Most of my childhood and adolescence was spent living in the country and although I’ve lived in cities, I’ve always gravitated back to rural living.
Today, the picturesque Clare Valley wine-growing region of South Australia is the place I’m lucky enough to call home. Except for 3 years in Lameroo in the late-90s I’ve lived in and around this area since 1992. The drive to Adelaide takes 1.5 hours, and that used to important. These days, although Adelaide’s still a nice place to visit, I look forward to coming home.
I love the undulating countryside of the Clare Valley, its ancient gum trees and rolling green vineyards. I can lie in bed and watch honeyeaters, sparrows and lorikeets flit through the wattle trees, and occasionally a kangaroo or three hops through the front yard. And every so often there’ll be deer grazing in the block opposite; feral I know, but beautiful all the same.
When we moved here there was a vineyard next door, and while I’m not keen on the chemicals sprayed about, the cool, green vines were a lovely backdrop to a scorching summer’s day. Alas, the growers fell on hard times and pulled out this tract of vines and now rabbits and galahs flock there to feed on the stubble. The block recently sold and we’re watching with anticipation, and some trepidation, to see what happens next.
Perhaps one of the things I treasure the most about living where I do is that I have family very close by. It takes 10 minutes to walk, or 2 minutes to drive to my sister’s place, and that is so nice.
There are many quiet country roads to amble along, and the Riesling Trail a short drive away. The rim of the Valley is a 20 minute walk and there I can gaze out onto the Blyth Plains, and beyond to the distant ridges and wind turbines. I’ve scanned that panorama in all seasons: in gale force winds, in rain, in fog, and in sweltering heat!
The view from my desk, the place where I write, takes in several large gums and on a perfect spring day like today, a slash of blue sky. And the shed. It’s not the most picturesque desk view I’ve ever had, but it works okay. I never tire of gum trees and blue sky.