Oh, what a reluctant drive it is to the airport when the time comes for my sister to return to her Canberra life. I bite my tongue before saying, 'I wish you didn't have to go', for the one hundredth time. I needn't say it. She is my twin sister, she knows. She feels the same. 'She'll be back at Christmas time!' I tell my sad faced children, while also reminding myself.
This time as we head for Domestic Departures, we were both happily exhausted from a full six days spent together in celebration of our birthdays. Our legs still aching a little from our farm rambles, but our bodies relaxed with the kind of contentment that settles on you after a much needed getaway.
I think it is the first time my sister and husband have managed to keep a surprise from me? Two nights away at a farm stay in Maleny, just my sister, myself and my little ones. They booked the flights and accommodation, and kept the secret for three weeks. My husband let slip, concerned I was going to make other plans for that weekend.
They chose well. So well that we decided to stay an extra night. We arrived Friday in dear old Maleny and after exploring the second hand book shops and beautifully curated home wares stores we traveled a few minutes out of town to Arley Farm, Our accommodation was a cleverly converted milking shed, stocked with a wonderful library, luxurious bedding, and pleasing views from every window. We immediately felt at 'home' and scouted out the rolling hills, winding creek, dam, chickens, horses and cows before settling in to admire the view and the wine from the local vineyard.
It was such a wonderful experience for the children, to play and discover. They learnt much about birds, platypus, horses and farm life. They collected chicken eggs and spotted rabbits and a platypus. They gathered leaves and drew them. They referred to the guide book of Australian Birds so often that we brought our own copy in town. They played the old piano in the large play room, and swung on the swing hanging from the large fig tree. It was a wonderful experience for us too, to slow down - as much as one can with three children - cook thoughtfully, eat well, read, sketch and walk. And best of all, talk. Conversations that carried on, picked up and dropped over days, about our lives, our plans, our dreams, our reminiscences.
Holidays, like all good things, must end.
Though I see another stay at Arley Farm in our future.