Paradise has a name ... Riverbend


 

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Merry Christmas!

My 22nd Christmas at "Riverbend"! After more than fifty relocations across a dozen countries on four continents when the longest I ever stayed in one place was just under a year, I seem to have reached 'Journey's End' - or is old age slowing me down?

Retirement is not what it is cracked up to be. There were times in my high-pressure working life when I wished for nothing more than to be able to sleep in late and spend a day doing nothing. After fifteen years in retirement, I wish I were what I was when I wished I were what I am now (you may have to read this twice to understand what I mean!) However, even nostalgia isn't what it used to be. And why Nelligen? Well, perhaps here the transition from life to death is hardly noticeable. ☺

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Do not disturb!

Nelligen is one of those places that almost wishes not to be noticed. It invites passersby to take a Sunday afternoon nap with it.

It has a community hall that keeps one eye open just long enough to give tourists a chance to buy a few trinkets.

Trinkets such as a mug from the Sydney 2000 Olympics for just 10 cents. Selling something for 10 cents these days is like saying, "We want you to have this as a gift from us but we don't want you to feel bad about it, so give us a coin you forgot you had."

Nelligen feels like rest. Real rest!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Riverbend Paradiso


 

If you love movies, you love "Riverbend Paradiso"! Here you can choose from many hundreds of movies to watch after you have spent a warm and sunny day on the river or inside the "Clubhouse" by the pond on a day which is too hot and too sunny to spend on the river.

We have most of the classic movies (Humphey Bogart, Ingrid Bergmann, Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, Katharine Hepburn, etc.), many of the new ones and almost all of the Australian movies (Wake in Fright, The Castle, The Shiralee, Sunday Too Far Away, etc.) as well as many rare and foreign ones, not to mention the many documentaries and travelogues.

So come to "Riverbend Paradiso" and indulge your passion for movies!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What's in a name?



A certain Nelligen butcher had a wife by the name of Nell. Apparently, he did away with her and threw the body in the river. From time to time it would float to the surface prompting locals to exclaim, “Here comes Nell again”.

This is NOT the official version of how Nelligen got its name but it's as good as all the others because mystery still surrounds the origins of the town’s name. Colonial government policy at the time was to adopt aboriginal place names where possible. With no indigenous written language, however, European translation of aboriginal locality references was approximate at best.

“Nelligen” may be a corruption of an aboriginal term relating to its locality description, its function, a person, or perhaps of a dreamtime event. In the early years the town and its fresh water creek were spelt at different times: Nellican and Nellikeng.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Why Nelligen? Why not?

 


Some guests ask me why I retired at Nelligen, to which I reply, "Why not?" (I sometimes ask myself why I retired, full-stop, but that's a different story altogether.)

It all started in Canberra while I was still running my small computer consultancy Canberra Computer Accounting Systems and dabbling in tax and accounting work on the side. After I had solved a tax problem for a German friend, Tony Finsterer, for which I refused payment, he insisted that I stay at his weekend cottage at Nelligen.

For several months, I didn't find the time to drive to the coast. When I eventually did I had almost forgotten Tony's offer. Luckily, I didn't blink as I drove across the Nelligen bridge on the way to Batemans Bay and so spotted this tiny village nestled alongside the Clyde River.

I ask for directions to Tony's cottage at the General Store and was shown to # 21 Sproxton Lane across the river. (Tony has since died and his cottage has changed hands twice and is again for sale.)

The cottage was locked and Tony in Canberra. I phoned him and was told to look for the keys under the watertank and to make myself at home. Which I did and which set me on my own quest to find a little place in Nelligen.

At the time, Nelligen was a place forgotten even by real estate agents and nothing was for sale except a few empty building blocks. One such block overlooked the Clyde River from its location in Nelligen Place. I could imagine sitting there on the verandah and taking in the views. Which is exactly what a chap was doing just two blocks away. I walked up and asked if I could join him.

