NEWSFLASH: Small town population increases by 2

In the last couple of weeks we have increased the population of a small rural town by 2. And what a lovely introduction to that town we have experienced! The first night we ordered some pizzas from a recently opened business. It had been a big day packing those final boxes, going behind the removalists room by room to clean, and filling our cars to the brim between downpours. After the drive out and near-disaster of the move, it was definitely going to be a bottle of wine night. So as our pizzas cooked we walked up to the bottle shop. The roller door was shut so we wandered into the pub to ask about opening hours. The young woman advised us she had only just closed, and could reopen for us if we had cash. With that, she extracts the cash drawer from the register and we follow her down the driveway. Balancing the drawer in one hand, she unlocks the side door, lets us in, and installs the drawer into the cash register whilst we choose our poison. We pay, she removes the cash drawer, and we hold the door closed for her whilst she locks it, and off we go! Can you imagine that happening in the city?!

The next day is our first full day in our new town. We joined the library and I immediately reserved the next in the series of Diana Gabaldon books I have been working my way through. The waiting list is long for these books in the Gold Coast libraries. It has always seemed unfair to me that after waiting a couple of months you are given only 2 weeks to read a 1400 page novel! So I was delighted to find that in this district the loan period is 4 weeks. I borrowed another of Diana’s novels to keep me going while I wait my turn for ‘A Breath of Snow and Ashes’.

That night was movie night in town. Now it’s not your typical movie theater. The multi-purpose auditorium has a screen, and for movie nights the room is set up with 90 or so chairs. An acquaintance was working there that night, and was so surprised to learn that had just moved to the area. So after the little theatre had seated its 40 or so movie-goers she made an announcement, introducing us as new arrivals! We stood up and were greeted with a round of applause and welcome by all. After the movie ended, a few people came up to introduce themselves. One immediately asked me ‘Do you play tennis?’ We learned about book clubs and dinner nights and that people who move from somewhere else are called ‘blow-ins’!

Our second full day in town was similar. People recognise an unfamiliar face, ask if you are visiting, offer a welcome when you tell them you are not, and introduce themselves. I did a big shop at IGA which for years has been my preferred grocery store because it is independent. This town has a surprisingly big one. I was asked if I had a Community Benefit card, and didn’t know what this was. A percentage of the money spent by customers with a card is donated to an organisation that the customer selects. I immediately organised a card, and chose the Rural Fire Brigade as the beneficiary.

Our first days in town offered us the loveliest introduction to a new town that we could have hoped for. However despite having a library card and a Community Benefit card, I suspect that we are going to be regarded as blow-ins for many years to come! I think we can cope with that.

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  • Bev says:

    Sounds wonderful JO…..that real sense of community that the City has lost. So happy for you both

  • Maree says:

    Hate to tell you but you will be classified as a blow in for years!

  • Gabriella says:

    Made me smile, feeling very happy for you both.

  • Elizabeth says:

    What a lovely welcome, love the community spirit.

  • Deborah says:

    Oh wow, that sounds just lovely. Some small towns can be a bit ‘closed’ to newcomers, but this one sounds really welcoming. What a great start! #teamlovinlife

  • writeofthemiddle says:

    How exciting to have a fresh start in a new home and a new town! I hope you’ll be very happy there Jo. By the way – I’ve read and enjoyed ALL the Diana Gabaldon books. You’ll be wanting to watch the Outlander series after you’ve read them, if you haven’t already. Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018! 🙂 xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Jo says:

      It’s watching the first Outlander series that got me started Min! I won’t watch any more of the series now as I prefer the depth and detail of the books.

  • Jo says:

    Welcome to your new home. It sounds like there’s a fabulous sense of community. I’m with you on the IGAs – here on teh Sunshine Coast they’re huge with so many local producers represented. It’s a lovely change from the city. #TeamLovinLife

    • Jo says:

      It’s good to avoid large corporations as much as possible Jo. And yes this one stocks local produce too like Kalfresh carrots from Kalbar just up the road.

  • kathymarris says:

    It sounds like a lovely friendly town. Whereabouts in the Scenic Rim have you moved to? #TeamLovinLife

  • leannelc says:

    You had me at Diana Gabaldon! I love her books and the tv series as well. I’m not such a big of the Lord John offshoot. So glad you’re happy with your new town and the benefits that come with small town life.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks Leanne, she’s a prolific writer isn’t she? I enjoy the Lord John ‘bulges’ as she calls them. Particularly when Claire and Jamie are referenced, or other characters we have come to know.

  • Dianne Williams says:

    And although it won’t bother you, Jo, you will be a blow-in forever! The little home town of the Williams ancestors once used, and uses to this day, the reference “not locals”. Despite the fact that probably 80% of the original settlers’ families have moved on, the remark: “Oh yes, but they’re not locals” remains standard for the current residents. It’s a quaint, but understandable I guess, in terms of the remoteness of many communities that have graced Australia’s country regions for over 200 years, phenomenon.
    I have heard similar stories of towns who adjudge ‘blow-ins’ to eventually make the transition to ‘locals’ but only after 30 years’ residency.
    Jo, you had better plan on living another 40 years, just to be on the safe side…

    • Jo says:

      It’s a funny thing Di but when visiting our ‘little home town’ I feel a greater sense of belonging than I have felt anywhere else I’ve lived. That really says something given I haven’t lived there since I was 14! Not sure though whether they would still regard me as a ‘local’.

      • Dianne Williams says:

        I am sure they do; the fact of the family remnants in the town and the prominence of the ancestors who started the whole thing are your meal ticket to ‘local ‘ status!
        I agree with you about the belonging: there surely is a psychological impact of connection to one’s roots.
        With you now making new connections in Boonah, it could be your last move!

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