Thursday, 19 June 2014

Country vs. City Life, or Having the Best of Both?

I have a confession to make...

I'm leading a double life.
I am Jack, and I am Earnest -and although Bunburying does not float my boat- having a country life and a city life seems to!

Monday to Friday I am living in rural Victoria; surrounded by sheep, mountains and country markets and enjoying small-town small talk with old women in second hand shops, which- by the way- have almost ruined my ability to pay high street prices for anything anymore. Almost ;)

Lambing season is upon us, and most ewes are having twins or triplets- good news for the farm!

Come the weekend, I usually venture to the big smoke of Melbourne to get my fix of fruity friends, busy bars and $5 burritos from Gusman Y Gomes, $5 Sailor J's fro Eydie's on Lygon, and whole bags of new clothes for $5 from Camberwell Market. Again, my bank balance applauds me!

That is until I bought a car and a new MacBook Pro, but these things are Life Improvements and thus worth every cent!

Sometimes the benefits of city excitement and country location overlap, like when Lior ventured out to the country for an intimate gig at the Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, which was quaint and surprising, especially the Yiddish gospel song he ended with. 

Triple J favourites Kingswood also played a packed gig at Hamiton pub The Cally last weekend, which was awesome- and full of young people I didn't know lived out here! It's harder to meet friends in the bush than it is in the city, but by saying yes to every invitation, I'm meeting more and more people every week, and some of them seem cool/fun/weird enough to be my friends :)

Festivals, like gigs, are usually part of my city life, but for one weekend last month a small group of us headed to Halls Gap the Grampians Grape Escape Food and Wine Festival.

Unfortunately, the event for me was a huge Disappointment (note the capital 'D'). The event has a strange ticketing system of separate day and night passes, with a 1.5 hour break between sessions. All good in theory, but in reality, festival goers got day-drunk, wobbled back to their accomodation and didn't seem to make it back for the evening, presumably in favour of a nice boozy nap. Perhaps having to pay again to enter ($35) or brave the drizzle put punters off, because the evening 'carnival' was more flump than fiesta. I only recall there being three fast food trucks open and three beer and wine stands- does this strike anyone else as ludicrous for a food and wine festival?! Apparently the daytime session was great with too many food and wine trucks to choose from (jealous-me? Never!).
My cohorts and I almost left but decided to stick it out for a while before having a much better time watching a local singer in a nearby cafe, and ended up with the hangovers we had anticipated from such an event.

Another little dampener on the weekend was my unfortunate fall from grace during a blaze of two-wheeled glory, when I fell off a hired electric scooter and lacerated my hands


Thanks in turn to friends' first aid efforts, copious amounts of rum and Betadine ointment, they have now healed well enough to start crafting again- more on that soon- and picking copious amounts of rosemary (don't ask). 

I'm working on making my country life as sociable as my city one, with netball training, fitness classes, going out for dinners and coffees seeming to be the way forward. I also recently attended a Country Women's Association curry night, where- contrary to my expectations- at least a third of the attendees were under 30, and it wasn't all swapping housekeeping tips and recipes. We drank wine, made future social plans and enjoyed great food as local Guest Speaker Pat Cameron informed and entranced us all with her fantastic photography, like this panorama of the nearby Grampian Mountains. The food was so good though, maybe some recipe swapping will have to occur!

I see these mountains every weekday while I'm a country bumpkin out on the farm, but if I didn't have my city weekends to look forward to, I don't think I'd appreciate them as much as I do. 

Hopefully I can maintain this balance and reap the benefits of both lives, because one without the the other is simply not enough for a gal like me who needs her tractors followed by trams and her mountain views chased by city lights, and may my cooking skills improve enough from shared CWA country recipes to stop me craving GYG burritos- though I doubt it!

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