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I’ve been so wiped out this week after the event that I haven’t had the energy to write about it. But last weekend all the planning paid off and we had a reunion of (most of) the BHB girls from the Bali retreat I went on two years ago. It was so wonderful to see all their smiling faces, and hear them excitedly catching up. Being an introvert, I find I love bringing people together and hearing them have a good time, as long as I can dip in and out of proceedings without needing to be present for it all (watching a show like The Crown, I am so glad I don’t have a job or life where I have to sit and be polite to people for hours on end…I get antsy sitting at the dinner table for longer than half an hour if we have people over).

I booked a property at Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula that was on 50 acres of bushland, with a modern one bedroom house on it (it also had a large shed space attached to it that we didn’t have access to, that had a tractor and other farming equipment in it). I think one of the owners is a stylist and the place was just picture perfect, like it was out of an interiors magazine. I also booked Happy Glamper to come and set up two of their beautiful bell tents, full of comfy bedding and cute things like board games and bunting and fairy lights. So two of us slept in the house and the other eight were happy glampers!

When I got down…er, up (I keep forgetting where I live) to Main Ridge, I was already pretty tired from having to get up at 4:45am (stupid early Launceston flights), not having had a proper breakfast and then hopping in my hire car and driving through Melbourne traffic for an hour when I’ve already gotten so used to roads where a traffic jam equals about six cars. But I had the day to myself, so I wandered around the property a bit and enjoyed just being alone in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Then I went off to investigate some of the owner’s recommendations for coffee and supplies, and ended up at Johnny Ripe. I did most of the main meal shopping there, as they had amazing vegetable tarts, lasagne and apple pie. Oh, and creme brûlée doughnuts that were to DIE for. I asked if there was a nearby grocery store and got pointed to what I could immediately tell was the most expensive place around, but they had all sorts of delicious gourmet cheeses and produce and I thought oh who cares, I’ll just buy up big here and we’ll eat well.

And we did!

Once everyone arrived and settled in, it was basically non-stop talking for the whole weekend, except for sleep time. It’s quite a testament to Clare, Pip, Defah, Lisa and Jessie’s original assembling of this group, that they managed to pick individuals from such a wide range of backgrounds who all gelled so well as a group. There was really only one person from the group who hasn’t kept in touch in some form, and everyone is just so positive and encouraging of one another.

On Saturday we kind of took it easy, catching up and welcoming the couple of people who were popping in for the day (though ‘popping in’ might not be the right term – one came all the way from Ballarat, which was three hours’ drive each way!). Then after a delicious lunch of DIY rice paper rolls (excellent church dinner fodder to feed a crowd) Jessie came and took us through a couple of hours of yoga and reflection, just in the way she had done with us in Bali.

We watched a little hello video from Clare and made one to send back to her and took the obligatory group pic.

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In the evening, we got out the guitars and sang for a while (some Crowded House and a couple of originals). Then some of us were going to watch Gilmore Girls: a year in the life, which had just dropped on Netflix, but it all proved a bit too hard to focus and it was much nicer to hang out in front of the fire outside anyway (I was happy to save GG for when I got back to watch it with mum, which is how it should be, really).

Sunday morning we all packed up and headed off to the Peninsula Hot Springs to soak in 39 degree mineral springs with a gazillion other people. Weekend are busy bathing times! But once we got over the shock of being around other humans again, it was really great just to soak in the pools, to chat with a few people rather than the whole group at once, and to sort of end the weekend with something a bit fun. I hate it when you end a weekend and it’s all about packing up and leaving, rather than just being together. So it was a good way to finish.

We all split up, some to go to a creative workshop, some to go vintage shopping. I went off with three other lovelies to the Diggers Club Heronswood Garden at Dromana. It was inspiring, beautiful, delightful, calming…all the things you want from a good garden. And we ate some of the heirloom vegies in the restaurant for afternoon tea – the carrots, beetroot and fennel were sublime! I can’t wait to start growing things here at home…it’s just as well that quarantine meant I couldn’t bring seeds and plants on the plane with me, otherwise I would have bought the whole shop.

Reunions can be weird things – I’ve never really felt the need to go to a school or uni reunion, for example – but when it’s with a bunch of people who were brought together because of common passions and who experienced a pretty transformative week together, it can be so re-energising to connect again. Next time I might get them to come to Tassie…we can camp in my backyard! (goes off to google bell tents)