The Big Day Out, coun­try style

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Meanwhile, Outside Auckland - RACHAEL KELLY

‘‘Coun­try rubbed shoul­ders with town, and chaos en­sued as ev­ery­one cut loose...’’

In my lit­tle coun­try town, our rugby team’s num­ber ones are suits that first saw the light of day any­where be­tween 1960 to 1980.

Any man would have cut a fine fig­ure in them when they were new. Now, not so much. The idea is that the num­ber ones are not to be laun­dered or re­paired in any way.

Fly zips have busted open to show off the wearer’s lucky undies.

Waist bands haven’t ex­panded quite as fast as their own­ers, and there are some stains down the front that are best not talked about.

In­side the pocket of the first­five’s rather dap­per pow­der blue num­ber is a sausage he nicked off a clu­b­room bar­be­cue three sea­sons ago.

He’s car­ried it in that pocket ever since. He’s a builder, so if he ever lost his ham­mer he’s got that sausage on hand that would han­dle ham­mer­ing a nail into a four-by-two with no wor­ries.

The lads, though, wouldn’t have looked too out of place in their finest liv­ery at Christ­mas at the Races last week­end.

While it’s true that none of them would have been con­tenders for Fash­ion in the Field, the race meet­ing in the big city in our prov­ince was a chance for the coun­try kids to get their posh on and get a bit dressed up.

I saw at least three pairs of red­band gum­boots, count­less shep­herds’ whis­tles, and hair­dos that could be best de­scribed as windswept and in­ter­est­ing.

Not a lot were wear­ing a tie, be­cause that would mean they’d have to stand down the col­lar on their checked shirts, ex­pos­ing necks to the sun.

Coun­try girls were easy to spot.

They might have been wear­ing a dress and ac­ces­sorised with a fas­ci­na­tor from the Two Dol­lar Shop, but their in­abil­ity to walk in high heels was a com­plete give­away.

There were no slightly orange spray tans for our coun­try girls.

They’re all nat­u­rally tanned al­ready, ex­cept from two thirds of the way down their shins, where their work socks and boots hide their an­kles from the sun.

Fast fash­ion mixed with Spe­cial Oc­ca­sion Out­fits (worn once or twice a year), as coun­try rubbed shoul­ders with town, and chaos en­sued as ev­ery­one cut loose, helped along with co­pi­ous amounts of al­co­hol and the thrill of watch­ing the nag they’d backed come in last.

The day after, it seemed most of the prov­ince was suf­fer­ing from a gi­ant han­gover.

A col­league posted on so­cial me­dia that she may have gone home with­out her hat (it blew away in the gale force winds), but at least she ar­rived home with her dig­nity.

This town-turned-coun­try girl was ac­tu­ally quite grown up and went home to her coun­try pub, where a band played late into the night.

The place was chocka full of farm­ers and con­trac­tors who didn’t mind too much what they looked like as they carved up the dance floor in their red­bands.

No hats, no high heels, and ev­ery­one still had their dig­nity in the morn­ing.

JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAXNZ

The race meet­ing in the big city was a chance for the coun­try kids to get their posh on.

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