Moshav Beit HaCholent
The reason I became a photographer was that in the early 80’s I was wandering around Fitzroy Falls and a young rider pulled up on a pushbike, dressed in very cool black biking clothes with a camera around his neck. He was Canadian and he told me he was a working photographer doing weddings and I asked him how it was and then he said these words that changed my life forever, It’s great, no one gets married in winter so I always take 3 months off and bicycle down a continent. Kapow, straight away I said that’s it, brilliant, wedding photographer is the career for me. And bless his little Canadian cotton socks, he was right. Out like a shot in June and back 11 weeks later I’d go.
Hiking in Norway, driving through the lavender fields in France, Israel, biking in Canada, Thailand, Japan, Eastern Europe, Australia, it was great. I hitched with a 19 year old Danish punk rock drummer across Canada and a car with gay guys would stop and they’d say we’ve got room for the slim hipped blonde Dane but not you chubby. I’d wait till they were over the hill then I’d hail a cab and catch up with my backpacking buddy in the next city.
He’d ask me if it was hard to get a ride and I told him no problem at all. I remember standing in an endless field of sunflowers in France and thinking that there wasn’t one moment on any of the trips that I wasn’t enjoying myself. And there were two things that stuck in my mind and haven’t left. People of all ages were travelling like me and enjoying it, it wasn’t only for the young. And in Corleone in Sicily I saw the future after weddings, my retirement plan playing out in front of me. I was thinking that maybe only the Italians can get away with this and then I saw the same thing on Spetses, a Greek Island. These old guys had shops or stalls in a market but what they did for 99% of the time was sit in a cafe joking with their friends.
These shops the old guys had looked like excuses for the coffee drinking and I think if the business was burning down they’d finish the cup before calling the fire brigade. As for customers, they and their pesky money could take care of themselves. The guys had coffee to drink and jokes to crack. I thought this was great and there must be a way of transplanting this to Australia and thus began my plan for central coast Moshav.
I figured this is what you need. A beautiful location which is no problem, Australia is riddled with them.
Not too pricey, you want your own place. You want the comedians, your friends, people who look up and are happy to see your face to be around, not necessarily for the daily hoop dancing session but just to know they’re there. You want your talent out there or a thing that makes you leap out of bed in the morning. You want to be near the kids and the grandchildren. You want a moshav in some gorgeous place 90 minutes from Sydney.
I’ve been tossing this idea around for about 10 years and it’s a growing thing. There’s a timeshare idea where someone swaps for a place in Jerusalem or Byron. There’s the little self serve tourist centre with wine making, cheese, antiques, writing groups, theatre, organic farming, cooking lessons and film making and the resident mohel. No one thinks small. Plus there’s the grey nomad caravanning plans.
See, it’s going to be fun, fun, fun in our old ages and the good news is you’ll never be rid of me.