Damp & Doomed at Dungog Show
December 3, 2015
DUNGOG Show - 13th & 14th November 2015
Whilst packing the ute on Friday afternoon a cool southerly breeze blew across Parkville & I was relieved to have the humid weather blown away. I did not stop to wonder what that breeze might mean, as I raced to meet up with Kirsty in Scone, the both of us flying solo in our own cars for the first time! Kirsty in 'Big Tex' the patrol and myself in 'Rodney' the Rodeo.
Ready for our 2 hr drive, we teamed up on the outskirts of Scone at about 6pm, a convoy of two. Getting closer to Aberdeen we could start to see a glimpse of our impending doom ahead!
This did not look good!!
Needless to say the delight the cool breeze had brought me earlier was now the cause of some excitable words leaving my mouth when lightning cracked in the paddock not too far off the road!
It wasn't too long before we were down to 60km/hr on the New England Hwy heading for Singleton, we couldn't see a damn thing! We survived the dog leg just before singleton, which had already swallowed up 5 cars and a police dogbox in 3 foot of water! We took the high road and were glad to be what looked like the only two four wheel drives on the road at the time.
Arriving in Singleton one & a half hours later, a little shaky but still both determined to press on - we couldn't go back cos the road was now closed!
A pick me up of gummy bears for Kirsty at the servo and we were off, until I reached for my phone and had to swing a U Turn to go back to the servo! Doh! Phone on toilet cistern where I had left it! Back in the convoy & onward down the Gresford road.
The thought that we may get to an edge of the storm came & went as the weather worsened and Tex & Rodney were shunting through layers of water on the flat roads at 40km/hr in the pitch black. Thank God for spotlights and Light Bars! A call came through from Kirsty to tell me her dashboard lights had all just lit up for no apparent reason. Obviously Tex didn't like being a duck! Everything else fine we kept going! If only we had checked the radar at that point!
We hit Gresford, not a soul in site & ventured onwards & upwards over the range leading to Dungog. Well! Whilst I was imagining what it must be like to fly a plane, Kirsty thought she had stumbled into a scene from Gorillas in the Mist. Thick, thick fog and heavy, heavy rain now had us down to 20km/hr climbing the steep windy road in second gear! Yet, we continued on!
Finally! We reached Dungog! Yay! 4 and a half gruelling hours later! Wow! Note to self: check forecast prior to leaving for an event in future!!
We had got so used to going slow we drove the streets of Dungog at the exciting speed limit of 50km/hr to find the showground! Found it, on the side of a hill. I pulled Rodney into an uphill parking spot, only to have Kirsty follow beside me and lose Big Tex's front wheel into a massive mud bog, in fits of laughter Kirsty reverses to bring Tex's wheels onto the gravel, then proceeds to get out and lose her own shoe in the very same bog! Lol - in torchlight we could see an imprint of both, a match made in heaven!
We grabbed our jackets, tucked the jeans into the boots, tucked the hair into a hat & trudged through the slop (still pouring) to the only light we could see that was still burning, in the old Dungog Grandstand. We were met with a surreal image as we walked in. In front was an alpaca, to the left a HUGE Turkey and to the right....rabbits?! What the?
Then we realised we had walked into the Dungog Show Petting Zoo! We met with the owners of the petting zoo & had a wander around the exhibit. We encountered the biggest pig you've ever seen, lots of cute & cuddlies & a wondrous golden pheasant which cracked us both up when I nicknamed him 'Fabio'! (We must have been tired!)
We were thrilled to see a donkey foal in the cages, after finishing our Nightwatch season, this was the cutest thing we have ever seen! He was so FLUFFY!!!!
Then there was the free range white Turkey, which stood to almost waist height (my waist height!) & was trying to pick a fight with a human! We were told that when his head was blue he was looking for trouble & when his head was red he was looking for love!
Always a sceptic, I piped up and said 'nah you're pulling my leg for sure!'
With that the owner grabbed the turkeys snood (the dangly thing hanging off its nose, another tired funny!) & the turkey meandered away from his duelling partner & came over to Kirsty who was beside me. This turkey's head turned a crimson shade of red when it saw Kirsty & Kirsty turned a pale shade of white! And so, that ended our time in the petting zoo, saying a quick goodnight to everyone whilst Kirsty tugged me backward by my jacket towards the door so as not to lead on the turkey in anyway! Note: We didn't get a chance to take a photo of the lovestruck Turkey!
With the rain not ceasing we manhandled boxes and stock to & fro between cars to make room for each of our beds! Both glad to be bunking down after a nightmare trip, I was delighted to climb in next to our stock and find my bedding (and the stock) completely dry under the canopy! Phew!
We awoke at 7am, to a soggy ground & misty hills around us, but thankfully no rain, for now!
After some careful consideration of where to set up, we picked a spot with nice grass at the end of sideshow alley. We set up the gazebo complete with secondary tarp roof (just in case), the tent pegs were a breeze for once & we managed to put all stock on the shelves without dropping a thing in the mud! Things were looking up!
It was then we realised that the toilets were all the way back up on top of the hill! Nooooo! Not a good sign! AND, we had set up right below a fairground amusement ride that might just lead to a vomitron of sorts in our direction, so we decided it would be safer with our gazebo walls on (just in case!).
Kirsty decided Tex would be her saviour to get to the toilets, so she drove him up the hill & back only for me to hear a horrible whirring noise coming from under her bonnet once parked.
I lifted the hood to find her alternator pulley about to sheer completely off! Oh, that's what the dashboard lights were!
An apprehensive call to the Dusty Diamonds mechanic (Kirsty's Partner) was made, costing him a drive to Kotara from Scone to pick up parts, then out to Dungog for an emergency install. David half an hour away & the rain started AGAIN! This had Kirsty & I rigging up a makeshift mechanic shop between Rodney & poor broken Tex! David did well to install the new alternator in the rain & saved Kirsty from lodging in the petting zoo for the rest of the weekend!
Whilst discussing sales techniques with our pump selling neighbour Matt, we started to get disheartened with the lack of customers & the ever increasing rain blanketing us again. The conversation soon came to that of headlocks & blockading the pathway to draw people in! Kirsty meanwhile found comfort in a bucket, yes a bucket, of fairy floss!
We had some time out here & there from our gazebo & caught some action in the ring. We cheered on a father & son from Scone in the famed log splitting competition,
and had a laugh at the bouncy ponies for the kids & were pleased to see the locals that had donned the oilskins and gumboots to make the show despite the weather!
Feeling not exactly glamorous anymore & with super soggy boots, we decided to pack up (David packing up the quickest) & head on home before we were in the dark again. A quick stop to the showbag truck & we were off again on our way home, now a convoy of three!
The drive home was cautious but uneventful, except for when Tex tried to eat Rodney on a 90degree turn in the dark, which I'm sure that turn was put there moments before to make sure we were all still awake! We detoured a detour due to flooding (which was all David's fault! Haha) & breathed a sigh of relief when we drove into Scone. The convoy split, all thankful for each other's efforts & we went home to dry off for the first time in two days!
Not our best weekend ever & hopefully the last of its kind, but I doubt it! We overcame each hurdle & made a few sales, met some new people & stuck it out with the Show organisers & the other trade stalls. We take our hat off to all those who competed in the mud on their pristine clean horses & to those who won't let 'a little rain' or an 'impending Gorillas in the Mist thunderstorm' ruin their day out! I'll have to check but Kirsty may have grown by the end of the weekend!
Thank you Dungog Show Association, we will be back next year, depending on the forecast!
Until next time, Keep Shining, even in the rain!