Edit Blog Post
Published: October 18th 2020
Seventy seven years ago - on 11 October 1943 - I was born in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough; the first child of Katherine (known as Kaye) and Alfred (known as Alf) Shippam. Within eight years three siblings had arrived - Karen in 1946, Stuart in 1947 and Charlotte in 1951.
Over the years - having lived in Sydney since 1966 - I've made many holiday trips back to the UK and various other overseas places, especially New York when Kerrii, Seb, Grace and Rupert lived there for about five years; Tokyo, Japan and now Kanagawa which is the home of Ross and Natsumi and Copenhagen, Denmark where Katherine, Thomas, Sienna, Evie and Isabella now live. But, since the arrival of Covid-19, all overseas and interstate travel has ceased for the time being. And while, compared to the rest of the world, Australia has been extremely lucky both with numbers of those who've caught the virus as well as those who've died of it, being able to meet up with loved ones has been curbed somewhat. Yes, we can Zoom each other but that's not the same. I'm hoping against hope that the New South Wales and Victorian borders
will be open again soon so that we can travel to Melbourne for NYE. So, in view of all the Covid led restrictions Kev and I decided to spend a couple of days in our home state travelling to Beautiful Bowral in the Southern Highland which is around 120 kms from home.
But before heading off on our travels, celebrations started the day before my birthday when we enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea with our Colombian family - Marianne, Juan David and Sienna - at the House of Herbs & Roses in Dural. It was there I was presented with a little cup which Sienna had made and painted at Kindergarten.
Then on the big day itself we set off for the drive to Bowral and were blown away by the beautiful bottlebrush which were in full flower along a good part of the highway. Once we'd arrived at our Bowral apartment we stashed the bags, then drove to the town of Berrima about ten minutes away.
A gorgeous historical village, the site of Berrima was selected by Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1829 with instructions to mark out the town based on a traditional English
village. It is the second oldest European settlement in the Wingecarribee Shire - second only to Bong Bong which was settled in 1821 - and the oldest continuing settlement.
We'd made a booking for a 2.30pm late lunch at Eschalot restaurant which is in what used to be the Berrima Inn and later known as the Colonial Inn when it was sold to Francis Breen in 1862. Listed on the NSW State Heritage Register the purpose built inn has twelve pane windows and a hipped roof in Colonial Georgian cottage style with a verandah supported on squared posts and facing the street frontage.
Not only was the building which housed Eschalot restaurant a historical delight, it was a great place to eat. The food was delicious, so delicious in fact that I ate way too much. Ah well, sometimes you never learn! Back in Bowral we settled into our apartment and did next to nothing! I was too stuffed to even read the book - The Offing
by Benjamin Myers - which I'd brought with me.
The following day we explored some of Bowral, a town full of beautiful Spring blossoms. Bowral has some really nice houses
and since the late 19th century the residents have taken great pride in their gardens, planting many decorative European trees and plants. This paved the way for the construction of Corbett Gardens in 1911, named after Ada Corbett who lobbied for the garden's establishment. Then in 1958 Corbett Gardens put Bowral in the map with the cultivation of thousands of tulips which would bloom in Spring. And, with Bowral's Tulip Festival the previous week many of the tulips were still in flower in Corbett Gardens.
Garden gazing over, we headed to Harry's on Green Lane where we were meeting Chris for lunch having last met her in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. Harry's on Green Lane was established in 2017 and named after the renowned English nurseryman and horticulturist, Sir Harry Veitch who dispatched daring plant hunters to foreign lands to find exotic treasures for his wealthy London clientele. It has been said there is not a garden in England that doesn’t feature a plant from Harry’s many expeditions. Sir Harry was also the founder of the famous Chelsea Flower Show. And what also drew me to the place, when Chris asked where we'd like to eat, were
the many bookshelves in Harry's. As well there were large vintage pictures of the plant hunters on expeditions to far and dangerous parts of the world which also tied in well with The Orangery Plant Gallery and The Potting Shed outside, together with the elegant atmosphere of the Plantation Cafe next door. Once again the food was delicious but this time we didn't eat too much, merely an elegant sufficiency. It was great to catch up with Chris who invited us over to her place for nibbles and a drink later in the day which we gratefully accepted and thoroughly enjoyed when the time came.
Between lunch and the evening nibbles we went for a drive to Robertson where we had a look at what is now called the Robertson Hotel and where, in times past, I'd attended two Australian Bronte Association conferences which were held there. At the beginning of the drive into the hotel was a magnificent Rhododendron tree which was completely covered in beautiful red flowers.
Back in Bowral, we headed to Chris' place for some delicious nibbles and drinks. Many thanks Chris, your hospitality was much appreciated.
Our little travelling adventure was over
the following day as we headed home calling into The Mill for a cup of coffee before we finally left Bowral. We're now keeping our fingers crossed that the next time we hit the road we'll be going interstate and, eventually, even further afield!
Tot: 2.25s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 20; qc: 74; dbt: 0.0357s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb