Different takes on ‘peace and quiet’
The creep usually begins on a Friday night, as the sun is going down. The town is woken from its winter hibernation by the first in a procession of vehicles filtering into the village.
They’re packed to the gunnels with tired parents who have finished work, gone home to hastily pack the car, and hit the open road. The kids have finished school for the week and been squashed into the back seat among assorted pillows, bags and the family dog.
The trip has been a slow one there’s plenty of traffic and it’s all heading to the same place. And they’re towing a trailer or a caravan, which doesn’t help.
There’s barbecues, couches and bikes - always a pink one with tassels on the handlebars.
They’re off to the crib, or the batch as they call it further north, to open it up for summer.
As soon as daylight saving begins or the rivers open for the season, an influx of loopies, as the locals call them, arrive in town.
Loopies, because you’d have to be a bit loopy to come here for a holiday, they reckon.
A steady procession of packed vehicles hits the main street on Saturday morning. There’s no driving your mobility scooter down the middle of the street to get the paper from the shop anymore, and you have to take extra care if you’re moving a mob of sheep into another paddock.
Blokes check over the flaky paint and determine that THIS year, they’ll get the brushes out.
Kids are let loose on bikes and told to be home when the street lights come on. The serenity is stolen as mums and dads finally get the lawnmower started and tame the lawn, mowing a wicket down the middle for a game of backyard cricket later.
Trees and overgrown hedges are trimmed and an orderly queue forms at the town’s green waste, where people have a yarn with the neighbours down the road they haven’t seen for a couple of months.
Perhaps slightly surprised at the barrage of customers, the shopkeeper runs out of pies and starts microwaving them in batches to stash in the warmer.
Fifty-cent mixtures are in hot supply and they run out of ice blocks in the afternoon when the day heats up.
Playground equipment which has sat in the rain, unused for months, squeaks its way back into life as kids swing and slide.
Someone realises they forgot to fill the gas bottle, but it’s a forty minute trip to the nearest service station to get it filled so it might have to be fish and chips from the shop out on the deck for tea. There’s new faces at the pub. Unaware, they take over the leaner that the old buggers have sat at every day for the last 20 years having their four o’clock pint, forcing them to move.
They don’t understand why people come here for a holiday, so they ask one of the fishermen at the bar.
‘‘It’s the peace and quiet,’’ he remarks.
If only he was here in winter.
Locals don’t understand why people come here for holidays.