Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Time to talk

When friends come from the city, what do you show them around Riddells Creek? Our friend Tom was up recently staying for a night and a day of talk, and the market was on so of course that was the big expedition Saturday morning. Tom used to live at Macedon but after a year overseas, he's now confined to an expensive terrace - rented - in North Melbourne. He used to come to the Riddells Market, so when we walked into that grassy square of awnings and began our stroll around, he said he felt like he'd come home. It wasn't only the produce that lifted his spirits, but the people - the producers selling what they themselves had made, keen to talk about their wares, in fact, happy to converse.

Now where else to you get that, in a public place? People proud of what they are doing, happy to talk, making the time to talk? I introduced Tom to Lachlan, who helps organise the market, and they sat at a table in the sunshine and had a natter while I went off for a long conversation with the chook man, who only comes occasionally to Riddells, but who I found does a run through our town on Wednesdays as he comes back from his abattoir, and would happily drop off a beast if I gave him a call. Beautiful birds, plump and sweet fleshed.

It got me thinking how the life of a town is in its conversations. Not the private conversations we have in our homes when friends come over, but the conversation in public places. At the newsagent with our feisty post mistress, or standing outside the supermarket, catching up with my neighbour from the end of Gap Road. And then there are the conversations at events like the Market, and the football, and in the classes in the Neighbourhood House, and so on. Beneath the surface layer of neat houses and shops, there's another world of connections and conviviality, and that is our common life.

Riddells Landcare has filled out its calendar for the year. Before this piece goes to press, there's a morning Saturday 6th May, organised with Greening of Riddell, where we will assess the health of Riddells creek with one of the people from the Waterwatch program, counting and identifying bugs in samples of water drawn from the edge of the creek. Great sport for kids … and a chance for idle conversation amongst the adults. 

Then 20th May, we'll be visiting the Bradley's place on Wheelwrights Road to see how the gorse slashing and replanting is going. And to have afternoon tea together.  Sunday 4th June, 10-12, 288 Gap Road, you're invited to a working bee in Barrm Birrm, dedicated to digging out pittosporum (bring your mattock), and to conversation. 

If you miss that, don't worry, there's the AGM 13th August 2-4, the Spring working bee, Sunday 17th September 10-12, and the Big Walk, Sunday 15th October, where all the way from the snowgums at the top of the Macedon range to the grassy plains beside Riddells Creek you will have an opportunity to weave in and out of conversations with a mob of like-minded persons.
To keep up with these events, $15 will give you membership of our locally owned and locally run Riddells Creek Landcare. 

Like those producers at the Farmers Market, we're proud of what we do, and we've always got time to talk.

Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare

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