In amongst Babe’s country is a village called Burrawang. It has a yearly market whereby the main road is blocked off. That’s how big it is. We were told about it by a neighbour. We had never been before, always a good reason to check it out. ‘Checking out ‘is very popular language now amongst the young and so is ‘oh my god’ and ‘stuff like that’, also still going strong is ‘der or duh’. Rising inflections are now well established, even amongst news readers.
We arrived at the Burrawang country village on the day of the big market and were directed to a paddock to park our car. There were hundreds of cars already with lots of volunteers wearing those fluorescent jackets directing the stream of cars to follow the car in front for parking. Following ‘the car in front’ wasn’t too difficult and after parking we followed, just as effortless, the endless stream of the car exited drivers and passengers to the Burrawang village up the hill.
Burrawang is the Sussex of Australia. It is as beautiful and as close to the ‘old country of England’ as you could possibly make it. The red volcanic soil is home to the best potato but also miles of conifer hedges, maple trees, willows, elms, cedar, and massive gnarled oaks and even real holly with red berries. All this, but also old strands of giant eucalypts having escaped the cruel axe of the forties and fifties hell bent on ring barking, obliterating chances of dangerous bush-fire and make room for pasture and bellowing cattle…
I love Australia and its bush, the Eucalypt and Casuarina, the melaleuca and Cootamundra wattle, but haven’t forgotten the deciduous beauty of European trees. At this time with autumn chasing summer I am chuffed to be jarred to Europe once more. Forgive; I am getting a bit sentimental, will soon purple prose with fallen leaves and tear-shed memories of ‘times gone by’.
We followed the tails of market seekers before us and noticed there were some people waiting near a sign which read ‘bus transport’. Some people queuing and being elderly, I thought that they were from a nursing home. Helvi, observant as always, disagreed, ‘I think they are people that don’t want to walk uphill to the markets and are just waiting for a bus’ she proffered.
She was right and as we plodded on we noticed most walkers had sturdy shoes or runners. I had my comfy RM. Williams and Helvi nice boots.
We noticed at the beginning that many were passing us. We decided to take it leisurely. It wasn’t a race. The distance to the markets was huge and steep too. We kept on seeing walkers as far as the eyes could reach. We plodded on stoutly as they sometimes say but the nice boots were somewhat regretted by H.
Most walkers were either younger, older or our age but all had rather rose coloured or claret coloured faces, some were panting or even standing still somewhat crouched forward, catching breath. In the meantime the little buses carrying those that wisely waited at the sign below at the parking lot were flying past us. Was this going to be a re-run up the Mount of Calvary, after all, it was Easter? Was the C o E involved? You just never knew in this area. No, it couldn’t be.
I suppose, the planners of the event thought to combine keeping cars well away from the village together with a regime of teaching us all a fitness lesson, a worthy reason in which to organize the Burrawang event. Indeed, why not?
I noticed that not only was nature splendidly English and very Sussex with a bit Yorkshire dale and flagged stone walls but so were a lot of the walkers. They even spoke somewhat differently. I suppose we were in the hub of gentrified Highland’s territory. After finally arriving at the market, most were so famished and thirsty; they went straight to the food stalls. There was a mile long queue at the Turkish gorem pide bread stall. Hamburgers ditto. Yorkshire pudding was sold out, even raw pumpkins were being besieged by the hungry.
We sauntered around, noticing some in horse type breeches leggings, some old but young women with smart equistrial type hats and hints of Botox, moustached men in corduroy, guffawing and laughing loud with a ‘har har’ type bonhomie.
The ‘Scottish short-bread’ stall; all decked out in little coloured squares was also popular. The quest for food was endless and looking hopeless for us, the queues were just so long but I promised H a nice coffee.
The coffee stall was a converted VW bus with a promising sign proudly displaying ‘The Grind and Co”. There was a queue, but a promise is a promise.
I finally managed to get two coffees and bought a nice bottle of Fume-blanc after first tasting it (twice) from a cool climate winery called ‘blue metal’.
The walk downhill was a lot quicker and our fellow walkers considerably jollier.
We had a great day and hoed into a loaf of Burrawang crispy bread and some smoked salmon. The fume blanc was a nice one too.