Apologies that this virtual space has been vacated for nearly a month now. Of late I’ve been tremendously losing the tug-of-war between work and life.
We’ve recently been on a two-night mini-break to the rural town of Goondiwindi (known as Gundy to most). Buster, Finn and I, with Harry Noodle and our three polo ponies made the five hour journey west to play in Gundy’s annual polo tournament. I forgot how striking and dramatic this bush landscapes were and the drive made me yearn for the colours of rural life.
The land is pancake flat compared to our hinterland home that tumbles with hills. Anytime I head west it feels so wonderfully familiar as if I’m returning home. You see, I spent 18 years of my life living on a cotton property out near Dalby. So when I return to the land of rich black soil I get incredibly nostalgic. Buster also knows this part of the world intimately, brought up on a property that skirts the one-pub town of Nindigully, the dust and vast plains runs through his veins.
While Finn read books in the back, I sat silent peering out at the dry, honeyed landscape that I love so much. Empty, vacant skies. The landscape painted in sepia tones. In the car Finn practised her new word ‘uh-oh’ for the entire trip.
Our Gympie team, consisted of my Dad and another father and daughter, Jeremy and Jemma Brown, who originally hailed from Zimbabwe. The polo field was the polar opposite to our lush, green field on the Mary River in Gympie. We played in D Grade so there weren’t any sheep stations at stake. Towards the third and fourth chukkas an impressive plume of dust would appear from the galloping ponies which added to the bush magic of the game. Impressively there was 14 teams, so 56 players in total travelled to this remote bush outpost to play ‘the sport of kings’ over the weekend.
The wonderful part about playing in D-grade once you finish playing at 10am you get to enjoy the entire day watching ten and two goal polo. Under the shadow of a marquee, while Finn played with her new friends, there was a classroom of kids circling about, we sipped on pimms and caught up with special friends who we hadn’t seen for ages. Even the lunch offerings are worth a mention. Decent two-handed steak sandwiches with tender beef cuts cooked to perfection and a hearty colesaw salad that tasted like your mother had made it were devoured. A table dedicated to tea and coffee and plates of sweet delights from passionfruit cake to brownies – this was Buster’s favourite part – was complimentary. I was told later that all the polo wives cook and bake for the tea and coffee table.
On Saturday night under a canopy of stars and a fingernail moon perched low in the sky we returned to the field. With the bite of winter in the air, there was a monstrous bush fire.The rustic clubhouse transformed into a well-manned bar serving booze to polo punters like us. On the roof a young lass played live, unplugged music, her voice as smooth as honey, reverberated into the night sky. For dinner there was noodle boxes served with rice and a selection of beef stroganoff, curry and casserole. A great country bash.
What Buster and I loved about the weekend is the country hospitality and atmosphere that enveloped this tournament. We’re used to playing polo at the Gold Coast where we’re unlikely to get a nod of hello when we arrive at the field. Not the case at Gundy or Clifton, another wonderful bush polo club. We were welcomed from the get-go, as soon as we pulled up at the Showgrounds in Goondiwindi exhausted and dusty from our trip we were greeted with firm handshakes and plenty of conversation. This warm welcome continued throughout the weekend, until we packed up our travelling circus at 1pm on Sunday to head home. I left with a cheshire-cat grin on my face after finding out that my Arusi, won champion D-grade polo pony for the tournament, I was proud of punch.
An hour out of Gundy, Finn choked on her milk which resulted in a power spew of epic proportions. Lucky or not so lucky, my polo helmet caught most of the vomit.
After looking back through the pics of the weekend, every photo that Buster caught of me, I have this massive smile on my face, it looks like I enjoyed myself – somewhat.
Me riding Harusi – champion D-grade pony – woop woop!