Brrrrrr … there is a distinct nip in the air. Snow is predicted on the Barrington’s – the horses’ coats have fuzzed up like rabbit fur and they are now rugged at night – the oilskins have been unpacked – homemade pumpkin soup and garlic bread is back on the menu – Spot and Cheeky squabble over prime position in front of the hearth – winter is definitely looming.
Time to light the fire … or should we say “fires”.
Burn off season has arrived and, on these still, crisp, yet freezing, nights there is nothing more soothing than lighting one of the many piles of tree litter, sitting back with a glass of Hunter Valley Shiraz and stargazing.
Burning off without a permit is only allowed between the months of April and September, so current visitors to Hunter Valley Wine Country might get lucky and catch the occasional whiff of danger-free gum smoke … a quintessentially Australian scent … and hopefully not the gun smoke of long departed bushrangers.
Ah – bushrangers – another uniquely Australian icon given heroic status. Hunter Valley outlaws ranged (literally across the plains and mountains) from Bold Jack Donahue, the Jewboy Gang to the famous Captain Thunderbolt – who was rumoured to have stayed at the Tocal Homestead.
We are a region rich in the history and romanticism of days past – and present – and we love it. We shall be thinking of Captain Thunderbolt, and the romantic scents of the Australian bush, as we head out towards Thunderbolts Way and the much anticipated annual Tocal Field Day, with the aroma of gum smoke lingering the air … hope to see you there.
Here’s to good food, wine and friends Elizabeth