I rang up Deaf John: "Do you want to go to the Fiddler's Convention in Blackwood in a fortnight?"
"Yep, and I'll be the rooter............... which means I'll plan the route."
I knew that something was up, a Feral volunteering is like an Italian virgin...fucking rare!
A week later he breezed up to my shed visibly excited: "I've got the route, it's a beauty, and it's a secret!"
He then came close to blurting it all out, but I stopped him. I already knew. Not the details, but I knew that there was only one thing that could get Deaf John this excited: a railway line!
Initially most wanted to go, but stuff happens: "Management" at Yandoit was keen, but Yandoit had signed up to a buck's turn in Gippsland, the Mauler was hoofing, Robbo had a sister's wedding, Arfur was trout fishing in the hills, Simon Tasl had elective surgery, and the Brickie, at the last moment decided to bricklay, but would meet us there. This left just Her Musical Indoors, the Lupino, Frazzle, and Deaf John. No worries! A Feral event is a Feral event if only one person goes, so off we went.
DJ lead us straight to Daylesford, where, after a bite at a poseur's cafe, we continued....and headed straight down the driveway of a B&B. Well...there were no signs saying "Keep Out!", so we trundled through onto an obvious rail easement!
It was beautiful, through cuttings, till we hit the Jubilee Lake, where the bridge had been removed, by official vandals, as is often the case in this country. The little pin-headed pen-pushers, infected with the pox of so-called "economic rationalism" (which is nothing but a religion based on the "dismal science") pulled up the tracks and flogged of little bits, thereby destroying the whole. Bastards! But I digress.
We drove back through the B&B, and found the other end of the track beside a little property with some steam engines and a Blitz truck in the paddock
Down the track we went, and it became obvious that we were again on a rail track.. till Deaf John pulled up, in the middle of nowhere.
"Let me show you this!" he said.
We climbed down the 60 foot embankment, and there found the most beautifully built drainage tunnel, at least 200 feet long, in brick, and as straight as a die. The brickwork had even been tuck pointed, and bluestone cappings especially made for it. All to be hidden out of sight from the day it was finished. John had met the owner of the local caravan park, an avid bush walker, and he had told him where to find it.
After refreshments were taken, we continued along the ex-railway for a mile or two till it ran out into farmland. The nice thing about this bit of rail track was that none of it is a listed road or track, and it does not even show up on Google, unless you know what you are looking for. Click HERE to see the run along the track.
We meandered about a bit in the Wombat forest till we eventually got to Blackwood and located the Fiddler's Convention at the Cricket Ground.
A beautiful spot with the creek running right around it in a horseshoe shape, and enormous rainforest trees encircling it. You parked and camped on the ground, and the musical action happened in the cricket pavillion. There were even two large marquees to sit under during the day. Low key and beautiful.
In the arvo they have anyone who wants, get up and do no more than three numbers, no matter how good or bad you are. This is a great format because it means, that your desire for more from some acts is balanced by your relief that it will soon be over from others.
Set up camp, and road tested the newly sewn annex to the Ladies Lounge. It worked a treat, but will be further tested when we hit the mountains.
After dinner they had a dance which was mildly amusing, and then the evening concert.
The Organisers, in their wisdom, had decided that it might be fun to have a theme for the night, and, thinking that the kiddies would all be in bed by 10.30 or so, they chose "Dirty Ditties and Blue Ballads".
As a lot of the participants in Daylesford-Trentham area are of the hippy persuasion, mandated bed-times are completely unknown, and so 30% of the audience was under 15, though that does not mean they were not conversant with the subject of the theme, and laughed along with their elders.
Things moved along in an innocent sort of way for a while, then someone took it a tad too far. Always happens, always will.
An old fart got up, staggered across, and said, "I'll sing one for you!", and proceeded to sing just the first two verses of Jack the Necrophiliac, to the tune of Jake The Peg, by Rolf Harris. In the interest of scholarship, I will include all of the verses he should have sung:
Jack The Necrophiliac.
My name is Jack, (deedle, deedle ack)
I'm a necrophiliac (deedle, deedle, deedle ee)
I fuck dead women (deedle, deedle, deedle ee)
And I fill them full of semen (deedle, deedle, deedle ee)
I get frustrated
When they get cremated.
Because try as you must,
You can't fuck dust.
Each time I enter the mausoleum gate
I get the urge to fornicate.
My name is Bill
I like to fuck'em when they're still
And whack off in
An occupied coffin.
I love wrinkly women
Who are over sixty-five,
If they died when twenty-five.
Each time I pass the cemetery gate,
I get the urge to copulate.
My name is Mitch
And I dig a wealthy bitch,
Not because she's really rich
But in a six-foot ditch.
Like most men I am not
I don't prefer my women hot,
I may be bold--
But I prefer my women cold.
After this, the organisers decided to end that particular segment, and go back to Bluegrass. Pity, I thought it was just getting interesting, and the kiddies were certainly enjoying it. I can just imagine their little piping voices at primary school the following monday:
"Miss! Miss! What's a necrophiliac?"
After the concert, the real magic of this convention happens, as, beer in hand, you wander from camp to camp, where impromptu bluegrass, or irish, fiddlers form groups, and have jam sessions. Great fun till the early hours of the morning.
In the morning we had a look at the only vehicle of interest in the place; an ex-rally car transporter owned by a youngish Portuguese chap, by name of Manuel, who was decidely camera-shy, which we sorta respect.
He's bought the transporter in Tassie, I presume from a Gunn's Timber sponsored hoon, and quietly turned it 180 degrees, in a Romany sort of way.
Quite delightful, with its herbal door, it's rustic ladder to the bed (where previously the rally tyres rested), and the pot belly stove and hand painted interior. I particularly liked the hand woven spider's web. An eye for detail has our Manuel, and for the ladies.
He told me that the cops pick on him a bit, because of the herbs. Can't imagine why.
So good was Deaf John's run that we thought it a shame so few went on it, and therefore re-ran it for St Paddy's Day lunch at the Pig & Whistle pub in East Trentham.
The turn-up was healthier this time: the Lupino, Vickie, and Frazzle in the Ladies Lounge, the Brickie with Izzabelle, Bob the Yank Paratrooper, and a couple of dogs in the Plymouth, Robbo and Kenny in the Chev, Deaf John in the Pram, Arfer and Ms Fizz in the A Model, and we were to pick up the Yandoit on the way.
We went direct to Daylesford, and found the tunnel. Then along the track, but took a more direct route to The P&W. The Brickie suffered the total loss of first gear on an early section, and he and Robbo retraced their way when we encountered some steap country. The wimps! What's wrong with reversing up hills? These tracks were the highlight of the entire trip, and one is encouraged to view the flic to see the cavalier way Arfer deals with water across the track!
Kenny, Dodge fancier, found a Dodge engine at a garage sale on the way, which he picked up on the way back. The Brickie found a new shirt at the same sale, and modelled it for us. All of this on a YouTube flic, which you can see by clicking HERE, but beware some of this is rude.
Ended the day at the Guildford pub, which has become traditional. A good time was had by all, except by Arfur, who's A Model chucked out all of its oil in a moment of pique, having earlier chucked out its water! Sullen fucker, obviously attention seeking!