Janice transformed her life from one of solitude to a rewarding and purposeful life. Read her story below.
My husband and I were meant to live together on our farm in Pearcedale, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. He was diagnosed with stomach and liver cancer and only lasted 7 months. We’d been married for 49 years.
I loved that house. I had chooks and I had my cat. But it was a big house with 5 bedrooms and was great while someone else was there. I felt very lonely. I don’t make friends very easily and get terrified when I walk into a room with people I don’t know. I became a bit of a recluse.
Eventually, I joined the CWA and did paper tole classes – they were the only two things that got me out of the house, especially in winter. Sometimes I wouldn’t get out of the bedroom for days at a time. Thank goodness for the animals, they kept me going.
One day I drove past Lifestyle Casey Fields and only a few houses were built and occupied but I liked the look of it. I picked this house because I can look up to the pine trees and gum trees and they remind me of the farm.
It didn’t take long for me to make friends here.
Barbara, who lives across the road from me, and I eventually started Tweedles Café. It started off as a soup kitchen one night, and 53 people turned up. For 2 and a half years, we cooked dinner once a fortnight, but now we’ve brought it down to once a month. Diners pay $5 to cover the cost of ingredients for a meal and dessert, and we try not to repeat the same meals. We also like to do theme nights – like Footy Night in September with pies, Octoberfest with hot dogs and sauerkraut. The most we’ve had were 115 people.
We’ve also raised money for charities like Men’s Prostate Cancer and Motor Neuron Disease. We have a money box that we put on the bench and we sell leftover food – we don’t believe in throwing out food. Last year for Movember we set up a barber’s chair and had a shave-off and raised over $1,000.
The café is a big part of the life here. It gives me a purpose. Going from being a recluse my life has completely changed.