Fruit

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We welcome birds to our garden,
But one thing we won’t pardon:
      Subjecting a nec–
      Tarine to a peck;
At that our kind hearts harden.

We put a net over our small-ish nectarine tree again this year, and with the help of safety pins did a better job of bird-proofing it.  A couple did find their way in and needed help to escape.  I think they spread the word, because we had no further avian trouble and we harvested a bumper crop.  Unfortunately our electronic scale’s batteries died at just the wrong moment, but we filled four-and-a-bit buckets and only had to cut out about 5% of the juicy, golden god-blessed flesh.

With such a surfeit of fruit to deploy, the next apple crumble that Mrs SG made was a nectarine crumble – and pretty good it is too – and the freezer is two-thirds stuffed with bags of sliced nectarines.  A reminder of summer sun when winter comes.

Fruit is in the news in Australia, and in the UK too.  As we have become wealthy (Australia’s per capita GDP is five times the global average) we have become lazy. It’s a socio-economic sickness that infects all rich nations sooner or later: it happened in Rome too, a long time ago.

A symptom of this infection has been highlighted by another: Covid-19. It seems that we no longer pick our own fruit and vegetables. Before the borders closed that arduous, low-paid work was done for us by European backpackers and Pacific Islanders on special work visas. Unemployment has peaked as businesses have been forced to close – many never to re-open – yet farmers cannot find people willing to pick their fruit.  The Government has just announced a shipment of ni-Vanuatu workers to save the day, riding the foam as the US cavalry used to ride the prairie on similar missions.

Does this mean that we’ve lost our oomph, our get-up-and-go, our will to work and strive and build a nation? I fear it does. Let us hope that China’s burgeoning wealth brings it to the same torpid state before Xi Jinping becomes master of our world.

PS Watch out for the announcement of the winner of this year’s Stroppy (the Stroppy Git Award for Meaningless Twaddle). The excitement is mounting and assessment is under way!

The Trak Closes

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Adam and The Trak

Yesterday was a sad day: 2 January 2021. Our local cinema closed.  We moved into the area in 1985, when The Trak and its associated video store (remember those?) had been open for 10 years. I won’t say we moved here because of The Trak, but it was one of the factors.

Its three screens occupied the upper floor of a modest commercial building. Nothing fancy, no art deco styling, no sweeping staircase. It’s close to the mighty Burnside Village shopping centre, which is about to be expanded – with a cinema complex to be added.  Although The Trak specialised in non-mainstream films it could probably not have survived competition from across the road. But it was Covid-19 that delivered the killing blow.

A misleading poster

We went to the last show of all, of course, and bought chocolate coated ice-cream cones at the candy bar.  We’d become used to being the only two people, perhaps with one or two others scattered around the auditorium, but last night most of the seats were filled.  The show was a 1957 film called ‘The Smallest Show on Earth’ whose cast list is a Who’s Who of British comedy in the 1950s.  Appropriately it was about a young couple who inherit a small, dilapidated cinema and try to make a go of it.

There was not a dry eye in the house when the final credits played, even though it was a comedy.  Adam (pictured above), the owner, gave a final speech and explained why he had not closed the curtain that covers the screen.  This is a cinema tradition, signifying that resurrection is not impossible.

And indeed The Trak will live on, in name at least.  Adam and his partner are looking for a new venue to lease; and if that fails they will try to run it on a ‘pop-up’ basis.  Wherever, whenever, Mrs SG and I will there for the next show.

Cinema 1, the biggest, equipped with cup-holders