Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

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Beach, and Ekka Day

It was a holiday on Wednesday. After a bit of indecision and regrets about having to leave the dog behind we accepted Robin and Paul’s invitation to go out to Bribie Island. I’m glad we did. We caravanned to a 4×4 lot and took Robin’s 4-wheeler up the beach, with me, Kat, Dylan, Robin, Penny, and their son Toby. It was exciting and bouncy, and a bit scary to be plunging up and down the sand rises next to the crashing waves.

We met up with Paul, Jane, their kids, and Jane’s sister. It was sunny and windy and we laid out blankets in the wind shadow of the cars. Dylan played with the kids in the sand. The sky was filled with the smoke of bushfires in the distance. It was really beautiful and fun to hang out and chat, eating lunch. Dylan and I walked up to a lake of brackish water near the beach and the water was a beautiful dark amber color. Robin caught up and said that the color was from plant tannins, making the water the color of tea. Paul flew a huge kite which whipped in the wind. All a very nice day.

The next day, we went off to the Ekka, which is the Queensland state fair held in Brisbane. We had a great time. We rode rides which were quite well kept and had remarkable airbrushed art all over them. Dylan was a maniac for the whirly rides and Kat and I took turns getting sick accompanying him. We wisely did all the rides before lunch, when the crowds and heat would build up, and it’s never a good idea to be upside down with your tummy full of fried foods. We ate lunch, starting with Dagwood Dogs, about which I was hesitant but ended up loving. It’s a mild sausage on a stick, covered with fried batter like they use for fish and chips. Yummy! We got lemonde and watched some dog shepherding competitions, which sadly ended soon after we got there. We saw live bilbies which are a quite rare marsupial, and donated to the fund to save them. Then ate butter sandwiches, which are another classic Ekka food. We saw animals of all sorts including very rambunctious piglets.

Kat came back through the crowd and told us “You have to see this.” We found a spot in a ring of people clustered around a table. I heard merry circus music. On the table were about thirty mice all playing with various kinds of wheels, ramps, and tubes, all to the sound of the manic music, making it all so amusing we were fixed to the spot. In the middle was a wheel which turned a tiny mirror ball which splashed red and green light in all directions. Next to it hung seed ball literally covered with mice. At the end were two wheels on a spoke. One mouse would get on the bottom one. Then another. Then a mouse got on the top one. One on the bottom would leave and the spoke would turn, balancing both mice. Then one would hop off, leaving the other one swinging crazily. Then repeat.

We had corn on the cob and watched a dog show. Then, our energy fading, off to the “Show Bag” pavilion, to which Dylan had been looking forward since he saw the newspaper inserts. They are bags filled with toys or candies or what have you, following a theme. We told him we would buy one for him, and he could buy more with his own money. He ended up getting three: an Army one, a police one, and a skeleton one. How boyish can you get? I imagine being at a formative age during 9/11 also contributes. We went home and he and I delightedly had dramatic shootouts. Later he played on his own, talking into the walkie-talkie and raiding various parts of the house.

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