Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fibrotown Fable V: And the big men chop

Last weekend was Show weekend in Fibrotown. We went last year. And the year before. We ran into many friends in town that morning who weren't going. "We know we should, it being our local show and all," they said. "But..."

I was with them, I confess. I had a million 'Buts' as to why we didn't need to go. These included, but were not exclusive to, the fact that both boys were attending a two-hour putt-putt birthday party that same afternoon. Two hours of putt putt is enough to put them both into cranky pants territory - pulled up very high.

The Builder, however, was keen. "It's only once a year," he wheedled.

Why yes, it is. But when you've been to about 15, they blur into one. Particularly when you can pretty much map in your head the location of each and every exhibit and attraction. Right down to the 'House of Fun', which was on its last legs when I was a teenager.

Then he played his last card. "The woodchop finals will be on."

I love the woodchop. Love it. I remember my Dad taking us to some obscure field down the coast a bit when we were kids, specifically to see David Foster make chopsticks of a log in about 30 seconds flat. It was worth the journey.

And so we went.

First stop, the tractors for a quick clamber and ride. Then to the Fire Engines where Mr4 was totally indulged by a benevolent rural firefighting volunteer who spent ages going through every nook and cranny of the truck. I intervened when he was at the point of showing the over-excited Mr4 where the firefighters kept their sunscreen. Then both boys got to, wait for it, actually hold the firehose and spray water, thanks to a lovely friend of my Mum's who also volunteers. I thought Mr4 was going to pass out from the thrill.

We went to the woodchop. Mr4 was fascinated. He wanted to sit there all afternoon. Another convert.

We wandered the muddy fields and tracks, dodging the swarms of teenagers strutting their stuff as the afternoon died and the evening came to life. Cut-off shorts - and I mean short - were the only trend to be seen and it was a rare girl under 20 who dared to try something else. Groups of girls, all Babylissed into clones of each other, each lash perfectly outlined in architectural mascara, met groups of boys with large Adam's apples who looked as though they'd been standing in wind tunnels since breakfast. Against a backdrop of flashing lights, throbbing music and the incessant whoosh, whoosh of the Octopus, they stood about awkwardly, preened, flirted a little and walked on.

So has it ever been, so it will always be.

I sat watching young men hurl themselves up ramps on motorbikes, wondering how their mums coped with sitting through such a show each night, but more interested in why hot chips that have been sitting in a Show food van for potentially hours always taste so good. Salty. Vinegary. Delicious.

We played the requisite game on the Clowns. Mr4 won a prize with his 16 and chose a fluorescent green shark with a wicked smile. He wanted to give it back when he saw the glitzy plastic Samurai sword that Mr7 was given for, essentially, losing.

At Mr4's insistence (okay, mine), we went back to the woodchop on the way out. Four father-and-son combos contested heat one of the RMB Lawyers Cross cut Sawing. The winners proved that size is not everything when it comes to sawing. Mr4 was in raptures. He would have stayed all night.

"Fancy taking up the cross-cut saw?" I asked The Builder. His return glance was thoughtful.

We left the Show with two glow-in-the-dark light sabres (Mr7, without prompting, bought himself and his brother one each with his pocket money, which was worth the price of admission). One was broken within hours.

At preschool on Monday, Mr4, with his friends The Kings, played woodchop.

{image: via WeHeartIt}


  1. This is becoming a bit of a habit, first cab off the rank. It's past my bedtime!
    Loved it. Especially cranky pants pulled up too high. LOL.

  2. Still love the wood chop too. Haven't seen it in years - no pram access at the wood chop at the Royal. Maybe this year? The show doesn't sound much different from the last time I went circa 1987!

  3. It sounds like the sort of day that your boys will remember in years to come. I am conscious sometimes of "making memories" for our kids.

    The story about the pocket money and the buying of the light sabres was gorgeous. I guess you can't use your light sabre to have a proper fight unless the other guy has one too...

