For the last four years I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding, and any time I’ve ever been away from my husband I’ve had at least one, if not two children with me. I’d never had night away, so when I finished breastfeeding recently I stated it was time that I had a little sojourn, except I don’t think I called a sojourn. It was more like ‘get me out of here, before I completely lose my shit’.
My darling friend is expecting her first child. I suggested to her that we must seize this moment by the balls and go on a girl’s weekend now, or it’ll be another god knows how long before we’re both at a time where we can get away for a whole night.
Once upon a time a girl’s night away would have been rowdy and drunken. There would have been boozy lunches that slid into drunken dinners, followed by dancing and talking shit really loudly and falling into bed and waking up for Bloody Marys. When I see it written like that I guess maybe I drank a bit too much… God, it was fun.
My, how times have changed. Fun looks different now, and carries way less of a hangover. Thank Christ.
We decided on a trip to the Southern Highlands, as they are really beautiful this time of year, and it’s actually quite close to Sydney so if the shit hit the fan I could get home…. not that it would, of course. Mister H is perfectly competent, but it was more about my needing to be accessible.
I wanted to read magazines, and relax, and browse in galleries and do all the things that you cannot do with two snot monkeys dangling off your extremities.
Menabillie Manor just sounded like Downton Abbey to my ears and we fancied a little of the Lady Grantham experience, so off to Bowral we went.
Bed and Breakfasts can be a little hit and miss, I find. Sometimes it can feel like you’re staying at your long lost Aunt’s house and it’s a little weird, especially if you’re trying to be romantic, which we weren’t so that’s a moot point.
Menabillie wasn’t weird at all, however.
Not only did we have our own wing, and therefore lots of privacy in the stately Manor, but our hosts were gracious, and very interesting.
We shared a high tea and a bottle of bubbles and discussed all the things you should never talk about when you first meet.
A learned historian and theologian, John, and I discussed his theory on the Christian faith, and if you thought Sahra Renata’s beliefs about Jesus’ wife were interesting then John’s life’s work is indeed fascinating.
We also covered topics of war and holocaust as Susy’s Hungarian grandmother spent time in concentration camps. Not at all polite tea conversation, but I hate polite conversation with a passion and this way we got to truly see each other and learn a little of each other’s history.
I thought John and Susy’s generosity of spirit was just lovely and I so enjoyed exchanging stories and ideas with them…. and eating cake. Accompanied by a local Blanc de Blanc. Cake and bubbles…. I mean, what else does a tired city girl need?
Susy tinkled the ivories with a little Chopin for us, as we polished off the delicacies, and it truly was a delightful way to pass the afternoon.
The fine dining room was full, but we were invited to the casual dining area for tapas and share plates, which suited us beautifully due to still burping salmon sandwiches and lemon tarts from our late afternoon high tea.
We sat near a fire and ordered some drinks and as it was my first night out in like, EVER, I ordered a martini. I know it’s totally a first world problem but I was utterly bummed to be told that I couldn’t have a martini because the restaurant had only 4 martini glasses, all of which were in use.
Really??? Mmmmm’kay. No martini for me.
Thankfully, the lemon chilli lamb ribs and croquettes were scrummy, and the fetta, mint and pea salad was so vibrant and fresh that I all but forgot the martini mishap. A bitter chocolate mousse, with shards of honeycomb for pudding would have been awesomely set off by a Pedro Xeminez which although I ordered, never received, but then was charged for.
It was 8.30 pm, and I had a whole night of blissful, uninterrupted sleep ahead of me…. except my bed buddy had the bladder of a 27 week pregnant lady and heartburn to boot.
I shan’t say one more bad word about my night away. No one whined at me, whinged at me, or wiped snot on my for a whole 30 hours and I know that I’m super lucky to have had the chance to be free for a little bit.
A girl can but dream.