Taking a daily walk at around lunchtime helps to clear my head, rest my eyes and refresh my creative mind. Having a completely new neighbourhood to explore while down in the Blue Mts of New South Wales, filled my walk with unexpected surprises and treasured moments.
For example, I did not know that the State Flower of New South Wales, the Waratah, would be in full bloom at this time of year. And there it was, popping up proudly and sporadically, surprisingly bright, red and vibrant against the muted eucalypt greens of the Australian bush. Wow, just wow!
The area around Pinerolo children's book cottage in Blackheath was breathtaking.
The road I walked along was often shaded, always lush right to the edges, and reminiscent of my childhood home in New Zealand. Emotions rose to the surface as I kept up a steady pace.
A country gate stood open, inviting. I could almost smell the tea and scones.
A single waratah fought for room within a cottage garden.
And then my heart stopped.
I saw an orchard. An old orchard with mature apple trees that had been structurally well-shaped, but that now needed pruning and treatment for canker – a fungal disease which damages tree bark and can make the tree particularly vulnerable to insects and bacteria, and can affect the fruit.
I could just hear my father's voice in my ear, telling me this. And strangely, I felt close to him then and missed him even more. He would've knocked on the door of that orchardist's farmhouse and spent a happy hour or so touring the farm and discussing horticultural methodology with the owner.
It was his bliss.
As a child, no holiday would've been complete without a bit of drive-by 'orchard spying' and the obligatory visit to the tractor sales yard.
Apparently the entire area around Pinerolo was well known for its apple orchards, though most now had been turned into acreage lots and hobby farms. It reminded me so much of our old orchard farm in Oratia, New Zealand. Only the sign on the picket fence spelled out Australia.
Heady scents filled my head as I kept walking.
And came upon another gate slightly ajar, beckoning. It lead into a beautifully manicured, park-like garden. I could live here, I thought. And it snowed in winter, which was a bonus.
An Italian farmhouse looked completely at home
with the cottage gardens