A quiet corner with goldfish and frogs

There’s been a few quiet weeks here to end 2018 and begin 2019. Just before Christmas my much-loved Mum passed away.

Losing a parent is significant and both of mine have now left in the last few years. As I’ve reached 60, it’s prompted me to take a some time to reflect. For so much of my life, little seemed to change and I appeared to be following a well-mapped route. I’d grown up, married and lived in the same area for decades. I married mid 20’s, had children (the best!) and worked in the same industry with few job changes for 3 decades. There were many aspirations and dreams however dreams were all they appeared to be.

Then lots changed. And quickly. Single. Job change. Tree change. Dramatic swings over the last 10 or so years – ups and downs, but most have also brought opportunities with them.

Home. I wouldn’t have believed this possible until it actually happened.

Just over five years ago, as part of exploring a long-held dream to live in the country, I stumbled across an old Spanish Mission Convent in Central West NSW. In a town I’d never heard of before – Kandos. Five years later, I’m living here permanently, am part of a warm and welcoming community and spend my working life knitting in my wool shop business.

At times life can be hard and certainly the loss of Mum is one of the hardest. However I was once told to look at my life in three stages:

  • First 30 years – the growing up years, finding yourself and emerging from childhood and youth to become an adult
  • 30 – 60 – the adult years, marrying, being a mother, work. Predominantly doing for others in dutiful roles
  • 60 onwards – the individual years – a chance to be who you always wanted to be, and at this stage of life, hopefully knowing who that person is. With the value of experience and having fulfilled previous roles (hopefully with an element of success), this is the opportunity to shine personally.
I now call this work!

Anyway, that’s the way I choose to look at my next/current phase. I have a wonderful family with my girls, a beautiful home and garden that keeps me active, a thriving business that allows me to work at my passion and a wonderful, vibrant community to be a part of. It’s sad that I can’t share my stories with my parents any more but I’m sure they’re keeping an eye on me from somewhere.

The Convent Paddock – the cook’s garden – my current project




A retrospective of 2014…

The old girl is coming together nicely and enjoying the attention.

It’s been just over a year since I moved to Kandos permanently. And over two years since I discovered the Convent and Kandos. What was a fortuitous search certainly changed my life dramatically. I had never intended to make such a substantial permanent move, well, at least not straight away. The plan had been to live the “balanced lifestyle” and maintain my Sydney property and corporate life in the CBD for a few days a week and then chill at the Convent for the other days.

From this disused verandah..
To this - the verandah outside my bedroom. And now is Popcorn's favourite place.
To this – the verandah outside my bedroom. And now is Popcorn’s favourite place.









The dogs were the first to decide that there was only one life for them and within the first six months of purchasing the Convent, it was pretty clear that Kandos was going to be my permanent home. The first year saw a lengthy settlement before the property was mine, but thanks to the generosity of the Church (who still owned the Convent), I camped on an air bed until all the legals were finalised.  Then came, painting, floors, curtains and furnishings and I moved in permanently last November – on my 55th birthday to be precise.

My abundant berry bed.
My abundant berry bed.

Of course there are many more plans for the Convent – one day …. bathrooms, kitchen, but I’m just enjoying it as it is. The garden has had a major makeover and has been a joy to put such effort into. I’m now waiting to see if I manage to get some cucumbers this year. There are lots of zucchinis, my berry bed is going crazy and I could live off the lettuces and carrots at present. Oh, of course cherry tomatoes are also kicking in. My family and friends are making the Convent a regular getaway, which fortunately lessens the wrench of leaving them. And I was so lucky that one of my best friends decided to join me here and has also moved to the town and lives around the corner.

Re Kandos itself and its community, I’ve been made so welcome. We spent New Year’s Eve at the local club and I was pleased to recognise so many familiar faces and be included as one of the crowd. I’m endeavouring to help with community activities (which also helps in meeting people) and have really enjoyed being part of the Kandos Museum through its renaissance as well as the local CWA.

Popcorn - such a beautiful boy.
Popcorn – such a beautiful boy.

Other highlights through the year have been including the wonderful Popcorn in the Convent family – he is a joy, holding the Best Knitting at Show for the second year at the Kandos Rylstone Show (which is adding to the excitement of this year’s Show), being part of the Kandos Centenary celebrations and opening the Convent doors to somewhere between 400 – 600 people and learning the ins and outs of online auctions which have furnished my home and now finding their way into the shop collectibles.

Whilst I had thought I had retired, it hasn’t taken long to find myself running my own wool shop which combines a longtime passion with the skills I’ve acquired through many years of corporate life.

That's us at the new shop.
That’s us at the new shop.

It’s been a good – no great – year. And 2015 looks as though it will also bring its share of surprises and pleasures, with no doubt also some sobering moments. However life is good, It takes work, decisions and actions to make it happen, with also some risks. But it’s worth it. If you’re thinking of making a change, don’t just think about it, also plan and do it, but be prepared for lots of surprises along the way.