• Carly Rae

The Castle on a Hill

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Recently, I went on holidays to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's second home in South Australia. Their home lies between 100 of acres of countryside and the beautiful aqua, Indian Ocean. As we drove onto the property, we could see the purest blue water I have ever seen, a colour that I thought could only exist in a pack of Crayola markers. To add to the beauty of the scenery, kangaroos bounded along beside the car leading us to the top of a hill, which sat the most magnificent home I’d ever set eyes upon. As we turned into the dirt driveway, there were huge purple Agapanthus perfectly lined up opposite each other as if they had been planted for a coronation. The house was so big that it slept 30 people and had wonderful views of the countryside or the ocean from every vantage point. There were grand rooms filled with the latest mod-cons that accommodated for leisure, entertaining, and fine dining. There was also a games area with basketball hoops, table tennis, dartboards, and a television bigger than my whole living room wall. As far as I was concerned this wasn’t a house; it was a castle.

After the grand tour, we were then shown our quarters, however, instead of staying in the castle, we were put in a little cabin 50 metres from the house with a bedroom and little living area for guests. Despite its size, it had everything we needed: a kettle, fridge, sink and small bathroom. The living room was so tiny that it could only fit a table for two with a couple of chairs.

When I looked out the window, I could see the castle sitting imperiously on the hill. Suddenly I felt a gloomy feeling come over me. I was turning 40 soon and I had anticipated owning my own home, having a permanent job and being financially stable. These modest aspirations now seemed totally out of reach in the shadow of this huge home. However, as the days went by, my feelings would change.

Every morning as the sun would rise over the hillside the kangaroos would hop across the lawn, followed by my nieces and nephew, who would run down from the big house to the little cabin. Once there, they would excitedly chat with my three girls, play card games, and play music for hours. I found it fascinating that they would all rather cram into the little cabin than hang out in the big house. Personally, I loved having everyone there and seeing the cousins building their relationships, as they didn’t see each other very often back in Sydney.

One day we decided to drive into town to see a movie. The temperatures were soaring into the 40’s and we wanted to find refuge from the heat. The kids all wanted to travel with me in my old SUV, instead of my brother in law’s brand-new Ford Ranger pickup truck. We travelled exactly like we always did, music blaring whilst singing our hearts out all the way into town. We got lost along the way, and blasted Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill,” that fittingly became our theme song of the holiday.

Over the next few days, the kids continued to spend all their time in our miniature cabin instead of the castle on the hill. It made me realise that whether you live in a castle or a cabin, if love lives behind the walls, money, size or your age doesn’t really matter.

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