A tale of Bathurst and her big, white, fluffy doona.

We are trying to walk Mount Panorama every Saturday morning, a friend and I.

Sometimes when the town is cloaked in fog and bed feels especially snuggly it’s hard to make the effort.

fog and bird mount panorama

But last Saturday we were well rewarded for our efforts.

fog lifting and kangaroos mount panorama

Most people walk the track itself, but as we are uninclined to get wiped out on one of its sweeping corners by a passing car (and mark my words it will happen one day), well we take a fenced off, gated, padlocked hidden path.

Just don’t tell anyone please because it’s one of Bathurst’s best kept secrets.

the back road up mount panorama

It was the weekend of the winter solstice, that delicious annual turning point when one moment we’re staring down the barrel at the shortest, darkest day of the year then overnight the odds have turned in our favour and suddenly longer days and warm summer nights appear on our winter horizon.

mount panorama above the fog

The Bathurst valley was a sea of fog – the town is down there somewhere, keeping her toes warm under her big, white, fluffy doona.

pathway and telegraph poles overlooking bathurst in fog

But up above it was crystal blue and white and warm. So unseasonably warm.

fog blue sky and mountains

This is the highest point of the track, Brock’s Skyline. It’s named after Australian motor racing legend Peter Brock who won the Bathurst 1000 nine times. At the end of this straight the track takes a sudden exhilarating drop into the Esses.

track mount panorama

mount panorama

But we, well we quietly make our way up and down and down and up our secret path.

polly on the track behind mount panorama

And no-one is any the wiser. Are they Pol?

x

 

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    If you washed up on my beach …

    little hand made boat

    … carrying a heavy load of blue …

    a boatload of blue

    I would try my best to fill your heart with yellow.

    jonquils wrapped in old net

    I would offer you a glass of gold dust but would understand if you said no.

    cup of yellow

    We would have fresh golden eggs delivered by a broken bumble bee who, despite having had a rotten time in Beeland, has managed not to lose his smile.

    egg and broken bumble bee cup

    I would buy you lemon tarts from Legall’s and next time, just as I am about to take their picture, I would try very hard not to smash them on the floor (that’s the tarts, not the Legalls). Luckily the five second rule applies so let’s just smile and eat them anyway. ooo lah.

    LeGall lemon tart

    The floor is covered in icing sugar and the air is filled with the scent of wintersweet.

    And some of those we love – are struggling.

    Carrying boatloads of blue.

    This is just a reminder that if you ever need a beach to wash up on … well you know ours is always open … and swimwear is optional ;)

    Take care my loves. Look after you and yours. I wish I could turn that boat around and send you a boatload of yellow. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a cup of wintersweet.

    winter sweet

    And let’s share something a little stronger some time soon. xxxx

    Speaking of spreading a little sunshine I just want to send a special thank you to Millie Brown, a very talented Aussie photographer based in France, between Nice and Monaco. Millie blogs at Travel Notecards and last week, after I’d sent a little no-pressure note through, she linked up with Steve’s sister who was traveling in the neighbourhood and gave her a three day insider’s introduction to the Cote d’Azur. There are times when I question what I’m doing with the blog and there are times when it makes my heart smile and this was one of them. Thankyou Millie. If you’re ever in Bathurst … (don’t laugh – you never know!)

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    And if you haven’t discovered Nick Cave’s latest album Push the Sky Away … oh my … I’ve been flogging it for days (thanks Tank). Mermaids I think is my favourite track. The neighbours must be sick to death of it :)

    xx

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      The girls get a turn at Duckmaloi :)

      By complete coincidence one of my old university friend’s close friend booked Duckmaloi* for the long weekend. And when my friend made the connection she rang mid week and said come out and join us on Saturday night.

      Duckmaloi River

      Serendipity. One of my favourite words in the English language.

      Duckmaloi River

      A gang of eight girls from all walks of life … clever, funny, welcoming and wise.

      The kind of wise that only a few chapters of life can grant you.

      girls out walking

      Thrown together in a house full of slippers, warmth and laughter.

      Duckmaloi Park Guesthouse

      Duckmaloi Guesthouse

      Frosty nights and big long walks. Red wine and chocolate. Cups of tea and conversation.

      Duckmaloi Valley

      I can’t tell you the last time I had a couple of days away with a group of women.

      Duckmaloi River

      And I have to admit I was a little nervous heading out to the guesthouse. These girls knew each other well. They had a shared history. But Saturday became Sunday. And Sunday became Monday. And somehow … over the course of a night that became a weekend … strangers became friends.

      Duckmaloi Guesthouse verandah

      And I feel very lucky to have been a part of it all. Thanks girls xxxxxxx

      How very special are female friendships? Where would we be without them?

      *Duckmaloi Park Lodge is in the Duckmaloi Valley about 10 minutes east of Oberon, on the western fringe of the Blue Mountains. It was built by Steve’s grandparents in 1940, as a guesthouse. Steve’s brother Gerard runs it thesedays as self contained accommodation. In a particularly pretty valley amidst rolling hills reminiscent of Irish countryside it sleeps 15 and is a great place for a getaway with friends or family. One of the girls was saying it’d be great for book club weekends or even as a writer’s retreat. Normally it’s the boys who are out there for golfing weekends so it was good to see the girls give it a run ;)

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