Months ago I rang the Wiseman’s Ferry hotel to see about room costs and booking. I was told we didn’t need to book. Last Wednesday I filled out an online booking thing and, not having had a reply in the stipulated couple of days, rang them on Friday to check. Good job I did. They were booked out. I was told they are always busy on the weekends! The man on the phone didn’t hold out much chance of me getting a room in Wiseman’s Ferry that weekend – there was a wedding on. Turns out he was right and, many phone calls later, we ended up having to take rooms at a place called St Albans, some way north of Wiseman’s Ferry. Catherine gave the woman our sob story though and she gave us a special rate.
Not everyone was able to stay overnight. In the end there were just 5 of us staying overnight and 8 of the full group quota of 11 who were able to go at all. We gathered at Mary’s house for 11am on Saturday morning and headed off in two cars. We’d not arranged a rendez-vous at our destination but figured the Wiseman’s Ferry hotel, built as a home for Soloman Wiseman, would be the logical place. Luckily the girls in the other car thought so too.
Having ‘powedered our noses’ we headed back down to the riverside park to have a picnic lunch. It had been cloudy all morning but the sun came out as we set up the table and it was lovely by the river, feeding crackers to the kookaburra. After lunch, with champagne, we went back up the hill to the hotel, everyone grabbed a cuppa and we had our meeting.
Heather still had the last couple of pages to go. They happened to be the pages where William Thornhill is sitting on the verandah of his house looking out at the cliffs opposite. The description of the cliffs, as the rest of the story, is beautiful and Heather read it aloud to us as we gazed on the same view. We then got on with a discussion of the book, all had enjoyed it and the score was a respectable 3.6.
We put in our reading suggestions for next year. See the Reading 2010 tab for the list. Those who have not given me their choice can email it to me, or wait until the December meeting.
We don’t usually have a meeting in January because folk are away and this year it would be on New Year’s Day so we’ve determined to go on an excursion to the movies at Glenbrook – regardless of what film is on! The night we have chosen is Friday 8th January 2010. We also decided to have dinner at the Indian restaurant down there.
The meeting over, we said goodbye to the day trippers and Catherine, Trish, Heather, Mary and I piled into Mary’s car and headed off for St Albans via the ferry. En route we stopped at a tiny little cemetary. They seemed to be a healthy lot; even in the mid to late 1800s the people were living into their 80s, 90s and even one to 100.
Finally we arrived at the Settlers Inn. We’d booked two rooms with the hotel needing to put an extra bed in one of the rooms. This seemed to be a bit of a challenge for the staff but finally we were shown to a couple of cabins out the back of the lovely old 1830s Inn. Drawing our names out of a hat, we decided on who was sleeping where and I ended up in Cabin 6 with Heather.
We had a drink in our room before going across to the Inn for dinner. The menu didn’t look real great initially, there were no vegetarian or even chicken dishes on the menu and I thought I was stumped but when I asked about getting veggie something I was offered goats cheese tart which turned out to be very very tasty.
Waiting for our meal we were joined by two French men, Jean-Paul and Christophe, who ended up joining us for our meal. Everyone we met asked what we were doing there and we’d tell them about reading The Secret River. One of Jean-Paul’s children had had to read it for school so he knew about it. Later we were joined by an aboriginal man, Colin, who had also read it. Colin told us that the place that Jean-Paul is leasing is where Blackwood’s place was!!
Back in our room we had more wine and chocolte, chatted before bed. Mary and Catherine were up early and out for walks early the next morning but Heather and I must’ve slept until 8:30 or so and were last ones up.
We had a breakfast of leftover picnic bread, salad and cheese then went for a wee walk across the river from the Inn. Saw a lovely cottage, Price Wilson Cottage, which looked idyllic. We ended up stopping in Windsor for fish and chips (the fish shop there is famous) and in an absolute downpour checked out the local markets. Then we headed south and back home.