….. your blog’s name is mentioned in the Coolatai Bush Telegraph!!
It’s Friday so it’s the day for this Tree Changer to write something relating specifically to being in the country.
Coolatai is my local metropolis. (Coolatai is pronounced cool – a (as in the “u” sound at the beginning of umbrella) – tie). It’s located at the Centre of The Universe which happens to be in northern NSW (New South Wales), Australia for those of you who were uncertain. Wikipedia notes that we have 176 people in the town and surrounding. I’m not sure if that is correct but I have it from a local authority that there are 32 people who live permanently in Coolatai. It IS possible to do an exact census from the pub bar!
As you can imagine it’s not too big. There are 7 streets if you count the 2 main roads which intersect here. The names are descriptive – Back Lane, which runs at the back of the village and I think its called Hotel Street, it runs at the back of the hotel. And there is the Warialda Road which leads to…. did you guess – the township of Warialda!! And the Wallangra Road which leads to ….. surprise, surprise Wallangra!! It’s easy to get your bearings when the place names help you out – and the locals will too. They are all so ultra friendly.
There is the fabulous Wallaroo Pub where we all go on a Friday night and any other occasions which Di (the most lovely hostess you can imagine) can think up – royal weddings, horse races, Mothers and Fathers Days, Christmas, quilting shows, Sunday Roast day…. any excuse. Drop in for a beer or two. I love going in there and seeing little piles of money on the counter. You walk, order your drinks, give Graham $20, he puts the change on the bar and when you order another drink, he just takes the money from your pile of money. Everyone knows whose is whose!!
There is always laughter and stories flowing. They say the bush is dying but Coolatai is alive and well and I would say growing judging by the toddlers who are cruising around on the special afternoons.
Last year Di turned a memorable number. Her friends threw her a surprise party at the pub. Di wondered why Graham, her son and the publican, has made his bed when his girlfriend wasn’t even coming over!! (Sorry Graham – no secrets in Coolatai!!! xx).This was the only puzzling clue Di got.
The pool table becomes a big serving table as we all poured in with food to share and kids. There were kids galore. It was heart warming to see a strong community that is there for each other. As I noted in my shearing experience posts, Throwing a Fleece and The Shearers Dance (another “You Know…”), just what a hard time the men gave each other. The jokes and putting downs were hilarious, witty, clever, dry BUT…. when life got busy and serious, everyone was looking out for everyone else.
One day on the way back to Coolatai I had the trailer on the back of the car full of plants. The load shifted. The tarp (tarpaulin) started to flap. I was still moving to Coolatai and was coming from my ex home in Brisbane. I had my Indian style long skirt on, a thin strapped top and sandals. I didn’t look ready for the cattle yards or tying dirty ropes!! I got out to adjust my truckies hitches across the tarp. I was on a long straight stretch – one of those stretches where you go 1?0km, opps I mean stick to the maximum speed limit of 100 kms. You don’t stop on these stretches unless you need to. I was very touched when a man in a ute (the inevitable white country style 4WD ute (utility vehicle!)) pulled up to see if I was ok. I was but I was grateful for his concern. I would have been eternally grateful if I’d had a flat tyre as I can’t get the #(@#&(*@@!$~# nuts off the tyre! Gentleman – please feel free to help me change a tyre ANY time. Your muscles will be always appreciated – and your assistance! I admit I’m a tyre whoos.
Where was I?? Ah – lovely Coolatai. As well as the pub there is a church which I think is sometimes used, the Coolatai Hall which is used for everything (exercise classes, polling day, tennis days, playgroup, presentations…. anything). Next to the hall are the 4 tennis courts. There is a regular comp. Standard varies from lolly pop serves and crossed fingers for ball to go over the net (description based on me!!), to sizzling slammers. You can play with or without shoes or in crocs or holding a beer. Last year we all had to be careful of the plovers who chose to build their nest under the umpires seat on the edge of the court!! Cute little eggs!!
The multi purpose hall!!
There is the showground on The Common where the annual Coolatai Tractor Pull is held and various other events which pop up.
And last but not least is the Coolatai Bush Telegraph. This is just the best publication Three local women gather notices, jokes, ads, histories, birthday surprises, skeletons out of the cupboards and create this amusing newsletter. I love receiving it and devour its humour with laughs and smiles. Through here I put an offer to teach people Excel (I love Excel – its like painting a creation with technology). Only two people responded but yesterday we had our first lesson. It was fun to meet two new women and to share our skills and stories.
So, I feel I’ve made it to the top of The Universe now that I have been mentioned in the Coolatai Bush Telegraph!! An honour as to be included in this community is to be included amongst genuine people who know and care about their community. Everyone KNOWS their neighbours – their names, their kids names, theirs dogs names, their water system, the breed of their cows, their ute (It amazes me how everyone can tell 30 white 4WD utes apart – to me they are…. white utes. I struggle to tell the difference between a Subaru and a Holden let alone different models of white utes. When they are all caked in mud its even harder. Oh – I am sooo not into cars!! It’s almost embarrassing!! But I remember number plates and the colour of the car!!).
Neighbours here can be 5, 10, 15, 20 kms apart – but you still know them. If you have some excess in the garden you can put it various letter boxes along the road (the Warialda Road or the Wallangra Road!!) or into the pub. If you’ve got a cow stuck and you don’t know what to do – there’s always a neighbour. Need a lift – mention it to Graham. Lost a dog – both owner and finder contact the pub and reunite the lost pooch – or the finder just knows whose dog it is!! Earlier this year I lived in Valencia in Spain – a densely populated city. In two months I never met a neighbour there! My closest neighbour here is 2 kms away – I know them and their kids and grandkids and a couple of the dogs. Country is community. I’m glad I’m in the country!!
See ya lata mate!!!