Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lunacy

This is course a reference to looking at the moon.  After my poor photos in yesterday's blog I read Denis Wilson's blog with his photos of our nearest planetlet   (it follows the very good stuff about Australian Admirals). I had to lift my game considerably!!

I don't think I did, in terms of photojournalism, to begin with.


The first image gets a nice Turnersque (or possibly Spielbergian end of the world) effect. The second reminds me of candlelit parlour games and possibly the Hefner family enterprise.

Learning all the time I realise that one should wait for it to get well up the sky and to exclude any leaves which confuse the camera.  Try this one, taken a little later....

Various Rendezvous

On 28 April we toddled off for an ANPS walk at Rendezvous Creek, in Namadgi NP.  As usual I went along mainly to spot birds, but without a great deal of hope as this is primarily a frost hollow and thus mainly boring grassland.

The first rendezvous was between a resident of the area and a kangaroo.  We didn't see what condition the side of the car was in but the poor 'roo had broken its leg.  As we didn't (then: we do now) have the number of Wildcare in my mobile phone we stopped when picking up our friend Ros to call for assistance for the 'roo.  (This was likely to involve a "bang".)

Once at the Creek the next rendezvous was with a Copperhead, basking on a peat-spring mound outside its burrow.  I would have guessed its length at very close to 1m.  It posed nicely for a photo by one of the group and then bolted back into its hole.

The grassland seemed to be almost completely devoid of birds.  A small amount of excitement was generated by a Stubble Quail, and shortly afterwards someone spotted a 'small brown bird' sitting on a granite boulder.  I thought this was sufficiently exciting to go and check it out.  A bunch of Fairy-wrens were flitting around but I suddenly heard the call of a Brown Treecreeper.  This came and perched on the rock, presumably munching insects lurking in the lichen.  This is the second time (both in this general area) that I have come across this behaviour: all my reference material talks about the birds living in woodland and feeding on the ground or on trees so a note will have to be compiled.

Returning to the group for lunch I was intrigued by the eroded rocks.  Frances went to take a photo of the most Henry Mooreish of them and emitted a loud shriek.  She had had a rendezvous with another snake, of unknown species.  It was only visual but apparently within a foot (OK, 30cm) of being physical.  The more enquiring minds in the group immediately set out to look for the snake but it had vanished.

That was enough excitement for the day so we returned home.

A little later we had a further meeting with a full moon, which posed nicely with the trees.  By 6am this morning it was still visible but (of course now amongst the more westerly trees.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Serious rain

This morning I was browsing the NZ Herald to see what the wapiti hunters are up to, and found the answer to be "their necks in rain".  I was struck by the entry on the second page "Rainfall measuring 793mm had doused the Fiordland National Park and Southland district since Saturday night."  This seemed like a pretty serious lot of rain.

I recalled Denis Wilson blogging about the heavy rain.  He has since emailed to say "Back in February, we had, cumulative total, over 5 days of 267mm (or 10.5 inches - in the old money)".

I couldn't believe that NZ would whup us that easily so checked the climate extremes page of the Bureau of Meteorology.  I have to say that 12.5 metres of rain in a year seemed a tad excessive!   Then I googled the world record (and was surprised to be referred back to the BoM site.   I will let you check the details, but 1861 definitely seems to have been a bad time to take a holiday in Cherripunji!  (I found the double log scale approach very interesting.)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Autumn events on ANZAC Day

I slept in too late (ie past 4:30) to go into the ANZAC Day dawn service this morning but have reflected a bit on matters ANZAC at various times during the day.  One (I suspect little known) fact about the ANZAC/Gallipoli memorials in Canberra is the positioning of the Ataturk memorial at the head of ANZAC Parade, directly opposite the War Memorial.  The inscription on this memorial (vide the linked document) is very moving.

It is considered that ANZAC Day usually marks the start of Winter in Canberra (and it runs through to Remembrance Day - this duration explaining why Frances is keen to get outtahere for a spell during the period).  So we have nice Autumn leaves on our Pistachio tree and the Chrysanthemums are blooming nicely.

It also meant we got into various 'preparing for Winter' things such as pruning some of our shrubs;starting to pick apples and putting away the netting from the pear trees which have been clean picked.

The last-mentioned of those turned out to be quite exciting as I store the nets in our red shed.  This is also where I store the old straw from our potato mulching (some it I have used for 3 years) so is a good place to find the occasional rodent.  This is well known to the small dog and she is very excited to join me in the shed and snuffle around in the dark places therein.

