Sunday, 6 December 2009

Even cowgirls get the blues

Proving once again that Australia is a land of contrasts, I've come to Tamworth, the country music capital of Oz, where I'm preparing myself to be turned into a Jillaroo (Australia's version of a cowgirl) over the next five days. So far I have the hat, and tomorrow morning we're all going to pick up the second-hand clothes, but beyond that I'm apprehensive. I asked one girl who's on the course if she had riding experience. "Oh, no," she laughed gaily. "Just dressage and showjumping, not Western." Which was distinctly daunting for yours truly, who hasn't so much as been on a donkey ride down the beach. The nearest I've been to riding, in fact, is reading "National Velvet". Still, I'm here now and stiffening my upper lip as we speak. After all, I'm a good sturdy girl from good sturdy peasant stock, and if I don't shine at the riding and mustering, hauling sheep about should be no problem!

I'm going to be out of contact for the whole week - we're on a farm in the outback hills, and there's no mobile phone reception or internet - so if you're interested in seeing how I'll be spending my time, this is the link: The calf-wrestling looks particularly rugged, I must say! I'll do a post on the whole experience when I'm back in Sydney next weekend... It's all a far cry from the Eastern beaches cliff-top walk from Bondi to Coogee, or the chi-chi Paddington markets on Oxford Street, but I can certainly say I've never done anything like this before! Wish me luck, guys and gals. Yee haw!

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