A Most Amazing Few Days!
I had the most amazing few days recently and am feeling sooooooo grateful! Firstly, I had the privilege of watching Allan Turner from Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation receive the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur Of The Year for the Southern Region at a function held at the beautiful Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne. I feel so honoured to have been there and I continue to be amazed by Allan and his efforts, together with the love and support of his family. Wishing Allan well for the national judging later this year. I encourage each of you to learn more about Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation and to speak to your loved ones about Organ and Tissue Donation.
Early, (REALLY REALLY EARLY) the next morning, (Friday) I began a most amazing adventure with my friend Brenda of My Garden In A Box who was one of the winners of the River Cottage Australia competition. Brenda, Kealy (brand new friend) and I flew to Merimbula and collected our Subaru for the weekend. Thanks Subaru! The informative Gordon taught us everything you could ever want to know about this car and about roads in the area.
We journeyed up the coast via numerous towns, a quick peek around Merimbula, visited Bega Cheese Factory, Cobargo (cute gnomes and crystal shops), a spot of lunch at the Tilba Teapot, eventually checking in at the delightful Green Gables B&B in Tilba Tilba, warmly welcomed by Stuart. Our journeying continued via Bermagui and Narooma to Moruya Airport to collect Rebecca of Inside Cuisine who had flown in from Sydney. At the recommendation of Stuart, we enjoyed dinner a local produce dinner at The River Restaurant, Moruya. A few days earlier they'd received One Hat in the The Sydney Morning Herald Food Guide. If you're interested in seeing the type of the delicious food we enjoyed, pop over to The River Restaurant, Moruya facebook page. Pity it's so far away from home! We drove back down the coast to Green Gables B&B for the evening and a good sleep.
Saturday morning we were treated to a delicious brekky prepared lovingly by Stuart and Philip. There is something special about beginning a day with a freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice with fruit straight from the little orchard. The local produce was thoroughly enjoyed by all and to top it off, the breakfast room overlooks the magical Najanuga (Little Dromedary).
After a relaxing morning we drove into Tilba Central and visited the Tilba Growers Markets in the Big Hall on the main street. Today was the day of the Federal Election and it was nice to be away from the madness of it all.
We met Art from Foxtel / Lifestyle who led the convoy to River Cottage Australia along with Rachel from Gardening With Dogs and her family. I'll never forgot the excitement in the air as we rounded a bend and caught our first glimpse of the cottage, nestled at the foot of spectacular Gulaga (Mount Dromedary). Paul, Alicia and Digger were most welcoming and before long we were enjoying a delicious meal and local wines. Rachael has some beautiful photos of lunch on her blog, you can view her River Cottage post here. We all had the opportunity to explore River Cottage and chat with each other over many hours. A very relaxing, informative afternoon with what felt like old friends, rather than people we'd just met. So grateful! After bidding Paul, Alicia and Digger farewell, Brenda, Kealy, Rebecca, Art and I eventually made our way back to Green Gables for an evening of wine and cheese. Election? What election?
After yet another delightful breakfast, Sunday morning we said goodbye to our hosts Stuart and Philip and headed north to Narooma. We met Wazza and Co from Lighthouse Charters Narooma and together with Art, Paul and Alicia we spent the next few hours watching whales, dolphins and seals frolicking in the ocean around Barunguba (Montague Island).
After more "'til we see you again" moments, we drove back to Merimbula, checked in at Sandpiper and Brenda dropped off the car at the airport. We spent our afternoon strolling around town, eating yummy ice cream and in the evening, dining at the local RSL. Monday morning we arrived early at Merimbula airport (um, it was closed!!!) and eventually left Rebecca waiting for her flight to Sydney as Brenda, Kealy and I headed home, feeling blessed and ever grateful...
OK, some thank you's. Thanks to the sponsors for running the competition! Thanks to everyone we met on this wonderful weekend. Special thanks to Art, Paul, Alicia and Digger for being such terrific hosts, to Rachael and family for being such great lunch company, to Kealy (chef and amazing story teller) and Rebecca (food and booze adviser), my new/old heartfelt friends. Finally, thank you Brenda for for entering the competition(!!!), inviting me along to share this truly magical adventure, for our extra day of Whale Watching and night in Merimbula, and for your friendship.
*** Like to see more? Over the next few weeks I'll be posting photos of Felix The Duck enjoying this adventure with us. You can view them here.
*** Any questions? Go for it!!!
*** River Cottage Australia DVD will go on sale on 16th October 2013.