It’s taken me months to put this post together. Actually, I tell a lie. It’s taken —days. Strike that. Hours – across many days. (It’s taken some time for me to come to grips with my feelings, ok!?)
But. I had to tell someone out there in the universe about this episode in my life, at some point. Someone… outside the rest of this town. (Let me tell you: the townspeople know).
So. This is a story about meat. (Consider yourself: warned).
Just as well the tenuous grip that I had on the roof-racks that looked like a freight train headed to Vegetarianism… slipped a little while ago.
Technically: this meat came in the form of a meat tray. Of the kind you win when you participate in a meat raffle. (That type of event spectacular that unfolds with a high degree of frequency all around the plenty and many pubs, clubs and variety shows that have infiltrated Australian culture). If we’re taking a good long hard look in the streaky mirror of honesty here, we (us, all of us,) would surely have to confirm that the meat tray is as much a dominant Australian sub-culture as 30/40somethings fangirling Khe Sanh (or anyone who sings it) each time it makes an appearance at a similar venue.
I digress. (Well, that’s… new?)
The meat tray wasn’t actually won by me. Technically. That’s what SOMEONE would have you believe.
The money that was handed over to the two nervous youngsters selling the raffle tickets did come out of my broken down purse. The purse that was on my person, people. (Inside my broken down, red-wine stained WSDPP handbag – cos Fair is Fair).
Sure, that money may not have been hard-earned by me. Figuratively speaking.
What goes around comes back to my purse and therefore me, I say. I am not keeping a ledger that clearly shows the balance of probability that the money belongs to one side of the equation or the other.
Enough of the petty penny counting though.
This meat tray was there to be won, and I was party to winning it.
I would like to insert some MeTube footage here to show you what happened when the winning took place. This is a thing that cannot be happening though. There is no footage. None. (It’s not like Mike Moore – cool kid – finds my life interesting enough to follow me. Despite the persistent fan-mail I address to him and his greatness).
I will describe it though. (Because I would like you to feel like you’ve had your eyes gouged out every day for the past two weeks).
Ah, feelings. One of my top 10 favourite things that exist (existentially or otherwise).
Overjoyed. Surprised. I also felt like the Gods of the land of Good Lady Luck Land had finally…. finally… taken a good long hard stare-face at me (and the other party who was party to winning) and thought: “Let us amuse ourselves here for at least a good ten seconds”. (I am only remotely amusing on a few pints of Bulmers. No more, no less. No doubt you’ll agree).
Cut to scene setting:
The Farmer’s Arms Hotel, Daylesford. (A fabulous place with fabulous hosts and a fabulous menu). A cluster of volleyball medals hang around the neck of a stuffed stag which hangs upon the wall above us. We (someone who I know fairly well and I) sit at the bar chatting to new acquaintances Alison and Paul (part-time residents). They are to our right. To our left are new friends Marty and Geoff (we know them through Sal, who we met through The Farmers Arms gals).
Surrounded by all of us, we are led to believe, are a swarm of locals. (And I reckon that could be correct, because some of them are starting to look pretty familiar, people. Pret-ty fam-i-li-ar).
A number of these locals, including us, are here to be competitive about the meat raffle. (Maybe other stuff too. That’s not the point though. Is it, now?) The thing is: I was amongst those of the locals that rushed there just that little bit too quickly at 5.30pm sharp to get bar seats. (Or the dress circle as I like to call it. Best seats in the house to watch the raffle go down).
I can’t totally remember what the raffle was in aid of. It’s the pints of Bulmers, you see. It could’ve been for the benefit of Daylesford & District Municipal Band Inc. (I hope so. Otherwise my non-hard-earned $10 has gone to a couple of kids with a sneaky sense of humour).
Whatever, whatever. There are 3 facts important to your vocabulary and memory with regard to what on Lady Luck Land happened for the meat tray to be won and taken back to the house of Hepburn that I live in.
1) Add em up: The 2 hours and $10 plus $80 odd spent at the bar on Bulmers and an astonishing looking/tasting tasting plate played a big part in earning le household a whole-lotta-meat.
Value is the watchword here. (This value extends to the notable fact that the tickets were only $1 each. I mean, what else can one get for 100 cents these days? Not a lot, right? Not a lot. And, not even only that fact. When anyone threw 10 bucks at the youngsters, they gave you the eleventh ticket FREE! Caaa-ching! And since SOMEONE’s own personal lucky number is eleven/11… well… I think the term is: Sold! To the lady with the star on her back…and the over-eager one sitting next to her).
2) Some things are certain in life: We (the co-winners) were convinced we were going to be winners. There is good, solid evidence for this. Don’t try and tell me there wasn’t. You weren’t there. Were you?
This evidence would hold up in any court of legal stuff.
Example: Just one week before this particular event we were seated so close to the winner (of the meat of that week) that we could practically touch it. Not that I did. That would be weird. Right?
Well. It was right there. And I’m from the school of thought that says: a brush with destiny is not good enough. You’ve got to go back and get it for yourself.
So. We did.
We had no questions in our head asking: “Do you really think you’ll be a winner tonight?”
No. Our inside voices were merely saying: “Can’t wait until we take that meat tray home tonight”.
High fives to Plato, dudes. Appetite, Spirit, Reason: those guys were all on the same page in my mental faculties for once.
3) It was time: You know what I’m talking about here, right?
It was time to put our mark on this local, this town, these people.
(This is what winning a meat tray can do for you).
I mean: Whatever, whatever. I guess I could go gangbusters about the place with other making marks options: clever street art, tireless volunteerism or soap-box protesting right outside Coles spring to mind.
Those aren’t really things that capture the essence and spirit of me being able to convey my emotions and feelings amongst a large group of people who are congregated together for the mere sake of –
Well, sake of: being together (and together with their pints and hopes of winning the meat tray).
To cut an even longer story short:
Barrel draw, winners of 6-packs, cheap bubbles and what not. Those things went down. Then comes the meat. And…wait for it…
Our names were not on those tickets. Apparently.
Turns out winner winner chicken dinner was actually someone who does not own a fridge in this town (read: out-of-towner).
Amidst shouts of redraw, redraw! We knew that fate, destiny and Good Lady Luck were finally, finally in-da- house. Yeah, yeah. Our time had come.
(The situation was perhaps most eloquently stated by friend Crispen Pants as “the Steve Bradbury of the Meat Tray World”. Thanks to Facebook: We like that one).
A squeal from me (and I can be loud – I’ve done it before). Yelps from the co-winner. Cheers from the crowd. Jealous gasps from new friends. Arms flailing about by all of us. All the while of course, the stag stared down at us in – well, probably in wonder. After all, this was joy in its most overwhelmingly delighted state of affairs.
Suffice to say (and to wrap the story up): Winners are grinners. We got lots of offers. We could have made our life-time quota of friends right there and then (it’s something we seem to be trawling for regularly on Friday nights).
Such a shame the BBQ didn’t fit in the U-haul.
Anyway, anyway. Instead of taking up offers and inviting all-comers back to the house of Hepburn for some ribs and snags, we settled for feeding ourselves for the week. Lots of meat. Local style.
To make up for the lack of hospitality we vibed the locals that night, we promptly hurled about dinner party invites over some days that followed. This. This you will hear about across multiple episodes. Spoiler alert: We really need to go panning out in them there hills for some etiquette, I say.