I have a rule when I go on holidays. Any souvenirs I buy tend to be useful. I bought an olive oil container in San Gimignano. A spatula in Pyongyang. Christmas tree decorations all over Europe.
So what did I buy on my getaway this week to Bowral?
I’m so pleased with this one. I now have a shopping trolley, just like a nanna!!! Living around the corner from Aldi, as I do, I usually load myself up with a few bags and walk to get my groceries. Those bags can get heavy on the walk home.
So yesterday, I looked at my zombie apocalypse cupboard and realised I needed to panic-buy wine. A woman cannot live on toilet paper alone. So I took it out for a spin. It worked a treat. I’m very happy with this one.
But what else did I buy as a souvenir?
I spent $250 on a helicopter ride.
And before you mention the rule about practical souvenirs – in my book this IS practical. I’ve never been in a helicopter before and now I know that I won’t die wondering what it’s like.
When I’m walking the dogs on my Backyard Beach, we get quite a few small planes and helicopters above, following the line of the bay. I thought it’d be nice to create a memory that I’d think of every time I see a helicopter.
There’d been torrential rain two days before, so it all looks beautiful and green, but you can see that the dams in the paddocks are nowhere near full. The farmers could still do with a lot more rain.
I had the headphones on and we could hear the chatter from air traffic control, as well as the conversation from the people in the cabin. (Three of us.) You could hear the sound of the rotor blades but it wasn’t too loud.
The day was already quite warm. The only air-con was a little flap in the door next to me, which I could push open or shut. I left it open and the breeze was beautiful.
I drove over this river the day before.
Bowral has a way famous antique/junk market called Dirty Jane’s. I whiled away a couple of hours here and walked away with my rusty bird on a swing for a mere $25. I’m always on the look-out for quirky garden art. The reason I bought this was that the bird looked just like the fried baby pigeons that I saw at a food market in Beijing. Two holiday memories for the price of one!
And in case you’re wondering – no, I didn’t eat one. When I travel I rarely say no to experiences, but I couldn’t face crunching away on a baby bird. Or a skewer of scorpions, some of which were still moving. Fortunately, there was nothing like that on the menu in Bowral!
On the way up I stayed overnight in Albury. In both towns I walked through every art gallery I could find. The Milk Factory was the best one I found in Bowral, but I struck gold when I found the Albury library’s gallery. They had a huge exhibition of Lynley Dodd’s work. You know – ‘Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy‘?
When I walked in, a tour was just starting. Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again! So I joined it and followed them around. By the way, did you know that in New Zealand a ‘dairy’ is like a corner shop or milk bar? Puts a whole different view on things.
Of course, being Scout’s mum, I had to take a photo of the dachshund!
In keeping with my new view on exercise, I kept the car driving to a minimum. Well, aside from the whole 753 kms/ 468 miles to get there in the first place.
I walked all around the town centre in Albury and discovered their lovely little botanical gardens. Galleries and gardens are free, people! While I was in Bowral for 3 nights, I didn’t get into my car at all. I walked everywhere, which would’ve been unheard of on previous holidays.
In fact, on my last full day there, I didn’t leave the room until 5 PM, when I walked into town to buy some sushi for dinner. I packed my sewing machine and the half-assembled quilt top that I’m making for my sister-in-law and I vowed that I wasn’t leaving town until I’d finished it.
Yes. I didn’t choose the thug life; the thug life chose me.
Success! I finished it 15 minutes before ‘Survivor’ started! Now all I have to do is assemble and quilt it.
When I planned this holiday, I decided I was going to go to galleries, eat out at restaurants and go for bushwalks. When I took the helicopter ride, I decided that I’d cut out the restaurants. The only meal I had in one was when I met up with a blog reader and her Other Half who took me to an American-style diner in a neighbouring town.
Blogmeets are always good. You all know each other from your writing and so there’s no initial awkwardness when meeting up for the first time.
I bought a delicious sourdough loaf from an artisanal bakery and some dips from Woolworths. They were my breakfasts and dinners for a couple of days. It was DELICIOUS! I’ve always wanted to go to a Turkish restaurant and just order dips and bread and now I feel I’ve finally done it.
That’s a huge advantage of travelling as a single. If I feel like eating sourdough and dip for 2 days, I can.
I also gave myself a treat to look forward to. I always have one bottle of perfume on the go at any one time and I totally use it up before opening another one. For the past year or so I’ve been using a perfume that Mum and Dad gave me after a Bali trip. It’s ok… but it doesn’t fill me with joy when I spray it on every morning. But it’s just a few squirts away from being used up, so I bought my FAVOURITE perfume.
This is what I took away with me. It was lovely to unwrap it the first morning I was away and use it.
Sometimes looking forward to something is a gift you can give to yourself.
So, as I sit on the couch before I go back to work for the first time in a week, how do I feel?
The alarm at 6 was a rude awakening. I don’t really want to go in, even though I know I’ll have a good time when I get there. With all the talk of coronavirus, going to a school packed with 2,300 kids and 200 staff is starting to seem slightly reckless.
Still, it’s just the one day, then I’ll have the weekend. And I can always simply close my eyes and remember when I was flying with the birds…