I HAD to consult my diary to check what I was doing in the early days of August: they feel so long ago. I squeezed a lot in but it was good squeezing and needed to be done before the end-of-year hysteria snuck up on me. I always think I can see that person later, or fulfil that commitment in a month's time, but September rolls around and, BAM!, game on. So, I booked a weekend's down time with my partner in Mudgee; checked in with a work project in Canberra; and, made time to see my nana, my aunt and my sister's family, all of them in Queensland. Logistically, it was all a bit tricky - and tiring - but well worth it.
I READ… Reports, strategic plans, briefing notes … on repeat. It's the time of the year when the organisation I work for and the organisation I volunteer with shuffle through the strategic planning cycle. It's been head down, bum up and read. The writing phase starts this month.
I WENT TO… Canberra, Mudgee and Brisbane.
Mudgee. Glory be. I needed that break. I booked the beautiful Perry Street Hotel and tickets to the Mudgee Readers Festival in June, so you can imagine, by August I was well and truly hanging for a weekend country retreat, complete with the smell of burning ironbark wood fires, big blue skies and wide streets.
Perry Street Hotel reminded me of hotels in Vienna I stayed in earlier this year, and rightly so because apparently they're modelled off the hotel aesthetic of nearby Berlin. It was a real treat to see what was - when I lived in Mudgee, a derelict former Mechanic Arts Institute - done up and restored with a nod to its dance hall past and the trades once taught inside it. It was also a treat to potter around the long-running Mudgee markets, poke about the op shops and catch up with friends for a pub meal.
Days before the Mudgee trip, I was in Canberra to visit the Museum of Australian Democracy's Play Up exhibition. People, get yourselves and your wee ones to this. The school holidays are looming and you'll want to get in on this action. I have reason to be biased: Play Up is all about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the particular Article of that Convention that says all children have a right to play. Yup, you've been invited to the nation's old Parliament House AND it's a museum AND you can play there - all day. Want more? This lady and this one have had a hand in it. See. FUN! GO!
Speaking of wee ones, I also went to Brisbane this month and got in some tickles and cuddles and my first ever watching of Frozen with my nephew and niece. Nice.
I LISTENED TO… My girl crush Anita Heiss speak about her new book, Tiddas, at Mudgee Readers Festival. It's a small local crowd this one but she didn't mind. She chatted and shared and gossiped and gasbagged, queried and questioned with the best of them.
I ATE… Simply. My favourite meal all month was a cheese platter, with quince preserve, honey, macadamia nuts and wholegrain crackers, a few olives and a hearty Mudgee red on the deck at Logan Wines. My second favourite was a salad my sister threw together with salmon, fetta, avocado, fresh rocket, a dollop of aioli, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little cracked pepper. Served up with toasted flat bread and sides of hummus and olive dip, it was simple and delicious.
I SAW… A lot more sunsets than I saw a month ago. Through most of winter, my train travel through Sydney's northern suburbs meant I didn't see much of a sunset. It was just skyscrapers and a blackening sky. But we've edged closer to spring and I am now out of the city and crossing the Hawkesbury River by the time the sun sets. Those sandstone cliffs, that river, that sky. Sigh.
I MADE… Baby shower bunting, but I didn't take a photo. Gah! It looked a lot like this, but blue. Yup, a little boy will join our family soon. He's due in the coming fortnight.
September. Phew. I need more daylight hours. I need to open the house wide to sunshine. I need time in the garden and I need to soak up some sun. You?