Friday, October 24, 2008

A dagwood dog, a diving pig

Today we plunged in to the Royal Hobart Show. We got in early, got out at about 1pm, had a good time and didn't overspend, so we feel a bit like we've pulled off an Oceans Eleven style caper. Here are a few impressions.

7° at 9am - boys had $5 pony rides with ponies guided by stroppy preteen girls. The pierced face is popular with carny women of all ages.

Big dairy farm kids lolling around in the stalls with their stock. Boys up one end playing country music CD loudly - girls down the other, lying in straw using hereford cows as backrests, texting. In a small shed down the end, 3 garbage bins of creamy, creamy milk.

My first dagwood dog in many years. Hot American dougnuts - I did indeed see them being made. I saw some Belgian Shepherds - black and fluffy and not quite as agressive looking as German Shephards.

The racing pigs were a free attraction. It was all over pretty quick, they are sprint pigs. There were two heats - I was hoping for a final, or perhaps a middle distance steeplechase with some tactics and racecraft involved, but they didnt eventuate. Then there was a lot of buildup for a diving pig, who was going to attempt a new world record for a distance jump. I was going to film it but was too slow. Pig shot up a ramp, and splashed down at about 3 metres - not enough to extend the record.

Tatts and cigs were everywhere. After a nippy start the sun got some sting in it, so everyone was baring their skin and their tatts to it. There was no smoking allowed in closed public areas, which meant that just about everyone in the open public areas had one going or were just stubbing one out. A muscly carnie with a mohawk, and a Winnie Blue in one corner of the mouth, swaggered about slamming the cages open and closed for his ride. I saw him as a deluded loser - but the eleven year old bogan girls were in love. I could be totally wrong - he may be a pastoral poet of note.

That excellently-named Hobart motorbike retailer BRAAAAP! had a stall. A sign the size of a cricket pitch said FINANCE NOW!! TAKE IT HOME NOW!!

We visited Imp in the State Government's shed. Various stalls within asked us to grow vegies, go solar, save water, walk to work, report foxes, and trust the government to decide where to put the new hospital. The shed was full of people like us - tertiary educated Suby drivers who grow vegies, have solar, walk to work, etc etc. Basically the message from this shed was so diametrically opposed to what people come to the show for (diving pigs, dagwood dogs, sugar, dirtbike daredevils and inflatable pink plastic crap) that I'm surprised the Show Society let the government in at all. Imp showed us an ingenious model that demonstrated aspects of groundwater management. I know - sounds dull, but it was nifty.

The boys loved it all. We took them through the very crowded animal nursery, but then also took them through the almost deserted livestock shed to see the serious sheep, goats and cattle. We saw a sheep shorn. In the Show Society office I got talking to a wool judge. He was excited to be talking to a city person about wool. He handled the winning fleeces freely, and I did the same, appreciating the different texture of the superfine wool, looking at the crimp, the staple, feeling the different amounts of lanolin in the various wools etc. Elf came over after he had gone - I was still pawing the extremely valuable exhibits as she pointed out a quite large sign said "DO NOT TOUCH".

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