I've decided to blog about my life here in Mount Victoria. In front of my computer now, children are quiet and I have a cup of tea and some gorgeous little hazelnut wafer biscuits which seem to be disappearing fast.
We moved here in March 2005 and I find each day I love it more as I discover more about this little town. It inspires me, the community is slowly being revealed to me and I love that Mt Victoria is the last remaining town in the Blue Mountains that remains untouched by development. It is truly the last Mountains village and is a wonderful secret.
In January 2012 I came up to the Mountains from Helensburgh to look at houses to buy. I had moved down to Helensburgh from Blackheath after meeting my husband Geoff, marrying and adding another little girl to our mix. I had never truly taken to the area down there (despite awesome neighbours and some fabulous girlfriends collected on my travels). Always in the back of my mind was the thinking that I would eventually return here. We finally had a tiny deposit saved and thought 'it's now or never' and time to get into the market.
My husband was working and I was only with one child that weekend so thought it wouldn't be too hard. My girlfriend Bec said she would come too with her little boy and had suggested we make a weekend of it staying the night at her inlaws holiday house in Mount Victoria. 'By the way,' she said, 'their little house is up for sale too. It's 2 bedrooms and is really cute.' How I snorted! 'No way would I move allllll the way to Mount Victoria - it's the end of the earth! And no way would I consider a 2 bedroom house!'
So off we went... 2 hours drive with two kids in the back and a long list of properties we could JUST afford in the mid-mountains. We started at Hazelbrook and it got more and more depressing from there. Anything with character, heritage or quirkiness was not on the cards in my measly price range. We had a bevy of awful 80's dark brick houses to choose from. All positioned badly for much needed sunlight in the Mountains, arched hacienda finishes (not my style) and apricot kitchens & bathrooms, small living areas, often beautiful garden spaces, and of course - at our price range - very very very far from any sort of school or public transport.
It was not looking good. After a few properties and the two kids screaming to be let out in the back we finally gave in. We got all the way up to Mount Victoria (the highest point in the Blue Mountains at 1064m elevation) where suddenly Bec couldn't quite remember which house it was. 'I think it's down there,' she said as we wandered down pretty tree-lined streets. I remember thinking how much I always loved this street in particular as I drove. 'Ummm maybe turn right and go up that one? It's sort of overgrown and you can't see the house from the street.' Now, a lot of the houses couldn't be seen from the street and I was beginning to wonder where we were staying - especially with two completely overwrought children in the back screaming their heads off.
We pulled up a steep drive with a bush frontage, the light rain was drizzling away as it permanently does up here, and suddenly the most gorgeous old holiday cottage appeared in front of us. 'Oh my god,' I said, 'It's divine!' 'I knew you'd like it,' she simply said. We bustled the kids in, got the gas fire going (January this was I must remind you - us Helensburgher's were not used to it) and the red wine and cheese quickly followed.
About an hour later - maybe not even that - I was playing with my 6 month old on the floor. She was trying to stand/hold herself up and I was supporting her so she could. Suddenly she sort of slipped, turned her body so fell to the floor with me still hanging on. She screamed and I tried to calm her. She kept pulling her leg up and wouldn't support any weight on it. Bec and I didn't know what to do and since we'd already had red wine we thought it best to ring an ambulance. Of course we rang at roster changeover and no one could get to us too quickly from Katoomba. The lady on the line assured us that we would have support very soon as she organised for SES volunteers to show up to help until paramedics arrived. I wasn't sure what that meant but we were told to lay my daughter down on the ground, keep her happy and wait. About 5 mins later we had 2 local volunteers arrive, then another 3 from Bell/Dargan area, then another 2 from Springwood. We couldn't believe it! There was nothing much they could do so all stood around chatting with us and staring at this child on the ground who by then was pulling her legs in the air with her hands and rocking side to side like nothing had happened. We asked lots of questions about living in Mt Vic and the 2 locals had said that they too had never seen this house before as it was so well secluded! About 10 mins later the paramedics arrived and didn't see anything wrong with my gurgling happy daughter. UNTIL I stood her up and got her to hold her weight. Then she screamed. So off we went in the ambulance while Bec and her little one went to bed. Meanwhile I'd called Geoff in a flurry and he'd knocked off work and was madly driving up.
After a long wait at Katoomba Hospital the paed decided she was fine and it was just sprained. Geoff had showed up but didn't have the baby carseat in his car. One of the lovely SES volunteers from Mt Vic had said for me to call him anytime through the night and he'd come back to the hospital (15 min drive though no street lights/bush most of the way) as he had his grandsons carseat in the back. He came out before midnight and got us home with Geoff following.
So we get back to the house and I said, 'what do you think?' He just kept saying 'Wow! It's great'. So by the morning, everyone sleeping in after such an ordeal, I sat up early and started to calculate and work out what sort of a deposit we'd need.
By the end of the weekend, after dropping back Bec to her place in Helensburgh and finally getting home, I'd said to her to find out from her inlaws if they really did want to sell.
Lucky for us they did... and by the first week of March we'd moved. Ann (the owner) had said that it was karma. She wouldn't just sell to anyone and she wanted the people buying it to love it. We got this place at a great price and every day we have to pinch ourselves and tell ourselves how lucky we are.
Moving: Exhausting, hopefully never doing it again, and certainly not with a 3 year old and 9 month old!