Small towns

I have been lucky that I have always lived in small towns or Villages. I didn’t realise this at first, and I didn’t know how lonely people can be in large cities. Neighbours even after many years still don’t know one another. In a small town this is simply not so, you know just about everyone. Also the freedom it allows in many other matters is been simply wonderful. A slow awaking dawned on me that living in a so called ‘Backwater’ was that we missed out on nothing. In a way, we even got the best of both worlds. We could if we wished, work in the City, then retreat to our rural world at the end off each day.


I mentioned one huge advantage was that we actually knew everyone living around us, and as well their extended families too either by contact when commuting, or when we joined the many Clubs each small place seemed to have in abundance. Our own nine hole golf course was never crowded, admittedly it also ran sheep on the common ground to keep fees low, but the greens were fenced off and clean. Badminton courts, tennis and squash courts, swimming pool, all were always available, and the list goes on, and seems endless. I was told, but never counted them up, that Milton was supposed to have some 200 clubs. So we missed out in nothing. Of course there was always the Hunting and Gathering ability, and right at your back door. You could collect field mushrooms by the butchers basket on the nearby hills, keeping only the freshest and best. This was of course in the days before top dressing became universal, which seems to have had an effect on that abundant supply that we used to get. Nearby creeks contained trout, white bait in season, fresh water crayfish, eels. As well, there were blackberries for the picking, old but now abandoned fruit trees, planted by settlers long gone, gave free fruit for he taking if you knew where to look, and of course, not forgetting game and wild duck.


One rural place we lived at our mail was delivered by a system called ‘Rural Post’. Our mailman was an absolute joy, and he put all other delivery methods to shame. Should we wish for a parcel from town, not a problem, if you were quick smart getting your order in, same day service too. Or perhaps a case of fruit in season, not a problem either. Our rural delivery man would even wait until the price was right, then you would find your fruit and invoice at your door. One ‘do gooder’ neighbour tried to tell me when they were agitating to do away with this Rural Service, it was for the better. My reply was, the Postman didn’t deliver your bread, daily paper, and a myriad other small tasks for a very small cost. As well as an added bonus, pick up your out going mail while passing as well. A march into the future meant you were stuck with this irksome task and now had to take outward mail to the nearest mail box.


Of course there was a down side, that was from time to time you were expected to turn out for Working Bees. Being such a small town there were no ‘hand outs’ and if you wanted some improvements to your club, you had to get up and do it yourselves. I even enjoyed this side of small town life, and the working with other club members. Our Gun Club, we built from scratch, everything including the Club House. Various members always had specialist skills, whether it be finance, construction, not forgetting farmers who were always very practical people. The same with our Yacht Club. From a site on the water’s edge, we built slipways, wharf, and a entertainment area. As well we supplied a chase boat.


I did notice however it seems to be the same dozen people who were the ‘doers’, these folk actually did most of the work, no matter what enterprise you were involved in.




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