The first time I drove out to Taylors Arm I wasn’t sure I would arrive at my destination. The trip resembled those dreams where you turn a corner and everything changes and moves. Little did I know it was the start of a remarkable journey.
When you settle someplace new, to be at home you need the lay of the land and to get up to speed quick.
Pronunciation is important. Amongst many tongue testing place names in the Nambucca Valley such as Missabotti, Buckra Bendinni, Yarrahapinni, Barraganyatti, Willawarrin, Collombatti, Allgomera, Yarranbella which you sound out, are a few tricky ones you need to utter like a local:
- Eungai = yew-en-guy
- Kosekai = coz-ek-eye
- Utungun = yew-tun-gun
- Congarinni = con-gar-ree-nee
You also need to know the people… & their kin.
Our LHS neighbour’s sister lives in the first house in the village after the bridge. Their dad “the Mayor” lives on the outskirts and their brother lives a bit further out on the drolly monikered Butts Creek Road. Across the road from the LHS neighbour, their cousin owns the shack, the shop & the house with the old bakery down the back.
Our RHS neighbours’ granddaughter lives across the road & up a bit in Old Dave’s house, and sometimes at another property on Butts Creek Road.
The daughter of the residents of the house next to the pub resides further up over the rise as you go through town. You can pick out her house by the assembly of cats & mini-dogs roaming the front yard and road.
That’s just in the village. Throughout the Valley are the ubiquitous local names, the G.O.’s among them, on bridges, road signs, buildings, etc: Laverty, Ward, Welsh, Wall, Ussher, Speers…
To begin you get to know the locals by their first name or whatever they go by… Nobby it turns out is Robert, and early on the G.O. always referred to our across the road neighbour in the shack as Bert. It wasn’t until “Bert” got together with his now missus I found his name is actually Brett. It takes a while but you eventually work out who’s who and they’re always related to someone or a multitude.
What I’ve come to love about Taylors Arm besides the picturesque country, the peace & quiet and the locals, is everyone is sanctioned to be themselves, and equal no matter wealth or status. Whatever, whoever you were, are or do is a matter of local intelligence but disregarded. We all stop for a yarn, go to the same pub and the same church.
When I saw the recently arrived Mr Scarecrow & his more recent eye-catching missus, it reminded me of the challenges in being a newcomer. I wish them all the best and hope they’re as happy at TA as we are.
“You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.” ~Casare Pavese