Lately we've been inflicting ourselves on my poor poor parents. Though they assured us that three days in our company is delightful, there was a certain brusqueness to their farewells that had me thinking it'll be feet up with a very large glass of wine the moment we take that left turn out of the bottom of their driveway.
They live on acreage in the outer western suburbs of Sydney. It's an area my family know well as my Grandfather owned a dairy farm near the village of Mulgoa from the early 60s until lately. As a teenager I spent every weekend out there riding my horses, Coolah and Sinbad.
The various dairy workers on the farm were a diverse and colourful bunch and many tales of them have entered our own family legends. One that is still told is of Old Jim. Now I never met Old Jim, but I knew the tiny one roomed house he lived in on the farm - left just the way it was the day he died - as my sisters and I would sometimes go and explore it.
Old Jim was quite a character. He was devoted to his horse who drank beer from a glass and finished it off with a swipe of his large pink tongue - if you were visiting and were offered a drink, the same glass would be given a quick wipe and your beer would be poured into it. On a Saturday night Old Jim would set out in his sulky - a small cart - pulled by the afore-mentioned horse. They would travel along the then unpaved Mulgoa Road to the Wallacia Hotel where he would spend his hard earned cash. When it was gone and he was slightly the worse for wear, he would be rolled onto his little cart by the staff at the hotel and his horse would carefully transport him home.
Wallacia Hotel has had some ups and downs since then. Years ago the place had an extremely rough reputation and was known only as a bikie pub - but those days are long behind it now. These days it is just a very beautiful local pub for the townships of Mulgoa and Wallacia.
The building is just begging for someone to take it over and renovate it, maybe get in a decent kitchen and turn it into something really spectacular.
Well guess what?? Its not finished yet, but someone has started to turn that dream into a reality.
Mumndad took us there for dinner on Tuesday night and we had a chance to have a nose around at the changes the owners have made so far.
Its so exciting to see such a magnificent place being given the boost and TLC that it richly deserves.