A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

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Another Country Diary

After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
Wednesday 3 November '04
Docklands Melbourne 10pm. What a strange empty place. The development looks great, now all they need is about a thousand more people living there. We went for Aurore's birthday dinner to mezze, a classy but inexpensive modern-Turkish place that was the only restaurant in the strip that was full and buzzing. There's been problems with the buildings creating new wind patterns from the bay, people in flats can't open their windows it's so strong at times. The north facing flats all get full hot sun and windows break. But hey, that's modern development! It looks great.
Sunday 7 November '04
The Spring Fair at the school was all over by  the time I turned up (well nearly, people were packing up their stalls) and there were kids were running around in the chaos. Apparently it was a great success.

The fair is run for and by the primary school. There were lots of activities for the younger citizens of the town.  There are always good second hand books (I've donated a box or two over the time) and on one stall all that was left were this group of Bungendore dogs. Apparently it raised a lot of money this year. Well done.

When I see snails, I think of my English mate Norman who is a snail buff. He's hunted them down in countries across the globe, photographed them, collected them live and saved their shells. Now Norman and I share a lot of life correspondences (I dreamed about him on the night he had multiple heart attacks a couple of years ago) so when I saw this snail with it's silver trail come into the house for a visit, I figured Norman might be planning a visit as well. Sure enough there was an email to say he's bringing his sister, who's never been to Australia before, out around Christmas time and I've insisted that they visit us. 

Now the only problem with having a garden and feeling how I do about snails as predators, I was feeling guilty as I took this one out and stomped on it. Did I just imagine that I heard a squeal? Forgive me Norman.
Saturday 13 November '04
"Rain Rain Rain, beautiful Rain" sing Ladysmith Black Mambazo (MP3 sample here) and we've had another 30mm over a few days. There's puddles again in the street. The lawn needed mowing, and as I came home at dusk and stepped from the car the smell of wet earth and green growth and some hidden blossom hit me. Verdant is a good word.

This photo is here for two reasons, first is the obvious puddle and I'm working up to a rant about the metal fences that seem to be spreading like some feral plague around the town. I just know that we'll look at these fences in the same way we see the fake brick cladding. That has ruined the integrity and charm of so many weatherboard houses and now that it's lifting and peeling off, has made them look like slum dwellings rather than the 'cream brick veneer' dreams of the owners (or the smooth talk of the cladding sales shysters). Standby for a metal attack.

Wednesday 17 November '04
The huge oriental poppies are blooming, way too decadent for the garden but what the heck, a bit of floppy extravagance we can handle. And the bees love them. Each flower can have three of four bees at a time crawling over them. They're so absorbed and pollen drunk that you can bring a camera up very close.
I know the camera moved here but I was holding Max our smallest dog back with one hand and trying to photograph with the other, and it was getting dark so this is a one second long exposure. We came home to be greeted by only one dog, and the other was barking hysterically at the back of the house (sorry neighbours).

He was barking at a large echidna, very active and moving around. Jan rang our WIRES and they said it's either a young male changing territory or a female looking to build a nest. How it turned up in our yard, surrounded by neighbours gardens and concrete, and most with dogs and cats I'm not sure. We locked the dogs in until it got dark, and it obviously wandered off somewhere else.
Friday 19 November '04

On the highway driving back from Sydney last week I saw the first of the cherry stalls.  Surprisingly we don't usually have them in Bungendore, so when this one set up on the highway in town, I eagerly stopped to buy some. and talk to the stall holder.

Mick is the guy in the cap, but the grower's are Robyn and Arthur Hoad from Barega Orchards in Young, as you'd expect being the source of most of the cherries we get around here. Arthur was helping setup and said that they're heading for a fully organically grown crop next year, and is just a bit anxious as there's a lot of trust still in sprays, when your living is dependent on what you produce. They're covering their bets with at least half a dozen varieties and they had three different ones on sale here. They're even planting some varieties like the American favourite, Bing. All the fruit have particular characteristics and cropping times, so having a range of varieties can mean you don't lose all your crop, such as having them split when it rains, or being drought tolerance.

Here are (left to right) Supreme, Empress and Lewis cherries (I hope I've got them right). All are different in taste and texture and Jan pronounced them all the nicest she's tasted. She says that, to her, store bought cherries usually taste watery and are more just texture than real flavour. She's probably right, my best cherry taste memories were stopping at roadside stands.

There was one occasion that goes down in family history where I bought two bags, handed one into the back seat for the three girls and kept driving. Absorbed in eating and driving, I didn't look into the back seat until later. Each child was covered in cherry juice, mouths, faces, clothes. There were cherry stains on the seats that were still there when we sold the car. Jan never let me stop again while we had children onboard, even when they pleaded.
Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden