Roving reporter finding out what makes Maclean tick
There's not a better way to wind up a day's roving than to be sitting in a pub thinking back over what's happening in the past two days.
I've just finished chatting with Top Pub - or the Maclean Hotel as the sign writer knows it - publican Phil Cardwell.
Phil's not been in charge for long, but he's got some big plans for the place from front to back.
I mentioned it's a real vote of confidence for the town and Phil enthusiastically agreed.
He said he's managed hotels around country NSW, but this is the first place he's felt so comfortable he could think about settling down here.
It may have just been the fantastic weather the Valley has turned on over the past two days, but Maclean looks to be a thriving little community.
I don't want to alarm those people who want to see "progress" in the town, but my experience yesterday and today is of a town providing a charming mix of contemporary and traditional.
The main drag has a traditional feel with touches of the modern.
Most noticeably these occur in the "blisters" outside cafes where people can be seen most hours of the day, enjoying the great coffee that's become ubiquitous in the town in recent times.
The way Maclean is developing its own café culture should be a model for the way other areas in the Valley do it.
After two days of roving, I still haven't got to the bottom of what's happening with the Chatsworth Island ferryman's cottage.
I've had an email about it, which hasn't shed a lot of light on the problem. It might require a bit of time on the phone getting to the bottom of it.
Also we will have to wait a little longer to take a look at the stamped English roofing iron, which Lawrence resident Carol Taylor hopes someone can find a use for.
Carol said it was a touch too early for her to be talking about this at the moment, but has promised us a call when she's ready to go.
We'll let you know all about it when she's ready.
NOON: The smell coming from the kitchen at On the Bite is sensational and my tummy is growling while I wait for my Moroccan meatballs.
I've just downed a great cappuccino, which I take as a good sign for my lunch.
After that I will turn my attention to the interview I've just down with Tracy Marshall, who sadly lost daughter Alissa in a car crash in April last year.
Great credit must go to Tracy and Tony and their family and friends for keeping the memory of their daughter fresh and vital.
They're holding a fund raising night on September 21 in the Clarence Hotel (Bottom Pub) Maclean to raise money for two child care centres in Cambodia - a project close to their daughter's heart.
Last year the family and friends sent more than $25,000 to the centres, where Alissa planned to work for 12 months when she finished training as an English/history teacher.
Tragically her dream was cut short but her family are keeping her memory alive.
11.00AM: FERRY Park Café owners the Poole family, Penny and David and daughter Cassandra are proud of their animal loving credentials.
Although the café has been pet friendly for quite a while, they're now advertising the fact.
"The main reason we decided to allow pets into the cafe was because people used to leave their dogs in the car, even though it's illegal," Penny said.
It's been a pleasant morning catching up with the Poole and their great attitude to pets travelling with their families.
We might have to pack our dogs in the car and drop in for a cuppa on the way.
9.00AM: I couldn't go past the Pacific Hwy gateway to Maclean, Ferry Park, on my second day of roving.
First up I grabbed a quick photo of Maclean Quality Meats delivery man Ryley Allen making the morning delivery.
Inside I'm sipping a great coffee and chatting to staff who are keen to tell me of a first for the town at the cafe.
I won't still my thunder and elaborate later in a post to come.
During the day I hope to find out more about the Chatsworth Island ferry cottage and catch up with a renovator at Lawrence who is trying to find someone interest in English stamped roofing iron she wants to give away.
7.00AM: Having already spent one day in Maclean, Daily Examiner journalist Tim Howard is back for another day of roving reporting trying to find the stories the Maclean community is talking about.
If you would like to let Tim know of a story ideas click here to send him an email. Don't forget to add in your contact details.