I was feeling a bit homebound lately. Not homeward bound but bound to the home. For months we've been meaning to take off for a quick get-away. A few opportunities have come up but fallen through. My sister and her boys were going to stay at a holiday house near Mount Gambier and we were going to join them, but they decided to go somewhere else with other people instead. Then my in-laws invited us to stay at a holiday house at Whyalla with them but Andrew was busy with his master builder's course and a few other work related things so we didn't go. (My sister-in-law and her family, who did manage to go, tell us they had a wonderful relaxing time.)
I was brought up with parents who loved to take holidays. I've been as far as Europe with Mum and Dad. Then Andrew and I have tried to take driving breaks whenever we could, one of the most memorable being up to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and back down the coast with the kids in 2004. It makes me feel restless not going. I even bought a luggage set which was for sale at a terrific discount a few weeks ago which makes my feet feel even itchier. And I started feeling sorry for Blake, my youngest, because he hasn't had the travelling opportunities that Logan and Emma had. When we did that wonderful trip, he was only two months old.
However, last week I met a friend who I never catch up with very often at a coffee shop on our own main street. She suggested we meet at a lovely little place I've never been into before. It has quite a small shop front so I'd never even noticed it. It's called Sazon Cafe and has a real feel of the Meditteranean about it. The little alcove I sat in has a mirror on the wall which reflected the colourful leadlight window with its morning sunshine perfectly. And the scrumptious drink I had seemed straight from the movie, Chocolat! It was called Mexican hot cholocate, and was full of exotic spices. So I went away feeling as if at least I had a mini-break.
Still feeling refreshed when I got home, I took the kids up for a long hike on top of our own local Mount Lofty Summit. It was a lovely bright winter's day with the beginning of a spring feeling in the air. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom, the panoramic view from up high is fantastic and even Logan, who'd been a bit annoyed at being dragged away from Saturday afternoon football, enjoyed himself. We went into the tourist centre, which has a great outdoor lookout over the whole of Adelaide far down beneath us. Not a bad day out for just the cost of a $2 car park.
Andrew was busy that day and hadn't been able to join us so yesterday, when he had a day off, we took another walk in the local Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, which has all sorts of rugged hiking trails. We can see that the bushes, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, will be out in full colour in a matter of weeks so we'll go back then too.
It made me remember that last week, when I was invited to speak at a ladies group event with two other authors, the lady who'd organised it asked to say about why I chose our own local Adelaide Hills as settings for my novels. After thinking about it, I said that I'd taken Jane Austen's advice to heart. She said to write about what you were most familiar with. I love reading books that are set in exotic places, but if I stick to what I know, I could be helping make the Adelaide Hills an exotic place for others. I often see artists set up their easels here, so I'd like to do it justice with my own medium; words. I've never come across many other novels that are set in my part of the world. We can all try to put our own area on the map in our own way.
So if we can't get away, the next best thing is to try looking at your own area through touristy sort of eyes. (We do hope to make it away for the week in the beginning of September, though. We'll have to see what happens.)