Today has been one of those days when I feel privileged to be alive. I visited this morning with my very first supervisor. I am not sure how old he is but has been retired for a number of years. Life and age have not dampened his edge and I thoroughly enjoyed his and his wife’s company for a couple of hours. I know that he too enjoyed the catch up and he made me promise to return with G in tow. It was absolutely awesome to be able to make him aware of what an impact he had on my career and me as a person. It got me thinking about other people who have come and gone from my life who I would really love to see again. I’ll work on that!
As we sat and reminisced, I found in him someone who has truly made the most of every opportunity and every decision throughout life and I aspire, in my retirement to be able to look at life as he does. Life has not been easy for him with a brush with cancer for himself and some significant health issues for his wife. They both however exude a sunniness that makes time in their presence a privilege and a gift.
After my time with them I headed out to the sleepy town of Lilydale and lunched on a sandwich in a small park there, the same one that I have now returned to, to write. I was disappointed to be told that the W A G Walker Rhododendron Reserve was no longer open to the public as a visit there was the purpose behind my trip to Lilydale. Not being one to accept the word ‘no’ easily, I ventured down the road to Lalla and found the very poorly signposted reserve.
Glad I took no notice when I was told it was shut because it was very much open!
I was super privileged (and not surprised given the lack of reliable information about the place) to be the only person there and had the gardens to myself. I spent only 30 minutes there as the gardens closed at 3PM, which I discovered at the gate. I took some photos of the magnificent blooms but the greatest privilege came from drinking in the overall vista. Situated on a hill with views over lush green farm land, I could not imagine ever wanting to be anywhere else.
Now, back in Lilydale, I am about to head back to the home of my lovely hosts. I have promised to cook them Tasmanian scallops curried to the ‘Downie secret recipe’. The Downie secret recipe is a basic old fashioned home cooked version with a particular blend of stock and milk to provide just the right creaminess, a spoonful of chutney for zing and the key ingredient is old fashioned Keen’s Curry. None of the new-fangled curries cut the mustard when it comes to currying scallops. Hmmm, I’m guessing that my family secret recipe is no longer quite as secret as it was a few moments ago!
Just before I go, I must share a little more of the story of Princess Lily Flippers, the Penguin from Penguin. Now Lily was an adventurous girl and managed to stay in my presence for somewhere between 24 and 48 hours before hightailing to somewhere new (I suspect I left her poking out of the wall of the Penguin Observatory at Burnie). So anyway, I rang the Penguin Newsagency and happened upon the person who had served me when I purchased the original Lily Flippers. I knew that she was definitely sending me a replacement for the young girl I had purchased the original when she said, “Yes, of course I remember you. I will go through the rest of the penguins, select the second prettiest and post it to you in Queensland.” Sometimes strangers just know what to say to make my day!