Step off the train, walk up the hill to the pub for a cold one. . .and home is just another block away. . .
Occasionally--more now, I'll admit, than I used to--I'll get in a fit of day-dreaming, wondering "what if?"
What if I won the lottery? Inherited a few million from a long-lost relative? Or I was retired, and had the means to move where I wanted to?
Why not, indeed?
I got to thinking about that little country village of Tarana, in the Central West of New South Wales, maybe three hours west of Sydney in the lush, green rolling hills not too far from Lithgow. To me, it's a place that inspires day-dreaming.
The old country church in Tarana, just a couple blocks from the railway station (real-estate agent photo)
And just maybe. . .does it have to be a daydream? I see a real-estate agent has posted a listing for an old church in Tarana, converted into a country home. For around $500,000, I could make this little dream a reality.
In perfect harmony with its surroundings: Tarana station. . .
How great would that be, to leave all this hustle and bustle here in the states behind? The crazy divisiveness of our political philosophies? The crime and uncertainty and all that other bullshit. Just sell off all our stuff and start off for a new life!
There are worse places to be than Tarana. As long as I could get a good internet connection, I'm sure I'd find a way to make a living there. The landscape is breath-taking, reminiscent of the rolling, oak-studded hills of the Tehachapi Mountains in California. It's far from a busy highway, the narrow two-lane bitumen roads weaving and bobbing across a green lanscape given largely to sheep.
And there's the railway, still a presence in town with its preserved dual-road railway station, footbridge and watertank. The duplicated main track has been reduced to one mainline, and traffic is just a fraction of what it was two decades ago, but the XPT to and from Sydney calls on Tarana daily (eastbound in the afternoon, westbound in the morning), so there's your connection to the greater world. There's shopping in Lithgow nearby, and of course, the legendary horseshoe curves and gunzeling opportunities galore just up the hill in Sodwalls.
Apart from a retired up mainline, Tarana hasn't changed much; the 44 Class on the RTM special might as well be leading the old Central West Express. . .
Why not? indeed. I stood on the footbridge last April as the RTM special blew Alco exhaust in my face, and looked around, and thought, I'm in heaven. I wonder if the rest of the blokes who live here know how good it is?
Retirement is a bit more than 15 years away. . . wonder if that old church will still be on the market?
Off the main roads, a wandering two-lane (if you're lucky) bitumen. . .