The Central Moama motel had the usual folder full of important info for guests – how to make a phone call, who to ring for a pizza, a form for ordering hot breakfasts – that sort of thing.
In a what's on publication there was actually a listing for an event that was neither a week before we arrived, nor for something happening a month after we planned to leave: Yep, Friday at 4.00 pm the gates would open for the Echuca –Moama show!
To avoid the rush, we waited til about 5:30.
Each clutching a $10 entry ticket, we went through the unpersonned turnstile and set out to see the sights, soak up the atmosphere, and buy some lucky envelopes.
The first promise of fun was an adrenalin rush thingy where you climb inside a giant plastic ball and roll around smashing into whatever. Not recommended for people with hypertension, heart problems, breathing problems, bone fractures, under a certain age or height, and definitely not without a written clearance from a doctor.
Just as well we were not looking for an adrenalin rush, as the chap was still busy blowing up his balls in expectation of the crowds yet to come.
Next attraction was this. It seemed to be free, but we kept walking.
"Sideshow Alley" looked rather sad – two stalls selling showbags ranging in price from $25 to $30.
Three stalls had buckets of fairy floss for sale – possibly from the same wholesaler. Also available the usual greasy deep fried stuff – if the smell was anything to go buy, all cooked in the same oil used at the previous Echuca show.
Further along was a stall selling showbags for $6. The plastic bags containing the goodies seemed slightly perished. Didn't bother checking for use-by dates on the contents.
No lucky envelopes. The what's on entry had pictures of those clown thingys, but all we could find were archery targets [flapping in the wind] and rubber duckies with hooks.
At the holding yards there was a giant sign saying ALPACAS. Inside the holding yards were two poddy calves of the beef variety. It was then we realised the $10 entry did not include any program of events like dog or chook shows, woodchop competitions or whatever.
There was one – count it, one – death defying ride at the back of the showgrounds with not a soul around. Maybe they would crank it up the next day. No matta, I can't even watch those things without feeling nauseous.
TO was performing her own unique version of a hysterical laugh – a laugh I have not heard for months but a sure sign she was starting to relax.
Stopped at a caravan and bought two really, really nice coffees for $5 each.
Sitting at the café table, laughing hysterically at the fun we were already having and expecting, TO decided to shake her cappuccino to move the chocolate around. Bad move. We both laughed hysterically some more.
Some chap had a wagon he has been driving around Oz for a few years to raise money for cancer research – so far he has raised $25,000. His wife? was in the kitchen. I emptied my pocket of a not inconsiderable amount of shrapnel but suggested we would both pass on the sausage.
This contraption looked interesting. Harness both wind and sunshine with a single gizmo. No one around to discuss it with.
Went across to look at the DONKEY SHELTER display.
Patted a donkey named Jimmie.
"How old is he?" we asked.
"About 40 years", we were told.
"How long do donkeys live for?" we asked.
"About 40 years", we were told.
No hysterical laughter, just an animated discussion between TO and a shelter worker about advanced age and the signs and symptoms of renal failure.
24/7 there are only 3 states for me: I throw tantrums, laugh hysterically or cry uncontrollably – thank goodness the meds are working.
Tried to distract myself from Jimmie's renal failure by reading about the rescue of 91 donkeys during the Yea-Murrindindi fires. Tuned back into the conversation briefly and, hearing more about renal failure tuned out again and went back to the display board.
Read a story about one donkey that made me burst into tears. People can be real animals.
|Jimmie at a nursing home in Numurkah|
TO bought two doggy hampers to put under the Xmas tree for D'Arcy and Maude – not convinced we needed extra doggy bowls or more crap in the house, I suggested we leave the hampers for the Donkey shelter people to sell to someone else and just give them the money. TO bought the hampers and gave them extra money as well. An outing is not an outing without crap to take home as proof of a good time had.
On the way out TO – the only person over 5 years of age I know who will still bend over to pick up a 5 cent coin – spotted some package intacta condoms on the ground. The packaging didn't look perished, but I had no desire to check the use-by date. We laughed hysterically some more, wondering if we weren't the only ones who would find the show did not live up to its promise that night.
Left through the unattended turnstiles and gave our tickets to some people on their way in.
Next morning, the motel people suggested the show really only cranks up from about 8pm. I doubt it does, but can tick the "EM show" entry on my bucket list. I'd found a Pictionary game at an op-shop earlier for $4 – it had been a good day.