Soon we were not only sharing the same views but also memories of people and places we both had known as "Sandy" Sandilands and his wife Betty had also lived and worked on Thursday Island and in Rabaul in New Guinea. I felt at home at once! A few weeks later I was the proud owner of a block of land in Nelligen Place!

I wanted to build a beautiful little Classic Country Cottage. However, a retired public servant who occupied a small log cabin next to me did what public servants do: be a pain in the coccyx ! He objected to my building plans - TWICE! - on some obscure grounds. This delayed me long enough to find a much better place across the river. And that's how I came to buy "Riverbend"!

"Riverbend" had been auctioned in August 1992. I went to the auction as a spectator knowing that the reserve price was outside my range. It must have been outside everybody else's as well because it didn't sell. More than a year later, in November 1993, the owners accepted my much-reduced offer. The rest, as they say, is history!

(Oh, and I did go back to thank the public servant for objecting to my plans so that I could buy this much better and bigger and waterfront property. Last time I looked his mouth was still open!)

 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Take a trip on the Clyde




Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Random shots of Batemans Bay by Random Aussies




 

If this puts you off staying at Batemans Bay, we can always put you up at "Riverbend Cottage"! ☺

 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

 

Whether you've read Nietzsche or not, you may still want to join us to walk the road less travelled - Runnyford Road - from Nelligen down to the Princess Highway.

It's an easy 22 km on an unsealed but well maintained road which is very scenic as it winds through forest and open grazing land and across an old wooden bridge that rattles and shakes like an old steam train as it spans the little-known Buckenbowra River which flows into the Clyde.

From there it's just another 10 km to the Highway but if 12 km has been enough for you (remember Nietzsche? ☺), Padma can meet us by the bridge and, after some refreshments, drive us in air-conditioned comfort back to "Riverbend Cottage".

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A tale with a sting in the tail



 

Burg Thurston works at Batemans Bay's Innes Boatshed which has been a local landmark since 1955. There he made friends with a giant black stingray called "Nobby".

“Over time, the stingray got more confident”, Burg says. “Now I jump in, he shoos the other stingrays off and comes in and glides up my belly.”

"I loved to surf in the mornings and when I started working the morning shift I was often a bit anxious when I knew I was missing the waves. Then I realised, if my mind was always in the surf while I was working, I was going to miss what is right in front of me, which was the stingrays and how beautiful the boatshed was, and how good my job actually was.”

Did you yell 'Encore'? Well then, here it is:


Wherever you are and whatever you do, this film may inspire you to take your focus off what you haven't got and turn it to what's right in front of you.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nelligen. Who knows where the name came from?


ISBN 978-0-9751016-2-9

Nobody seems to know, not even my wife who usually knows everything! ☺

As Stuart Magee explains in his beautiful little volume of local history, The Rivers and the Sea, "the need for the place arose in the 1850s when Braidwood and its satellites such as Majors Creek, Araluen and Mongarlowe were up to their ears in the explosion of people and commerce surrounding the discovery of gold.

The movement of goods, people and information between Braidwood and Sydney was chancy and oh so slow. Depending on the weather, bullock trains might take three weeks or three months. Horse-drawn carriage or dray was usually quicker but limited in capacity and expensive. Down the mountain lay the very navigable Clyde and thence a 24-hour run by steamship to Sydney. There was, as I understand the historian Reynolds, some competition between Currowan and Nelligen as to which would receive Braidwood's blessing, and Nelligen won out.

So, in the 1850s, the town was laid out and the road from Braidwood was opened. And a tough road it was too. There is a number of old photos showing the grim results of teams of horses and bullocks going over the side of the Clyde Mountain road.