  4. Well done. My home town in Oz has a show that is slowly dying it's sad to see, it used to be such a BIG deal when I was younger.

    I'm with you, how much wood can a woodchopper chop if a......yeah, also a fan.


  5. What is it about firefighters and how friendly and generous they are with their time?! I had a similar experience to yours at our local fire station. My Mr3 was completely and utterly swept away with it all... while I stood in the blazing heat, 4 week old babe strapped to my chest and both hands full of groceries! Half an hour later, I managed to coax him out of the truck! Bless the fireies!
    Sounds like a great day at the show for all of you :o)

  6. The last time I went to our country show I watched the woodchop for a couple of hours then went to see Gabriel Gate show us how to cook...great show. That was three years ago...I'm probably due to go another round this year!

  7. I'm going to have nightmares about those clowns now - terrifying.

    I love the wood chop too - is it weird that it turns me on a little? Must be the burley men. lol

  8. Oh Allison. You have nailed this for me.

    People often ask me what I miss about England. I tell them, I miss the fĂȘte, which is the English equivilent to the show.

    I love that the things we adore about these events are the same, on both sides of the globe.

    Is there a product tent? Do you compete? Tomatoes or a sponge cake?

    And that Builder may enter a Woodchop one year..... double enticing for you!


  9. Oh the firemen.

    I am always the one who pushes we got to the show every year even though I am adamant every year, that that's it, too much money etc etc.

    But I know this year, I will be the one who pushes and we will go. There's something about it that can't be duplicated anywhere else.

    Lovely, lovely post.

  10. So, I'm curious ... Where do the firefighters keep the sunscreen??

  11. Reading your post reminds me so much of going to our local show in the country. Mum would make us a new dress every year for it, full length with frills !!!! It was the absolute highlight of our year.

  12. LOL @Stacia - they have a special compartment. Just like they have a special compartment for everything else - including a cricket bat. For all the 'urgent waiting' that they do.

  13. Such a perfect picture of a country show. I love them!

    I especially love your description of the teenagers...too funny! :)

  14. Fire trucks are the coolest things ever!
    I must admit that I am a giant softy and my favourite part of the show is the animal nursery. And the fairy floss.
    Lovely story, thanks for sharing it. And so glad the wind tunnel look hadn't been invented back in my day.

  15. Give me a flask and a sandwich and I could watch those choppers for hours. It's not even the chopping, it's the rituals, the commentary, the bloody good sportsmanship that goes on. Brings a tear.

    The obscure field was in in Wandandian... x

  16. I have never seen a woodchop! I feel I have missed out on some ritual.

    I do love a country show though. Especially the turnip competition.

  17. I've never witnessed a woodchop. Now I must see one!

  18. What great memories this bought back. My childhood show was like this. Now, we're in Brisbane and the "Ekka" is so much bigger and less personal. No more friendly, volunteer firemen. The woodchopping's still there though. Always impressive. Especially to youngsters who've never been allowed within cooee of an axe. Mine were enthralled too.

  19. I look at those white dunlop volleys and the axe pounding in a flurry between them and wince. Such skill. I love a country show.

  20. It reminds me of the local english village fetes where wellie wanging tends to be the big attraction.

    I love a bit of nostalgia!

  21. Oh this sounds like a lovely little local show. We haven't braved ours with the kids yet. Maybe next year. I'm a woodchop fan too!

  22. Ah, nothing like a good Show. I must admit, it's been about half a lifetime since I went to our local one!

  23. Sounds very similar to the typical goings on here in the states at the Jersey shore on the boardwalk. Minus the woodchop. ;-)

    That's sweet that the firefighters indulged the kids and let them squirt the hose. My son would have gone bonkers for that too.

  24. Ha ha, I grew up in a small country town, and you could have been describing our show! Ah, the memories. Some things don't really change, across the country and across generations.

  25. I never did make it to the Wood Chop this year. Bummer! Thanks for joining the Weekend Rewind. Lovely to have you aboard again (yes I am very late getting to the comments!) x


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