My mum grew up in the country town of Grafton and moved to Sydney at 17. Her side of the family are still there, which has been great news for us. After 28 years of family trips, Grafton is my home away from home.
My first ever plane trip, as a one-year-old, was to Grafton. Sometimes when we were little we would catch the Country Link train up with Mum. It's a 10 hour journey and when you're a kid, that seems like an eternity. Planes, trains or automobiles, we've always managed to get up to Grafton a couple of times a year.
Our Grafton Nanna and Poppy lived in this fabulous house which stood across the road from the bank of "The Mighty Clarence". My Poppy was an Easter-show-prize-winning flower gardener, and they had the coolest big backyard; a maze of rows and rows of flower beds. After playing outside we'd have to stand in the laundry as Nanna washed our feet in a bucket of water and sunlight soap.
Our Nanna (with whom I share my birthday on the 9th of August) has always been a fabulous baker. She was always on the ready, with jam drops and Anzac biscuits being her specialties. For dessert, the grandkids would get a scoop of icecream with a single choc bit on top. Wooooah, easy there Nanna with the generosity! Haha, actually, we thought it was amazing.
Our Nanna moved out of that house a couple of years ago, to the chagrin of us grandkids, but I can still vividly remember the feel of the carpeted hallway on my feet, the smell of the kitchen, and the coolness and soapy scent of the bathroom, with its old fashioned wooden stand, rag-rugged floor, and deep, green bathtub.
A fuzzy old pic of my brother and I on our Uncle's bike out the front of our Nanna's house. Mum and Nanna on the steps up the top, Uncle Wazzza in the short-shorts to the left.
Our mum would always promise to take us to the Grafton Pools - its waterslide being the town's key attraction as far as we were concerned - but before we got there we'd have to sit at Nanna's house while she and Mum nattered for what seemed like hours upon hours, as adult conversations generally seem to go, when you're a kid. It was the pinnacle of excitement when we finally left the house to make our way to the pools. Many a Ryan bottom has triumphantly slid down that slide.
I know lots of people would say this, but I feel like I have the best relo's in the world. My happiest times, without a doubt, are when our families get together. My cousin Brenton joined the army a couple of years back and now lives in Albury. We're all converging in Grafton next summer for his wedding, and I really can't wait!
I started this post with only the intention of sharing a photo that my cousin Steff texted me the other day, but got a little carried away. Although we're nine years apart (me being the old one) Steff and I have always been thick as thieves. I'm a very lucky cousin!
From Steff: "I looked at my array of cupcakes, and for some reason instantly thought of you! Haha, I hope you enjoy this little piece of the Jacaranda City! Love X"
Would enjoy it more if you sent me one. Just saying, xoxoxoxo. <3