Published: January 8th 2007January 5th 2007
Woodford folk festival (kids bit)
Constant entertainment for the wee ones
The Irony of Fever # 2
Well we survive India, and get to Australia, and over the next few days just about all come down with fluy coughy shivery symptoms, but it was probably due to camping at the Woodford Folk festival, it was damp and cold at night and hot and dry in the day, and there were sometrhing like 100,000 people there so somebody brought some bug in and passed it on... but we are now recouperating at our friend David's who lives in a wonderful ex church in cotton farming country 2hrs West of Brisbane, He is a book collector, so I could recouperate here for months....The other 'typical Skye event connected with the festival fever was when we decided to take Ronan (poor ronan again...) to the Medical centre at the festival, the Doctor's ancestors came from Broadford, and he had Anne talking to his mum on the Phone....
Woodford Folk Festival
It was a bit surreal really, we arrived in Australia (after meeting Ronan Martin the fiddler in Mumbai airport and sharing the flight with him to Aus.....'typical Skye event #2'')
We were picked up at Brisbane airport by the
Folk festival who took us straight to the festival, so for 5 days we really had no idea what Australia was about as we were in this microcosm of colour and noise. At one point it was like being back in the tourist stalls of Goa, all selling 'hippy floaty dresses and sarongs..There was a great Kids festival, and Talitha did lino printing, bag printing, Ronan played with clay, banged nails into wood, painted, sprayed water and watched kids shows, magicians, it was constant, colourful if as I said before a little surreal. But for the amount of people, no litter, hardly any smokers, no raised arguing voices, no drunken behaviour whatsoever, when we lost our bum bag with passports and money in, it was handed in. It really was a friendly place, and we became relaxed at allowing Talitha a free reign. (I missed New year due to a fever, but have wondered if my body is just used to having a hangover every 1st, 2nd of Jan so maybe just collapsed on me out of habit...)
The final fire parade was a spectacle, 25ft high puppets, lanterns, fireworks, weird obscure theatre, but nevertheless a spectacle, although the
Anne singing at Woodford2
on the "Duck and Shovel"Stage
highlight was an aborigine making the first flame to start it off, just one guy, and his flame making equipment, a didgeree doo being played on the stage and perhaps 70,000 people. He was being video'd onto a big screen, and what a cheer when his bundle of dry grass burst into flames, it was really very moving.
Anne enjoyed her gigs, they were quite small affairs, but well recieved, but the best bit was her first gig when she walked on stage and realised that there in the front row were cousins, not seen since 1978, so she had to announce this and say hello to them before she started singing....
It was lovely meeting Ross and Jenny, and their friend Ron and some of their kids, and lovely to see a real genuine friendly face. we had the craic, it could have been in Skye...
Queensland Cotton Farming
When we left, and it felt like escaping, the festival we traveled to our friend David's near Dalby.
He is an agricultural consultant, so arranged for a 'Farm Tour' and took us to meet a lovely family who grow cotton on 800 acres.
Anne hadn't seen them since 1979 and 1969, and they were on the front row of the concert. Here we are watching the fire show.
They made us very welcome, tea and buns, again could have been in a croft house in Kilmuir but for the temperature..then we saw the irrigation systems which were facinating. David has been working with them to use water most effieceintly in their irrigating, and it is amazing their results (cotton produced for water used)
They basically have a big manmade lake, which feeds channels which syphon down the rows of plants which channels back to a sump, which is then pumped back into the lake again, The accuracy and effieciency is amazing. I had fun trying to start one of the syphons off for a row of plants...got it in the end.
We also saw the planting machines...they dont plough or turn the soil at all, all too labour intensive and now found to be uneccessary, they just let the old plant die down, and carve a knife thin chanel (with something like a big pizza wheel knife, or lots of on the back of a tractor) which has seed put in and gets compacted with a wheel. They go for minimum soil disturbance...
Highlight of the day for Ronan was seeing corn on the cob
The Lantern Parade
During the final fire extravaganza..echos of the Storr....
plants (his favourite food)
Sods law of the day was the search for a Red backed spider to show us what the dangerous ones look like, to the shouts of 'why are they every where until you want one' We never found one but found their egg pouches. Having seen a picture, Anne is convinced that she had one in her sandel, and I had one in my bed at Woodford.....
Anne has done another gig at a folk club in Brisbane, and we are still coughing our way through to recouperation at Davids.
We decided we should see a bit of Queensland, despite coughing and spluttering, so David drew us a mam to get to the Bunya mountains about 45mins drive from his. Big trees, and my first spotting of a wallaby, unfortunately missed by the kids, and a great walk through the woods. We also spotted a 'Bearded Dragon'lizard, which was about 1 1/2 foot long and quiet impressive. Lots of colourful parakeets and orangy brown fantails. It was fantastic to get out and manage a short walk.
There are more photos below