I awoke the next morning at 1:20 to a brilliant dawn, rolled over and went back to sleep. An hour later, I opened one eye and checked the clock, 1:20, time for breakfast. My mates’ girlfriend, Faye was up and about, she’s the early riser, and we chatted until the bigfella lumped into the kitchen. What was the plan for the day? Well, Faye had some stuff to do, and Greg was going to show me around Oakey, and the Army Air Museum. Nice one.
We listened to a variety of country music CD’s over brekky, and I wandered off to get dressed. I was dressed and ready by 1:20, time to go and see Oakey. It’s flat out there on the downs. Basically, if you want to see Perth all you have to do is stand on the bonnet of your car and face West. We drove around town and I was surprised to see how many new houses had been built recently, and how many more were under construction. The local industry was basically farm goods, cattle, grain etc. and the Army had an air base just outside of town. It’s a pleasant surprise to see a small town doing so well.
In the middle of town there’s a statue of Bernborough, a local horse which won the Melbourne Cup years ago, and nearby is a large mural showing the history of the area. It’s quite well done and the locals should be very proud of themselves for the effort they’ve put into it. Even better, no one had graffitied over it! The main drag and surrounding areas were extremely clean and tidy, my compliments to the local council.
The Army Air Base Museum was next on the agenda. Well, it was it full of surprises. The bloke at the counter took our money, and launched into spiel, that was at once interesting and amusing. Afterwards we wandered about the hangar where all the old Army planes and choppers are stored. One of the displays stopped me in my tracks, it was an actual insignia from the Red Barons’ plane, souveniered by Aussie troops from the wreckage.
The rest of the museum was quite well laid out and the information presented was about the right length. It was certainly a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours in Oakey. Again, I regretted not having the kids with me, although they probably would have preferred to chew through their own ankles rather than spend time strolling through a very good museum 🙂
Afterwards we headed home, spent the afternoon enjoying the odd drink and ended up putting on the movie, The Bucket List. I’d just like the record to show that I WASN’T crying at the end of the show, I had inadvertantly rubbed my eye and some viscious Oakey dust had scratched my eyeball and it was quite painful. The movie was quite good and I was surprised to learn that it had been panned by the critics, but most of the movies I’ve enjoyed over the years have also never been critically acclaimed. Actually the only movie the critics and I have agreed on being any good is Forrest Gump. I can’t tell you how shocked I was by this at the time…
1:20 time for tea. We dressed and strolled to the RSL for a feed and a few drinks. A performer was playing his guitar and ripping out a few country favourites. The place was full without being packed, and the atmosphere very friendly. Everyone I looked at smiled back at me, which made me feel right at home. Not a psychopath in sight, Excellent!
Afterwards we strolled home via the main street, our footsteps souding loud in the silence. Stopping at the Bernborough statue I noticed a little button at the base and pressed it. A shouting voice burst from a set of nearby speakers, loudly informing us of Bernborough’s pedigree, racing history, and the spiel ended with a race call, where the bloke doing the calling sounded like he had slammed his hand in a door. Geez it was a racket! The three of us were feeling a tad self conscious standing alone under the well lit exhibit, while the voice screamed out the last furlong of the race. After the tape had finished we staggered off into the cool, and once again silent, night, and for some reason I felt a sudden impulse. Racing back to the statue I pressed the button again, and ran back to where Greg and Faye were standing. Two blocks away we could still hear the presentation, which had us snickering like excited school kids, while the nearby locals lay in their beds clenching and unclenching their fists dreaming of shooting the loudspeakers into tiny pieces.
Just another wild night in Oakey 🙂
Back home, and into bed, it was 1:20 time for a camp. Tomorrow I’d be heading for the coast again. Sand under my feet… great stuff.