Re-kindle: Slow Living in the Dumaresq Valley

Rekindle: to excite, stir up, or rouse anew: to cause to begin burning again; ignite again

The ancient Greeks would drink a toast to Hestia, the goddess of the home and hearth, at the beginning and end of every meal, honouring the importance of coming together, of nourishing our body and soul before moving out into the world.

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Annabelle Hickson with fresh local cabbages. Pic C Weldon

The hearth of the home whether it be kitchen, fire or oven is steeped in lore and cultural value – and of course the kitchen has been traditionally a woman’s world. Certainly for me it’s where the unrelenting rhythm of the day is marked out in meal times – preparing, cooking and cleaning. With the pressure of hungry mouths to feed or deadlines to make or travel times to keep, the hours can literally eat up the opportunity to do what you love – to take the time to craft a meal with care, consciousness and creativity.

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Megan Trousdale (Odgers & McClelland Exchange Stores) and her divine spinach pie. Pic C Weldon

So it’s no surprise that a slow living Byron Bay reunion, a weekend away in the country with like-minded creative friends to glimpse writer (the dailys.com) and photographer Annabelle Hickson’s “life well-lived in the country”, would be so compelling. Her gorgeous images of soft white light falling wistfully through old French doors, tin jugs filled with faded flowers, gums and grasses and campfire cooking simple and rustic were enough to have us travelling miles to be there. But more than that, it was the opportunity to connect, to rekindle friendships, to enjoy good company and great conversation, and to refine our photographic craft.

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The wonderful Lean Timms artfully shaping the freshly made bagels she made for breakfast. Pic C Weldon

Sometimes a meal just artfully falls together; and this was the case with the preparation of Saturday brunch, unfolding under the direction of Lean (@leanandmeadow),  and assisted by Natasha (@hunting_and_gathering) and Clare (@slowdiaries). From the early hours stoking the fire in the wood burning stove, the food unravelled slowly and with natural ease, each element of the meal building, layer by layer, to finally reveal a fully laden table: a symphony of colour, texture, taste, of shade and light, a celebration of loveliness. It was, to all accounts, picture perfect.

Soft bagels with cream cheese and olive oil spread, salt-cured barramundi, warm citrus salad and spiced coffee. Pic C Weldon

Once out of the camera’s view we all dived into the still life to touch and taste and experience; spilling the cream in the passing from one hand to the other, missing the plate with the delicious drips of the warm citrus salad, and slopping the linen tablecloth with spiced coffee not-so-deftly poured from an enamel saucepan into tiny enamel cups. And laughter; so, so much laughter.

Download the “Weekend with the Dailys” ebook of this inspiring weekend featuring stories, recipes and more. Don’t make a road trip without it.

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TOP (L-R) Natasha Roberts, Luisa Brimble MIDDLE Annabelle Hickson, Megan Trousdale, Caitlin Melling, Rae Fallon, Clare Yazbeck, Cecille Weldon FRONT Lean Timms, Hannah Mccowatt.

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