The Mill, Pale Moonlight – click any image for full size
Friends Maxie Daviau and Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla) recently gave their Homestead region of The Mill a makeover and invited Caitlyn and I over to take a look as it opened to the public once more.
The last time we visited, spring was very much in the air; now with the northern hemisphere settling into the winter months, The Mill has taken on a snowy look to match. Several of the familiar elements which have marked the region are still there: the sailing boat off the coast; the windmill; the shed, cars and motorbikes; the little tram track and tram. But there is also much to see that is new.
With snow lying heavy on the ground, and in places drizzling down from the sky, the time of year is immediately apparent. The trees stand frosted, some with boughs naked under the sky, others with leaves frozen and golden under the pale sunlight. Here and there the passage of vehicles and feet have churned the snow and brought forth the ground beneath, giving rise to sandy tracks across parts of the landscape.
The lighthouse still stands up on a hill, but the keen-eyed may note it now sports a new stripped paint finish, and the keeper’s house has gone from its base. Perhaps the keeper now lives in the little stone cottage further down the slope from the lighthouse. If he does, the zip line down from the side of the hill might offer a quick route to the tram-car!
A farm with a chalet-style house sits towards the middle of the region. It’s a place where Christmas preparations are clearly in hand, although the cats are more content to spend time outdoors despite the snow, keeping watch on the horses. Nestled in the hills to the east of the lighthouse sits a villa which, despite looking like it might prefer the sun-kissed summers of the Mediterranean, offers visitors another seasonal greeting. Down the eastern slope from it, a frozen bay offers the chance for ice skating – don’t worry about the polar bears; they seem more curious than threatening!
For those who prefer a memory of summer, the beach to the north-east of the region remains sandy and free from snow. Gulls wheel, kites fly – but I think the wind keeping them aloft may well carry the same chill from the surrounding mountains as is felt by the rest of the land, so a beach walk may still require sweaters and coats!
Just over the dunes from the beach, the local pier is open for business, offering hot drinks to warm hands and insides, a selection of nibbles for the hungry, and places to sit down and watch the world go by. While overhead nearby, a hot air balloon offers a perch where watchers can observe the comings and goings below them.
The Mill has always been beautifully photogenic, and this winter makeover is no exception. With trams, zip lines and sleds to ride, places to sit and cuddle or contemplate, spots indoors and out, it offers something for everyone looking for a little wintertime wandering.
- The Mill (Pale Moonlight, rated: Moderate)