Nelligen boomed! Over the next 20 years there arose four pubs, two stores, a blacksmith, a bakery, a police station, a court-house, schools, churches and a post office, Above all was the terminal building of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company. If today you were to set up your picnic in that nice little park between the general store and the wharf, you would be smack in the middle of the 126 x 45 feet ISNC's jetty and store (oh, very well then, 38 x 14 metres). Twice a week the steamers plied between Nelliugen and Sydney, stopping at the far less consequential village of Batemans Bay on the way. The size of some of the paddle-steamers, and later screw-steamers, is astonishing. The Kembla, a paddle-steamer in use on the Clyde from 1861, was 183 feet long. The S.S. Moruya was 150 feet and 530 tons. The S.S. Allowrie was 180 feet. It ran aground on a mudflat in the river on one occasion and had to await the high tide to float it off. The last steamer to call at the Port of Nelligen was in 1952 - 99 years after the first."


But the goldfields centering on Braidwood started to run down, then the timber industry went into decline, and, Stuart continues in his little book, "after such a pivotal role in the development of the southern parts of the state, Nelligen has been deserted even by the highway and left to fend for itself.

All up and down the coast the faces of small towns are being tarted up and titivated by tourist-boards and enthusiastic councils. But Nelligen remains untouched and unimpressed by such progress. Not even the modern marvels of reticulated water and sewerage have imposed themselves upon it.

If I lived there I would hope not to see it change. But you sense it may just be resting after its great exertions and sooner or later some bright spark will again see it as the right place to do heroic things."
(reproduced with Stuart's permission)

There is so much more in this delightful book but I won't spoil your anticipation as I am sure your local Angus & Robertson has a copy of this enjoyable read!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A bit of everything


 

You may enjoy watching this short clip because you like fishing or Hobie kayaks or the Clyde River.

 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

There is NOTHING - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats at Riverbend Cottage

Click on image for a close-up of Rat and Mole

 

At Riverbend, we live a jolly life by the river. By it and with it and on it and in it. And if you've half-forgotten your "Wind in the Willows", let us quote you some more to get you in the mood:

`This has been a wonderful day!' said the Mole, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. `Do you know, I`ve never been in a boat before in all my life.'

`What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a--you never--well I--what have you been doing, then?'

`Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing-----about in boats--or WITH boats,' the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. `In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?'

At the end of which you may want to read the book again or watch it on DVD. We have them both.   ☺

 


Sunday, February 22, 2015

A quindecennial anniversary

 

It was Christmas 2000 and we'd just come back home after having listed "Riverbend" Cottage with the tourist office in town when the phone rang and a man's voice asked, "Is that Fisherman's Paradise and do you have a vacancy?"

I hesitated. Fisherman's Paradise? Yes, of course, that's the name under which we had listed the cottage with the tourist office.

"Yes, this is Fisherman's Paradise and, yes, we do have a vacancy", and, having detected a German accent, I added "Where are you from?"

"Same place you're from."

Touché!

And that's how Thomas Flock, his wife, and his sister became our first Cottage guests and "Riverbend" Cottage got started - although we no longer call it Fisherman's Paradise; it's simply Paradise!


Riverbend Cottage

has become even more affordable:
during our anniversary year we offer a
10% discount on every direct booking!

As for our first-ever guest, Thomas, if you read this, please join us in the celebrations by being our guest again. This time it's on the house - or rather, on the Cottage - see here.

 




Monday, February 16, 2015

We've just had a visit from two tax inspectors

 

No, they weren't from the Australian Taxation Office but from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs in the U.K., and instead of demanding money they paid us some - for staying at Riverbend Cottage on their trip around Australia.

Despite a less than favourable forecast, Elaine and Mike had three warm and sunny days. Even the weather dare not get on the wrong side of the taxman! ☺

And here are their guestbook comments:

"We must first thank the internet and Google as without them we would not have found Riverbend Cottage!

It has been a wonderful experience and we have really enjoyed the accommodation and beautiful grounds. The 'extras' provided for breakfast and the ice cream and wonderful soup and wontons made our stay even more special.

It was great to be able to chat to Peter & Padma and their welcome and friendliness will be something we will never forget. We have taken so many photos, we will have lots of reminders of our stay here.

We wish you both health and happiness for the future.

