Humouring the ‘loopies’
Town was completely bonkers with the pre-Christmas rush, and the madness doesn’t stop when the Boxing Day and New Year’s sales kick in.
It’s rumoured that some people have had to actually walk the length of the main street because no-one can find a park right outside the shop they want to go to, like they usually do.
There’s been the odd crash at the roundabout, there’s queues at the petrol pumps, and if you didn’t pre-book an appointment at the hairdresser or beautician months ago you’re going to look a little windswept and interesting heading into the new year.
Meanwhile, in my little town, the population has swelled from us 100-or-so die-hard locals as holidaymakers move in.
They’re called loopies - apparently because it was once thought that you had to be a bit loopy to want to spend your holiday there. Not so much now though. There’s been a steady flow of caravans and campervans into the village in the last week, and the camping ground is chokka.
Tents are popping up in backyards all over the show, and the only traffic kids riding bikes have to worry about is the old boys on their mobility scooters or 4-wheelers heading for the pub.
And at the pub, locals worry the place has become a bit trendy, as big town and city dwellers search for somewhere to have a Christmas holiday like the ones they had when they were kids. Remember those?
Where you spent the whole day swimming in the river, building dams and swinging from the rope hanging from the trees?
When you walked to the shop and got a $1 mixture in a white paper bag and got heaps of lollies?
Where you made instant friendships with kids from other towns when out on your bikes, and spent the whole day biking around town with them, looking for the best places to do wheelies?
Where tea was always a burnt sausage off the barbecue and salad out on the deck, and you played backyard cricket till sunset?
Those holidays still exist in wee towns just like mine all over the country.
But in hushed discussions at the pub, locals worry that the influx of tourists is going to cause house prices to go up.
Forgetting that you can still buy a section for $40k and a house with a quarter-acre section for a shade over $200,000.
Housing boom indeed.
They marvel at the ‘traffic’ in town and the speed it’s doing along the main street.
They eye up the newbies who, unaware, have taken their usual spot at the bar.
They’re annoyed that they can’t get their usual park right outside the dairy - which has sold out of the day’s newspapers, ice and ice-cream.
They’re closely guarding their best-kept secrets - where the best swimming holes are, where the wild cherry trees are and where to pick wild raspberries.
Ask a local for some fishing advice and you’ll get it - but they won’t tell you where the best spots are, or what to catch them on.
But they welcome the loopies to town anyway and we all play nicely together.
Because that’s what holidays are all about.
Locals closely guard their best-kept secrets, like where to pick wild raspberries.