Country Roads Take Me Home
Travel can be a great educator, there is nothing quite like discovering and experiencing somewhere or something first hand for the first time.
There is also the opportunity to learn more about yourself. There are the feelings and emotions that are experienced in new surroundings, this can help to further define the things that you value and enjoy, and help to identify what you like and what you dislike. For us, this road will eventually lead to us finding a place that we will want to base ourselves and to call home.
We are in the hinterland behind Byron Bay in the village of Eltham. Being here for four weeks has given us the opportunity to experience country life, Australian style. We are 40 minutes from the coast and the first thing that we like is that there are no traffic lights or traffic.
However, being in the country means that we have to do a lot of driving as there is very little within walking distance. As beautiful as the rolling hills here are we’ve come to realise how much we miss being able to walk out to a local store or for a coffee and we miss seeing the ocean each day.
The Byron Bay region and its surrounds include some of our favourite parts of New South Wales, there are lots of beautiful beaches, rolling hills, cute villages and there is a real sense of community. With this being our third pet sit in the area over this Australian summer we have become a lot more familiar with the area and the people who live here.
A very happy dog
We are here to look after a beautiful nine year old Labrador, Bronte. Pet sitting offers a huge benefit for Bronte, she gets to stay in her home and she is surrounded by the environment that she is familiar with complete with her toys and her bed. She also gets to follow her feeding and walking routine, so there are not too many changes for her. She also gets to spend four weeks with us (huge benefit!) and us with her (huge benefit!)
As with all the dogs that we have looked after, she has accepted us from day one as being her carers and enjoys spending time around us. She has such a happy temperament and she is always pleased to see us.
Her bed is on the outside terrace and when we open the doors in the morning she greets us with so much excitement, she runs over and bounces around like a spring lamb. Of course, part of her joy is her anticipation of the food that she is about to receive. Being a Labrador Bronte loves her food, if she were in a musical she’d play Oliver and ask for “more please”.
Food Glorious Food
Bronte has her own store of canned food. This reminds me of the time when I was 14 and I worked part time after school in the local Co-Op supermarket. I filled the shelves on the canned vegetables aisle, if ever any of the paper labels fell off the tins we had to use a magic marker to write on the tins what was inside and reduce the price. These tins would be placed in a basket near the checkouts. They always sold out.
The guys who worked on the pet food aisle would do the same, only some of the guys had been known to write on the dog food tins “meat pie filling”, again these would go in the basket near the checkouts and again these would always sell out! There must have been some really tasty pies being made in those days in Manchester.
It’s all at your Co-Op, now!
The Clunes General Store is a superb little store that sells local produce, sourdough breads, and wine, it also has an excellent cafe. On Friday evenings Japanese gyoza are cooked and sold on the front terrace, but Thursday evenings are our favourite when a wood fired pizza truck sets up next to the cafe. It’s a really cute atmosphere, almost like something that you would see in the Mediterranean, with families and couples sitting at the cafe tables on a warm evening enjoying the food with a bottle of wine purchased from the store. On February 14th our pizza was delivered by the waitress with a smile and “happy Valentines boys”.
The BBC Radio App is perfect for long drives with it’s huge catalogue of shows to listen to, one of our favourite shows is “Desert Island Discs”. We don’t consider ourselves too stereotypical in our episode choices. Our favourites include Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood, Shirley MacClaine and Kylie Minogue.
The episode we like the most was Tom Daley, but get your tissues at the ready if you decide to listen to it. Alan Carr had the best book choice to take on the island with him, “the Argos Catalogue”, and the best song, as chosen by a few people, was Morecombe and Wise “Bring Me Sunshine”. It could be the theme tune to our nomadic summer lifestyle.
So long to the Aussie summer
We have had the most amazing Australian summer in the northern rivers region of NSW and as it turns to autumn we have now arrived in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria for seven weeks. It has taken us three days to drive the 1,800km. That would be like driving from Manchester in England to Barcelona in Spain, except this is within one country! Even when we arrived at our destination we hadn’t quite finished our drive, we had to do extra laps to finish off Desert Island Discs with Ant and Dec! Bring Me Sunshine.