Monday, December 7, 2009

Blue Mountains Trip

This is often the time of year we think about heading towards
Sydney and the Blue Mountains....

My Hercules

Last year after Christmas we had a wonderful 10 days in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. For the last three years we have visited Sydney each year (we have relatives there) but this year we'll be spending that time home, enjoying our completed house, friends, the beaches and our new little ducklings.

Today I felt like sharing images of the Blue Mountains and the little place we stayed there.

When we arrived at the little hideaway it took my breath away.

When I walked into the the cottage and stood in the kitchen I was overcome with emotion and cried a few silent tears. The year before had been a tough year, losing two friends and my step-grandma and a cousin, all dying from cancer, sudden heart attack or pneumonia....and little did I know how tough the start of this year would be with another death, this time of a very dear friend who had become a kind of mother figure. Ten months on and I still feel frustrated I can't have another Jackie word or hug. But that cottage had a healing power and it helped me go on.....I brought a little bit of that place home with me.

The first 24 hours spent there we were all almost completely silent, an unspoken acknowledgment that we all needed the peace that place had to offer.

We have two teenage boys, then aged 12 and 17 and so you can imagine how unusual that first quiet 24 hours was! Our time there was spent reading, listening to music, making simple meals, drinking overlooking the dam and watching birds play, walking in the bushland, watching the sky. We watched kangaroos feeding in the near distance and enjoyed following the activities of an echidna whose burrow was near the cottage. We went for drives through valleys with amazing scenery and brought local fruit, eggs and jam.

There was no television reception (but a dvd player and many dvds) and the place is independent for water and electricity.

The original owner of the cottage, the man who built it, was a potter and his influence is throughout the simple cottage. He lived there, close to nature.

Handmade tiles made by the potter who built the cottage

The bathroom with complete lack of privacy! Wonderful experience, the shower is in the same space

Beautiful lighting throughout

That place cast a spell that still hangs over me and lit an old fire that had burnt low, an old dream to own a larger property outside of a large regional centre rather than a city, somewhere we can enjoy getting about on motorcycles...and build a stone home, visitors cottage and studio. Now my husband and I are actively planning to find and create our own hideaway which will have it's own power source and it's own water and in the meantime we're enjoying our small property on the edge of the city of Adelaide, where our boys have access to good education and their friends. We have chickens and two ducklings...and a cat. Our place is located on a windy hill overlooking the airport and the sea. The climate here is mediteranean and overall it's a beautiful place to live..just becoming too urban

A candle alcove built into the mud brick wall, great idea that we'll copy

I recommend this place to anyone I know who's heading over that way...especially anyone needing some quiet, recovering from illness or just wanting time in nature. Many international visitors have stayed there and from the guestbook entries it was obvious everyone was under the spell of that place. The cottage that makes you feel like it's your special place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tonight a lady of vaudeville and water....

Ah, here I am again :). Tonight I think I'll share with you something about an Australian lady who lived an interesting life in the early 1900's. Annette Kellerman was her name. She became an international star.

Annette was a professional swimmer,vaudeville and film star, writer, and advocate for the change of women's swimwear. Interesting combination!

More info about her here

Annette was a lady who lived her own way and lived life with a lot of energy. I guess that's why I'm drawn to her. I first heard about her from a tv documentary which had old footage of her dancing and acting under water in a huge on stage tank. I haven't been able to find that online but I did find some silent movies.

The two piece bathing suit

These are rare old films...

In 1952 the American Esther Williams played Annette in the movie Million Dollar Mermaid.

Now that's what I call a lady!