Me and my Big Foot

Me and my Big Foot

The King of Terrors enlivened some interesting engagement last week – which is what you’d sort of expect, given that comforting cliche about death and taxes… HowEVER…. I find the whole realm of fear fascinating, kingly or not so kingly. So I’m going to tell you about a really scary thing that happened this week. No one had to die, nearly die, or be going to die in the making of this blog post, I hasten to add, though a morbid fear of all of the above did at times, grip me. Remember when I told you about Coolangatta Mountain? The mild HILL I can see from my kitchen window at SoCo? Well, I have a few apologies to make. My first apology is to Conrad Martens, a highly regarded colonial artist who’s depiction of the HILL looked like a serious case of poetic license. Seriously, I thought the guy must have been on drugs.   The second apology is to all Australians past and present, for my rudeness about how you guys wouldn’t know a mountain if you tripped over one, even if it sits your kitchen window sill. And my third apology is to Coolangatta Mountain itself. To all, I beg most humble pardon. Why the grovelling? Because yesterday, I went up that hill in a truck called Big Foot and it scared the freaking hell out of me.   Now my husband and children will be quick to tell you, should you feel inclined to ask, that it is not often I am wrong. I’m a bit like The Fonz in Happy Days, really cool and...
The Cross Lady

The Cross Lady

I spent the first three posts this year posing as a travel blog, and had intended the next three being a history of Berry blog. UNTIL…. my very clever and savvy daughter pointed this out to me. ‘You’re not a history blog, Mum. People get sick of history!’ Well. That there just took the wind out of my sails – I was Endeavouring to enliven the story of our past for the purpose of Enlightening the likes of exactly her! What is the youth of today coming to? ‘Well, what do you think I should write about this week’ I enquired of my bloguru. ‘Easter, Mum! ’. ‘I thought I wasn’t allowed to ‘do’ another history blog – Easter was LAST MONTH!’ With the website being down, I’ve got all out of whack, but that hardly explains India’s suggestion. I had however, prepared a blog post with an Easter theme and at the risk of losing all of you right here right now, I’ve done an edit job so as A. not to waste it, B. not to waste the bloguru, and C. because it’s a nice foreword to my great reveal – that I’m The Cross Lady. So let’s get on with Easter…. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how absolutely bizarre it is that at this time of year, when we commemorate the pretty gruesome murder of and consequent resurrection of someone we culturally believe to be the son of God, we give each other brightly wrapped chocolate eggs reportedly delivered by a beneficent bunny. On the surface of things, every bit of that situation is discombobulating (such...
Autumn tales of the Shoalhaven Incubus…

Autumn tales of the Shoalhaven Incubus…

Autumn. The 19th century poet John Keats called it the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, which pretty much nails it for me. Mellow fruitfulness sounds so mouth watering and makes me think of plump pumpkins and slow roasted lamb and a Central Otago pinot…. And as for the mists, Berry does good mists. Actually, I do good mists too, especially after a good Central Otago pinot. Far now from the maddening crowds of a January USA, let’s go back to that south coast idyl – beautiful Berry. Everyone loves it, everyone tells me every time I say we have a farm there. “Oh, I love Berry!” But how many people know anything about its history? You know, there are a few parallels with Aspen that have made themselves clear to me in doing the research for this post. I know, no snow, more’s the pity, and no snow bunnies, or Zadig and Voltaire shops for them to shop in, no ‘the beautiful people’ jet set and their paparazzi entourage. But from its modest beginnings as a timber town, Berry, like Aspen, has in more recent years, turned from timber to tourism to turn a dollar. And, like Aspen, you need a dollar, if you want to buy land here. But like I said, Berry’s beginnings, too, were humble. That is, apart from a pretty un-humble guy called Alexander Berry, after whom the town is named. He and his brother David, that is. So who was this dude, Alexander Berry? I can tell you, reports about him differ, but the general gist is that he was a bit of...

A mother of a collection

Alright, already. Finally, I bring you the promised Profile Number One. You’re probably fed up to the back teeth with sheep, spiders, weeds and the other tragedies of my life (don’t forget last week’s hangover – I won’t), so I’m bringing a little style to the table, to get you re-engaged. I want you to LOVE me! Interiors. No place for weeds, spiders or freaking walkabout sheep – and space for only one lovely dog. He’s been quite chuffed about his number 7 ranking on Prof Coren’s list of intelligent dogs, he’s even thinking about retraining as a chef, as his current design assistant role is a little lean on the meat and he thinks he’d like some autonomy in his life. But let me begin. I remember that whenever I was pregnant, it seemed as though everyone else was too – like there had been an epidemic, or an intervention (+/- the divine) a few months earlier, or something… You know what I mean? Well now that I’m focussed on interior decorating, it seems the world is conspiring again to gather me into a community of others whose obsession I share. I notice things, I notice others noticing things, I notice the notice of noticing lovely things… Might actually have been cheaper to have another baby. So I love it when you find a shop that is just filled with stuff you need. I don’t love that sick feeling you get when you can’t have everything, that panic you feel when you have to choose, the fury you feel when you can’t have anything at all, and the...

Getting down and dirty in the field

The term ‘field day’ dates back to the 1700s, where it was first used by the military to refer to days spent in the – you guessed it – field, practising manoeuvres and other very important things. (Probably not worrying about weed control, let’s face it.) Since then, it is a term more generally applied to fun things, and the Berry Small Farm Field Day, on September 5th and 6th, was no exception. I may well have been the only one there in designer gumboots, (Ilsa Jacobssen – fabulous), but notwithstanding the pretensions of the city slicker newbie, the locals treated us to a veritable festival of farming. To kick it off, the effects of a month of heavy rain are best experienced in gumboots. When one has BRAVED the price tag of said designer pair, one likes to squelch in deep mud for maximum satisfaction. But this is not something one generally shares with one’s husband, whose own perspicacious purchase of Bunnings boots, is not attached to anything save for practicality. So one kept her mouth shut about price/squelch satisfaction ratios and concentrated instead on actually not sinking into the mire of the muddy Berry Showgrounds. In my view, mud is very sensual; the sounds, the texture, the sheer mindless extravagance, the tactility, the big fat slurp of it. Mud slides and catastrophic flooding aside, a bit of deep mud every now and then is very earthing, it takes us back to grass roots (just to explore a dried out pun) and helps keep things real (insult to injury). So we walk in the front gate and I...