Today a rat was injudicious enough to put in an appearance.  Knowing that Fox Terriers are amongst the top ratters I was interested to see what happened.  Bad news for the rat I'm afraid, but I was impressed with the speed and skill of the small dog, especially since the rat was the size of her head.  A photo exists but I felt it was a bit gruesome for this family-oriented blog!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Six legs good, 8 legs better!

As we set out on our dog walk this morning (23 April) I was struck by the very colourful spider enwebbed between some Crocosmia leaves.  So I thought I would add it to complement the damselflies.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Damselflies

While out on a birding expedition a few days ago I spotted what I believe to be a flight of damselflies on the margins of a dam.  I've seen them (or something like them) before on the dams on our property but this time  had my camera with me.  It is possible these are Common Flatwing, but confirmation is to follow (thanks David Cook).



I had no idea what was going on here.  Is it an after effect of copulation?  End of a battle?  Carrying around a moulted skin?
The animal seemed able to fly reasonably well with the extra burden.  From the description of mating behaviour in damselflies it seems highly likely that this is some part of that process.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Some Butterflies

Although Autumn is well advanced we are scoring a bit of an Indian Summer with maxima above 20 degrees (and no rain).  There are quite a few flowers around and the butterflies are taking advantage of this. I have used Butterflies of Australia by Michael Braby as my reference (but of course he isn't to be blamed if I have got things wrong).









This is a Common Grass Blue.  (Thanks Roger for the ID).






On the basis of "know thy enemy" here is a Cabbage White - for once not destroying our Brassica!















An Australian Painted Lady.











Finally a Meadow Argus.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A tale of 2 sheds

I commented in the previous post about moving all the pot plants into Frances potting shed for winter.  Here is a picture of them all in position.  We noticed that some seedlings already in there had been munched, leading to thoughts of rodents.  A couple of traps were installed one of which ent off veryquickly (but unsuccesfully).






This made me feel embarrassed about the state of my shed.









So I spent an afternoon cleaning it up.  There were a few traces of small rodents in there so I engaged the small dog as an operative.  She greatly enjoyed the work, but didn't find anything.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Autumn Gardening

The BoM forecast minimum temperatures for the next few nights look suspiciously as though Summer has ended: 2 degrees C  on Tuesday and 3C for Wednesday.  As, being 200m higher, we are usually a couple of degrees colder than the Airport, for which the temperatures are given, it could be a reasonable frost out here.  Thus it was time to shift into cool season gardening mode.

There were two parts to this: cleaning up the remaining crops in the vegetable garden; and shifting the pot plants from the deck and nearby areas into Frances potting shed.

Part 1: Why Pumpkins are different to birds
While I was picking the pumpkins a flock of migrating honeyeaters passed overhead.  This was very pleasing as there were 3 species in the flock: the usual Yellow-faced (YFHE) were accompanied by White-naped and Fuscous.

This led me to think of the ways in which the pumpkins were different from the birds.
  1. The birds are a lot lighter than the pumpkins.They weigh about 15 grammes while the smallest pumpkins weighed 1.5 kg.  So a days worth of honeyeaters going over this place (100 as we are not on a main migration route) weigh about the same as a small pumpkin.  The biggest pumpkin was 9.4 Kg, which is probably a season's worth of honeyeaters!
  2. The honeyeaters fly themselves and don't need to be shifted in a wheelbarrow.
  3. The honeyeaters would not tolerate a small dog standing on them.


The Queensland Blues totalled in at 39.6Kgs while the Petit Marron (the orange jobbies) were 18.6.  In addition to these we had already got a couple more Blues and a solo Butternut.  So we are not going to be short of pumpkin this year.



Part 2 Still some nice flowers around
Our dahlias have been semi-successful this year in that the mauve ones have really stuck on a good show, but they are the only ones which have.  One yellow one has deigned to flower and a couple of red cacti-style but many of the ones we purchased last year seem to have done nothing.  The pot plants have done really well, despite being moved around in the painting project.  The two images below are of ones Frances has grown from cuttings: we think they have done better than in the original garden as they have had plenty of sun.










Here are some dahlia photos.
and one of a pin oak!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Frogmouths do cute

The pair (possibly a pair, but I reckon they are the same ones) have turned up again in the same haunts as last year.  They adopted a new position very close to our gate where I took this snap.

