I never updated you on how our weekend away in O’Connell panned out.
We went away for our second wedding anniversary 2 weekends ago. Due to my advanced planning skills and forethought, all we’d really decided upon was that we’d like to get out of the city for a while. We found a place on the internet advertising a a “mud farm cottage” in a village near Bathurst called O’Connell. I was quite excited about the prospect of visiting a working mud farm, as I’ve always been interested in mud and it’s production. Emma was quick to pick up that the cottage was mud, not the farm. Not nearly as interesting, but probably more relaxing.
The drive over the mountains to Bathurst took a while but we were treated to a beautiful sun set and thunderstorm in the mountains above Lithgow. We found the farm reasonably easily, about 25km on the Mountains side of Bathurst.
I’ll never forget pulling up at the cottage and walking inside. The cottage is surrounded by a flower garden with a predominance of lavender. Susan, the owner of the farm, has hung lots of dried flowers on the walls in the cottage and placed vases of living flowers in all the rooms. The smell was so good, and so homely when we walked in. My mother used to dry flowers on the walls of the brick farm house in Temora where I lived as a youngster. Smell is a funny thing…
The cottage is a beautiful old settlers shack built as the first white settlers moved over the mountains onto the Bathurst plains. Originally it was a two room pressed earth dwelling, but an internal kitchen and bathroom have been added. It’s 6kms outside O’Connell at a place called Bloomington Hill. There is nothing around but rolling hills, farms, and blue-tongue lizards. You can see the stars…
I looked at them for some time, a few had moved, but the majority seem to be getting on ok.
We slept so well, although Emma kept hearing the noises from the walk signals on the traffic lights – weird. My ears were ringing with silence.
The next morning we visited Susan, the owner, and had a tour of her garden. She told us about a few places to visit during the day.
We headed off to the O’Connell Cafe. It’s in the Old Butcher’s shop in the village (when I say village I’m being complimentary. There are about 5 houses vaguely near each other, with a little school, pub, and this cafe). The O’Connell road was the original Sydney-Bathurst road, before the Great Western Highway was built (which was a long time ago). These little shops grew up to serve that settler traffic. The O’Connell Cafe is the real deal, a gourmet cafe where I could happily spend most of the day. It has a write up in the Sydney Good Food Guide which would explain some of the very shiny and expensive cars in the car park.
We then toured around the countryside, visited Tarana, I think that I would happily retire to live in Tarana, and dropped in on the studio of an artist who lives there to tell her that Susan (who owns the mud cottage) had got her phone message. We’re already running errands for people, we’re practically locals!