It’s 8 o’clock on a Sunday as the steady stream of locals collect their morning paper from the only shop open on Gaskill Street. Country music, from a CD player positioned under a chair at the door, welcomes them. I take in the weekend routine high up on my B&B veranda that is wider than the Sydney semi I usually called home.
I’m in Canowindra, (Ca-noun-dra), a classic NSW country town in the Central West. It’s a place where a man, once from Caloundra (FNQ), captured the heart of a dental nurse and went on to pull teeth there for more than four decades. They had eight children, my husband included.
It’s been a long time since the Quills lived there but the connections remain strong. And as fortune has it the family home was sold to a motelier and available for holiday letting. It was booked out last weekend so we stayed on the main street at The Old Vic, an amazing building that originally served as a convalescent home.
I’ve only been to Canowindra a handful of times but each visit has been truly memorable. Our wedding being the highlight which saw 100 Sydneysiders making the four-hour journey round golden canola fields, cattle, sheep and wheat to party up in a tin shed surrounded by vineyards.
This time, the celebrations were for a significant birthday but my favourite part was catching up with artist, Melissa Barber. Melissa and I met once some 13 years ago but in true country-style, she and her family welcomed us into their home. Our children, who are coincidently aged days apart, took up like old friends, so while the crazy four ran about, Melissa and her husband fed us great conversation and the most amazing cake.
Her creations are even more delicious on canvas. Her current work in progress is of her eldest daughter’s face when she was a toddler. It’s one we won’t see hanging in her virtual gallery: http://www.melissabarber.com/ so such a privilege to see.
Filled with too much cake and a handful of lavender from their garden, we finally made our goodbyes and walked a country mile back to town – along the Swinging Bridge, past the friendly horses in the paddock, and along side Finns Store of coffee, local wine and gifts, to the main street where not a lot goes on, but a lot has.
A great start to the school holidays.