Wapiti hunting as it is done.

This story http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10636781 about NZ wapiti hunters finding a body fascinates me.  I can imagine Mitre Peak is not exactly suburban but you'd suspect they would have attached a little more priority to their find!

I can just imagine the Monty Python sketch:

"Oh look there's a body here Bruce." 
"So there is. It's a dead person Jim"
"Look a Wapiti: go get it Eric"  

FX Bang, bang. 

Holds up card marked 'Two weeks later. '

"Shit Eric, we're out of beer."
"So we are.  You'd better get some more.  Oh, report that body to the cops could you?  The police station's next door to the Pub." 
"By the way, there's another Wapiti"

FX Bang bang!
FX Fade to (all) black

I have got a couple of email comments on the story from friends of a Kiwi persuasion.  They are reproduced anonymously here:
(1) Very remote area--wapiti hunters are about right.  Finds of long-missing people, planes, etc. are not unusual.   Like the great outback--it is possible for people simply to disappear in Fiordland.

(2) It is all a matter of what is important and has priority in life. I have a friend who is a cop for the NZ police who goes off to Fiordland every year to shoot large feral animals. I can imagine that, having spent a fortune to be flown in, he would not waste his money on going back to report something as mundane as a body!!

In a similar vein of bizarrity this tale from the UK:
  • TWO British women who allegedly tried to smuggle a dead relative onto a flight out of England "Weekend at Bernie's"-style have been arrested.
  • Kurt Willi Jarant, 91, was in a wheelchair and wearing sunglasses as his widow and her daughter attempted to check him in at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, northwest England.
  • Airport staff helped the elderly man, who suffered from Alzheimer's, out of a taxi into the wheelchair when he arrived for his flight.  But officials became suspicious and took his pulse, discovering he had passed away.
  • Police then detained his widow Gitta Jarant, and her daughter, Anke Anusic, at the airport on suspicion of having failed to give notification of death. They have been released on bail.
  • The pair, who live in Oldham, northwest England, denied he was dead when they brought him from their home to take the flight to Germany.
  • A police doctor said he had been dead for more than 24 hours, according to Ms Anusic, but she fiercely denied this.  "They would think that for 24 hours we would carry a dead person?" the 41-year-old told the BBC.  "This is ridiculous. He was moving, he was breathing."
  • The pair said they thought that with his eyes closed the elderly man was asleep. "He was alive. He was pale but he wasn't dead," Ms Anusic added.  Gitta Jarant, 66, told the broadcaster her husband, whom she called Willi, was "the best man in the world."
  • "Everyone loved him and everyone was in shock about his death," she said."I loved my Willi."
  • "So many people had seen him in the previous 24 hours. We had checked his temperature and checked his wellbeing. The accusations are wrong," Ms Anusic said.
 

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

More rain = more Fungi

Although we haven't had a downpour for a while we are getting small dollops of rain now and again.  This morning as we were walking back down Canyon Creek I spotted what I think is an Earthstar.  It doesn't seem to be either of the Earthstars in Fungi Down Under so we will await my more comprehensive book before getting too ambitious with the ID!  See Gaye's comment below " more likely to be Scleroderma cepa, a tough-skinned puffball."








This shot is included to show the second fruiting body about 50cm from the main one.  My guess is that the larger one is about 8cm across the rays.





While looking at Fungi Down Under to (fail to) ID a fairly basic puffball I happened to notice some stalked puffballs called Prettymouths and suddenly realised they were what I had seen the previous week in Tallaganda NP.  In fact they are a Fungimap target species "Common Prettymouth" Colostoma fuscum.  The distunguishing feature is the warty cap which can be seen between the two fruiting bodies and again lower right.  The second, reallybad quality, image does give a better idea of the colours.

 My final post on this page is of some more fungi found on our property,  These are growng on the small stump where Country Energy bonsaied a small eucalypt to maintain our power supply.   The main image is of the whole fungus, while the smaller one is an extract from a mirror shot underneath which I believe shows some pores.  This suggests, following Fungi Down Under, it is Rainbow Bracket Trametes versicolor.  An image on the site of the Sydney Fungal Studies Group certainly supports Trametes Sp.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Various sports, passive and active

Passive

I have in the past posted about my results in the NY Times gridiron tipping competition.  I do at least follow gridiron and have some idea of which teams know not to hold the ball sideways when punting.  With baseball I know very little more than the vital fact that any team from Massachussets sucks.

