Image by Jay Mantri

Image by Jay Mantri

It is mid Winter;  here in Geelong it feels cold enough to snow, and last week it did snow, in Queensland. We don coats and the other paraphernalia of the cold days and nights. We rub our red noses and shiver, but we are lucky, possessed of warm clothes and cosy refuge. I keep on writing, through the birthing pains of this story, and it finally begins to look like something that I could submit. As self belief trickles back in, the story continues to unfold, even when it is in bed at night with one arm around Lady and one hand on google docs on my iphone.

Still, on the weekend there were little tanks to fill after all of the rain and cold, so we set off on a drive. From where we live, there are many beautiful drives to choose from, and on Saturday we thought that we would drive to the Botanic Gardens in Castlemaine, so we bundled up the babies, along with the requisite changes of clothes, snacks and other bits and pieces that you take everywhere if you are the parents of little ones.

We drove through Anakie, with it’s fairy park, mountains and forest, past Ballan and it’s sad cemetery of unadorned crosses, and through beautiful Daylesford and Hepburn Springs and their miniature traffic jams on perfectly picturesque streets. Just as we drove through Guildford, almost at Castlemaine, Boodi fell asleep (Lady slumbered all of the way), and he had been up for hours during the night, so we weren’t about to cut short his rest. We drove, through Castlemaine, looking for any familiar sights from Glitch, the ABC programme that we had watched the week before, and which I had noticed was filmed there.

We decided to drive to Bendigo, so on we went, through pretty Harcourt with it’s apple orchards and memories of friends, into Kangaroo Flat and Golden Square, to stop at Cooinda Park, which sits at the end of the street that I lived in for years of my childhood. None of the same playground equipment is there anymore of course, except a painted target on a brick wall. No ring of swings or twisty slide which left a tiny scar on the bridge of my nose when I was 9 years old, but the hill is still there, with 3 slides running down it now instead of one, and Boodi and Lady loved it!

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The creek running behind it is looks different now, all of these years later, trees have matured and changed the landscape of my old private playground, this creek which ran outside our back gate. Walking Lady down there (my baby is newly walking), it still felt the same, smelled the same despite the bike path and the trees. I could almost see my Dad’s ultralight plane sitting outside our back gate if I squinted really hard.

We were so close to Rushworth, where my mum lives by then that we decided to drive on and surprise her and stay the night. So we continued, through those familiar roads of old, past Goornong and the big horse stud that John Farnham used to own, but long before that my brother’s and sister used to claim ownership of the various houses scattered within it’s large, white wooden fenced perimeters. Being the youngest, I never got the big manor house. We drove through Colbinabbin with it’s single street, over the bending channel and into Rushworth, the little town that I have never lived in but which feels like home nevertheless. Coming into the town that way recalled to me the chant that my siblings and I used to start up on the first glimpse of the town, “I can see Rushworth! I can see Rushworth!”

Birds bathing in my mum's garden on Sundau morning

Birds bathing in my mum’s garden on Sunday morning

We spent a nice night there, seeing mum and my twin brother and his family, visiting my grandfather in the morning and then driving home the same way, stopping at the Castlemaine Gardens this time, the temperature there was reminsiscent of the inside a freezer box, but no snow.

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Do you go for long drives on the weekend? Have you ever visited any of these places?

Linking up with Essentially Jess today for #IBOT

Featured image is from Jay Mantri