After 10 rewarding years this will be my last post about Bowen Cottage as I have sold it - lock, stock and smoking barrels! I hosted my last clients for the Australian Open Tennis and then it was time to pack up and shut the red door behind me. The day was tinged with relief and regret. It has been an extraordinary ride and I have hosted some wonderful clients (and the odd one who spoilt it for the rest). A decade is a long time in my business life. I seem to need to press the refresh button more often than most and each journey is always totally different.
|Sold to the highest bidder!|
The Cottage has been host to some special surprises including the wonderful humanitarian - Moira Kelly - 'fairy' godmother and legal guardian to the co-joined twins Trishna and Krishna (separated in a marathon 32 hour operation) and to her Iraqi born 'sons' both of whom have severely underdeveloped limbs due to chemical warfare. Ahmed - a quadruple amputee represented Australia in the swimming at the 2012 Paralympics. Extraordinary. The cottage was bursting at the seams with the girls, the sons and all the carers. It was a humbling experience. You can visit the websites by clicking either Children First Foundation and/or Global Gardens of Peace.
|From this to ....|
|To this - Trishna and Krishna with Moira|
|Ahmed at the 2012 Paralympics - and we think we have it hard|
And then there was another surprise with the stay of human rights lawyer, the beautiful Jessie Taylor who at the age of 27 when most are out disco-ing adopted a 14 year old Afghan 'boat person' Jaffar whom she had met when visiting a refugee camp in Indonesia. You can read their remarkable story here or watch the ABC Australian Story programme here. I encourage you to do both!
|Foster mother at 27 - Jessie Taylor|
And then there have been so many wonderful and loyal clients who have returned again and again - and again - to stay at their 'home away from home'. Many I have never met (they let themselves in, settled down and then departed with ne're a sighting from me - lucky them!)
|Nudge and Emmi guarding the front door|
We've had some special dogs with names to make you smile. There was Dyson (was he named because he hoovered up all his food - now I'll never know), there's been Polly and Winston (who replaced the beloved Angus), there's been Milly and Tommy and then there has been Crash whose been coming since he was just a young dog and his owners are devastated that this last visit was probably to be his last (age has caught up with him - and me!) Photos of 'man's best friends' have been sent regularly - usually featuring the cottage in the background.
|An etherial bride in the Cottage hallway|
We've had brides dressing to head off to their weddings, we've even had a wedding reception. We've had family Christmas celebrations, we've had 'the gathering of the clans' from all corners of the globe. There have been christenings, I don't think any wakes but ..... and then there have been those who have discovered the Cottage and just wanted to come back whenever they could.
|The late and great Santa Lucia who guarded the door in all our promotions|
My final clients seemed to sum it up so well "You should be proud of the way you gave visitors to Melbourne such a special place to stay. The cottage was always fresh. It was always a joy to walk into." And it was a joy to host such wonderful clients. Richmond Rambles will continue even though there will be a break but there are plans afoot (perhaps even walking tours of Richmond - Richmond Rambles!!) for the future. And so till then it is au revoir from Bowen Cottage. As Frank Sinatra would sing "Thanks for the memories". It's been a priviledge.