Life’s highways and by ways » KathSwinbourne

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Jan 13 2013

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Life’s highways and by ways

Wide open streets in country townsOur drive home from the farm takes us along the Hume Highway.

Driving along the highway I spend a lot of time looking out the window. There are lots of things of interest right next to the highway, but somehow they don’t really grab my attention. By that I mean that not once have I ever asked Doc to stop so I can take some photos.

Being a photographer, that’s my measure of whether something is interesting. Doc sometimes introduces himself as a “long suffering partner of a photographer”.

When we go away, we’ll be driving along happily and I’ll suddenly yell “Stop”, and he has no idea why – he can’t see why one tree is more photogenic than another, or why I need yet another photo of an open landscape.

But main roads are for going from one place to another, rather than travelling. So we try to get off them as much as possible. On the way back from the farm this often means making a stop for lunch/afternoon tea/coffee, and a place we often stop is Gunning.

Like many small towns (population 487) that used to be on the highway, Gunning seems to have bloomed since it was bypassed. With wide, quiet, tree lined streets, cafes and galleries, and historic buildings it is a beautiful town. And friendly.

Last time we arrived at around 3.30pm for lunch. Even though the café was about to close, doing lunch for us was no trouble. Nor was it any trouble to make a change to the menu, even though it meant picking the dried tomato out of the mix and replacing it with fresh tomato for my sandwich. I know, I know, but I’ve never been able to understand the fixation with dried tomatoes, or chardonnay, but that’s another story.

There are some interesting characters in Gunning. Max Cullen owns the old picture theatre which he has turned into an art gallery and bookshop. He’ll autograph a copy of his autobiography for you, and chat about his life.

And – of course – there’s lots to walk around and see, and lots to photograph.

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