Monday, October 5, 2009

mountains and mist

You know how your body just lets go and relaxes when you go somewhere you feel at home and connected to? I had one of those experiences this weekend visiting the misty Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains are where my father grew up. It is where we went for weekends as children, where I got to know my grandmother as a young child and where I have returned for bushwalking weekends throughout my adult life. When I am there I feel connected to my grandmother, Ethel. She was an amazing woman who, like many others, supported her family when her husband decided a good drink was more important than food on the table. Interestingly his drinking was what sent them to the mountains in the first place. They were set up in a house by his family, hoping it would be far enough away from drinking influences in Sydney, and while the drinking did not improve, in fact it thrived on the train commute to the city each day, it did give us the mountains.

My favourite story of the many about my grandmother was how she came into some money around the time she retired from nursing. Without my grandfather's knowledge she had a house built in Katoomba. One night, while he was at the pub, she moved into her lovely little house. Alone.

I loved her very dearly and think of her most days even almost 30 years after her death. I know she would have loved the pirate.

So back to the mountains. I love so many things about the place. I love the wild wild bush. I love that it till has some of the feel of a 1930's hill station retreat. I love that it has junk shops and bookshops galore. I love the stonework everywhere.

I love most the eclectic mix of houses. I especially adore the old ones, a bit shambly, with a wild garden, a bit of stone work and an old fence. It is so different to Canberra where finding the quirky and eclectic takes a much more trained eye.

The mountains experience is different for the pirate. The reason we were there though was to visit our friends and to drop the pirate off for a few days sleepover with the first mate. He found it confusing and difficult to be in a strange house in a strange place even if the furniture and people are very familiar. I was a little worried leaving him this time. He is usually so relaxed about being with different people and sleepovers but his time he was less settled. We talked about it a bit and then he seemed fine when I left. 4 hours driving later I was just coming into Canberra when I had a call from my very upset boy who is missing me and feeling too far away. He felt much too far away for me too hearing his voice and his sadness. He couldn't even finish the conversation, breaking down and running off somewhere to cry it out. It was all I could do not to turn straight around and do that 4 hours all over again. Thankfully I didn't - cause it all seems fine afterall.


Michelle said...

Oh, the changes the Pirate is facing are heart breaking! I know he (and you!) will do OK though.

Sounds like you had a lovely weekend up in the mountains. Thanks for telling the story of Ethel - what a strong and brave woman!

twitchy fingers said...

What a brave little man. And Mum!

And Ethel... what a woman.

Bells said...

i want to go to the blue mountains! And I want somewhere to go that means so much to my heritage.

Poor Pirate. SUch an emotional little guy!

Emma said...

Your grandmother sounded like a wonderful woman.

The houses up there look lovely, I feel peace just looking at the photos.

Sarah said...

Oh it looks lovely indeed, glad that it was nice for the pirate in the end and LOVE the story about Ethel's house - good for her! You have some good strong female heritage.