Monday, November 2, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Penola/Coonawarra

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse

We stayed in Naracoorte in this delightful cottage, yet we would have rathered stay in Penola. The cottage was beautiful, very restful with a room for each of us, the fire already set for us to light, toys for the children to enjoy. I very much enjoyed 'playing house' in this cottage of yesteryear but there were delights awaiting us in Penola which we had had to drive past half an hour earlier in the day.

So we returned!

Taking country roads

The vines of the famous Coonawarra wine region

Honeyeater and bottlebrush, enjoying Spring!

Day be day we drove from Naracoorte to Penola to help little Eee fall asleep in the car for her afternoon nap. At least that was our excuse, we wanted to enjoy lunch in Penola (among other things).

Dining at diVine Café and Gourmet Delicatessan was wonderful. It was the first time we had an option of eating gluten free while on our trip. At last, I could order sandwiches for the girls without worrying they were consuming too much wheat. They enjoyed them so very much. I ordered a pasta salad which I have not eaten in ages. I loved the way the menu was written - it didn't have a gluten free listing from which your choice was limited, my salad was a menu item which was noted to have a gluten free option available - wonderful!

I wanted to return to Petticoat Lane to visit Sharam's Cottages and Garden. These treasures were built in 1850, reputedly the first in Penola. Granny Sharam died in the cottage around 1910. I am not sure what the family did with them directly afterwards, but since the 1960s they have been cared for by the National Trust and are open to wander through... take a look at these eye opening pictures of a cottage of yesteryear.

Look at this adorable baby's cradle.

Now the pièce de résistance, the Herb and Vegetable Garden, also maintained by the National Trust.
This is my dream garden, lovingly cared for after being built over 150 years ago to take care of a family. Over a century later, our family wandered through and delighted in being able to pick, smell and take home for tea. We enjoyed the Rainbow Chard left in the basket for visitors. I'd so love someone to be walking through my garden next century and enjoying its produce.

The last peek of Sharam's Cottage for you is of this ancient doll found underneath floorboards. I was awe-inspired to see the handwork of a lady of so long ago and wander what games the girls got up to with this treasure. Was she beloved and taken to bed religiously each night? What she placed on the shelf with other doll friends? Was she carried out to the garden to tend it with her owner and mother? How long did it take to make her? Was she a gift to the owner by her mother, aunt, grandma, sister? Was she playing hide and seek when she slipped and fell through a hole in the floorboards, unable to climb out again, unable to cry for help, unable to make a little searching girl hear her call for help? There she remained, as floorboards were repaired, covering any evidence of her fall, until they were pulled up again years later. Was she ever recognised by family members grown up, with girls and dolls of their own now?

I wonder if one of the dolls I have made for my treasured pair will be discovered in years to come!

Hope you enjoyed Penola too.

1 comment:

Gemma Wilson said...

Bottle brush trees are so beautiful - the colour combination is one of my favourites - We have one in our house - Less maintenance and Great results - the way I like it !!!

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