Colin lived with his parents behind Arthur Shilling’s Holydene store, on the right just over Wybong creek, where the tar gives way to corrugated dust. It is an isolating existence, for a soft boy buried in astronomy books rather than covered in monkey grease, like his father.
Old Alf is a hard task master with strangled parenting skills. Their conversations were physical: a hand would shoot out, and Colin would slap in the correct spanner, whether it be ratchet, plier or stilson.
Edna, however, was a vision in pink, known around the traps as Martindale’s Barbra Cartland. Not to her face, of course. Edna would give you the shirt off her back. She served for ten years as President of the Martindale Country Women’s Association. Edna believed in the Church of the Casserole.
Colin has enrolled in Physics and Maths at Sydney, boarding close by with friends of his mother.