This week I’m so grateful for the amazing place which we live in. At first when we moved to the countryside, my city friends asked, gobsmacked, “But what’s there to do?!”. The answer is quite zen-like – everything and nothing.
Like anything, it’s what you make of it.
This week, while the kids were at school, I discovered a wonderful walking trail right at the bottom of our road which is bookended by two divine restaurants – the Merricks General Store at our end, and the Epicurean at the Red Hill end. You can ride your horse to the General Store, hitch it up, have breakfast there, then ride on to Red Hill Epicurean for lunch and repeat. I know I’m a bit late to the party on this one since all of my friends do this practically every week…
The smell was incredible, a combination of the soft, damp pine needles and the eucalyptus smoke from bonfires everywhere now that it’s burning season again.
We also found a new shortcut from our house to Dromana by a dirt road and explored a hidden nature reserve which was closed because it was full of poisoned oats to keep the rabbit population down.
On the weekend, it was getting chilly, and the kids wanted to swim. So we ended up at the Peninsula Hot Springs in Rye, which is absolute paradise on a cold autumn day.
The hot springs are a series of 20 different outdoor pools, spread out over 17 hectares. There are big steaming hot pools, warm pools, freezing plunge pools, serpentine shaped pools, a reflexology pebble walk, a huge dam with ducks and deck chairs to sunbathe by, a turkish hammam, kids rock pools, mini tubs and much more.
The kids loved going from the boiling hot outdoor showers on the hilltop to jumping into the colder pools and exploring the “dragon cave”, a pool in a limestone grotto. A bit inconvenient to bring the camera, so we only have a few phone snaps.
Then we had lunch at Sorrento at The Baths, a cute little shack on the pier. It was warm enough to have ice creams on the beach outside after lunch.
Then Auntie Lilian came to babysit and we snuck out for a grownup’s charity evening at the Flinders Yacht Club for Flinders Primary School and it felt like a zillion of our friends were there. It was a stunning night, the moon was perfectly full and the yacht club was bang smack on the beach with a panoramic view.
All the parents did such a great job organising the event, and you could really feel the love in the room. There’s Andrew, the property agent who sold us our house, and also one of the most entertaining auctioneers I’ve ever met. He knows every one in that room by name and has the dirt on everyone, crucial ingredients for a very lively auction. We were in stitches most of the time which all the ribbing and shenanigans going on.
Don’t ask me how, but we ended up winning 8 auction items. All very country-style indeed. Some of our loot – 2 riding lessons, a lunch at Long Table, 6 hours of carpentry by a local builder, a trail ride to Arthurs Seat, a magnum of Ocean’s Eleven wine, an environmental survey including weed advice & aerial photograph of our property and not least, the wooden box I’m sitting on, made from reclaimed wood from Hastings Pier!
And that, my friends, is what we do in the countryside. As the farmer said to Babe, that’ll do pig. 🙂