For the last 20 weeks of the year, I will be taking a portrait of a person I know, meet or come into contact with. One portrait each week, one story each week.
Stephen and I met Iain, last week, in beautiful Katoomba as we were driving up to celebrate 3 years of our relationship.
I don't know how we managed to stumble across Iain, because we found him deep in the middle of Katoomba, manning the reception of a B&B he owned. Perhaps it was our strong sense of adventure that led us to him, or maybe it was just fate but whatever it was I'm glad it happened.
We were driving around Katoomba in the wee hours of the morning. It was cold and we were hungry but we didn't want to stop just anywhere, at some average cafe (where's the fun in that?). We wandered through the streets till we saw a quaint, little cottage that I immediately fell in love with. If you walked past it you wouldn't notice it due to the large foliage surrounding it, but for some reason I felt drawn to this place and wandering through the trees we stumbled across a hidden gem of Katoomba.
Walking through the doors, we were greeted by this man. It was early, it was cold and yet Iain had the energy of a child and his face lit up when we walked through his door. I felt like he was an angel, helping us lost travellers find our way. He gave us food, shelter and mind you the warmest open fire I've ever come across.
He spent the next hour telling us about his B&B. About how the 111 year old home (I knew I liked it for a reason) has always been used as a guest house. When he and his wife bought the home, 18 months ago, they found that the previous owner had filled the house with Ikea furniture and modern deco that didn't fit with the history of the house. Iain knew they needed to return this home to its original glory, and 18 months later they have achieved wondrous results. A beautiful guest house, with original antique furnishings and enough character that I felt like I could have a conversation with the walls.
Iain has worked hard, day and night, to keep this guest house alive and true. He spoke to us about all the interesting people that walk through his doors and all the stories he has heard from people over the months. I hope that Stephen and I were one of those 'interesting people'. If not, we definitely will be back to leave our mark on the place.
After we had our quick breakfast (nutella toast and croissants, yum), we said our goodbyes to Iain and were on our way. It's remarkable where an adventure can lead you. I look forward to meeting someone new next week. Thank you Iain for sharing your story with me