We made the decision to move to Ballarat on a warm summer’s day in January. Mr BG had just gone for an interview and we were sitting at Cafe L’Espresso thinking it wasn’t such a bad place to be. The streescape was pleasant, everyone seemed friendly and there was the much vaunted promise of fast rail so I could commute with ease to Melbourne. I did warn Mr BG that from my experience of as a library student at Ballarat Uni that it did get cold, but he laughed it off. He was from South Gippsland, and well accustomed to the cold.
When we finally did move, after delays in being told he got the job, finding a place to live that was walking distance to his work and the railway station and had central heating, as well as leasing out our home in Melbourne, it was the end of May.
On moving day, we discovered the electricity wasn’t connected as per my online request. So the first few days of unpacking had to be done by daylight, then heading to Geelong to stay a couple of nights with my parents. These first impressions were definitely unfavourable, as the days were growing shorter,the trees were dull and bare and the sun was nowhere to be seen.
As a result, we have measured our time in Ballarat by winters, our first season we experienced. The much vaunted rail was a bus service as works continued, it was hard to settle into a close-knit community, and I fell pregnant! So Master BG was born, an Easter baby, at the end of March. As a nervous first time mum, I was terrified of driving anywhere with him, and so we walked everywhere for months. We even walked him home from the hospital in his pram!
And that was then I began to appreciate the beauty of Ballarat. I had missed Ballarat’s best season of autumn, the leaves turning, the crispness of the air in the clear mornings, the glorious warmth of the afternoons and the light, that most precious light, with that beautiful clear quality.
The kids swim in the fallen leaves and love the rustle underfoot as they walk to school. I peg out the laundry and see the leaves on our silver birches turning, the trees from next door becoming a vivid red, and hear the footy siren sound from the oval up the street, and I know autumn is my favourite season.