I’ve recently returned from a trip to the Hawkesbury River with my husband and his family. They have a place in a holiday park and have done so for nearly 15 years. Weekends, public holidays and random midweek jaunts have all been spent there.
The first time I was taken there I spent the entire car trip clutching my freshly made caramel slice thinking ‘will they like me?’. See, not only have my in-laws owned a place there for years, so have all the other people in their street. Before I had even packed my overnight bag, I’d heard numerous tales from the good times at the river. I must admit, I was confused as to who was who and who did that funny thing that time etc. And I was anxious wondering if I’d be accepted by them all.
My worry was pointless. As soon as we arrived I was treated like a long-lost friend. I was kissed and hugged and handed a drink. I spent the night sitting around the fire making new friends.
The river owns a special magic. It infects you with it when you arrive. Time slows down and the temperature heats up. But it’s not just those things that have you singing “we’re going to Bonnydoon’ on the way there. (If you’re not an Aussie and/or have not seen the movie The Castle, that reference just went way over your head).
During my last visit, we were all sitting around the communal fire in the middle of the street. All the different families sharing food and wine and general good cheer. There is a pleasant familiarity from spending so much time with people at their most
intoxicated relaxed. Everyone looks after each other’s children, we all feed each other and someone is always ready to listen to your latest story/trouble/news. You see, these people have created their own little community. A river community.
I’m convinced we could take aspects of river living back to the real world and be much richer for it. Well, probably not the happy hour at 3pm and in bed by 8pm thing which always seems to happen to me down there. But….just saying.
Here’s to the river! Always so pleasant to visit…always so darn hard to leave.