Some beginnings and endings are full of romance. People who are no longer in the first flush of youth (or even in their prime) enjoy beginnings and endings.
Last weekend, John and I went to Dowerin to take part in the beginning of the end of an era.
Eleven years ago my sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, Peter, moved to Dowerin. This little town is around 170 kilometres from Perth, in the Central Wheat Belt region of Western Australia. Their move to the country was sudden, unexpected and very romantic.
Peter was there on business at the Dowerin Field Days. The Field Days are a massive agricultural expo, held annually. Peter fell in love with a charming old farm house with an enormous shed on six acres of land. He called Elizabeth, and asked her to meet him there. She also fell in love with the house at first sight.
It soon became their home, often filled with guests from Perth. Elizabeth and Peter settled into the community.
The house was packed with friends and family when Peter and Elizabeth married the following year. The dining room was transformed into a bower of roses and candles. Peter sang a love song to his bride at the end of the ceremony. I cried. Hard.
Before long the couple had established a successful bed and breakfast business. They called on their own experience as travelers to provide what they like in accommodation. At first they used the spare bedrooms in the house. Then they built two units in the garden. The visitors’ book overflows with praise for the comfort of the accommodation and their hospitality.
John and I have spent many weeks there. I’ve managed, without too much fuss, to keep the bed and breakfast running while Elizabeth and Peter holidayed overseas. John retired to the shed, where he has done some of his best oil paintings. A city woman born and bred, I have relished my tastes of country living. Dowerin has happy memories.
The bed and breakfast will close at the end of next month. I will miss it. I don’t like beginnings and endings as much as some people.
On the weekend, Elizabeth and Peter ran a monster garage sale. Elizabeth advertised the event on social media. Nearly two hundred people arrived. They drank coffee and munched on home-made biscuits as they perused the merchandise.
John and I added extra hands. We enjoyed the country-fair atmosphere and meeting up with new people and those we’d met before. We fielded questions.
‘Do you have any rusty old things for sale?’
‘Rusty things. You know, old ploughs and wagon-wheels. That sort of thing?’
‘Oh. I’ll find out.’
We hope we’ll be forgiven for selling off a still-in-use electric kettle. Oh, and the chairs on the verandah. We thought they were for sale too! And the ridiculously low prices quoted when we didn’t really know.
Elizabeth and Peter will soon move from Dowerin. They will miss the life they’ve made. They will especially miss their friends. At the same time, they are looking forward to new challenges, new joys. They will keep their romance alive.
Beginnings and endings are always bitter/sweet. There’s loss and anticipation. We wish them well in their new home.