Twelve Days of ORen: Day 4

Frances Carleton
6 min readDec 23, 2021


There was no breakfast food involved in today’s adventures. I had Weetbix at Cloudbough Artist Residency and slow start. I also had coffee, orange juice and an apple.

I pottered and wrote for most of the morning before heading out to the Kandos Museum just after 11am. Kandos was built on cement. Literally and figuratively. They have a lot of cement manufacturing here, or they used too. This means the Museum is cement themed. It cost me $10 to get in. That meant they got a great total of $1 for every 2 minutes I was in there. Some of the things in this place, I have seen for sale on Buy Sell Swap for $10 and I have 10 of the clay bottles in my counselling rooms and I definatly have some of the same Brownie badges on the blanket in the back of the car. The only things that really made me perk up was the beautiful green glass oil lamp with original, matching chimney, and the Mercury Arc Rectifier. It looked like something the Martians in Mars Attack would wear as respirators.

The weirdest thing though was a puggle (baby echidna) in an old jam jar and persevered in formaldehyde. There was no label on it or explanation as to why it was in the museum. I’m sure there’s a story behind it, but i really wasn’t game to ask. It was just on a table, as with everything, anyone could pick it up for a closer look.

I was gone for 30 minutes but I was welcomed back with a flurry of fur and excitement form Fe.

She immediately hopped into the car, when I asked ‘are you coming to lunch?’

After establishing the only options for lunch in Kandos was the bakers (sausage rolls, pies, sandwiches) or ‘the pub’ we headed back to Rylstone.

I checked in, perused the menu, (no EB, even before 11.30) I ordered fish and chips and a latte.

Fe was excited to see me when I came out, even though she had been able to see me the entire time I was inside. Once again her table manner where impeccable.

A young man of about 10 walked passed. He simply said ‘nice dog’ and kept walking.

That’s how you do it Suzanne.

We sat in silence for a few minutes watching the world go by. Being on the main street, it’s a busy spot with all manner of locals and visitors passing. I do like people watching.

Sadly, Katie* and her clan, didn’t pass, they sat at the table next to us as they also had a Chihuahua. A tan and cream, long haired, apple nosed, being dragged along on the hot pavement. Billie/Billy^ was the youngest and they clearly had zero desire to be there. The husband, who I never learned the name of was used to getting it wrong, because even though he was sent in to order, he popped out to ask…coffee or tea, type of coffee, small or large, milk or black? Thankfully, they made little attempt to engage me in conversation because I would have had trouble not handing the young person my business card during a conversation that happened while they ate.

Katie: “Billie/Billy, you’re doing that thing again!”

B/B: “What?”

Katie: “Slouching like a sack of flour, sit up, put your shoulder back”

B/B: “I don’t want too, my boobs stick out.”

Katie: “Yes, they’re supposed to, you’re a young woman.”

B/B: “Yeah, Mum, as I’ve told you, I don’t want to be.”

I left as this conversation wrapped up. Dad, stayed silent but put his hand on Billie/Billy’s knee as they said, ‘I’m so sad you won’t listen to me Mum.”

My fish and chips was tasty and I was given the choice of plain or chicken salt. The coffee was also fine. Honestly I forgot all about my food because of what was happening at the table next to me. I even left chippies. I seriously needed to leave. I would go back. The staff where friendly and helpful.

After lunch I went to see if the much spoken about Yum Cha place was open so I could make a booking for tomorrow. I was sh*t outta luck. Closed from 23/12–27/12. Ohh well, next time.

It being early I decided to follow up on a recommendation to go out too Dunns Swamp. Apparently it’s an excellent swimming spot and really quite beautiful. Driving out there every time I saw a lump in the road ‘be a log, be a log, be a log’. Most times it was, a few times it was an already flattened Eastern Long Neck Turtle, but once it wasn’t, so I grabbed it and took it to a release site.

Win for wildlife!

The 24 kilometre drive there from town was stunning, green fields, turning into a valley of magnificent sandstone mountains. The foot of which are lined with gum forest and fernery. The last six kilometres is dirt and quite an adventure in a little two wheeled drive Suzuki Swift, but we made it. Only to find the sign.

thick gum forest
under sandstone columns
swimming spot of Gods —
I don my swimmers
no dogs allowed

As with all National parks, some family members are excluded from the fun of a camping holiday on the rough. Wollemi National Park is no different. NO DOGS or CATS ALLOWED.

So of course this is where we scattered ORen’s ashes today.

After releasing the turtle, we released a few grains onto the water’s edge and told her spirit to frolic in this place. There’s fresh water to swim in (yes, she liked water), sand to dig in, trees to climb, lizards to chase. Yes, I think this has now turned into a plan, and a bit of a f*ck you to National Parks. For the rest of the Twelve Days of ORen, we’re going to head to place where she was never allowed.

Somewhere she’s looking smug and mewing. I left in a better mood than when I had arrived. I drove slowly back to Kandos and watched the second thunder storm in two days roll in.

yellow kneed
bees bustle between
purple spears
scent rises
as the thunder rolls in

Location: Café on Louee
Address: 84 Louee Street Rylstone NSW 2849
Web: none that I could find

F&C Cost: $16

Fe following the rules and staying in her bag.

*Name changed to disguise the reprehensible cow

^Name not changed because Billie/Billy rocks!

ORen: smug and mewing in her last days.



Frances Carleton

Grief and trauma therapist, poetry writer type, and Eggs Benedict and Lego minifigure enthusiast. What would you like to talk about today?