Bella’s Lullaby is the name Bella (BellaSwan Blackheart) has given to her Homestead region design I had occasion to visit in June, courtesy of another pointer from Shawn Shakespeare.
A quiet, natural setting of two main islands surrounded by off-region hills and embellished with a subtle and fitting sound scape, this is a delightfully tranquil setting that sits easy on the eye and most likely will soothe troubled nerves.
The larger of the two islands is home to a variety of trees scattered across its low form – Scots pine, fir, oak, linden, and so on, giving it a temperate feel. Between the trees, and occasionally shaded by them, is a smattering of small buildings – cabins, sheds, Tuscan style house – that give the suggestion this may once have been a farm smallholding, but which has now become a retreat of some kind.
Nor do the trees or buildings dominate the island; there is plenty of open grass where the young shoots of the rapeseed plant (which tend to be called by their Japanese name nanohana) freely grow, giving a sense of open space and room to wander and breathe.
The smaller of the two islands sits to the west, separated by a shallow channel marked by rocks that rise above the water, and by snakeweed and water moss. Devoid of trees, it is home to more nanohana and grass, curtains of shrubs partially lining the low hump of its pate like hair on an old man’s head.
This smaller island is dominated by an old warehouse unit – what role it might once have served now lost, although the passing trawler suggests that perhaps, once upon a time, it may have had something to do with local fishing. Now it sits as another isolated retreat, partially furnished, a little (static) boat with outboard motor sitting at the dock apparently the means to travel back and forth to the large island.
The southern end of this smaller island forms a slender finger, edged by rock, a place where the nanohana gives way to poppies and daisies and other meadow flowers that offer a splash of colour to the island and which wash around the feet of the oblate water tank atop its sturdy tower.
There are a couple of tiny islets that also make up the setting. One is a flat-backed slab of rock, is home to a small lighthouse; the second is a little more robust, a rocky table with its own sandy-shale beach. In difference to the rest of the region, this little corner sports palm trees that grow alongside what appears to be an old rail carriage long ago separated from its bogies and converted into a cosy two-roomed shack.
These two southern islets are overlooked by the region’s main landing point (although this is not enforced), sitting on a square deck built out over the shallows surrounding the main island.
Close by is a sign that draws on motto of the Baltimore Grotto: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints (the motto itself continuing Kill nothing but time), itself a variation of a phrase from the “Leave No Trace” philosophy of naturalist all over the world. It’s a perfect sentiment by which to start an exploration of the region.
From the landing point, a rough track runs north between several of the island’s little buildings to the Tuscan style house. It’s a natural way to start explorations, although the cabins either side of the path are liable to tempt feet away from it.
Not that this is a bad thing – there really is much to discover here without the region feeling an any way overcrowded. As such, roaming freely (if under the watchful eyes of the local cats!) is the best way to proceed.
From landing point to old ranger’s tower, and from water tower to east side patio, Bella’s Lullaby has been beautifully crafted to offer a place to explore or to sit and enjoy company and comes rich in opportunities for photography.
- Bella’s Lullaby (Appletor, rated Moderate)