It is the start of the winter school holidays here in Melbourne and I am craving quiet, stillness and opportunities to connect with my children and with myself. I want some relief from constant rushing and endless distractions. Crammed mornings getting children organised for school, distracting work commitments that have tight deadlines, rushed conversations, evening commitments….it leaves my headspace a little dishevelled and this is typically when I feel drawn to spending time away from the city. I don’t need a beach or an exotic destination. I just find it settling to be wedged amongst a small, quiet community that still remembers how to live life more slowly and more simply. It’s a soul thing I think but it helps me feel as though I am ‘returning home’. And creating space to do just one thing at a time and spending more uninterrupted, quality time with my children helps me feel life is back in balance.
So to make room for some slow living and some solid winter hibernating we’re taking a little road trip and spending a week in country Victoria.
We are all packed with a week’s worth of supplies, and the full-to-overflowing car boot is testimony to how much leisure time activity we all have to catch up on. I am not an organised nor diligent packer, more the ‘sure, take it just-in-case’ type, but even I thought we may be a little over stocked back there. Yoga mats, riding helmets, coloured pencils and magic wands. Sewing machine, coloured wools, board games and an abundance of tea.
I have packed some reading that I want to catch up on. ‘Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life’ is a tome of a book that I received for my birthday that I have been saving for a special occasion. It presents lessons on art making and creativity delivered by inspiring artists and teachers from the art world. I’m excited to get my teeth into it. I also have a book on John Coburn, the renowned Australian painter whose abstract symbols I easily recognise but whom I know very little about. His work focuses on nature and spirituality and it seemed a timely read for a quiet, reflective week away in the country.
We just need to make a quick stop at the craft store on the way. We need to pick up additional materials for the projects we have planned. And then there is the school book that got left back at home, so one more little diversion.
As the voice of David Walliams (reading his audio book ‘Awful Aunty’) competes with the interjecting GPS we chug along, pausing and laughing and settling in for the ride.
After a boisterous playground visit in Woodend and a quick shop for provisions we roll into town.
We are staying in the beautiful township of Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges that sits on the banks of the Campaspe River.
We are bunked up with friendly farm animals, a cozy fireplace and old-fashioned electric blankets to help ease us through the cold winter nights. They make bed time a treat.
Many creative folk have moved up to Kyneton from Melbourne which contributes to the town’s creative charm. Piper Street is full of historic architecture that houses beautifully curated concept stores and great places to eat. The local tractor repair place, an empty block with chickens and stone walls, and the Artisan bakery all nestle up beside one another seamlessly.
There have been days that have been too wet to take walks so we have gone on picturesque drives and visited other surrounding townships. I love long drives where we chat and laugh and have time for conversations that wouldn’t take place were we not confined for these longer periods of time.
There were lots of artist dates too. A visit to Bendigo Art Gallery and La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre had a show on by Ash Keating. The highlight was a video installation of the artist using fire hoses to spray paint a mural on one side of a huge shed, deeming it camouflaged within the landscape.
And the Private Collections exhibition at the Post Office Gallery was a nostalgic treat. It took me back to my own swap card collecting days of trading cards at school under the shelter sheds. I have some of these exact cards in my own 1970’s collection.
Picked up basket of eggs at the organic food store in charming Castlemaine on our way through. They come in hand painted cartons. Adorable!
I am certainly feeling more whole after our inspiring week.
Less busyness and more quiet invites listening, noticing, and connecting. The freshness of a place also wakes me up to possibilities, gently feeling my way into each day.
I am ready and excited to return home and to take all of this with me, and to share it around.
Now to try and re-pack the car boot…..