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Murgheboluc Murmers


I know it’s been a bit hot since New Year and rumour has it that we are all doomed to be seared by the ravages of climate change.   Nevertheless I thought it a bit early to be buying into the camel market.

Here in Murgheboluc recently as the dusk deepened we were puzzled by an unfamiliar sound, a sort of hoary throaty sucking sound accompanied by the slow plod of large but soft animal pads.   Sure enough out of the gloom there emerged the incomparable shape of dromedaries.   

We see all sorts of creatures in our little community including some strange human ones, but camels?    Alpacas galore, emus and ostriches, even the odd vicuna, but camels?   Your correspondent immediately checked the level in the brandy bottle in case he had been getting carried away.

Rusty the dog was beside himself.   After all, the poor chap is still coming to terms with the invasion of flying foxes in the fig tree, a phenomenon poor Rusty has not previously encountered.   And now, lumbering into his domain were these lumpy, misshapen, long legged, haughty creatures that hissed at him.   The appearance of ‘ships of the desert’ on the Hamilton Hwy generated the same reaction in Rusty as it would in me if ET turned up at the back door.  

Your correspondent’s spouse, ever brave, boldly went where no one had gone before (in Murgheboluc anyway) and enquired of these beasts of burden if they were lost and were looking for the Tanami Desert perhaps.   If so, they were going the wrong direction, conceivably.   But no, they were going to Altona.   Well, I suppose, if you were a camel that’s where you would go isn’t it?

Speaking of strange creatures, the Bluestone Blues music festival made its annual pilgrimage to Murgheboluc for the New Year break.   The Bluestone Blues bring colour and culture of a sort to the district.   The camp followers rig tents and rev their motor bikes, rummage around in their Eskys and have unknown games in their caravans, above which curious smoke might circle.  

It seems there is a dress code for the Bluestone Blues music festival.   If the weather is hot, one dresses as little as possible.   This year it was a cool and rainy.   Leather jackets abounded, faded jeans, dreadlocks cascaded over jiving shoulders and pony tails swayed.   T-shirts carried mysterious messages about harmony, rainbows and where to get a good pizza.    

The patrons were undeterred by neither Murgheboluc’s persistent flies nor the absence of mobile phone coverage.   This latter problem led to the appearance of disoriented individuals wandering around the countryside looking hopefully at their i-phones and pleading for something called a signal, like latter day pilgrims on the road to Fatima/Mecca/Medjugorje (reader to choose appropriate word) looking for a sign from above. 

Setting up the site is an engineering feat of some magnitude and takes at least two days during which the first campervans appear and claim the best camping spots.   A mini town materializes on the cricket oval.   A large tent goes up to protect the patrons from the sun although it sags a little in the rain and I’m not sure the tent pegs in the bowlers’ run up were a good idea.   Toilets, food stalls and water tankers roll in, garbage skips and temporary fencing are erected and, of course, a ticket booth.   The local police drop in to see that everything is OK.   Even the Bannockburn Lions turned up and cooked sausages and delicious lamb rolls dripping in gravy (thanks Macca).

The music goes for two days from mid-morning until small hours (1.13am to be precise) and the local residents get to enjoy the entertainment, every note of it, but at least we don’t have to buy tickets. 

The sounds of cricket have also returned to Murgheboluc this summer.   Cricket has been a part of Murgheboluc since 1932 and there is still a cricket club using the name but it is some time since its players darkened the doors of the Murgheboluc Hall.   The Murgheboluc Reserve is a sort of spare oval, too small for real cricketers and with a surface so bumpy that fielders end the day’s play with very creditable bruises on their shins, proudly exhibited to family and friends like battle scars.   It seems that this year a certain local cricket club needed a ground for a while because their own one was under repair.   So the sounds of leather on willow once more rebound around the Murgheboluc valley and the rabbits retreat to the spiny rush for once.

Swampdock