After some convincing I took the family to the Mt Wilson Autumn Festival this past week. Located about an hour’s drive from Richmond, which itself is about an hour’s drive from the heart of Sydney. After getting on Richmond road you continue on it until it turns into Bells Line of road, a semi scenic drive that cuts through a large swatch of the Blue Mountains National Park.
Being Autumn I was on a look out for Maple trees that are known to burst out in bright hues of reds, yellows and even purples at this time of the year. Unfortunately the drive itself had little to offer in the way of rich colours with evergreen natives being the predominant tree of choice.
We eventually took a right turn-off to Mount Wilson road that led us to the Festival town with the same name. I was under the impression that this was a two day event, but was corrected by Charmaine when she re-read the brochure. That could explain the large crowds I will touch on again later.
The festival officially started at 9am, which was the time I originally intended to sign in. But as any parent with young children will attest to, the time to get ready can never be guaranteed. We thankfully were only half an hour late, but I could tell already that the fleet of cars was building fast.
As we entered the main town centre a number of information/ traffic controllers were directing cars to various areas of the town. The Festival was hosting a total of 10 gardens with one scratched off late in the session. The tickets were oddly prices as
$8 per garden or
$20 for 3 gardens or
$40 for all 9 (originally 10)
I was have personally put a 5 garden option as well as the 9. As I learnt later it would be a Herculean task to see all 9 of the gardens. We were straddled with two young children, but even so we only managed to see 3 gardens, one of which we only saw a small part of, being the largest of all the gardens.
The information guide that walked up to our car gave us very helpful advice, to drive to the other end of town and see a garden or two there first, because the hoards of sightseers were congesting the entrance of the town and we would only add to it. We followed his suggested and headed through the town.
The first garden we saw was called ‘Bisley’. It is a 4 hectare garden with manicured hedges, a large pond with fish which Levi enjoyed feeding, nice ornaments and finally what I came there for in the first place , some bright Maples. The brochure that we received stated that the intention was to style it as an English country park. After lots of photos especially next to the Maples we left very content.
The second garden we visited and nearly didn’t get out of was ‘Merry Garth’ also located towards the back of the town. This garden was a lot smaller with much more confined walking paths. Part of the garden was the rain forest walk consisting of various ferns and banksias. One thing that stood out for me was that all the plants, trees and shrubbery were labeled. The garden marketed itself as containing rare plants. However for a novice such as me it was difficult to appreciate the exotic plants because I didn’t know what I was looking for. The garden has a small nursery which you can purchase some of the plants.
When we got back into the car we proceeded to drive out of the long single lane driveway, but got stuck because there was a line of cars heading out as well as trying to drive in. Usually there would be some give-way areas on the side of the road, but people decided to park their cars there. It was a bit of a showdown which eventually ended with the people entering deciding to reverse and try to park outside.
It was already the 2 in the afternoon at this point and we had one last garden to see. We settled on ‘Breenford’ and was I glad that we did. This garden was by far the largest one at the festival. Totaling an impressive 40 hectares, as I stated earlier we explored only a fraction of it.
The lady at the gates suggested we explore the area to the left and right of the main path first because it was the most mature part of the garden. Apparently the recent re-make of ‘The Great Gatsby’ was filmed inside this particular park.
I later told Charmaine that it would do no justice to the park to only spend an hour or so, a full day would be required to see all the beauty and craftsmanship that went into maintaining this behemoth.
I will say no more, and show the beauty of this park through some of the photos I took on the day.
In closing the festival is an absolute gem, and a great experience. My fondness for the Blue Mountain towns has been increasingly growing every time I visit one of them, and that day was no exception. Mt Wilson is a serene area of the Greater Sydney that everyone should visit.
I only wish the organizers of the event would increase the length of it to at least two days or perhaps a week. The amount of traffic and cars was a big pain-point and detracted from the day.
We thought a great little family tradition would be to make a Christmas hamper full of little presents that Levi and eventually Benji can open on Christmas eve. Levi’s big present still awaits him the next day (trampoline) but for now he can open the box and have fun with the little goodies.
So my 30th birthday came and went. We ended up celebrating at home due to the constraints with having young kids. It was great though, big dinner with family on Friday then another big dinner with friends on Saturday.
Saturday was themed as ‘nerdy thirty’, with people encouraged to dress up nerdy. I won’t be posting any of the costumes on my blog, those who know me have probably seen them on facebook already.
