Nestled on the edge of the historic township of Blackheath in the Blue Mts, Pinerolo was a sanctuary of creative bliss just waiting for me to explore its secrets. I was thrilled, overwhelmed with joy and very proud to have been chosen as one of the Illustrators in Residence this year.
Pinerolo is owned and operated by Margaret Hamilton AM, a former award-winning publisher of children's books and now a picture book author herself – B is for Bedtime. I was excited to have the opportunity of being mentored by Margaret during my week's stay in the cottage. There's a lovely interview with Margaret Hamilton on the Reading Time blog of the CBCA here
My first afternoon in the cottage was spent settling in after seven hours travelling. Then I went for a walk around the extensive grounds, enjoying the mature trees and large flowering shrubs of azaleas and rhododendrons. Blackheath was holding its annual Rhododendron Festival that coming weekend – another reason I was pleased to have chosen springtime for my week's stay.
Beside the cottage a large Italian farmhouse transported me to a holiday in Tuscany and treasured memories of our time spent there with my young family.
But from the corners of my imagination Banksia men intruded, reminding me that I was in fact in Australia.
After a very comfortable sleep I had my breakfast on the little back veranda of the cottage.
And enjoyed the view.
While more children's stories and a reference to my first book Pond Magic entered my thoughts.
At the bottom of the garden a large pine (Pinerolo means Place of Pines) held counsel with a circle of magical pine stools. The perfect place for storytelling and listening.
Or perhaps just reading...