Pass through the NSW town of Gloucester, (stopping for provisions at Perenti Cafe), take a very sharp turn off the Bucketts Way, cross the river, and wind up the driveway to one of my favourite places on earth. Set in green rolling hills, my dear friends Jenny and Phil, and their Border Collie, Flute, have made the perfect lifestyle change from manic Sydney to the peace of the countryside. Not always so green, and recently in the grip of a long drought, the past weeks have seen a lot of rain across eastern Australia, and it is a joy to see brimming dams, green pastures and glossy horses and cattle.
Fran and I drove up from Sydney to spend a few days doing what seems to be the most natural thing when in Jenny & Phil's company. Sitting on the wide verandah, taking in the views from all directions, laughing, talking, doing crosswords, eating fabulous food from Jenny's stunning country kitchen, (see the homemade bread with the smoked trout), drinking good wine and spirits, more talking and laughing... I'm sure you get the picture.
The property has cattle on agistment, horses and foals in the next door paddock, and a flock of free range Isa Brown chooks, egg suppliers to the family, and beloved by Flute, who believes her mission in life is to keep them in sight in case they need to be rounded up. That is what Border Collies do best - rounding up.
Jenny, Fran and I took Flute for a walk up the hill behind the house and every direction was a picture postcard view. We were very excited to find some swan plants growing in the paddock, excited because these are the food plant of the wanderer or monarch butterfly, and there were actually caterpillars feeding on the bushes. The swan plant is a noxious weed
so not popular with farmers.
Many years ago I made Jenny and Phil this laced-in guest book and I always enjoy writing in it and reading all the comments made by other very happy visitors.
To live by the beach at Coogee as I do, and to be able to get away to the countryside now and then, seems to me to be to leading something like a charmed life. To have such wonderful friends is one of life's greatest gifts.
A real mixed bag
1 day ago