However I make no claims to such expertise in baskeball.  I do however recognise that the real deal with basketball, now that Michael Jordan has retired, is not the NBL but the NCAA finals series.  So, as the Times was running a bracket on this year's comp I had to have a go at it.  For the first couple of days I wasn't going too badly with my psychic tips although having the team I'd tipped to win it all (UTEP - see below for an exlanation) whupped in the first round wasn't too good.  By the end of the second round I was about 39,000th out of ???.  However I had tipped Duke to get to the Final (which they won) but to lose to UTEP and as a result after the final Four I was back up to 12,905th spot.  A few - possibly 170 - punters below me had tipped Duke to win and thus I ended up 13,075th or somewhere in the top third.

The reason I picked UTEP is beacause that school is the current manifestation of Texas Western,the college whose exploits were summarised in Glory Road - one of the best sports films I have ever seen.  Unfortunately UTEP were not rank outsiders so didn't do the business.  Butler, the other team in the final were 5th seed in their Division and thus were definitely punching above their weight to get beyond the second round.

After watching a reply of the game - which was very good - I found that I had chosen the wrong film to guide me.  Had I gone for Hoosiers I'd have scored a lot better!

Active
I am gradually getting back to running after a few months of very little action due to sciatica.  Hopefully this will let me cross two lines (start and finish) in the Rex Foulkes Half Marathon in early May.  However the real reason for including this topic is note the performance of the small dog this morning.

When we acquired her I suspect her longest ever walk was about 3 km when we visited her owner.  I don't think she had ever run further than was necessary to scare the pigeons off the lawn.  I found she could hold on for 1km when I first took her for a waddle but on the way back every tuft of grass got sniffed  - and she is cunning enough to do this as a ploy for a rest.  She has been joining Frances and I for Frances' runs in the mornings (a tad under 3km of running in a route of 4.2km). Today I wanted to do 5km and took her with me (largely as a reward for having been left at home on her own so much recently).  She slowed up a bit in the last half km but most of the time was way out in front (OK, the lead is 5m) and I had to keep the lead slack.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Directions for April Wednesday Walk

The plan is to visit 3 reserves around Bungendore and perhaps a couple of other spots along the way.  A primary aim could be to see what, if anything, the honeyeaters are up to in the various areas.  Of course, people will be able to withdraw at points along the way, although the likelihood of that happening should be borne in mind when carpooling.

The three spots are shown with red numerals in the first image.  (Click on the images to get larger versions if needed).

Spot 1 is Turallo Nature Reserve, 2 is Reedy Creek TSR, and 3 is Sweeneys TSR (suggest lunch here).  The first ? is the Trucking Yard Lane dams which may be worth checking for waterfowl - Shelducks are a distinct possibility here.  The second ? is the roadside along the Mt Fairy Rd.  No idea what is there but it has looked interesting each time I have been along it.

Of course if the whole trip is quiet and boring we could add in Lake road along Lake George.  It all depends.

My suggestion for  final car pool is the car park at Spotlight in Queanbeyan at 8:30am.  I have put some red lines around it in the second image.  I will form a group address for those that tell me they are coming and will let everyone know closer to the time so that you may wish to arrange a preliminary carpool closer to your homes.
To save myself 20kms of petrol my current intention is to meet you at Turallo Nature Reserve at 9am.  Directions for this are to head from Queanbeyan towards Bungendore.  Just before the village turn right into Trucking Yard lane.  Take the next right into Hoskinstown Rd.  After crossing the railway line pass Gidleigh Lane on the left and the Reserve - where I will hopefully be parked - is on the Right a few hundred yards further on.see third image.

Note that I expect to have a pitstop in Bungendore before heading off to Reedy Creek.

FOLK FESTIVAL 2010

This one has got a bit long: sorry about that!

As a change from the last few years I have not volunteered for the Folk Festival this year.  The principal reason for this is that I found last year's efforts to be rather pointless. I was a driver for performer transport and the first few years I did this had great fun as you got to meet and chat to the artists.  More recently it has seemed that I spent a lot of time driving out to the airport to find that people had changed flights etc and not told the organisation.  To which the response tends to be "Oh, they're musicians, what do you expect?"

For a blast from the recent past see this and the two posts which follow it.

