TONY Windsor is back being a farmer, more likely a farm labourer, and a bloke who, in the absence of rain, is making his garden irrigation work overtime.
He’s on a mission though, and just a couple of days out from one of the family’s biggest milestones, he’s hard at work with the hard yakka that brings.
Tomorrow will see Windsor and wife Lyn’s only daughter Kate marry – in the big front-yard garden that is the Windsor family’s oasis on their Werris Creek property.
The long-serving federal member for New England has departed the political scene after a generation in public life – and now three months later is revelling in a private life that is pretty personal.
So, as the builders erect the marquee down the front, the once-political strategist Windsor and Lyn are putting the finishing touches to the rest of the garden for the wedding party.
There’s plenty to do and no rain has made it tougher, but Lyn is reminding her hubby he has to top up some ponds or dams and soak some more beds.
Windsor laughingly refers to himself as the irrigator farmer now – there’s a series of seven or so paddock ponds or big garden dams in the big homestead garden. They’re built on a Windsor strategy of a leaky landscape, so via irrigation pipes or overflow channels or simple terrain leak, water finds its way through them and also into beds built around rock walls and expanses of lawn.
Kate Windsor will marry Andrew Wynn in the garden, on one of the series of decks the Windsors have built around the garden and mostly overlooking the ponds, like African hunting lodge outdoor areas that Windsor has re-created to some extent in look and spirit from his African trips.
Windsor has his welding gear and his facemask at the ready to completed on one such stage where the nuptials will be performed in front of about 135 people.
Among the family members will be the two matriarchs, Betty Cross, Lyn’s 85-year-old mum, and Tony’s mother Ruth, who is 96. The Windsor sons Andrew and Tom have now joined the working party and everything should be OK on the day, Windsor said.
But it is and has been a bit of work to get to here and while there’s plenty of money, as any parent in that role will tell you, spent on the wedding day of a daughter, they don’t begrudge it.
“We’ve only got one daughter,” says Lyn, “but it’s a long way away from our marriage.”
They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in April this year.
“In our day everybody got married at the Werris Creek Golf Club,” Windsor said.
That was 1973, but today’s weddings are more varied and diverse. So too are bucks’ and hens’ nights. A generation has changed the way things were celebrated then, too.
For now though, the wedding marquee takes a day to set up. It has come from doing duty for some good friends. It was pulled down after last weekend’s wedding of the daughter of the Windsors’ good friends, Stephen and Helen Hall, on their family tennis court, washed up and then brought to The Creek for Kate’s big day.
There’s tables and settings to prepare when it’s ready, too.
And while they’re not complacent about what’s to be done, they recognise they might not get it all done they way they’d like.
But, on the day, everything will be OK, they say, echoing the sentiments of anxious parents all over. It’s a day to enjoy family and friends.