We got back from a few days away "up North" yesterday, and today has been slow and easy as a result. The trip was the first in a while, but we wanted to go and visit friends who've taken over a motel in Stanthorpe, in the "granite belt" wine making district in Queensland, as well as visiting my dear stepson and his partner who have just moved house in Brisbane. Wine became a bit of a theme! For some reason we hadn't really anticipated the fact that darling daughter would wish to spend most of her time at the motel in the company of her bestie Belinda, despite the fact that the trip was partly to give them both a chance to catch up with each other, but the net result was that dearest husband and I had a free day. Naturally we chose to spend it driving around the local wineries and other food-y places, but I wish to emphasise that we did NOT GO MAD and stopped sipping after only three wineries, mainly because we don't have any money and it's torture visiting these places and not being able to buy a bottle of the lovely stuff you've just tasted! Instead we interspersed the wine tasting with cheese tasting and a visit to a cider farm, and had a lovely drive through the local national park. I've never visited that part of the country before and it was lovely: lots of huge granite outcrops (unsurprisingly) and fields full of vines or apple trees in bloom.
After the bucolic bliss of Stanthorpe we got a small hit of city life with two nights in Brisbane. Stepson and partner have (inexplicably) moved out into the suburbs, but we're not them and they seem very happy in their newly-rented 3-bed house. We'd booked dinner at Ortiga as a treat and spent a small fortune on a taxi ride back into the city so that none of us would have to drive. Stepson is now a sommelier and we made a deal that he would buy the wine and we'd pay for the food - what I hadn't anticipated was that one bottle of wine would equal the cost of food for five people! But then, wine isn't my business, nor can I claim a tax rebate on tastings for "professional development" reasons...
Next day I had the luxury of meeting Robyn Foster, Helen Malone and Jack Oudyn from BookArtObject at the State Library of Queensland, where we spent a delightful few hours with Helen Coles in the artists' book collection... We'd advised Helen about what we wanted to see, and she brought out two hefty trolleys full of books for us to look at. Her colleague, Ann, took a photo of us for their blog and promised me a copy: once that arrives I'll blog about the visit in more detail on the BookArtObject blog, but in the meantime I can tell you that I had a lot of fun! It was great to meet three people in the flesh whom I'd only encountered on-line, but the excursion was saddened by the fact that our mutual friend Amanda wasn't able to come out with us that afternoon as planned. Oh well, I guess that requires me to go up and repeat the exercise again at some point! What a hardship!
We drove back gently yesterday, with another picnic lunch en route. Today I've managed to see friends, do some shopping, witness the tail end of the Buskers Festival in Coffs Harbour city centre at lunch time AND get out in the garden! A gooseberry bush, a pom-pom tree (Dais Cotonifolia) and some horse radish were duly planted, but the highlight this evening was a swarm of fireflies, spotted by dearest husband out by the car port, winking their way through the darkening sky. We stood there transfixed, watching them float around, feeling very privileged to have seen them and enjoying the silence and the standing still for a few minutes.