GOOD FRIDAY
 We got to the venue (Exhibition  Park In Canberra  - EPIC) bright and early to hear an act starting at 10am.  We were about the only people in the venue when we arrived, although quite a few more had arrived by the time the band started up.  They were surprised not to be playing to an empty tent!  Before getting to reviews of the acts some general reactions to the event overall:
  • Car parking seemed to actually be quite sensible this year (for the first time since about 2004);
  • The entry process was good, primarily due to having the wristbands mailed out.  We did get shouted at by a security idiot -sorry about the tautology - for going in the obvious gate rather than the official one.
  • The number of commercial stalls has grown again: I suppose people must buy the crystals and humourous hats etc but I find it annoying.  That probably comes under the heading of 'problems; personal'.
  • They still let Morris Dancers attend. I must quotea Roy Bailey line "If faced with the choice between running over a banjo player and a Morris Dancer which do you choose?  The banjo player: business before pleasure."
  • Overall it seemed less crowded which is really good for us.

There were some humourous street theatre folk around:










The kangaroos seem to have springs in their stilts as they can jump quite high.  It is also noticeable that they are anatomically explicit under the tail!  Thus far I have not noticed Big Rory and Ochie, but they are apparently around.

To the acts.

Faerd:  Scandinavians playing Faeroese and Swedish songs. Very good musicians.  The only slight problem was the sound of Morris Dancers in the venue next door occasionally permeated.
Whitetop Mountaineers: A couple from Virginia playing country music.  I didn't particularly like their style, although they seemed quite competent musicians.  The approach seemed to emphasise vocal gymnastics which induced the red-neck element in the audience to respond as red-necks do everywhere (and me to respond as I always do).
Bob Malone: seemed to be a Los Angeles cabaret performer.  We listened to a bit of their sound check and decided it would be BAAAAD so left.  What was he doing here other than pandering to the bogans?
Charlie Walden Band; Another country outfit. I thought they were pretty good. We both particularly liked when the female keyboard player - and a female guest artist - sang.
Riley Lee and Jeff Peterson: For a change, Hawaiian music with a Japanese Flute!!  Very skilful but very quiet and too peaceful.  Here is a picture of Mr Lee.  We left about halfway through to go for a beer!
I viagattori:  Finally an Australian band.  As they come from Melbourne it is quite OK for them to be playing Italian music, especially as quite a bit of it was related to migrants to Australia.  Excellent musicians and Kavisha Mazella did her usual excellent job of talking!

We then split up for a session.

Frances started off listening to a duo who seemed to be playing the folk equivalent of beebop, which we call  hunt and squawk.  She didn't last long and came to join me listening to Dobe Newton and the Veterans.  This is basically the Bushwackers plus and minus a few folk.  Absoutely excellent as good bush dance music.  A bit loud but that goes with the territory. Much was made of the Pollockesque suit!

Our final act for the day was Appolonia Compania A band which started off in Melbourne - actually Fitzroy - who have now moved to Greece.  They played a mixture of rural Greek music and rebetika.  Rather good musician, but one needed to have a fair knowledge of the idioms to avoid it all sounding similar.

SATURDAY
Before getting down to business I picked up a copy of this obituary at the Festival.  A great pity as Alastair Hulett was a great folkie (and one of the good guys politically).  At least the poor bugger didn't suffer for months as happened with a friend of ours recently.

The day started off a little later than the previous one as the first act we wanted to see was not until 11am.  This was the Volantisky Trio who mentioned the word Cymbalon in their write up.  This is the classic gypsy/klezmerim instrument of central Europe so I was expecting to hear some of the folk music I heard in Moldova in 2004.  Unfortunately the performers were classically trained so the tunes I heard were more reminiscent of Peter Sculthorpe playing around with the Harry Lime theme: very skilful but hardly folk music.  Frances reported they did some Rumanian folk tunes (as well as Mozart (!!!!!!)) after I left.

The next act were Genticorum.  Three guys from Quebec who we had heard a couple of years ago.  They were again fantastic.  Not only was the music great but their talking was very entertaining- especially the story about the cats intestines!  The audience was huge - obviously this band are going to be one of the hits of the Festival (again).  It was interesting that although the Pascal's foot percussion was very fast the audience clapped - when they unwisely felt the need - in 4/4 time.  The image shows the band and the interesting background!

Our next stop was an alleged Cajun band from Victoria.   15 minutes after start-up time they hadn't begun to play (and were wearing Stetsons, which I suspect is illegal in Louisiana) so I wandered off to hear the Ballpoint Penguins.  They were singing Cole Porter songs for Deity's sake!  Frances caught their act a little later and they had  started putting amusing lyrics to the tunes so thay escape with a light blue rather than a red blast.

