Australia Day

Australia Day

by Hendrik Gout

A long time ago, before there were rabbits, cane toads, sheep, or bovines in this young and free land, Australian Day was not a rejoiced holiday. Federation changed not only architecture, but that. So with an Australia Day public holiday, the Guzzi and I went out hunting rabbits, cane toads, sheep, and bovines.

We also hunted ducks, which are indigenous and delicious.

The sun, as Lewis Carroll said, was shining with all its might. This meant it was hot. I like like heat, which is why I’m often in the kitchen, so I put on ordinary jeans and walking boots and leather jacket and went to Sutton. Sutton is one of Australia’s most remarkable villages in that it’s the most unremarkable village on the continent. I passed through without delay and went to the nearby creek to catch a yabbie. Yabbies are delicious, as are rabbits, sheep, and bovines (but not cane toads) and they have firstly the advantage of being able to catch them without an illegal firearm, and secondly the advantage that they don’t hog the road on dark nights while the Guzzi is doing 130 kp/h on tour. I didn’t catch a yabbie but I hit a rabbit, which went cktanmgcktang into the front wheel and caught the disc rotor and caused a bit of a slide. The rabbit was too mangled to take back in the tankbag.

I bought a cowskin from a man who had a sign saying “skins,$300”, up a driveway and to “the left”. One for the V50, nil for the bovine. I wrapped the skin around my air-rifle, which meant I couldn’t bag any of the ducks I saw after that, and I’d seen none before, but I was a bit relieved because prior to that the rifle wrapped in a bedsheet looked a bit like a rifle wrapped in a bedsheet strapped to the pillion seat of the Guzz.

There is a plague of locusts in the Canberra district at the moment, but they’re tiny hoppers and don’t hop any higher than motorcycle boots. That’s why, when I arrived at the unremarkable village of Gunning, my boots were yellow with locust insides. The publican hardly noticed, but the Gunning pub regulars said things like “Fuckkin hoppers, eh?”, and I said, “No, yabbies.”

My credit card, of course, didn’t work at the Gunning petrol station. There’s nothing wrong with my credit card, but the petrol station was closed. I had just two litres of fuel left in theV50’s tank, and the next town, Murrrumbateman, was more than two litres away.

I went back to the pub and caged some petrol from one of the yokels, who said, “They’re not really yabbies, are they?”

The next stop was at one of the Canberra district wineries. I drank as much as they offered and then bought a bottle of shiraz at double the bottlo price in Canberra, and drank it with the Guzz sitting in a ford of a little creek which had no yabbies.

There was a speed camera on the way back to Canberra, but I wasn’t speeding, and there was no random breath tester, which was a pity because my breath didn’t smell of crustaceans.

The cowskin looks good in front of the fireplace.

All in all, a good day.


V50 – no need to exaggerate