Flowers and fires

The weather on Saturday was gorgeous and Alex was free of tennis, so we took a day trip up into the Blue Mountains. Rather than the motorway, we drove via Richmond to the Bells Line of Road, winding our way up past fruit stalls closed for winter and tiny hamlets selling apple pies and bric-a-brac.

We stopped at a country market outside of Kurrajong, a CWA Hall serving meals while old folk had stalls of cakes, jams and cleaning products. 
I had only been this route once before, many years ago on a drive from Marsfield to the Parkes Radiotelescope for a meeting. This was a first for the other two.
We pulled into the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah, joining a crowd of smartly dressed wedding guests. In our much more casual attire we admired the spectacular views across the mountains from the platform at ths visitors centre, wandered the rock gardens of succulents and proteas, listened to the sound of waterfalls, azed up at the giant girth of the Californian redwood.
A few rhododendrons and camelias were in flower, along with a field of daffodils that triggered memories of childhood.
The gardens are quite lovely and very extensive and I would be delighted to visit again. 
We continued on from the gardens intending to loop around to return home via Leura. 
As we drove we passed through the devastation of last summer’s bushfires. Though green shoots clung to the branches of the blackened and otherwise denuded eucalypts, the overall scene was of desolation. Hillsides lay bare, the sandstone exposed. It was truly a scene of the apocalypse. 
Leura was busy with day tripping tourists. We walked the main street, bought pastries from a bakery, a Harry Potter door mat from Geekdom. Josophan’s chocolate shop was the most expensive distraction, an ice cream, hot chocolate and more. 
Then home to clean up the mess of the dog, a brief escape from the routine but not its consequences.