Birthday trip

17 August 2020

I turned 36 last week and rented a cottage about an hour from Canberra to celebrate. Tony snapped this photo on the way home, after we pulled over so I could take a photo of this Accidentally Wes Anderson hall. We got really lucky with this trip - we're still able to travel and felt safe pandemic-wise because it was just the two of us, and we weren't planning on eating out. Instead we stocked up on yummy supplies in Canberra, from make-at-home ramen to freshly made baguettes for our first lunch in the house.

We stayed at Hold Cottage and it was so nice to be in a house for a change, with a bath, backyard and a fireplace. So much of this year has been about being alert and doing our best to look after ourselves and others - it was nice to feel taken care of for a few days instead. There were fresh flowers in most rooms, a tea bar and these funny sabers for roasting marshmallows (I'd brought extra long skewers that were never going to cut it).

If I lived in a house with a fireplace, I'd be making s'mores all the time. They're so good! We roasted our marshmallows, assembled our s'mores and then snuck them back near the fire wrapped tightly in foil so everything got properly melty and oozy - a bit like an ice cream sandwich in reverse. 

My birthday was really relaxing. I slept in, read Molly Wizenberg's new book The Fixed Stars and went for a long walk around town. My family took turns singing verses of Happy Birthday, which they sent in instalments over WhatsApp, which made me laugh. 

I drove up the road to visit the egg farm and it made me miss road side stalls - I used to see them all the time while working in Wagga Wagga and driving round the region. When I went to Adelong in summer, I'd follow the handmade Figs sign down a windy road and directly into the packing station. There were apples and beans to be found in Batlow, citrus and pumpkins in Leeton and Hay. 

We took a small leap of faith when we booked this little getaway. At the time Tony was out of work and my job was uncertain and we were both pretty freaked out. While it was tempting (and sensible) to stay home and save, we booked this holiday with some money I'd stashed away for something fun. I figured it'd be nice to go somewhere regardless of what happened. 

In the end Tony ended up working most of the time we were away - he scored some last minute teaching right as semester was about to kick off. And by then we knew my job was safe. In any other year, we would've thought working on holidays was a total bummer, but not this year. 

I spent the afternoon baking a chocolate cake which ended up being a total flop! But it was a good excuse to make a second cake and light even more candles the next day when we were home in time for the weekend. It was another rainy one, perfect for lots of reading in bed, homemade chai (from this newsletter) and chocolate cake.


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