Ever wondered what country publicans get up to during a lockdown?
Tom and Emily Hancock, who are today celebrating exactly five years of owning the Collie Hotel, on the Oxley Highway between Warren and Gilgandra, have started making daily videos to keep themselves busy.
The videos, shot by Emily and featuring Tom and their scene-stealing daughter Eliza, 3, big sister to baby Oakland, often depict the classic "things you hear in a country pub".
From the farmer telling you he sold lambs for a new record at the saleyards, before bemoaning the price of lamb cutlets, to the caravanner asking if you're open despite the state-wide lockdown and huge closed sign out the front.
"They're everyday things we see in our life," Tom said.
"We've just got to poke away and do things like the videos to put a smile on our face."
Tom said the videos, shared on Instagram and Facebook, stemmed from an advertising video they made to promote Collie Hotel hats.
"That video went absolutely ballistic, we've sold hundreds and hundreds of hats during lockdown, it's been perfect timing," Tom said.
Conveniently, the pub is also the local post office in Collie, supplying around 30 farmers in the district.
"We just give the mailman all the boxes of hats, packed and ready to go," Tom said.
"We've shipped them to nearly every state in Australia, even to Canada.
"My wife is the brains behind the pub, but she's having trouble getting the book work done now because there's so many hats going out the door.
"It's not an incredible amount of money but it keeps us doing something and is a little bit of income coming in."
Tom said before the lockdown the pub had been thriving with everyone keen to hit the road after last year's outbreak.
"I've had people from the North Shore of Sydney hiring an RV and coming past," Tom said.
"They've never been in an RV in their life, they're usually going to Italy for a month.
"We were probably the busiest we've ever been between outbreaks, but then COVID just comes along and punches you."
The Hancocks haven't yet applied for any government grants or disaster payments, but with the lockdown looking unlikely to lift in the near future, Tom said it was something they would look into.
"At the start you think it's only going to last a couple of weeks, so you don't worry about applying for disaster payments and switching everything off properly," he said.
"I was thinking I should be packing up the whole beer system now because I'm the only one drinking a few schooners every day."
But although Tom and Emily might not have many people to share a beer with at the moment, their videos are keeping them and the community connected.
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