Simon, aka: “Slim Knackers”, of “Black Dot Music” Armidale, Came over to make sure I was not destroying any Ukuleles … There was a bloody great big 6 string Banjo there with them in the window..”Can you play this? ” .. Slim indicated in the affirmative (modestly).. My knees were turning to al dente as Rosie cheerfully and proactively chirped .. “Jackie has one of these you know !?” .. a garrotte of fear strangled my reply while Simon deftly tuned the thing and brought it to rhythm and sweet melody. A some times performer at Woodford folk festival with a kid’s show, he presented me with a CD “Slim Knackers”, album “On a mission from Dog”, a ‘take’ on Country Music with a serious Bogan flavour. (Rosie didn’t buy the Banjo !)..Rosie reckons the “Black Dot ” has been ther forever and she used to hang out with a bunch of the people working there years ago. Great and friendly place !
That was yesterday.. we spent most of the day at a beautiful swimming hole “The Blue Hole” on the Castledoyle Road out of Armidale, under a big ol’e Pine tree at the water side playing some Uke songs and reading our books.(This being Rosies old ‘hood’, she knows all the best places here!)
Today, Sunday, we sought out the market in the Mall (Last Sunday of every month) where I spotted the name of a blacksmith I met once or twice at the Bellingen Markets about.. about 30 years ago, when we formed a mutual admiration society of two ! .. Blasting in from the past, I accosted Richard Coumbe of Possum Forge, Eungai Creek, NSW… Current treasurer of the ABANSW www.artistblacksmithnsw.com and an abiding interest in ancient metal see ARLHO – The Australasian Register of Living History Organisations. http://www.arlho.net/ . What a HOOT meeting up with this stirling fellow , felt like not a day had passed !.. Richard introduced me to Grahame Bray of Walcha, Artist Blacksmith and Sculptor, at his stall where Grahame showed me the sculptures he makes from the old “Ace Lane Rabbit Traps” that used to be made by the hundreds of thousands in Newcastle NSW some time ago .. ‘Part of our heritage.. No ‘Acubra Hats’ without these” he reminded me…. Does some great found object art with these things he finds.. lots of humour and cunningly constructed !
Then further up the market we came upon Warren Lawrence, .. with his beautiful old restored carousel , first registered around 1956 with ‘Work Cover’ ! Built from the old stainless steel ‘Drop-Tanks’ of aircraft ! .. How many Kids Hey,.. have ridden this thing ??!.. powered these
days by a washing-machine motor and the boundless enthusiasm of this beautiful human, Warren !.. always brings it to the Mall Market !
We bought cakes, tomatoes, Apple juice and via another picnic spot ‘The Pine Forrest’ we found our way to an old favourite, NERAM,the ‘New England Regional Art Museum’ .. where we were just in time to catch the exhibition “Modern Australian Art and the Second World War”..
travelling from the ‘Australian War Memorial’… all too current and familiar are some of these images .. and heart breaking , .. Amazing show though, with some of our most known artists represented .. Russell Drysdale’s sensitive and reflective “Soldier” from 1942 for one.
Back now and ‘bloggin’ on our last night here before heading over west to Barraba NSW . coming to Armidale ? Bring a jumper !