I did want to share some of the house decorations that were prepared by me for the night. I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest posts but mixed and changed some of the ideas around. I paid some homage to the early electronic games.
Here are some of the best ones of the night.
We retrieved the Jolly Jumper from storage this afternoon after retiring it with Levi graduating to walking. Benji has been showing all the signs of being capable of using it. He has strong well supported legs that allow him to easily to kick-off from our laps when we fold him in front of us. Levi walked around the 10-11 months stage, so the bar is standing tall. Benj will need to get a lot of jolly-jumper experience into him if he stands a chance of walking at the same rate.
My work has some interesting break-out seating areas and meeting rooms. Here is a small selection of the more interesting ones, most have developed a nickname over the years.
This table is nicknamed the ‘Peanut table’. You can see how it derived its name. It use to be popular for informal meetings until lack of workspaces made the table a makeshift workstation.
This open-space table became known as the ‘teppanyaki table’. Apart from the lack of leg-room on the side, it is a nice little raised area to have a meeting or just chat. No that middle section is not where you heat up the meat.
This strange meeting room has attracted the name ‘The Fish Bowl’ room. Surrounded by a ring of glass, the unnerving design makes me think of an intense FBI interrogations room.
These tables occupy the kitchen area. I personally call them the ‘Last supper’ tables, as they resemble the elongated table featured in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous biblical painting. Yes that sushi and baguette rolls were amazing.
These relaxing coffee lounges are another great place to catch-up for a morning meeting or just have a rest.
I haven’t posted anything around here in a while. Partly due to apathy, partly due to feeling like there is nothing worthy to state. Some of you are probably wondering if I have forgotten this place completely, rest assured I have not. I guess the reason for my lack of posts is that I somehow convinced myself that unless it is an essay it is not worth posting and anything shorter will just get pasted pm my facebook page. After some consideration, my new approach will mean I will most likely post more, with posts being shorter in length, but perhaps more mundane.
I am nearing 30 this year. Somehow that age really highlights just how long ago I finished high school, and how rapidly the last few years have elapsed. My brain bands people into various age groups, arguably inaccurately. People in their 20’s are in one band, teenagers would be in another. However myself being currently 29 and falling into the 20’s band, I am far removed from myself when I was say 21. Equipped with a good dose of maturity being just one of the major differentiating factors.
Funny enough feeling old is not something that bothers me or makes me think of when I dwell on being 30. What does come to mind is wondering if I have achieved enough in life to this point.
If I had to answer that, I would say yes in some respects and work in progress for others.
I did a personal development plan for a period of 1 , 3 and 5 years, a few years ago. The idea was to continue to update that every year, but I have slacked off. Perhaps I should add completing a development plan as one of the objectives. I think something like that does help you be focused on achieving things in life.
Levi and Benji are doing great. I love arriving home, hearing Levi yell out excitedly “daddy”, run up and hug me. But then I hate when Levi is throwing a tantrum because he doesn’t like the looks of the pasta that was served for dinner, even though he had it a thousand times before. I love seeing Benji learning to smile, or rolling over for the first time on the play mat, but I hate dealing with a tired, grumpy baby that is screaming down the house. I love when Levi gives me a kiss on the cheek, and says goodnight as he goes to bed, I hate when he wakes up at 3 in the morning crying for “mummy” to take him into our bed, but refusing to be carried by me for some reason as Charmaine is feeding Benji and can’t come there.
The plan is to send Levi to preschool next year for two days a week as Charmaine returns to work. The hard part now is finding the right preschool that will accept him and then worrying how he will cope. Socialising with other kids is important so I definitely am in favour of getting him into some sort of program before he starts school in a few years.
News is not that recent, but still worthy. I caved to the idea of having two cars, and we bought a second car. It was really out of necessity as I drive in the morning to the station to go to work, but Charmaine wants the car in case she needs to drive to places, hence the problem of trying to wake the kids up to load them into a car only to drive back and do it again in the afternoon. With two cars it is so much easier.
We settled on a second hand Toyota Avensis which has 7 seats in total and very roomy mind you. I love all the extra room in the boot very happy. Got a great deal from an auction house.
Doing a couple of projects on the house, mainly in the front yard. Completing the unfinished fence and putting in a nice path to the front door paved with white pebbles and stone slabs. Will post pics once finished.
Hmm it seems like I have created another essay. Of well, shorter next time.
Captured this moment this morning between the boys. Benji was crying earlier and Levi started singing him a lullaby, followed by some affection.