Living like the other half

I often tell DD how lucky we are. We found each other. We fell in love. And we have the loveliest adventures together.

It sometimes feels like we deal with more than our fair share of dramas, but the wonderful moments far outweigh the shite ones.

Over the weekend, we headed to the Hunter Valley for Darren and Kirsten’s biannual joint birthday celebration. Most of the gang have known each other since high school days, three of us were even in the bridal party at D&K’s wedding …

Life is a bit crazy as we tackle our late 40s and early 50s, as we were a bit last-minute with the parenting gig, so we don’t catch up as often as we’d like.

But D&K have invited us to their birthday weekend celebration three times now and it’s always been a corker.

This time we returned to a place called Tinonee at Broke. It was a bit freaky to go back there because I was a bit of a mess last time – its where I confessed that my marriage was in pieces. I was emotionally shattered, but everyone rallied around to raise my spirits and ply me with champagne.

The next time, we stayed in Pokolbin for Darren’s 50th and DD joined the party! We had the most amazing dinner at Brokenwood while listening to Fleetwood Mac play at the vineyard next door …

It was so surreal to stand on the verandah between courses hearing ‘Gypsy’ float over the vines.

This time around, DD staggered off a plane from London on the Friday night and drove up on the Saturday for lunch at Margan vineyard, which is right across the road from Tinonee. He was fairly zombie-like from a three-day business trip that involved more than 50 hours of air travel.

I felt like such a heel for getting him to join us, but he insisted he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

We had the the most incredible lunch on Kirsten’s actual birthday – a five-course degustation menu on the verandah looking out at the mountains and vines. And Tinonee was the most stunning place to stay – beautifully decorated, surrounded by vineyards, with kangaroos jumping past every morning and evening, many with tiny joeys in their pouches.

I was dazzled by the roos as they jumped between the vines and very jealous of Ian, who managed to get a selfie of himself with a close-up kangaroo AND champagne. I found myself running around in the fields barefoot trying to top his shot. I turned around at one point to discover I was completely surrounded by roos. It was glorious and my joy was incandescent.

From the moment we arrived on Friday afternoon until we went to bed on Saturday night (with a brief break for sleep and brekkie) we drank champagne and danced to 80s songs and laughed and talked and I loved every single minute of it, aside from having a bit of a panic after I went to bed on Friday night that I hadn’t been actively listening enough.

Thank  you to Darren and Kirsten for organising such a brilliant weekend. Happy birthday to you both!

I took lots of photos, check ’em out (click on the first one to open the gallery and see the captions) ….


PS The dogs had a five-star experience too. I was a bit skint after the $3000 vet visit, so I booked them into the $80 a day gulag-like accommodation at the kennel. But they were so traumatised that the staff upgraded them to a suite at no extra cost, which had an outdoor area, TV and couch …



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