About six months ago, Beth documented her weekend away with a group of girlfriends. I thought “oh that looks nice… but far too hard to organise everyone’s schedules and families and lives and work and and and…”
I tagged a few girlfriends in Beth’s Facebook post about “booking the weekend” – just book the weekend, the rest will sort itself out. And so we did. We booked a house at Red Hill for nine of us, set aside the weekend in our busy schedules and established a group Facebook chat to finer tune the details.
We arrived with all the basics: bottles of wine, wheels of cheese, figs and Lindt chocolate. Anything else was superfluous to our needs this weekend. To start the weekend us girls still based in Gippsland (five out of the nine) carpooled down to the peninsula for pizza lunch at T’Gallant, before checking into our home for the next three days: Patsy’s Gate at Red Hill.
The house was perfect for us: large kitchen/dining area, deck out onto the expansive backyard (it would be great for a tribe of families with children) and a cracker of a pool – and tennis court! Six out of the nine are pretty avid tennis players so this was a prerequisite.
As if enjoying our own BYO wines wasn’t enough for us, we had arranged a wine tour around some smaller wineries of Red Hill, Merricks, Main Ridge and surrounds. Our request was for boutique cellar doors which weren’t usually open to the public, other than for these small group wine tours, wineries which produced wine we couldn’t buy in Dan Murphy’s. And we weren’t disappointed. After lunch at Merricks Creek (the pork and fennel meatballs!) our pick of the day was definitely Rahona Valley for it’s delicious sparkling and smooth pinot gris. We may or may not have left there with armloads and armloads of boxes of wine…
No doubt that there is something a little bit sparkly and magical about a gathering of women – and with this lot not in a kumbuya-girl-power-ya-ya kind of way (we are way too cynical and inappropriate for that!) Most of these women will cut you down if you’re being a dickhead, we are blunt and to the point and no bullshit. There are no flowers and love hearts and rainbows. In fact, when I thought about it, these eight other women and myself are pretty vastly different. It’s a wonder we are still friends at all – in any other circumstances I don’t think we would work. Our only connecting thread through us all is that we spent our formative and awkward teenage years fumbling through our adolescence together. Maybe that counts for more than I give it credit for…
There are two accountants, two who work for local council (building surveying and executive assistant to director), two high school teachers, one nuc-med ultrasound nerd-alert, and one brainiac who I’m pretty sure nobody actually knows what she does with sonar technology and submarines (she likes to use the term ‘neutral buoyancy’ a lot when talking about her job…we nod earnestly and pretend we know what she is on about). And me: photographer, blogger, communicator, writer, mother.
We have all taken different paths, some have had babies (me), some never want babies. Some have studied a lot, others have travelled a lot, some I honestly rarely see and some are my very closest friends. But coming together, fifteen years after leaving school together, and it still somehow working must say something. Something about our dryness, our shared humour and yet often opposing views or values, our understanding that you do you, I’ll do me. We are a motley crew at best, but unashamedly are who we are. A weird old world of school friendships (and spouses of boys we went to school with/Matt’s best mates).
The take home message from the weekend? Book the weekend. Always just book the weekend. Flights and babysitters and juggling of roles and responsibilities can be figured out later, prioritise the time and the rest will fall into place. Just book the weekend.