A birthday present, like all gifts, can be inspired. And in turn it can inspire. Gifts of experiences can be enjoyed, remembered and savoured for years.

Celebrating 80
Celebrating 80

My husband, John, turned 80 a month ago. Our family gave him an inspired birthday present. A voucher for a mini-holiday came in a card. The voucher entitled him to two nights for two people at the wonderful Inn Mahogany Creek, near Mundaring in Western Australia. The package included dinners for two on two nights.

One of several 80th birthday celebrations
One of several 80th birthday celebrations

I am lucky my husband chose me to be the other person to share his present! That way, I also enjoyed the experience without even having to turn eighty. Hopefully, my turn will come!

We spent a couple of days in the hills of the Darling Scarp, an hour’s drive from home. Without the prompting of the birthday present, we might not have thought to investigate the area ourselves. We’d driven through  many times when my sister, Elizabeth Worts and Peter lived in Dowerin. And I’d been to the places before, but John hadn’t because he lived in the country most of his life.

We explored the little towns and villages near Mahogany Creek. Mundaring. Chidlow. Sawyers Valley. Glen Forrest. Parkerville. The John Forrest National Park. We walked. We talked. We ate wonderful food in the old inn building, sitting by a log fire by candlelight, watching the rain running down the windows.

John and I shared childhood experiences. How our parents used to take part in the ritual of the ‘Winter Sunday Afternoon Drive’. How we enjoyed being with our families, perhaps singing in the car, walking around different destinations. My mother always brought a freshly baked cake.

In summer, my family’s destination was the beach. But in winter, we drove to the dams and weirs and waterfalls. We sometimes picnicked at Mundaring Weir. Dad always knew when the water was about to overflow. When it happened, the overflow was spectacular.

Walking over the top of the weir was part of John's birthday present
Walking over the top of the weir was part of John’s birthday present

The dam was later built higher. With the new walls and decreased rainfall in Western Australia, it is unlikely we will ever witness another overflow of the Mundaring Weir. The dam storage for the Perth metropolitan area this morning was 25.1% capacity

On our little holiday, John and I pondered over our leisurely meals and while we walked and drove. We wondered why we had not thought to explore more locally as we grew older. We travel and get to know nooks and crannies in other countries other parts of Australia. It seems odd we haven’t gone out to see what is so close to home.

As a result of John’s birthday present

  • We have decided to spend more time exploring places within a few hours drive of home. We will revive the ‘Winter Sunday Afternoon Drive’ ritual.
  • Treat ourselves to more mini-breaks
  • Go on train trips to Kalgoorlie and Bunbury and places in between

Thanks again everyone involved! for wonderful birthday present and the inspiration to enjoy more experiences.

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10 replies on “Birthday present inspiration”

  1. I enjoyed this. I remember when Mundaring Weir did overflow one year when I lived over there. It’s a beautiful area, and as you say, so many lovely walks and places to explore. I like the idea of you taking train trips, doing Sunday afternoon drives, having picnics. When I went over to Perth, Geoff and I had some lovely bush walks, picnics, camping trips, around Perth and further afield. They were our happiest times.

    1. Thanks, Christina. I think I’ve taken Perth and its surroundings for granted far too much over the past ten years or so. I’m really looking forward to being more pro-active about arranging mini-holidays. I’m a bit surprised you have seen the Weir overflow. I thought it stopped many years ago.

  2. A couple of years ago we met friends in Toodyay for a Sunday lunch. That was a 70 km drive west from home for us and a 70 km drive north for our friends. We lunched and coffee’d and wandered around the town and had a wonderful time – we all said it was like a mini holiday we were taking together!!

    1. Lovely story, Elizabeth. That’s how some days turn out, I think. We’ve been a bit slow to get ourselves organised. But now we are looking forward to doing much more while we are still both fit and active. Can’t wait for our next adventure with you and Peter in Bridgetown for the Winter Festival this weekend.

  3. I love it when something so “simple” can shake life up a bit. Nothing drastic, just new resolutions to have fun and enjoy the nice things life can offer.
    So glad John had such a special birthday (and that you both reap ongoing positives).

    1. John and I are blessed to have such a wonderful family. Thank you, Claire dear, for making us both feel so special. And thank you again for the gift of a ‘shake-up’into a new way of thinking about ourselves and the world.

  4. A lovely couple of days. I always enjoy driving through Mundaring and Sawyer’s Valley every week on my way to work. It is lovely to see the diverse flora at the different times of the year. Hope you enjoy your winter drives. Am envious!!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. We did have a couple of unexpectedly lovely days thanks to our family. And such a boost when we thought we were getting old. We are blessed.

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