Hello everyone! It seems like months since I've been here with you. I missed writing my blog but I was so busy doing nothing, I didn't have time to post while I was on the road. And I guess that deep within me I felt I was collecting bits and pieces to share with you later on when I had the chance to think about it all. I really needed a holiday and I've come back tired but reinvigorated and motivated to keep the blog going.
Tricia and I met in Tamworth. She travelled up on the train from Sydney; I drove down and we met when the train arrived. For those of you unfamiliar with Australian towns, Tamworth is noted for being the country music capital of our nation. There were a few cowboys in ten gallon hats and a huge golden guitar and, of course, lots of country hospitality.
Here is Megan, wrapping my items.
We overnighted in Tamworth and travelled out to meet Megan and Duncan at the Odgers and McClelland Exchange Store in Nundle the next morning. The long and winding road leading to Nundle is an easy drive through rolling hills, passing a few isolated homesteads. I couldn't quite believe it when I set eyes on the store. It was exactly as I'd seen it in photos, an ageing timber building that you could imagine people from a different time shopping at. We walked inside and there she was - Megan embraced me like we were old friends, I introduced Tricia and we met Duncan, who had been busy packaging up parcels being sent out all over Australia.
I love finding people who live where they want to live and make a living right there in their chosen place. It's not an easy thing to do but Megan and Duncan have built up their customer base by delivering quality goods as reasonable prices. Their family is now reaping the benefits of their decision and all the hard work that followed it.
And then we started looking around. Oh my! What a place. The shop is full of the tools of household production. Cleaning brushes from Germany, enamel cook ware, cast iron pans, beautiful ceramic bowls, soaps, balms, all sorts of washing up kit, tea, tea making paraphernalia, jams, sauces, brooms, buckets and gardening tools. I would like to tell you I admired it all and left, but in fact I took many, things with me. I did take only what I'll use though and everything I have will make my work here easier or more enjoyable.
One of the many reasons I love this shop is that when you're walking around, browsing through the items there, you actually feel like you're in a really old store and you're a part of it. The shop is 125 years old, it's not been renovated, painted or changed. There are no computers, no modern till or cash drawer. My purchases (or a list of my bartering) was written out by hand on a piece of paper. The store is an artefact from bygone days and truly authentic, right down to the squeaky floorboards and hatch to the cellar.
And look at this lovely customer walking around. Yes, it's Tricia. She enjoyed the experience as much as I did.
If you're new to my blog, I'd like you to know that I don't take on the many advertisers who ask me for space with the promise of dollars. I go instead with a select few merchants and primary producers who deal in the things I use in my home. They're good quality, usually hard to find, and they last day in and day out, helping me keep house in the way I choose to. I never recommend a business unless I know I can truthfully say I use their products and I'm happy with them.
Here they are, our littlest loves - Johnathan and Alanna, with Tricia.
The following day we were in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. I had a wonderful time with my sister and her family. I saw two of my four nephews, David and Danny, met Alanna, Danny and Laura's daughter, for the first time, and reacquainted myself with little Johnathan. He's growing fast and is a real cutie. While I was driving back I reflected on my visit to Tricia's and realised, yet again, how fortunate I am to have the family I have. To celebrate The Family, yours and mine, I've included this lovely song by the Avett Brothers, which was one of the many I listened to on my trip.
Solo driving is a wonderful way to stir up memories and to discover more about our beautiful land. I'll do another post about the trip soon because I had a lot of time to think as I drove those country roads, and I have more photos to share with you.
And then I arrived home, drove in our driveway, beeped the horn and Hanno walked out. We hugged and over his shoulder I could see our garden. I was sure we'd lose some plants because of the very hot weather that had come too soon. But there it was - cosmos blowing in the breeze, lush parsley, lettuces and green onions. Rows of bok choy, cucumbers almost bursting out of their skins and enough growth on the cherry tomatoes to sink a ship. It was a wonderful way to be welcomed back home. And the best part was that I was missed and I missed being here. So that's it for me for another year. I doubt I'll travel anywhere so far away again in the coming 12 months and I doubt I'll be in another shop for a long time. I've had enough for the time being and enough is all anyone could want.