Shepparton – day 331

Up the hill and across the road to the train station, we had Hungry Jacks for breakfast. The Hero Burger was beautiful and with a little self restraint we left without ordering more. I saw a little restraint… We went down a flight of stairs to Woolies and bought blueberry muffins for the train. The muffins and a banana (inscribed with Happy 4th Anniversary) were my presents for the traditional Fruit or Flowers wedding gift. A sign of true love is someone who hates bananas writing you a message on them. John and Florrie (Tracey’s parents) very kindly picked us up from the train station. So, we went an had an early lunch and killed an hour or two chatting. We shared loads of stories about travels and years gone by and enjoyed the unusual trio of dips with crunchy ciabatta bread and fine coffee. We had a bit of a comedy moment when John was all perplexed by the woman at the till whom wouldn’t take payment for lunch, the rest of knowing that I had already snuck off to pay for it. We were soon back at Casa de Hobbito and not long after dumping the bags we were having fresh hot showers. Tracey was pent up with excitement and energy when she got home. It would be nice to say that it was all directed at us, but truth be told only the dog really cared. Tracey was excited about her charity event that evening and we were ready and able to help. Outside and waiting for the taxi before it even sent a text saying it was around the corner we were at the Aussie Hotel close on 5 bells with 2 hours to set up. 

The event, Drags Aloud Bingo, didn’t need much prep-work. The two stars of the evening brought most of the stuff with them and we just helped carrying equipment, checking table numbers, placing the bingo cards around the seats, pens and such trivialities. People started flooding in at 19:00, and with all great plans, some people are always late. But, it checked off with a bang and it was a mega night. Tracey had a speech prepared and I’ll be honest, I’ve forgotten nearly every act from it, but was at the time astounding by the charity organisation itself and how much money it had raised since it’s founding. Tonight’s spectacular event raised $2,800 of pure profit. Tireless effort from Miss Tracey meant the Drag Queens, venue, advertising and food was all paid for and every bit of the proceeds was heading to the bank in the morning. Well done Tracey!!!

With 4 rounds of Bingo to be played everyone saw how the evening was shaping up. The first winner was ridiculed by the hosts. The spectators that made eye contact were picked on and those that Tracey had previously mentioned were singled out. Eventually everyone, including the ‘victims’ were in conniptions of laughter, and the tears were rolling down faces and folks smacking the tables or stomping their feet with glee. There was a moment in the evening where time stood still, the sweat glands opened and the impending doom lay upon me. I had managed to match all the numbers. The girls next to me were keeping tabs on my impressive array of dots, Katherine was shouting Bingo and pointing at me and all I could do, frozen as a statue was raise my hand with the booklet of numbers. The horror was looming, the questions, the mockery, standing up in front of everyone. I wanted fire alarms to go off. I wanted to run for the stair well and freedom. I wanted to award someone else the honour. No, I was dragged by one of the lovely hosts to the front and they went easy on me. Seeing what a mess I was, comparatively to how I was setting up the hall, they only asked name, where I was from, a few Irish jokes and I was free to leave.Back at the table I was a now dripping in sweat, shaking like a leaf and unable to speak. Much to the amusement of the others at the table I managed to drink some water and nibble some food and get the nerves back in check. So, able to put one leg in front of the other I went to visit the queens to see if they needed anything during the half time break. They were all good, and after a chat about their visits to Dublin, I requested that they wind poor Tracey up a bit during the next section. So it was that going around the tables and mingling with the bingo wings that there happened to be a phrase mentioned that set Tracey on edge. They were saying ‘Ridgey Didge’ and got the crowd involved. With so many admitting it was a real word and people used it regularly, it was said more and more often for the rest of the night. It was even mentioned to the taxi driver on the way home – after a few drinks with friends from the rotary club (an awkward conversation about being a woman, not a guy) – and pulling through Maccers for a late night feast back at the house. Food devoured we slinked off to bed. 

Friday 2nd September 2016

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