As the year moved on I was told at work in the strongest terms despite the pandemic or even because of it, I should give myself a break. At the time there was a possibility that people may only be able to travel up to 250 kilometres from home. So I planned around that.
I had not taken recreational work from work in many years. We had gone to Newcastle for a long weekend in 2017, my first holiday in six years. I had attended my sisters wedding in London in country for 58 hours in 2018, there had been stays in hotels for a night or two but this was me taking recreational leave from work for the first time in a long time.
I did not want to stay at home on the couch and watch Netflix but I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
I also wanted Karen to have a holiday too.
So while thousands died across the world, I went on holidays and I am going to write about it. I’m sorry if that seems tone deaf. I guess I was following health advice from my government, maybe spending money in the area was good for some businesses but I went on holidays. I had a nice time and know that is only due to the grace of God.
Karen and I drove down to where we were staying at North Tamborine.
It was a Scottish themed manor named Stonehaven Guest House, by that I mean there was a lot of wood in it and Scottish themed paraphernalia everywhere. We stayed in a room called Edinburgh. Next day was Balmoral. One day I walked downstairs musing to my wife about the Australian battle Coral-Balmoral during the Vietnam War and wondering how Balmoral related to Scotland.
It’s where the Royal Family holidays of course which my wife reminded me of with the patience of a saint. Damnit and I’m the one with the Scottish heritage.
We loved the place, the staff were great but kind of left us alone which suited us. There was a beautiful backyard with a creek and a gazebo that was lit up at nights.
Our first night we walked around our up the road and got a layout of our surroundings. Up the road was a series of shops and the local ANZAC Memorial.
We went to a nearby Irish pub but they were booked out until later with the spacing required due to COVID-19. Fair enough. I looked around on my phone and made a call to a place called The Fox & Hounds Inn.
The gentleman on the other end said he would be happy to take a booking and asked me what time and I said now was fine. He laughed and told me he still didn’t open for another 8 minutes so we agreed to half an hour.
The pub was cosy on a cold winter’s night and even with social distancing there were a few customers that night. I got some salmon with a thing called bubble and squeak. I didn’t mind but didn’t love the bubble and squeak but my goodness the salmon was amazing. Karen really enjoyed her Guiness pie too.
Some of the pub is made with parts of a pub imported from England contributing to the construction of the inn.
There were also English ales available with a range more varied and authentic than say what you would get in Brisbane at the franchise Pig’n’Whistle. Nothing against the Pig’n’Whistle which I love but when in Rome you hope you’re enjoying something you can’t get back home.
We finished off with dessert, I got a Raspberry Eton Mess which basically was a mixture of cream, meringue and raspberries in a glass and my goodness it was good.
I think Karen had an apple and rhubarb crumble but I didn’t care because I had the best dessert after she beat me with the best meal. An even draw.
All night there was one waitress working the floor, taking orders, delivering food and passing good vibes along to every customer as they waited for food or got served drinks.
The owner out the back worked the entire kitchen by himself and the food was delicious and kept coming.
The waitress was so good, I called him out from the kitchen to pass on how much of a credit she was to the place and he agreed advising me he didn’t have her there full time because she was still going to school.
A lot of us will live entire lives without being able to remain that calm and quick under the pressure of a restaurant setting. I think she’ll go far, I wished I had also passed on what a great job he did.
It could have been being on holidays for the first time in a while but there was a little magic in the air.
The kind of magic you have when you’re on holidays and you find a little place to eat that just fits the bill and the staff are so good and the place is so nice you feel it was almost done all for your benefit.
We had a similar night at a place in Maleny in 2008 called Capriccios and it was nice to have it again.
Now though we made our way back to Stonehaven, our home for the next three nights and the spa we had in our room.