If you ask me would I like to trap four whingeing children in a long car trip, my answer would be “Thank you, but I’ll take the Chinese water torture”.
However, last weekend we did just that. As we left Sydney it didn’t take long for apparent third world-type starvation and cries of persecution about no devices allowed, to kick in. But as we drove into the beauty of a setting sun over rolling fields of cattle and sheep and the space opened up, so too did our excitement at our weekend ahead. We were off to the Woodstock Country Show.
We all breathed in a deep breath of healthy lifestyle as we arrived at Woodstock – a pretty, spotless village of 250 people. There is a post office, butcher, a whole lot of friendly people and the Hotel we stayed in. After a pub dinner we bumbled off to our toasty warm beds and settled in for a really good night’s sleep.
Next morning, we followed the publican to the Showground to drop off our children’s art for the Show competition.
We met up with our old friends – the reason we came – and we also made new ones. “Go kids, you can run around, it’s very safe” said our friend, and they were gone, meeting new people and enjoying space without noise restrictions. That statement was cause to relax: It’s safe for my kids, no need for that undercurrent of worry I seem to have in Sydney.
Sunday was the Show. We paid our $10 each adult and the kids were all free. We walked in past the rumble of V8 cars and utes mustering and horses so beautiful they took your breath away entering the ring, and we went to get Pippy the pet sheep off the truck for the “Guess How Much Pippy Weighs?” Competition.
(Incidentally, she was not the same weight as me, like my 10-year-old guessed – she was 105 kilo’s).
There was stuff to see and do everywhere we looked – face painting, a magic show and a pony ride for my little girl; wood chopping for dad; a whip-cracking competition and traditional Blacksmith working for the 10-year-old, and some good old grunt and noise in the chainsaw racing for me.
The toddler was all over absolutely everything – climbing on tractors, fascinated by the speed shearing, talking to all the animals, and patting the “unicorn”.
Our eldest son was glued to Rob Bast the chainsaw sculptor. Now that is a thing to behold – he carved the finest feathers of a Wedge-tailed Eagle with a roaring brute of a machine, and made a Kelpie dog from a hunk of Cypress Pine that you could mistake for a real one. People were riveted to it.
As we wandered around there was not an “I don’t like this” nor a “he did this to me” squabbly fighting noise to be heard from our kids. At times they would wander off, so engrossed in something new and exciting that they wouldn’t realise we too had wandered off just as engrossed in something else. “Look at that horse mum, that’s beautiful!” came tumbling out of Master 10’s mouth without thought, about a magnificent looking working horse.
Tractor pulling – who’d have thought all six of us would love such a thing so much? We stood in the dust and diesel and noise and cheered on rusty old pieces of machinery that didn’t look as if they worked at all, let alone could pull a weighted sled as far as they could to win the greatest distance. “Come on, you can do it!” screamed….well, maybe me…
As the day came to a close we went into the Walli Pavilion to collect the kids art and see the fresh produce, fairy gardens, cooking, flowers, photography and other pieces of beautiful art. “Your daughter got Champion!” said a friendly face we’d met the day before. “It’s so exciting!” We wandered over to the Children’s art section: All of them had won a prize, firsts and highly commended, and sure enough, there it was – Champion of the Show for my little 7-year-old girl, who sometimes gets lost in the mass of boys in our home, but definitely not today.
Tired, dusty, with a wallet not empty, belly’s full of sausage sandwiches and the most incredible memories in our minds, we got all those kids back in that car and looked down the barrel of that long drive home. Immediately the chorus began…
“Thanks so much mum and dad – that was so much fun, that was THE BEST! Can we come back next year?”
Yes, we most certainly can.