ESCAPE FROM BRISBANE
The van has finally been fixed and we are on the road again. Only 4 months to fix the broken suspension, delay in getting parts. COVID probably contributed too! For the last couple of weeks we have been sweating on the daily Queensland COVID announcements and case numbers. Would our dear leader call a ‘short sharp lockdown’ to quell an outbreak and thereby prevent us from getting to Toowoomba to smell the flowers at the 2021 Carnival of Flowers and Food Festival? No, she didn’t and so here we are in Toowoomba among the free for a bit over a week. Escaped.
We are staying in the Jolly Swagman Caravan Park which is pretty well located for an urban experience, not the greatest ambience but it is clean and well maintained. No fires! Been here before, so it is familiar. The weather is also good, clear sunny skies are forecast for the week, the air is crisp in the mornings and it gets a little chilly at night.
The Carnival is an iconic Queensland event. It has been going for 72 years and is Australia’s longest running horticultural event. I’m not so sure about this as some of the capital city Easter shows have surely been going longer, perhaps they don’t fit the ‘horticultural’ category? This year the Festival has been expanded to take up the entire month of September.
Anyway, we have come up the mountain to have a look at some of the public spaces and private gardens that are on show and also check out the food and wine part of things. After checking into the Jolly Swagman and some lunch the first stop was at Picnic Point which is at the top of the Range and looks back down over the coastal plain. Quite a view and some nicely laid out garden beds were in full bloom.
Saturday morning saw us at the Farmers Markets to stock up on some food items. Got caught at the organic pig farm butchery truck with what was some overpriced bacon and pork chops. It was then time to join the masses at the Food and Wine Festival in Queens Park for the afternoon and evening. There was all day entertainment on the big stage and numerous local food and vineyard outlets plying their fare. Quite a multicultural food offering. We settled for some pulled lamb burgers and a bit later a grazing plate of cheese and assorted meats, a pizza and a little wine to top it off. Listened in the sun under an umbrella to about 8 hours of music of variable quality.
The highlight act was two old rockers. Brian Cadd and Russell Morris. Both pushing into their 70s. Quite a show, both were probably a little past their best but they were still entertaining and sang some of their old hits. Brian Cadd was into ‘Ginger Man’, ‘A Little Ray of Sunshine’ (which he says he sings to his 5 grand children), ‘Arkansas Grass’, ‘Don’t You Know It’s Magic’ and others. Russell Morris belted out ‘Wings of an Eagle’, ‘Sweet, Sweet Love’ and ‘The Real Thing’. Plenty of old age gags and banter. I seemed to remember most of the songs so I probably also qualify for the age group.
Sunday saw us off to the University of Southern Queensland to check out their Japanese Garden. The cherry blossoms were out in full force. Nice little walk around the lake, quite a calming spot. Back to the van for lunch and the afternoon with legs up before Allthego ventured to the Federal Hotel, nearby the Jolly Swagman, to watch the Parramatta Eels clean up the Newcastle Knights. Homealone remained at the van and did some craft.
More flower beds to come!