On the long weekend we went on a long drive, all the way to Carcoar to stay in a guest house called Five Frogs. Our room was lovely.
The town was quaint - we were opposite the local pub, the Royal Hotel. They had a rockin' menu which I would have liked to enjoy had I had any choice in the matter. Instead we dined in Milthorpe after I reversed my car into a tree. The rest of our trip was completed with a bent bumper and a little less paint.
This wasn't my sort of restaurant. They laughed when I asked if the steak was Black Angus (we had driven through thousands of these cows in the neighbouring countryside, they are very drought resistant and this area has been in a drought for the last eight years). The waitress replied: "Sometimes they call him Angus, sometimes they call him Charlie." What they meant to say was no, it's Poll Hereford. Anyway, Ned the family dog got a large piece of my steak for his dinner. The waitress adjusted her attitude when one of the old folk mentioned what I do for a living.
We traveled on the back of Aunty Eva's ute to see the highest part of her 1500 acre property where she runs 3000 head of pure bred Merino sheep.
Aunty Eva is made of strong stock. In her eighties, five years ago she rolled her ute end to end down a two hundred foot drop off, and was there for ten hours before being found. She shattered her pelvis but was up walking within eight weeks. She runs the property by herself.
We took a look at her working shearing shed, Craig used to slide down the lanolin soaked sheep tubes as a child. The whole building had a raw and comforting smell.
I liked the 'close encounter' moment with the door. I was also happy to not have any close encounters with the spiders responsible for the webs I saw everywhere. Apparently red backs are common, particularly in the old out house under the seat.
This is the outside of the shearing shed. Craig is pictured with his father (far left), mother (centre), Aunty Eva (orange hair), Uncle Mick and his wife Cathy. The killing tree on the right is where they hang sheep for the hungry shearing crew to gut. The eleven men consume four whole sheep a week.
We did get a chance to run away for five minutes and visit the Borrodell Vineyard on the slopes of Mount Canobolas near Orange. It was most interesting because they have been growing truffles for ten years (yes that means they were before the Western Australian mob who gets all the press) but all we bought (the season isn't until winter) was a bottle of quite lovely 2005 Pinot Noir ($30). All up it was nice to see another piece of Australia - I have been to Orange before but not since I was a child.