I went for a wander and came across the Men with Suits:  about 30 of them, walking through the crowd muttering "walk ... walk'.  I recognised a couple as Spooky Men so went along to see what was going to happen.  
At one point the leader marched up to me and asked if I had a permit to take photographs to which I answered - because I couldn't immediately think of a better response -  "Yes".    They formed a semicircle and sung a couple of bits of weirdness and then marched back through the crowd (most of whom followed them) singing "Out of my way.  I am important "  excellent stuff.

Somewhere in this we saw a bit of Paddy Keenan an excellent Uillean pipes player.  The music was a tad complex but it was clearly folk music and he was clearly an expert.

The final act I saw was Rafa Goodoy a Colombian guy who sang several interesting songs by his grandfather before getting into some standard boring stuff.

General notes for the day were that it was much busier than yesterday.   Some reports say the most visitors ever, others say it was close to the record (of 13,500). Venues were filling up and the teenage fascist security dweets were in evidence bossing people around, about where they could or couldn't go.  My expectation is that sooner or later someone is going to king-hit one of these morons.

It was also interesting that there seemed to be a much higher than in the past proportion of folk in wheelchairs; zimmer frames; and generally in need of a carer than has been the case in the past.  No idea why.

Talking of those who need serious help ...
Easter Sunday
Daylight saving ended overnight so there could be all sorts of chaos.  But we will never know as we didn't attend today.

Frances was feeling a little under the weather and neither of us felt like a 100km round trip for things that didn't seem desperately interesting.  So we stayed home where:
  • Frances put some serious effort into books 2 and 3 of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy;
  • Martin went for a run and watched the AFL (Swans thumping Crows) and some NASCAR stuff (given the number of folk from Virginia performing at the NFF I should have DVD'd it and sold the discs to them-all on Monday) which was very exciting; and
  • Tammy sat on whichever of us was available all day!

Easter Monday
After a day of lethargy for both we were back into it today.  We left home about 11:15 and got to EPIC somewhat before our first target act was slated to perform.  This meant we got to hear a fair bit of
Kamerunga: they were gushed about in the program but were actually a very good bush band along the lines of the Bushwackers but with more complex music.   Frances commented that they were musically good enough to keep her from going to listent o Genticorum again!  They were, like the Bushies, a tad unquiet but I rated them as excellent.  The first image is of their bass player -nothing at all like bass player of the famous Dar es Salaam dance band, the Chalinze Stompers.  The second image shows the only lagerphone I spotted at this year's Festival.
Next up was Kavisha Mazella. We'd heard her before as the leader of I Viagiatorri (and in previous years).   From my view it was unfortunate that she was playing music she written herself, and she should stick to Italian folk music.
The following act was James Keelaghan, who has been accused of being Canadian.  He proved it with a song about canoeing.  He also got a tad embarrassed when telling a story about people wearing badges saying "Kiss me I'm Irish" on March 17th and asking what Australians would replace 'Kiss' with.  He seemed to have some difficulty with the suggestion from the audience of 'Bugger'..  Whatever, he and his accompanyist (whose name doesn't appear in the program) were really really good.  If we had relied on the turgid purple prose in the program we would have passed, so thank you Michael and Julie for the alert.
Next came Chris Smithers.  Again much turgidity in the program but a very good act.  Excellent blues guitarist and very funny to boot.
Then it was time for the Final of the Infinite Motown competition.  Basically people are supposed to do their impression of a piece of music along the designated theme.   This is usually a parody but this year a number of the finalists chose to do something more or less straight which was pretty boring.  The three winners were:
  • 3rd  Mal Webb who did some very clever electrinc business plus a few good moves;
  • 2nd Men in Suits who said they wouldn't parody the words of their chosen opus since no parody could do a better job of parodying than the original!
  • 1st String Theory who play Appalchian music and began with that style of the words and (approximate) tune of a Motown song before bringing on a bunch of dancing boys!  A well deserved winner.
We then heard a bit more of Faerd before heading for home.

Overall a very good Festival - in my view the best we have been to for many years.  I still reckon the one in Burra (SA) in about 1979, based around the oval, the pub and the High School, was the best I have been to, but that was then - and had a roll-up of about 500 rather than 40k+ so this was good.