Did you know that when you move to the country, things slow down and you have time to start kimchi projects and frolic about the town distributing sourdough starter to strangers? You’ll end up in one of those high-end country life mags wearing ‘distressed’ $500 R.M. Williams boots and other flowy country couture sipping on your Earl Grey whilst your child strangles, sorry, I mean hugs your organic pet goose named Heathcote, talking to the editor about the journal entries of your extensive home renovation that’s FINISHED.
You start to look younger too. The fountain of youth is in the sticks kids!
And there isn’t the potential to feel lonely at all.
We made the green change for relaxation, quietness, time to do ‘stuff’ and rear our offspring. We thought that all the renos to our home would be done in six months, inclusive of our derelict bathroom (please, pop round some time, it’s real special and gets better with age). A year on and we still have a patch of dirt out the back and the only change we’ve made is in the cottage where Paul used a lamp shade as a ceiling light and it looks super weird. I also thought that I would be taking a WHOLE year off work to tend to said offspring. Just me, the babe, our kombucha/sourdough starter/kimchi roadside stall/bongo playing year of freedom.
I didn’t know anyone when I moved to the bush, I was the crazed woman carving laps around the dirt tracks with my city slicker pram trying to get phone reception to Instagram a sunset…alone.
But our neighbours showed us what community was all about. Ray introduced himself with a box of Cadbury’s Milktray and told us how he in fact built our house. Our other neighbour Meg left a bouquet of garden veg and a little welcome note. Paul has made sure that he waves to every single human that walks/drives by.
So I’ve come to realise that if you don’t push yourself to be a part of your community in a regional area you’re gonna sink, unless you’re a recluse in which case you’re a pig in mud.
I went back to work four months after the babe was born, 90% out of necessity and 10% to end self-inflicted isolation. I’d moved from Melbourne, I was born in an inner city suburb where I was spoilt for choice and the realities of not being close to family, friends, latte art and Brunetti’s biscotti hit real darn hard.
Having the opportunity to go back to work was a saviour because I was meeting new people. My boss had two kids of her own so any baby drama I had, she was there for me, hints and tips at the ready. The other gals at my place of work were bubbly and fun, up for a chat and really quite animate about going out for wines. I heard about cool stuff going on like exhibitions, gigs and Ice Cream Socials latest creations because THEY DO EXIST out here. Plus it’s really nice to go to the toilet alone.
I have happily come to call Castlemaine a mini metropolis and not because half of the inner northern suburbs have moved here but because the culture of the town is absolutely thriving. Not only that, it’s welcoming and nine times out of ten, unpretentious. There are two swimming pools, three fancy restaurants, a hand full of bloody great cafes, three amazing art galleries, a cinema, an artist market, rad pubs, a hip winery and some really excellent folk living in all the cute houses that dot the town.
The community spirit is alive and well in the Goldfields region. The Castlemaine Farmers market is the best way to meet local producers http://castlemainefarmersmarket.org If I had the time I’d be up at the Old Gaol partaking in a stitch ‘n’ bitch session with the Fibre Faery https://www.facebook.com/Fibrefaerie
I’d brave open mic night at The Bridge Hotel with a Michael Bolton hit whilst my cat played the flute. https://www.facebook.com/thebridgecastlemaine or I’d just go see a bloody great band like The Felicity Cripps Band https://www.facebook.com/felicitycrippsband
In my own town of Newstead there is a community garden, swimming pool run by members of the community, a weekly community lunch, and an arts hub.... FOR THE COMMUNITY!!!!
The 'Maine has been a nice place to ease into country life. Some of the locals will roll their eyes reading this, or shake their fists and scream “Go back to where you came from”. Sorry/Not Sorry! Central Victoria is the Promised Land, promising good coffee, culture and sheep on grassy hilltops.
My I HEART GOLDFIELDS t -shirt is in the mail, stay tuned for photos.