In April 2021, which seems like years ago, I went to Tumut in NSW. My youngest son and his two children were visiting my mother and as I hadn’t seen them for over a year, I thought I’d make the five hour drive north.
I thought I’d be back in Tumut within a month – Mum’s birthday is in June and I thought I’d at least go up to sing her a tuneless but enthusiastic happy birthday.
Alas, it was not to be. 2021, in case your memory doesn’t stretch back that far, was in a time we still considered to be ‘during the pandemic’. In 2022, with COVID deaths higher than they’ve been since the start of the pandemic – a seeming-decade ago in 2020 – we are considered to be living in ‘post-COVID’ times.
2021 was not a good year. We still had active COVID mitigation strategies in place – lockdown being one of them. I can’t remember all the lockdowns, but lockdown was one reason I couldn’t return to Tumut. There were, of course, others.
As we are now living in ‘post-pandemic’ times, travel is unrestricted. I had planned to head to Tasmania in late April, a place I hadn’t visited since early January 2021, but a car crash put paid to that plan. No one was hurt in said crash, apart from the car, but it meant no Tassie trip for me just yet 😦
While Tim has finished his treatment, been jabbed with the COVID vaccine for the 4th time, and had his flu shot, he is still not sufficiently recovered to travel long distances. I, however, felt it was safe for me to leave the state.
Yes, dear reader, I got out.
Mothers Day was as good a time as any for me to head five and a half hours north to see my mother. And my sister and brother, and uncle, and niece, and great neice and nephews.
I stayed in Tumba with my sister because Tumba is a town where things happen. The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is one of those happening things.
Saturday morning was cold. Icily cold. The thermometer inched towards 8C during the day, and then, having hit it, rapidly fell to near zero. You can imagine how cold it was as we headed out the door around 10am, rugged up beautifully. Deb made sure her gloves matched her beanie, channelling the spirit of our grandmother, who used to do the same in the 1950s and 60s (but never with a beanie). Nan would have been very proud of her.
Our first stop was at Forage (rhymes with porridge) for a hot chocolate and a wander around the market.
Mum arrived, the hood of her coat giving the impression she was off to the Arctic, and we wandered down to the creek which was looking decidedly autumnal, to engage with the sculptures.
Mum ditched Deb and I to have lunch with some of Deb’s friends, so I attended a workshop facilitated by Japanese sculptor Keizo Ushio who uses the mobius strip extensively in his sculptures. We made mobius strips with paper and then attempted to carve a bagel – I’d love to see how he does it using stone. You can see Keizo’s sculpture at Tooma if you’re in the area (we didn’t get down there, but I’m very keen to see it).
Sculptor Phil Spelman then led a tour of the Tumba sculptures and we learnt a lot along the way.
Together we are strong is a work gifted by the Denmark-based Denmark, New Zealand and Australian Friendship Society.
Jennifer Cochrane works with cubes. They fascinate her. Picture a cube rolling and you’ll see the movement and energy in this work.
Marcus Tatton is a New Zealander living in Tasmania, where chimneys dot the landscape. When a house burns down, they are generally the only thing that remain standing. This has inspired Marcus’s work.
I think this is one of my favourites. This is a piece of granite which is second only to diamonds in terms of its hardness. Takahiro Hirato, a Japanese sculptor, has hand carved and polished this arrowhead. It’s a truly gorgeous piece. The arrowhead sits on a basalt plinth.
This work by Phil Spelman certainly generated lots of discussion. It’s an abstract work with as many interpretations as people on the tour with us. Some see an ant, others see a bike, I see someone praying … that’s the beauty of abstract work. It doesn’t have to have just one meaning.
There are other sculptures in the area and I’m hoping to get to see them all eventually.
Off to Tumut on Sunday afternoon for a fabulous Mothers Day lunch with my brother and his family. There was so much food they came back for dinner. I must add they they provided all the food … Mum and I just had to turn up!
Later in the afternoon I caught the end of this beautiful sunset.
Monday morning and a quick visit from some kangaroos before I headed home.
It was great to catch up with family again after such a terrible year … let’s hope I can get back there within the next one.