I had intended to share this post on the evening of Australia Day. That was two weeks ago, and I am only just getting to it now. Ugh so busy!
We don't really "celebrate" Australia Day in our family, only in as much as it is a day off which means we get some additional family time together, and family time is always worth celebrating... but actually celebrating Australia? Well, a date that commemorates the invasion of one peoples by another peoples probably isn't the best one to choose. I wish we had a different one. But that's another conversation.
Australia Day fell on a Tuesday this year, which was already a non-daycare day, and Mr B had a public holiday, and this meant we all had time off together. So in a completely random decision that morning, we decided to pack everyone up and head out to the country.
We ended up in Maldon, a picturesque gold-rush town in Victoria.
It was a pretty day, but it very soon got very hot. And maybe this is just me but whenever we visit country towns in Australia, especially in summer, I can't help thinking about all the clothes they used to wear, and life without air conditioning or refrigeration or even proper running water, and, no matter how lovely the town is to look at, I just think it must have been unbearably tough. They must have been made of sterner stuff, back then.
Not that Maldon is exactly outback or anything. The weather is relatively mild and it's not like you'd die of heat exhaustion or anything. (Once I visited a town in the outback where a new bride had come over in the boat from England but her husband was away mustering cattle or something. She lived there alone for several months and, when the husband returned, she had gone blind from the glare off the salt plains. When I was in that town listening to that story, it was 48 degrees. THAT's extreme.)
But even so, I'm just saying that even in picturesque Maldon - or picturesque Melbourne for that matter - things must have been pretty uncomfortable in the summer.
And then along we come in our air-conditioned cars and wander from shady porch to breezy garden, sip chilled wine in the old, old pub, buy gelato, and try to imagine ourselves stepping into the footprints left behind by 19th Century families.