Prior to the GFC, I believed that any wine that cost less than $30 a bottle must have originated in the urinary tract of an equine species. Then a few years ago I found that I could buy plonk from Griffith for six bucks a bottle and feed that to the missus and she'd be happy, supposedly leaving me to drink the $90 a bottle stuff that I bought at post-GFC knock down prices of $30. You'd have to be happy with that. But I had a revelation - I actually liked the stuff that the missus was drinking, so we now visit Griffith several times a year to stock up. My taste in wine changed a bit after getting clobbered by a car - I reckon the taste part of my brain was scrambled when it collided with the concrete. The expensive stuff just doesn't do it for me anymore. What's done is done - and no one weeps any tears when we drink 3 bottles of plonk over dinner. It's not goon by any means - it's just good plonk that doesn't cost a bomb.
The latest sojourn to Griffith coincided with the annual Rice Festival parade in nearby Leeton. I'd never heard of it - we happened upon it by chance when driving towards a Leeton winery that we wanted to try. The only parade we tend to get in Sydney is the Mardi Gras, which I am completely over. From now on, I'm going to make the pilgrimage to Leeton every Easter.
For starters, they had no problems hurling great gouts of CO2 into the atmosphere. There were half a dozen hot air balloon baskets on floats, and the operators spent most of their time trying to melt the plastic decorations criss crossing the street. We were a long way back from the kerb, and I just about had my eyebrows singed off when they let rip in front of us. The crowd loved it. Then again, the crowd (of 10,000) also applauded the weed spraying truck - they don't mind the idea of covering Gaia in chemicals in order to keep the noxious weeds at bay.
There was also a float of very macho moto-cross riders. The kids down the left hand end must have been about 8. I can't think of anything better than tearing up the muddy face of Gaia with a loud, CO2 spewing motor bike. I had to settle for second best - after the parade, we visited an area that was still partly underwater after all the flooding, and I got the 4WD sideways whilst getting out of a patch of clay. Thankfully, the sideways motion didn't finish with the car being wedged up against a fence post.
What's the thing on this float? It's water wheels - the sort of wheels used in the irrigation channels to move water around. Yep - they openly celebrate the capture, storage and use by humans of millions of gallons of water. And unapologetically so. Fancy that. They've been doing it for a hundred years, and they want to do it for another hundred.
Smoke puffing ancient tractors were allowed to drive up the main street without a carbon tax being applied (and these things really did spew out a lot of carbon).
McDonalds had no problems putting up their signage in front of a WWII era war-mongering anti-aircraft gun. And no one had a problem with McDonalds sponsoring an event in a public park. Or eating their food either.
Imagine how mental the hippies will go when they see this 8 year old girl driving a car that's towing a CO2 spewing device. Surely this is a hate crime? The parents will have to be locked up for mentally torturing their daughter with the idea of getting anywhere near such a dangerous device.
Check out those gouts of flame - 1,2, 3.
And this old beast burns.....wood. Yes, it eats the Children of Gaia and spits them out as smoke.
Plenty of big rigs were in the parade, and all of them featured young kids yanking on the air horns.....and none of them were restrained by seat belts. Did the cops look worried? Nope. I think I'm going to have to move to this town. Speaking of cops, the whole thing was policed by 2 cops on foot who spent most of their time chatting with the locals. When the parade was over and the crowd left, the streets and footpaths weren't ankle deep in rubbish either. In fact, they were spotless.
Plenty of old muscle cars were proudly on display too - although none of them got to do a burn out.
The crowd even applauded when this monster Gaia-raper was driven past. I missed getting a photo of the tree-lopping truck that went past.
This beast wasn't able to drive up the street - it sat in neutral on a trailer. However, the crowd loved it every time the driver tickled the throttle. The sweet sound of an unmuffled V8 could be heard several blocks away.
So all up, it was a great parade. And we got a boot load of good, cheap plonk. I even sat through a sermon that endorsed chocolate easter eggs. How good a holiday was that?