is his birthday. Happy to you my clever boy. mwah x

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