Christmas becomes a bit frenzied in the last few days before the one day of the year you can eat and drink as much as you like and eschew the guilt. That’s when the overwhelming desire to go anywhere but where you are becomes compelling. To find the calm, restore the senses to equilibrium and putter along in a daze of pleasure that shows you’re on holidays and you want and need to keep it simple. How stupid we are to fall for the tricks of the advertising trade and get caught yet again by the ostentatious need to buy more stuff and stuff ourselves some more.
So in the spirit of simplicity I’ve saved a little Postcard from Adaminaby for you all to consider as a getaway that takes you back to times your grandparents talk about and you wish you could capture for your own kids hell bent on mastering the latest electronic device and game playing until the cows come home.
The cows are well and truly at home at Willowgrove just past Adaminaby on the way to the Selwyn snowfields and I’ve passed it many times at a fast pace getting to or from that destination failing to notice its bucolic surrounds.
To stay is to find the absolute pleasure of settling into a small homestead with character and all mod cons and be woken at the crack of dawn by mooing. Lots of mooing and in the morning mist with an urge to photograph the herd without them getting spooked or the bull getting antsy which required a good deal of sneaking around the cow pats pretending I was one of the herd. So too with the gamboling lambs and sheep and all the while the ruminating and munching was as noisy as it got in a memorable misty morning akin to a McCubbin painting.
It was to be my sanctuary before and after the Adaminaby Races with plenty of high country hospitality to make this 150th anniversary meeting memorable. I met with Leonne Sutton, grandmother of my Adaminaby friend Cassie Austin who with her mum Judy Hayden and Aunty Trish Sutton are all finding new ways to promote their special place in the mountains and offer reasons for city folk to come and stay awhile. Aunty Trish had been busy giving the homestead some feminine touches as most stayers have been fishermen after the famous trout.
But it was about horses that I learnt the most from Grandma Leonne, she can still crack a whip with gusto, and how it was only recently that her last and favourite horse died after a long life. She raised him when his mother got sick when he was 8 months old. We talked of 31 poddy lambs she had to feed every lunch time during a drought when they lived close to the school and of the social life in old Adaminaby when there were at least seven balls a year and a dance every Saturday night. But her long distance riding is enough o make you saddle sore just listening to the stories of a five day ride to Corryong and back again and even in her 80’s can still hold her own. The country wit of her husband Eric ‘Mike’ Sutton said he hoped he never came back as one of her dogs, she is a tough task master and master dog trainer. Steely cores, soft big hearts and tenacity under duress makes these country women so inspiring.
So if you have hankering for some fresh mountain air, the pleasure of waking to the sounds of silence interspersed with some mooing, and country hospitality let me recommend Willowgrove Farmstay. Contact Aunty Trish Sutton on 0418 487 791, or her husband Garry Sutton on 0417 288 028. Tell them I recommended you have a summer sleepover in their neck of our wide brown land and while you’re in the district you must buy some of the ‘wildbrumby schnapps’ available from their outlet on the Alpine Way. It is the magic medicine of the mountains that alleviates the pain of injuries sustained when your best skiing efforts come unstuck. The flavours are many, but butterscotch is the perennial favourite, and for Christmas there’s a ‘devil’s tongue’ brew to lift your spirits when it all gets too much.