The rough with the smooth

9 Jan

James’ dad and step mum arrived safely just after Christmas and spent their first week with us in Sydney before we all headed off to the South Coast. We had a day in Jervis Bay before we went our separate ways: David and Lindy staying in the area for a little longer, exploring the south of NSW and visiting family near the border and us back up to Sydney (via Kiama because we decided we quite liked it and have added it to our list of potential ‘future home’ destinations.)

Luckily D & L  have escaped any problems from the bush fires, still burning in that region and we have been in almost daily contact to make sure all is well as we track where the fires are still threatening homes and townships.

Now we have had a fantastic time showing D & L around ‘our Sydney’: taking trips to beaches, ferry rides around the harbour, hosting a New Year’s party, walking through the Botanical Gardens, cliff walks from Bondi and brunch at Bill Granger’s. We even had a quick visit to the tyre repair centre (seems to be a common theme when we have parents come to visit) and a very exciting trip to ‘Supa Centa’ to buy a new piece of furniture (I expect this was their highlight ;-)) Well, they did want to experience ‘our Sydney’!

I could blog about all of that but to be honest, you’ve heard it before and I’ve blogged about it before so I thought I’d talk about an experience we had after arriving in the very picturesque and quaint town of Berry, en route to Jervis Bay. We decided to stop there overnight and take a leisurely and scenic route along the coast to get there.

It was a wonderful drive and then we arrived at The Berry Hotel.

I suppose the fact that five bedrooms shared one shower validated the claim we were in an ‘old’ building and certainly the flaking paintwork and holes in the walls gave the old (not dilapidated) building some authenticity. We were taken to our bedrooms via the external fire escape. This was nothing if not a little quirky so I went with it. On being shown our room, I was able to relive school trip and brownie camp days of choosing which bunk to sleep in. Perhaps they were after a dormitory-style ambience? I suppose the several beds gave us options and if we had an argument in the night, there were two bunk beds as well as the double to choose from.

We left our room (this time via the more boring but conventional route – the internal stairwell) to go and have dinner in the restaurant. As we sat in the large dining area we were blasted with a fine mist, which we discovered was actually the air conditioning. A few minutes (and feeling a little damper and stickier later) we decided to move to a smaller, more enclosed, but empty, dining room. The waitress took our order and the door was closed behind us – at least it was private dining then. The food was its redeeming feature and they were certainly large portions. Two pork chops meant an entire pig on your plate and if you ordered the salmon you were very special as you were served ten minutes before everyone else.

It was a warm night and I had noticed we had no fan in our bedroom, although David and Lindy did so I went to ask one of the staff if they had one we could use. Apparently not. There were no more ‘in the entire hotel’ apparently but I was assured it would cool down in a few hours. I suppose that’s fine if you didn’t want to fall asleep before 3am. I thought a cooling shower would help and the shower room was right next to our bedroom, which was handy, although I say shower room as there was no bath and er, no toilet. Yes, the toilet was along the veranda and down the next corridor and also shared with five other bedrooms. Luckily we didn’t drink too much that evening then due to the small trek if you needed to go in the night.

I settled to sleep and was soon dreaming sweetly: I was bathed in a fine, watery film and momentarily thought I was back in the dining room. I woke up – ah no, that would be a fine film of sweat then from the still, hot air and lack of fan. It would actually be quite nice to be back in that dining room now, lightly misted with cooling water…

At least in the morning there was the prospect of a refreshing shower and yes, it was a great shower, if you were under 5 foot tall and once you worked out the cold tap meant hot in this hotel and vice versa. At least there were no bugs around, not alive at least. The dead cockroach in the corner was a nice touch to show pests did not fare well in this place. I’m not sure any of the guest would either if they stayed much longer than we did but you have to have these experinces I suppose. Makes you appreciate the good ones 🙂

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