Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Fit for a King

Sometimes you walk into a café, and it fits. You know, like coming home.
That’s how I felt when I first visited the newly opened King Henry Arts Café on the mountain.

I’ve been a regular there ever since.

Built in 1902, the old cottage interior has been tastefully renovated inside and out.

Delightful old furnishings grace the interior.

 A cosy table for two - lucky number 13

 The man himself, HRH…

The ambience is warm and welcoming, and the cottage wears its antiques well.

There is even a stunning four poster bed in a room off the front entrance that would make anyone feel like a royal sleeping in it, I’m sure.

Outside on the wide, wooden deck, comfortable bench seating overlooks peaceful gardens.

A path lined with graceful, lush tree ferns that winds its way down into a secretive forest gully to a shaded winter creek hidden below tall trees.

One can almost expect a lyrebird, echidna or wallaby to pass by at any moment.
And, if you sit awhile, you might be rewarded for your patience.

The grounds are a wonderful place to explore and delight in sights, sounds, scents and textures.

Venture across the bridge to a magical, forested world...

Even esteemed four legged visitors have a stately font to drink from.

Back at the café, the large open corner window offers an enticing glimpse into the “engine room” filled with gleaming wares and machines at the ready for brewing that perfect cup of choice.

The friendly staff are there to greet and seat with a chilled glass of water while viewing the menu for breakfast, lunch, Devonshire tea or coffee and cake.

To me, the test of a good coffee is a flat white - no sugar.
If a well made coffee has correctly heated milk, then it’s sweet enough. Taste the full bodied flavours – without the sugar mask.
That goes for espresso too. There should be a hint of caramel, but never be “bitter”.
At King Henry, the head barista is always on point.  She knows coffee.  Has an affinity with it and builds a great coffee.  Fresh roast, grind and milk.  Correct dose.  Never burnt/bitter.  Never cold.  Just right.  Consistently.

And, when a barista samples their brews throughout the day, you know you’re in good hands.  Always something to look forward to.

On Saturday, hubby and I decided to drop by for breakfast.

I drew a sigh of contentment as I sat in now familiar surrounds on the deck.
Cradling our kick starter coffees, we relished the still cool, crisp mountain air - a welcome morning respite before the heat of the day.
We enjoyed a well prepared, cooked and served breakfast.  Each mouthful was savoured.

The old saying goes, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”.

Well, we dined like a king - and queen - and were comfortably replete for the rest of the day.

We really are fortunate to have wonderful places such as this so near to home.
A restful haven to sit a while, replenish the senses and recharge the batteries.

I hope this café does well and draws visitors from near and far. A royal reward for all of the hard work and passion which the owners, and staff, have devoted to it.

Long live the King!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Dirty Harry

Meet Harry the Hare.

The first time you saw him, he was sewn but still, flat and lifeless, waiting for me to fill him with puffy soft clouds.

As I padded him, bit by fluffy bit, he came alive in my hands.

His long ears were wired, coloured and jauntily placed.
I used warm wooden buttons for his moveable joints.
And, I gave him a soft little cotton tail.

At 97cms (38 inches) from toes to tips of his ears, he sat comfortably upon my knee as I sewed for him a final flourish of fluttery lashes.
His character was complete.

Or, so I thought.

Late one night, while I slept, Harry snuck outside.

In the morning, I awoke to find him sitting on my studio table - just as I’d left him the night before.
But, as I entered the room, I gasped at his appearance.
He stared at me, as I stared at him - damp, dishevelled, dirty and... defiant.
“Well, haven’t you had quite the time, good sir”.

By the look of him, he’d traipsed through muddy puddles as he explored the big wide world of tall, tall trees and thick forest floor under the cover of darkness.
Creatures of the night must have looked upon this strange and unusual being with their large, round eyes wide in wonder, and suspicion, as he passed them by.

He'd nearly got the stuffing knocked out of him - from racing past sharp brambles, tumbling over slippery logs and sliding down mossy banks, no doubt.
I had to hurriedly stitch his torn seams and patch him up to make him better again.

And he is.

Although now, I think he has an air of shabby worldliness that he didn’t have before, with his ever so distressed countenance and a kind of knowing in his eyes.

Seeing as Harry is a curious hare - and to discourage him from wandering about on his own - I’ve decided that, if he behaves, he can come out with us sometimes.

So, keep a lookout for him - you never know when he’ll appear in photos on future posts...