Thursday, September 23, 2010

Channel 40

While in Echuca I attended a meeting of the Horticultural society where John of McKindlay's Riverine Nursery gave a talk about plants native to the region. These include Gold dust wattle (Acacia acinacea), Mallee wattle (A. Montana), Native blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa), Ruby Saltbush (Enchyleana tomentosa), Narrow leaf Clematis (Clematis micropyllus), Hooked needlewood (Hakea tephrosperma), Punty bush (Senna artemseioides), Butterbush (Pittosporum phylliraeoides) and Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata). Unless you are into horticulture this all sounds very boring, but it was good to find out the names of plants I had been seeing from the road or along the river.

 I attended another community meeting about the floods where the paddlesteamer owners were whinging about the river being closed unnecessarily and how much money they were losing on a daily basis. After this they reopened the river to some craft despite huge logs getting washed down the river and river red gums falling over onto bits of infrastructure.

While in Echuca I ate far too many Spinach rolls from Moama bakery, sampled 'regional Victoria's best fish and chips' at Fish in a Flash, and ate lots of fudge. I also did lots of reading at the library. As well as travel stories, I read 'Koorie Plants Koorie People' which I strongly recommend, and also 'The Bushfood Handbook', in particular the chapter on procuring water in the bush.

Coming out of Echuca Aldi one day I ended up talking to fellow a cyclist who was free-camping in his campervan somewhere in the regional park. He was telling me about his bicycle addiction - if he doesn't ride at least once a day he gets withdrawal symptoms, and how he lives off the sprouts he grows in his van, including Gota kola. He had been living in the regional park for 3 months when I was talking to him. I didn't get to find out how he managed with the floods. I also talked to Steve, staying in the same caravan park as me who recommended for catching fish in the Murray to microvave some chux with cheese, and cut this up into squares as bait.

After leaving Echuca I stayed in Elmore overnight for $10. Here a man started talking to me and shared his worldly knowledge on a variety of topics including how world war three will start because 'towel heads' are stopping people swimming in pools in scantly clad attire and that is what the diggers fought for, as well as the fact that all lesbians were made lesbians because of paedophiles. I swear I have freak magnet super powers.

Next I stayed in Bendigo for three nights. On a Friday night I attended a meeting of the Bendigo Native Plant Group were President Ian Evans gave a talk about Grevilleas of North Central Victoria. Ian was saying that there are some species that they've only found in one place and this can sometimes be on the road-side under a signpost. He talked about probably 30 different species found in the area, many of which vary only slightly in appearance. They have a grevillia study group that goes out looking for the dwindling numbers.

On Saturday I attended the Harvest Moon festival which is a Chinese tradition and the night featured pyrotechnics, dance, martial arts, lions, and drums. It was impressive.

I was staying at Central City caravan park for $23 a night (and no TV) where a nazi worker told me off for charging my mobile phone in the laundry. (Using a hair dryer would be fine at four times the energy use.) What a dickhead. I highly recommend staying there if you enjoy that sort of treatment. I couldn't believe it myself.

At Heathcote I met a bloke in the caravan park who gave me a handheld CB radio to listen to the truck channel. Score. I was listening to this yesterday when I was forced to ride on the freeway for eleven kays and it was good to know that when the truckies aren't calling me a fucking idiot, they're letting each other know to watch out for me.

For some reason I think I've neglected to mention my visits to art galleries around the state. While in Bendigo the first time around I saw the Fred McCubbin last impressions exhibition - amazing. Somewhere I can't even remember where now - maybe Maryborough - I saw a kind of traditional basket weaving exhibition featuring Virginia Kaiser - check out this amazing artist if her name comes up in your area.

1 comment:

Mal said...

Freak Magnet but no Truck Magnet

Not sure which to be most relieved about:

(1) Freaks are rarely in a position to do much harm.

(2) Truckers are rarely freaks.

I like the hand held CB radio. Maybe Google will come up with an Android app that does freak detection.

The Maree Bike Tour is one fascinating adventure after another. Even the quiet bits are interesting!