Today I did some weeding in our garden wearing my new hat. Glorious. Both the repetitive, labour intensive catharsis of weeding and the satisfaction of a well fitting wide brimmed Akubra. After nearly five years in the desert I couldn’t leave without one. A lovely man with a snowy white beard sold me one at the K-Hole Show yesterday.
Now, small rural town agriculture shows that I’ve been to in the past have been quaint affairs. Families from outlying stations don their best boots and hat combinations and bring their prize bulls, chickens and needlework to the show grounds. Most small towns have an oval with some stables for this very function.
The usual mulleted crew of carnies rolls in with some sideshow alley amusements. Black kids and white kids slam into each other on dodgem cars, shoot toy guns to win stuffed animals almost double their size, gorge on hot chips then vomit off all the rides – The Big Dipper does not discriminate. The townsfolk usually compete in scone baking, diorama making, vegetable sculpting (true! See below for evidence) and Miss Showgirl competitions. The latter contest usually involves swag rolling races, cupcake decorating and talking to old people. There are usually fireworks and drunkenness on the Sunday night and a public holiday on the Monday.
At the K-Hole Show today there were still the usual carnies and undiscriminating Big Dippers. It’s still a public holiday tomorrow, but the only agriculture present was in a crowded petting zoo. The fact that this show is called FiNaCLNG, named after all the elements that are mined here, should have been a warning.
In the mining sector tent was a free-merchandise free for all. A battle of the brands, a war of sample sized sun creams, branded stationary, torches, hats, drink bottles, mud crab measurers, even branded BBQ tongs.
Outside I expected the usual mix of RM Williams clothing and farming pesticides stalls. Instead I found outdoor air conditioners, luxury caravans, quad bikes, 4WDs, fishing boats and glamping gear including battery powered tent fans.
Alas no, Dear Readers, there shall be no poetry today, nor romancin’ neither, but I am eating fresh. Other than my hat salesman, the only other man I met at an organic food stall, a peaceful, reassuring island in a confusing sea of big boys toys on sale.
Clean-Shaven Organic-Produce-Appreciating Late-20s-Early-30s-Aged Man: Hi!
Akubra-Wearing Me: Hi! I’m amazed something like this exists here.
CSOPAL20E30A Man: Yeah we just started up. Do you want to sign up for a Seasonal Mixed Veggies Box Delivery? We have Large Family, Small Family or Couple sized boxes.
AW Me: Oh. You don’t have any single person sized boxes?
CSOPAL20E30A Man: No. (pause) Sorry!
I wasn’t really sure if he was apologizing for their lack of smaller boxes or my lack of couple. Undeterred, and excited by the possibility of seeing CSOPAL20E30A Man at my house once a week, I signed up, only to be told that his wife would take down my delivery address. Now I’ve got a gigantic box of dirty vegetables to eat before next Saturday, when CSO etc Man and his wife come round with another box. I can’t eat them all. I can’t let them go off. Perhaps it’s time to engage in an art form I previously scorned in paragraphs past…