Monthly Archives: March 2012

Going For Broke

After a few days spent at my daughter’s house at Avoca Beach still nursing my pulled calf muscle, I headed off to my next housesit, near the small town of Broke, again in the Hunter Valley. A scenic drive from Avoca took me back through Wollombi and past some beautiful rural properties. I found the property after a bit of a false start thanks to my Iphone mapping device, and headed up the wrong driveway. Fortunately I had seen photos of the house, so knew it wasn’t the right property.

Peace and Seclusion

Through a farm gate and up a long winding driveway, and I arrived at the homestead. The owner and the two dogs – Mason and Bidgee – came out to greet me. What a gorgeous property!


A guided tour of this  beautifully decorated house then a glass of wine on the front verandah while we waited for the other half to arrive home from work. These two ladies were both from The Netherlands and have been together for many years. Another glass of wine while we exchanged life stories and philosophies – they had a great sense of humour – as funny as, reminded me of a female version of The Odd Couple. Dutch dykes I affectionately refer to them as!

After a quick run through of the pet feeding routine and housekeeping procedures, I was treated to a meal at the renowned Oishii Japanese and Thai restaurant at nearby Tempus Two vineyard in Pokolbin. That was quite a treat for me, I wasn’t expecting that. We enjoyed a scrumptious alfresco meal on the terrace and ‘eavesdropped’ on the Country Music Concert at the Hope Vineyard across the way. The CMC was in full swing – day two of a four day festival with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw being the main drawcard for the event. A very pleasant and unexpected evening was had by all.

I laughed the whole way home as they recounted the story of Reny’s ‘success’ at giving up smoking some twenty years ago. She has been chewing Nicorette gum ever since! So not quite grasping the concept of using it as a means of weaning yourself off nicotine, she has continued to ingest it into her system for two decades. More riotous laughter as she then discussed with me her chronic problem of getting to sleep at night – it had never occured to her that chewing on a stimulant such as nicotine from morning till night seven days a week was possibly what was causing her insomnia! We fell about laughing!

With promises to try giving up the chewing gum after dinnertime each night, they retired early as they had to leave at three in the morning for the drive to Sydney for an early morning flight. “I do hope you’re not expecting a send off from me when you leave” I responded to their good night wishes.

I awoke in the morning to a wet, misty morning. Fog was hanging around the bushland behind the house, providing a picturesque backdrop for a photo of the mountain at the rear of the property.

Mist on the Mountain

Breakfast on the verandah, and the cows wander on up from the front paddock to introduce themselves to me. It was such a peaceful setting, I just had to post a photo on Facebook just to annoy my friends, who are envious of my current lifestyle.

My Peaceful Outlook

The Old Mother Cow

The quiet and solitude of this place is overwhelming. Nothing but the sound of birds to interrupt my thoughts. I’m hopeful this serenity will inspire my creative writing projects for the time I am here. It is beautiful.

I had been forewarned that the big ginger cat can be a bit ‘schitzo’ – friendly one minute and lashing out at you the next. “Just be careful around him, he’s not overly friendly”, the girls reminded me.

Well, my first morning there and sitting on the verandah enjoying this lovely setting, and ‘Big Puss’ jumps on my lap, kneads my stomach and chest, and settles down purring contentedly for the duration! So much for being unfriendly – I couldn’t get him off my lap!

After lunch I decide to take the advice of a friend, who enquired how my calf injury was progressing and suggested I do some slow stretches in warm water. Well, as it happens, this house has a gorgeous free standing clawfoot bath – just beckoning me to enjoy a long hot bath with a glass of wine! So I needed no convincing to giving Doctor Glenn’s remedy a try.

For therapeutic reasons of course!

Another memo to myself: before setting a camera on to a ten second self timer and jumping in the bath – test the water first! My first attempt saw me plunge into a scalding hot bath – and straight back out again! And no, I won’t be posting THAT photo on here!

Beautiful bathroom and clawfoot bath - how could I resist?

Singleton is my first port of call after a lazy weekend spent lounging around at the property. I need to buy some supplies for the week. I notice a cute little tea house in the main street, where I treat myself to a cup of tea and slice of orange cake, and chat to the owner – Kath – about the origins of the cafe.

Kath's Cottage Tea House

How very English!

Australia is known for it’s country towns competitiveness in displaying some giant feature of what their town stands for – the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Prawn, etc, etc. I found it amusing to note that Singleton’s claim to fame was a Big Sundial! The largest in the world, it claims. Donated by the workers at the nearby Lemington Mine. A bit sad that that was all they could come up with!

The Big Sundial - SIngleton's claim to fame