Sunday 28th September 2008
It was an early start for all concerned today, Fraser needed to be in the centre of Busselton by 7.15 am to catch the coach that was taking him and his scout Troop to camp for a week, on the way in we were supposed to be picking up Michelle and Simone, two of the girls from work, because they were going to the Royal Perth Show with us.
We eventually left the house at 7.10am so were only ten minutes late, which isn’t bad for us, we drove as fast as we could whilst remaining within the speed limit of course round to Michelle's house to pick her up, she was ready and knew the way to Simones house, so we followed her instructions implicitly and couldn’t find the turning, so with about five minutes left before Frasers coach was due to depart we headed for town, ringing Simone on the way so that she could get her dad to drop her off at the coach stop.
We got to the coach just in time with one of the Scout leaders declaring that they were just about to ring us to find out where we had got to, we signed him in and waved as the coach left and just as the coach was pulling out, Simone and her dad were pulling in so we were able to head off for Perth without further delay.
Marisa and Kristian thought that it was great that the girls were going with us to the show and talked incessantly from the time we left to the time we arrived at the Train Station in Mandurah an hour and a half later, any thought that the girls might have had about catching up on a bit of sleep on the way there was blown straight out of the water.
We managed to get all six of us on a family ticket which was only $8.40 (£3.90) for the day which was a bargain, it did look at one point like Simone might have to buy her own ticket being just under 18, but when the guard announced that concessions could go on the family ticket as well, out came the Student card with the dodgiest photo you could possibly imagine, she must have had her hair cut like that for a bet.
It took us about an hour by train from Mandurah to the showground, we had to make one change on the way which involved going from one side of the station to the other but all in all it was a good journey.
We had arranged to meet Ians sister Sharon at the show and when we rang her to let her know that we had just got on the second train, it turned out that she had just got on the one in front of ours, so she was easy to find when we got there.
The kids were over the moon to see Sharon again, they hadn’t seen her for a couple of months and are having trouble grasping the idea that although we are in the same state, we are still about three and a half hours away, so we can’t just pop round to see each other every now and then. Sharon had gone to the show with Malcolms brother Alan, he is over here visiting for a few weeks and normally lives in the USA, Ian used to know him about thirty years ago but hadn’t seen him since he moved to the states.
The Claremont Showground where the Royal Perth Show is held is a big place, it is so big that in all the time we were there bearing in mind it was probably the busiest day for the show, it didn’t feel crowded. Another one of our staff, Rodelle, who we saw at the show left home two hours earlier than us to avoid the crowds, she is in for a shock if WA ever has a UK style population boom. The showground is big enough to take the volumes that you would expect at an event of this stature, they just don’t have the population to fill it. They expect just over 400,000 to visit in a week and probably half that number would have been there today.
It was a good day all in all, unfortunately Simone had her bag stolen while she was on the second ride of the day, so some of the great Australian characteristics still survive.
The Entry Fee was very reasonable, the Rides were very expensive, but there was loads to see and do that didn’t cost anything. When we needed a break at about 2pm, we walked into a bar, got some drinks and found a table and eight chairs, no problem at all.
The one thing that the Aussies do go mad for at events like this are what they call Showbags, now showbags are a great way for confectionary companies to get rid of any stock nearing its best by date, and any crappy plastic gimmicky things associated with said confectionary. The way it works is they fill bags with sweets and Plastic crap, give it a name, i.e. Bart Cadburys Monster Bag, and then sell it for twice what you would pay in a cheap store in town. And they sell thousands of these, there are more Showbag Stalls than anything else at the show.
This is no word of a lie, they have stalls strategically placed round the showground that sell Shopping baskets on wheels so that people have got a way of getting all their showbags home. You see families walking round unable to do anything but walk, because they are so weighed down with showbags. We let the kids buy a couple each, but that had more to do with the fact that Michelle and Simone had bought some and were making such a big thing of them.
The weather was kind, it had been chucking it down on the way to Perth, but by the time we got there it had cleared and we all got caught out without our hats, picking up a bit of sunburn on the way.
It was good to see Sharon again, she is about to open a Hairdressing Salon and has been busy for the last couple of months trying to get Tradesmen, sounds familiar.
We left the show at about 7.30pm, a tad exhausted and with a couple of hours journey ahead of us. We parted company with Sharon at the Train Station in Perth and jumped on a train to Mandurah, Ian was hoping to grab an hours kip on the train, expecting the kids to nod off as soon as the train started moving.
Not a hope, with Michelle and Simone around and the excitement of the day there was no way the kids were going to sleep. The highlight of the train journey back was Simone getting threatened with a $50 Fine for not being able to produce her Student Card, one of the guards was just about to write the ticket when she showed them the crime number which she had received when she reported her bag being stolen. The first guy accepted this but still gave her a warning along the lines of “we’ll let you off this time but only because it is Show Day”, the second guy rather begrudgingly put his pen away, but you could tell he wasn’t happy about it.
When we got to Mandurah, first stop was Hungry Jacks, Ian still had at least another hour and a half to drive along country roads and needed as much energy food as possible inside him to keep him awake on the way home.
As it happens the kids talked and sang all the way home so it wasn’t a problem, but Michelle and Simone’s ears couldn’t have known what hit them. Almost sixteen hours after we started our journey the kids were still yakking as we dropped the girls off, it was straight to bed when we got home.