Many years ago I worked at a girls’ boarding school as a Boarding Mistress and English Tutor – it was a lovely job that I worked at from when I was a university student the first time around to just before we left Brisbane for Melbourne. My years there gave me a whole new look at the different ways people live and I met so many lovely people from all over the world, and especially from the remote outback of Australia. We had girls who came to the city from huge properties out west, who had not only never experienced city life before, or been to school (they participated in school of the air over the radio with their families), but had never even seen rain!
Once their daughters were at boarding school, these families would drive extraordinary distances so that they too could participate in their daughters’ school lives. I remember one family driving 10 hours each way just to watch their daughter row in the weekly river regattas. I was amazed at the hours they could drive for but also so in awe of what they were prepared to do for love. I thought driving an hour to Rainbow Bay for a summer day’s beach outing was a big thing!
Now that I live in the country … well, it’s fair to say I have a much better idea of country driving. We live in a mildly remote corner of the country and so cheerfully drive hours every day to do what needs to be done. We drive to Canberra regularly for doctors’ appointments, and art galleries, and trips to the shops for things that just cannot be bought in Bega. I drive to Narooma for coffee beans, Tilba for cheese, and Moruya for patchwork fabric. Julian and I consider it a date to drive to Bateman’s Bay to visit the big hardware store. We’ve driven to Orbost for turkeys, Bombala for alpacas, Bodalla for chooks, Nowra for goats, and we even drove to Sydney once for a second hand lawn mower – don’t ask!
And of course there’s the daily driving. We live 30 minutes away from the hospital where I work, the cafe where Noah works and the university campus where Noah studies so that means regular days of driving for at least 2 hours once you do the back and forth. Some weeks this does my head in. But then I think of the family who drove 20 hours to watch their daughter row and I smile.
This week we had a day with multiple errands all over the place so I packed the basket with my new needlepoint – an Easter Cushion based on Brenda Gervais’ beautiful cross stitch pattern Peter and Peeps – and happily sought the sunny spots in glorious locations to wait and stitch whilst my car had new front rotors installed, Noah attended classes and had a haircut, and in between we fitted in a lovely lunch together and some rollerskating time. Rollerskating is hard to do on a farm perched on the end of a dirt road at the top of a hill so we are always on the lookout for a good flat footpath!
As for Peter and his Peeps – well I may have whipped up the design in two weeks – needlepoint always takes half the time of cross stitch – but then there’s the background. That will take far more weeks. Sigh. Oh well. I shall just keep stitching and by our spring, it will probably be ready :-)