                                       Elaine & Mike
                                       Melton Mowbray U.K."

 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A $660 "Wolf Blass" Red Label bottle of wine

Johan and the Boys in Blue

 

Johan, our Dutch cottage guest at Christmas 2013, had a little too much "Dutch courage" on his last night out and got caught crossing the bridge on their way back to "Riverbend" - see here.

As he explained in the following message, today is the end of his 12-month good behaviour bond:

"Hi Peter and Padma, Today is worth a celebration: a year ago I was dragged before the magistrate to be sentenced to either a driving restriction and a fine, to go to prison for some time, or have a good behaviour bond imposed on me. After a $660 legal representation, the latter happened and I have survived the ordeal. On that evening in Batemans Bay I had my most expensive "Wolf Blass" Red Label bottle of wine of my entire life. Thanks for your support as well as your friendship. Kind regard, Johan"

Johan, the next bottle of red will be on the house and inside the cottage right here at "Riverbend", far away from the Boys in Blue.

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sometimes we even forget to fold the first tissue on the roll of toilet paper into a little triangle

 

Riverbend Cottage does not compete with establishments whose toilet seats are wrapped in cute little "Sanitized for your convenience" covers or who dull your senses with Muzak and the drone of air-conditioning ("air-conditioning" here means opening the window and letting the gentle breeze come in off the river).

Our TV reception is limited to the ABC, SBS, and WIN (however, you have a choice of hundreds of excellent DVDs - all without commercial breaks!) And there are plenty of books to read (you remember books, don't you? they are like DVDs with pages)

Once here, you may even relax enough not to miss your mobile because, guess what, it won't work here. However, we gladly take your messages on our phone or, if you're the President of the United States or some other important person who is totally indispensable to the running of the world, you can bring along your own laptop and log on to our FREE broadband WiFi.

Our guests from the city always enthuse about the air here. It's fresh and composed mainly of oxygen and nitrogen, unlike what they are used to. They fall asleep almost immediately, their bodies exhausted from the lack of carbon monoxide and lead they have come to depend on.

You are so close to the water's edge that for environmental reasons we had to build the modern bathroom a few metres away from the cottage (very romantic on a starlit night!) but don't worry, the short walkway between the Cottage and bathroom is covered in and you won't get wet on a rainy night.

It is quiet here and very peaceful and you're the only guest. Instead of having to listen to somebody else's snoring or be "entertained" by some ablution noise in the room next door, you may hear the occasional possum wander over your roof at night or be surprised by a little green frog looking at you from under the bathroom door.

All this sensory deprivation may come as a shock to you and we suggest that, as a rough guide, if your chronological (or mental) age is less than 30, you will probably lack the appreciation of being miles away from McDonald's and the sounds of an inf(t)ernal combustion engine.

To all you others and to those who want to recover their energy and rediscover themselves, please come and stay and stay long, sit quietly, breathe deeply, and listen to the river, to the birds, to YOURSELF!





Friday, January 23, 2015

Now you know why it's called "Riverbend"



Not your typical Breughel pastoral scene

 

 

With a good book on one side ...

 

 

... and a good wine on the other, you feel uplifted as you look downriver.

Let Riverbend work its magic on you and stop listening to the news and let the week go by.

When you get home and tune in again, you'll realise you've missed nothing, and are cured of the delusion that you need to stay current.

Welcome to the magic of Riverbend!

 



Sunday, January 4, 2015

"What a wonderful place to end one year and start another!"

 

So wrote our guest Vicki in our guestbook. And she continued:

 


"Lily - [that's her beautiful Border Collie] - and I have enjoyed ourselves beyond our expectations and it is hard to leave (I haven't got Lily in the car yet, so it may well be hard to leave.)

Thank you for the opportunity to stay here in such a special place, and for your hospitality and generosity.

May 2015 be a great year for you, and hopefully I will see you again some time during 2015."

 

Thank you, Vicki, for your kind words and we look forward to your next visit. A copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin will be waiting for you.