Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Australia Day Long Weekend Part 1 - Fly-Shooing, Thigh-Slapping, Head-Shaking, Sweat It Out

As the post-Christmas/New-Year-Holiday-depression roots itself into my work scenario and, as I'm cussing myself (quite loudly and, if I do say, unnecessarily crudely too) at having wasted my holiday not coming up with a brilliant idea on how not to have to go back to work again, the Australia Day holiday approaches. Here to save the day of every hard-working Aussie with the simple dream of never having to work a day in their life again. At least for a day. You bloody beauty.

Being that the 26th January is still a long week away, given my impatience and, most conveniently, the return from the mechanics of my time machine, I decide to travel through time straight to the Australia Day long weekend.

I stop for drive-through at your (the reader's) choice of any of the nauseating fast food restaurants on offer. A food stained wrapper flies out the window and a I make a note in time to pick it up upon my return.

As is our wont, the 'Straya Day long weekend begins with a pilgrimage out west to the Country Music Capital of Australia - Tamworth; home of the Golden Guitar. Though, most will know Tamworth as the place where the best TV ads are produced in the world, the National Equine Capital of Australia, the First City of Lights, producer of hay fever and flies.

The weekend starts as most days do by getting out of bed. I break into a sweat during the process, which is common in Tamworth, as I have slept in to after 5:30am.

I walk outside to get some fresh air and commence my sneezing for the day. My right arm is familiar with the country conditions here and instinctively begins to shoo the flies away - they're big suckers out here; gonna need a bigger shoe. 

Given it's the country, all we wear out here is boots and steel capped thongs (flip flops, jandals, double pluggers, go-aheads, sexy man heels). And so, as one thing leads to another, the flies display evasive skills like a dirty politician as I shoo them away with a boot, and the boot misses the flies and goes straight through the side window.

I'm quick to deflect the blame to the dog passed out under the tree and grab a breakfast beer to congratulate myself in avoiding the blame.

My mother in-law looks in my direction and shakes her head - no doubt from the flies. I stop myself from throwing another boot and trying to save her from the swarm.

I sweat some more to pass the time and, a couple of beers later, it's lunch time. We head in to Peel Street to see the entertainment.

We drive past the camping grounds where most of the Tamworth Country Music Festival goers like to pull up a tent for the week. Though, as is tradition, the Peel River has flooded at this time of year again, and the camping ground is currently 10km East of Gunnedah, and travelling at a steady 4 Knots.

The traffic into downtown Tamworth is terrible up until we eventually make our way onto the amazingly vehicle-less Peel Street. Everyone is waving at us, including the police standing in the middle of the street, and the busker lying under my rear right wheel. Most seem to be shouting profanities which, though it may not be pleasant to some people's ears, it is the country and that's our language.

There are surprisingly plenty of parks along Peel Street so, after honking politely at the country pedestrians (who are not used to many cars, many country folk walk in the middle of the road!), I find a park behind a man on a mobility scooter wearing a hat with a house on top. I beep him to say "hi" and his chook flies off. He waves and swears politely at us.
Peace'O'Mind Cartoon
Cartoon: Frank 'Chook Man of The Murray' Turton
Legend has it it is he who lays the golden egg of
which the Golden Guitars are hatched from. This
goes a way to explain where the music term "lay
down a track" orginates from.

Buskers line the street. I win a guitar case by successfully throwing a coin into it from the kerb. The busker doesn't seem too happy, as I'm sure it's not the first time someone has won.

More sweating, swatting of flies and the replacement of fluids continues as we venture from one venue to another in search of a decent band to listen to. Just my luck, it must be country hour again.

Later on, we find ourselves at the Sauna Centre; commonly referred to in horse circles as the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre - quite uncomfortably (in addition to the heat), as we hadn't informed ourselves that we were going.

I, personally, was there at the rodeo to see my favourite event - the riding of the pigs by children. Or, little people. I can't be quite sure of which as, despite my squinting, the sweat pouring into my eyes and my intoxication makes it hard for me to work it out. It is a fabulous event whereby the winner (child or miniature person) takes home the pig that they rode to victory and eats it, and vice versa for the losers*.
(* this is a new thing that has been introduced to keep the animal cruelty campaigners quiet. It's a "what's good for the goose" type thing...)

The night ends with a pleasant four to five hour line up for a taxi that we ultimately get thrown out of. We eventually make our way home in the back of a paddy wagon.

(To Be Continued... click here to move straight to Australia Day, do not pass Go, do not collect $200)


  1. So very Aussie mate - a true blue yarn.

    1. Thanks 'sheila', though I did make note to remove all reference to 'stone tha crows', as it is an out-dated tradition that we, as an Australian society, have advanced from.
      I believe we advanced to clubbing the canetoads.


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