Page 93: The second half of the Tamworth country music festival
     
 

One evening we attended Michelle Little's first ever paid concert, organised by herself. She had hired the Regent Theatre in Tamworth and, supported by singer Peter Pratt, put on a fabulous performance. The theme of the concert was a tribute to Patsy Cline, a long-time favourite of Michelle's. The theatre was packed and the show a huge success.

Michelle giving the audience her all at the Regent Theatre.

When we bought our tickets only two had previously been sold so we had our pick of the seats. We chose the centre of the front row, expecting a reasonable distance between the seats and the stage. We had a shock when we found that our feet were (literally) touching the stage which was only one foot (30 cm.) high. Not only that, but despite the theatre being full, we were the only people on the front row. Although we felt quite conspicuous, we had the advantage of not being deafened by the speakers which were situated out beyond either side of the stage, facing back.

We had a fabulous evening and if Michelle Little's name isn't a household word very soon, I for one, will be very surprised.

 
     
  That damned caravan Again  
  During the night following the concert it rained cats and dogs. As morning dawned the rain came down harder than ever. I checked around and saw with great relief that there wasn't a drop inside the caravan. Later the rain stopped and as I sat typing on the computer, drips began dropping from the ceiling. The area of the drips expanded and we scrambled for buckets and sponges. It didn't rain again but five hours later the ceiling was still dripping, though not so much.

Two days later the rain had gone and the sun and heat were back (with a vengeance) so I borrowed a ladder and checked out the roof. I think I found the problem and fixed it but we now need more heavy rain to confirm that.

Within a few weeks we got that rain and that patch of ceiling remained as dry as a bone. However, further back, another leak has developed . . .
 
     
  Meanwhile, back at the festival . . .  
  Back at the festival the noise and activity continued.

Below is pictured Tamworth Police's new 'hot pursuit vehicle'. Now, I may be wrong, but I understood that cops must give way to pedestrians on a crossing, just like everybody else. I don't see too many seat belts being worn either.
 
     
   
  Gotcha! Blow into here until I tell you to stop. Step out of the vehicle, please. Do you have your licence?
Do you understand the purpose of a pedestrian crossing? From which golf course did you steal this buggy? Perhaps you'd better . . .
 
     
   
  . . . cycle in future wearing a daft hat, T-shirt, shorts and . . . gloves??? In this heat?  
     
   
  That's more like it. "Free Spirit Tours" were offering reduced-price rides for $20 on this beast.
As a passenger, unfortunately. Looks a heap of fun, doesn't it? On a warm, sunny day, it does.
 
     
  The 2009 festival Closes  
  And so the Festival finally came to an end on the 'Australia Day' Monday. We attended the closing concert but the performers were, to us, mostly second rate and the speeches too long and boring. The clown controlling the lights insisted on shining a coloured spotlight in our faces (until yours truly went and told him).

The concert ended with more deafening rock music which seems to be slowly taking over. We went and bought a coffee in the foyer and watched most of the audience stream out, leaving the band to continue their atrocious noise.

Do you think we're getting old?
 
     
   
  This is what the people around us could see with the spotlight in our faces. The coloured
light dots in the background formed a giant Australian flag, flapping in the wind.
 
     
  And so it ended for another year. The traders and buskers vanished from the streets and normal traffic resumed. It was as if it had never been.

In the caravan park the exodus was spread over several days but by mid-week there were only about five 'vans left, including ours. We were quite sad to see our friends all go.
 
     
  What do YOU think?  
 

On Australia Day (appropriately) I hade an idea. It's not a fully formed idea but it seems worth considering.

You know how drivers who pass the driving test are given probationary licences for a period until they prove themselves? Suppose approved immigrants who enter Australia were automatically given Provisional Citizenship for ten years. If, during that time, they:

Committed a serious crime
Brought their old national disputes with them
Refused to accept Australia's culture and way of life
Tried to impose their own culture
Failed to learn English
Denigrated our values and beliefs, etc., etc., then . . .

Without further ado, their Provisional Citizenship should be revoked and they should be deported back to their country of origin.

If, on the other hand, they became model citizens, then replace their Provisional Citizenship with Permanent Citizenship.

Yes, there'd be a lot of issues that would arise out of this, but . . . is it worth investigating?

 
     
  Yippee! work at last.  
 

It happened. It eventually happened. One afternoon Pam was offered two jobs and I was offered one. Pam accepted the better paid as a bookkeeper and I shall be stacking supermarket shelves. Pam will be the prime bread winner, bringing home over double my wage.

Two weeks later. My shelf stacking job was supposed to be twenty five hours a week. So far I've only been offered nine hours which, while better than nothing, is not enough, so I am still looking for a better job. The shelf stacking thing is pretty boring work and I'm forever being told the correct procedure by various people who all seem to contradict what the last person told me. I say "Yes, okay", to everyone and keep on doing what I was doing before.

I've discovered that my problem in finding work is the same as other people in my situation - during my working life I became specialised in a very small area of fairly technical products. Out in the big world I find that there's no call for my skills so I have to do something else. The question is . . . what? The 'thanks, but no thanks' letters are mounting up. I expect prospective employers read my application, note that my address is a caravan park and that I'm sixty seven years old and flick the application into the waste bin. And, if I'm honest, I don't blame them.

Several recently advertised positions required somebody with a forklift 'ticket' so to make myself more employable I signed up for a forklift course and now have that 'ticket'. Other job advertisements required candidates to possess a 'green card'. Without really knowing what a green card is, I signed up for that course too and discovered it covers safety in the construction industry. Well, if they want it I'm now the proud possessor of a green card.

My shelf stacking hours at Cole's are completely insufficient because the number of 'casuals' taken on far exceeds the available work. Last week I worked just two hours and that was only because a stock count was scheduled for the Tuesday evening.

 
     
  Just to break up my whinging self pity, here's a beautiful view of country New South Wales
taken from the top of Moonbi Rock overlooking the New England Highway.
 
     
  I am still applying for every job for which I'm qualified - and a good few that I'm not. Realising how crashingly boring it must be for a prospective employer to sift through a stack of résumés I condensed mine into a single side and made it a bit humorous. The full résumé is still attached but needn't be read unless the employer is seriously interested. This way I hope to make mine stand out from the rest. I have also started dropping in to chat with the employer so he/she can put a face, however ugly, to the name. That could backfire if he or she is busy but it's worth trying, don't you think? What really gets to me is when a job is advertised that I know I could do but the employer specifies "in the 18 to 25 age group".

Watch this space, dear Reader. This boy is not on the scrap heap yet!