From Moo Crew to Murals

Oh, those sunrises. It might mean setting off early to run, but I never tire of seeing those vivid pinks and reds lighting up the horizon as the sun wakes up and spreads that early morning pallet of colour across the sky. It’s just magic.

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I set off for a 16km run along the country roads, looping out and back around our quite little neck of the woods. I had the world to myself, apart from the warbling magpies who happily welcomed the new day with a fine song and I plodded along, listening to my audio book, which on occasion had me laughing out loud. I often wonder what a passing car must think of this small lady running solo, while laughing at seemingly nothing or nobody. My run took me past paddocks of cows and a group of calves took an interest in the strange figure coming along the road. They paused, looked up and watched me approaching.

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What’s that strange thing with two legs?

I decided to stop and say hello and clicked my tongue to them, as I stood beside the fence to have  a chat. They looked at me with curiosity in those gorgeous, long-lashed eyes and I took a photo with my phone, albeit a fuzzy one due to the age and antique status of my yesteryear technology. The sound made by the phone as it took the photo sounded louder than usual in the still morning air and all of a sudden, one of the mums, hearing the strange sound, spotted me and was clearly not pleased. She came charging over to the fence, stopping at the wire, blowing loudly through her nose and shaking her head. She was telling me in no uncertain terms to scram! “Get away from my little ones,” this lovely, protective mother cow was saying. “I don’t know what you want, I don’t know you and I don’t like the noise you’re making, so cease and desist and begone!”

“Good mum,” I said, and stood to talk to her.

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I’m coming to get you!
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Don’t you come near my young’uns!

She positioned herself in front of the calves and proceeded to stare me down, while shaking her head and keeping up the SCRAM! body language, with the little tackers peering out from behind her, still curious about this two-legged stranger who was clearly not a friend of mum’s. I decided to leave them in peace and head off. As I turned to plod off again, I smiled at the “moo-crew” across the road, who had all come to the fence in their paddock and were staring at the performance their bovine neighbour and myself were giving for their entertainment. Time to leave and give them back their peaceful morning.

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Nosy neighbours

On I went, around the corner, up the quiet road where we once lived and stopped again to say good morning to a grazing horse. It didn’t give two-hoots about me and wasn’t going to stop the all important funnelling of grass into its mouth to pay any attention to the likes of me, so I clicked a farewell and plodded on.

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I know you’re there, but I don’t care because this grass has my name on it.

I was coming up to a doozy of a hill, when another four legged resident took an interest in my approach. Well, I don’t mind stopping again to put off the slog up the hill, so I stopped again by the side of the road and stood by the fence.

“Me-eh-eh-eh-eh,” said the goat.

“Maa-aa-aa-aa,” said I.

“Me-eh-eh-eh-eh,” enquired the goat.

“Maa-aa-aa-aa,” I replied.

“Me-eh-eh-eh-eh,” said the goat and either my conversation was exceedingly boring or I just wasn’t  doing a very good job of speaking the language, because the goat gave a final, ‘I’ve-had-enough-of-this’ turn of the head and sauntered off to find something better to do with its time. Time for me to head off and take on that hill.

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Meh-eh-eh-eh

Along the roads, through the bush and then home for a hearty bowl of oats, before we headed off for a bit of an outing. Sheffield is a small town, inland from Devonport, with the impressive Mount Roland looking down on the quiet streets and farmland. Sheffield is known as the “Town of Murals” and there are dozens and dozens of murals painted on walls, buildings and houses around the town. Every year they have a week-long Mural Fest art competition, where artists are given a mural sized space, in a small park in the town and have a week to create their artwork, which is judged by both visitors and a panel of judges. The final day also includes the “Taste of the North-West” with local food vans taking over a park and offering food that showcases local producers. We decided to head up to hills, to have a look.

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Mount Roland looking down on Sheffield

The small town was buzzing and I noted all the interstate license plates on various cars and campers around the town. The artists were still at work on their murals, with judging being done later in the day. This year there were local artists from Tasmania, as well as others from interstate, New Zealand, the U.S.A. and France. Steve and I strolled among the crowd and looked at the variety of murals on show for the competition. This year’s theme was based on a poem by a local poet.

Our Wonderful World by Annie Willock

Magnificent nature, history and arts

Let’s lay down our weapons and

open our hearts

We’ll all come together with flags unfurled

And celebrate our wonderful world.

All the artists based their mural on their interpretation of this poem and created a work that represented ‘our wonderful world’. The murals were amazing and the artists so talented. How they work on a space that large and get everything in perspective, is such a talent. They must be very good at working with grids or something.

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The artists at work

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As we wandered past each, it was interesting to both see and hear the artists at work.

“I don’t know what to do next,” said one, looking at her work.

Another pair of artists were looking at an image of a bear they had painted. “Do you want some red here?” one of them asked, “some yellow? I know…ochre,” she continued and strode over to the collection of paints they were working with.

“No, no, no, no,” her partner said, becoming more forceful with each word, hoping to stop her fellow artist from reaching for the paints, “come here, come here,” and her partner stopped short of the paint she was about to select and walked back to her painting buddy, as they continued conferring on the colour of the bear’s fur. So interesting to see how it all happens!

I chose a mural that I liked and asked Steve which one he would vote for. It turned out we had chosen the same painting. It spoke to us I think. It was painted by a pair of artists from Tasmania and France and was titled, ‘I’ll Journey Soon Around the World’. The description said:

From a young age, the quest for adventure is real in one’s heart. One’s spirit and enthusiasm – all encompassing. Visions of journeys across the waves to distant lands hold excitement, yet are perilous. By the lure of uncovering our wonderful world – we are rewarded by discovering – ourselves!

Those words seemed to be words for us and our love of travel and discovering new places. I also think that it’s only by travelling that we conquer assumptions and truly learn about other people and cultures, ultimately making us better people in the long run. We filled in our voting slip, slid it into the box and wondered if the judges would agree with us.

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The mural we voted for

We headed across the road to have a look at the food vans and stalls and were tempted to tuck into some tempura mushrooms but one look at the length of the line and we decided against it. It was great to see the lines so long and the event so well patronised, but we decided to leave the mushrooms for those die-hard line enthusiasts who were better at waiting than us. On the way out, we saw a trailer of wood being raffled with a group sitting alongside it. I don’t think they were guarding it because all they’d do would be to cute someone to death. I think they were probably models, there to look cute and attract ticket buyers.

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We have the cute gene and we know how to use it.

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We headed off for the picturesque drive home and settled in for a relaxing remainder of the day.

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A final glimpse of Mount Roland as we headed home

It turned out that the mural  we voted for won the Visitor Choice Award and a Highly Commended from the judges. A mural titled Many Hats won the overall prize from the judges. Its description said:

Each nation has their own traditional hat easily recognisable even in silhouette. So let our weapons be scrap metal at our feet and stand together to cherish our wonderful world.

Mural Winner
The overall winner

A lovely day with sunrises, a peaceful run past four-legged neighbours and an enjoyable roam through a small town with so much on offer. A day to be grateful for the things we have on our doorstep.

Now I just have to find that phrase book and translation guide to brush up on my Conversational Goat to learn that second language I’ve been intending to master. I’ll be ready for the next conversation now.

“Me-eh-eh-eh-eh…”

How would you interpret the poem? What do you think of our wonderful world?

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