Hotting up in the Hunter Valley
Hotting up in the Hunter Valley
Weather forecasters said the temperature would be 44’ the next day but would drop by 20’ as soon as the wind turned to a southerly off Antarctica. So in our evening planning over supper the four of us decided a day of liquid replacement was on the cards and the world renowned Hunter Valley Wine area it was.
Stepping out of the car at the top of the valley where the winds blow most of the time it was like having a hairdryer set on ‘grill’ aimed at us and the walk to the cellar door at Tyrrells was quite a challenge. The thought of some nice cool whites helped and the name rang a bell. ‘Tyrrell’ and then Rufus Stone listed as a type of wine. “Does this Tyrrell have anything to do with the Tyrrell who accidentally shot King William Rufus in Hampshire, England?” I asked, willing to be laughed at.
“Funny you should say that,” said the nice young gentleman reaching for a photo card under the counter, “this estate has been owned by the Tyrrell family since 1858 and they are descendants of that very person!” Small world.
Next on Jane’s short list of cellar door visits was Tempus Two, in a very modern setting frequented by the rich and famous, but today it was just us and a few others enjoying the aircon for a quick few slurps before ‘running the gauntlet’ through the outdoor oven back to the car. It was thirteen years since our hosts had visited the valley so Jane was keen to lay on some wine and join a club, with all its benefits of prices and tastings and free delivery bearing in mind the family occasions that are always coming up.
By the time we arrived at the Irish eatery and pub ‘Harrigans’ we were ready for some food. The indoor restaurant was full, of course, so we sat outside in the shade with a lone female guitarist singing some nice melodies with her own accompaniment. I drank LLB, lemon and lime and bitters, for the first time and very tasty and pleasantly not sweet it was. I was saving my palate for one more wine tasting.
I have to tell you about my lunch because it was so tasty. A vegetable stack of roasted pumpkin, onions, kale and spinach, spotted with white cheese and drizzled with truffle oil. ‘scuse me while I reach for a tissue.
Lastly we popped in to Petersons, a very down to earth, ‘built the place ourselves’ rustic affair in complete contrast to Tempus Two, with very hearty ladies doing the honours. Greg had been on the soft stuff all day so while Jane, Shep and I fed the horses Greg busied himself popping strawberries in to champagne goblets and drowning them in bubbly.
Again we sat on the shady veranda, Rob and I taking it in turn to scratch behind Shep’s ears and listening to the rumbling of thunder and watching the clouds gather and darken ready for the next storm. At only five months old Shep was still new to these frightening heavenly goings on and sleeping in his kennel outside or on the cool of the veranda tiles. Sometimes he would come to our window and look in or even tap on the glass, “are you coming out to play?” Jane says they will get another dog when he is a little older so they can company for eachother.
The rain will help the worn grass to re-grow around their house. Shep likes it because it softens the ground and enables him to dig, quite what for we are not sure. There are little holes everywhere which is where the cicadas emerge from. In the photo is one of their discarded skin shells left behind after the mature cicada has flown up into the trees ready to call for a mate and then die.
There is a creek running through the home paddock that the roos, horses and roaming neighbour’s cattle like to drink from and Greg has promised to take us for a walk down there next time. But the morrow held different delights and our first close up encounters with roos.