On a trip to Corryong a couple of weeks ago, I came across two boxes of beautiful earthy LOCAL potatoes. Nariel Gold and Desiree. Nariel is the spot where they have a long running annual folk festival – I haven’t been there yet but they say its magic. This week, I splashed out and bought a 10kg sack. And felt very smug and wealthy. The sack of potatoes triggered memories of my grandfather, who had a farm just outside London, in South Bucks. Sacks of Spuds, red or white, were a currency for him. A way of getting things done. I remember him as a cross between the archetypical country squire and Arthur Daley..which is probably not fair, but kids see things differently I guess. Tales of Grandpa’s deals gone right, and gone wrong, are a big part of our family history. There was a great lump in the driveway at Mansfield Farm, a souvenir of the time Grandpa traded spuds for a cart load of bitumen from some council road workers. The cart over-turned and the bitumen set before they could shovel it back. Last time I went back to the UK I was astounded to see how “the fiddle” is such a part of life for so many people. Some-one somewhere said that in the UK the system is harsh, so the people are benevolent but in Australia the system is benevolent and people are harsher. I grew up in Wales and nobody “grassed” on anyone because nobody was innocent. Here, it seems that writing closely worded letters and “making a phone call” is a pastime that makes up for the local lack of entertainment and adrenaline sports. And we’re all guilty of it.
But back to my wealth of potatoes.