About Town

The Beach

Spring has finally sprung and that means that Nariah Beach is now officially open. During the winter the Council shuts and bolts the gates that lead down to the beach, but it never really stops anyone from jumping it. Really the gate is more of the councils way of telling the town that there is no licensed or paid life guard hanging around, so if you’re going to go down there and you drown, then it’s entirely your fault.

In all honesty the beach isn’t a beach at all. It’s more of this sand bank that is above the water level down at the local creek. No one knows why it’s there because it’s not entirely natural. If it was the sand would not be that golden colour that you see on the beaches in Sydney and up and down the coast. It would be more red. Yet somehow the creek river bed has this flawless sand bank made of beach quality sand.

I guess it’s just one of the many mysteries that seem to surround Nariah, like Ben says.

The Beach is the main hang out area for all the teens in Nariah during the summer. The local pool was shut down two years ago after the crocodile indecent and after a lot of consideration (and a few missing fingers) the pool was surrendered over to the crocodile and left alone. I have to hand it to the council, they did try their best to try and give the crocodile a really good deal if it decided to leave the pool, but in the end the council realised that there would be more then just fingers that would go missing if they continued to bother the crocodile.

So with the pool closed The Beach is really the only place that we can go, stay cool, work on our tan (safely, with intermittent sunscreen applications) and just generally hang out without our parents hovering over us.

You would think that a place that is virtually just a sand bank on the side of a creek would be boring and lack any kind of interest, but that is not the case. The creek itself is a mystery, because no one knows where it gets it’s water supply from. The current guess is that it has managed to find some way into our neighboring towns water supply but that has yet to actually be proven, so for now it is just a guess.

Plus chances are that if it is true, the neighboring town might start charging the Creek for the use of the water, and God only knows how that length of water is going to respond.

Anyway, with the Beach now open it means that we’re able to go somewhere while the plans for the new indoor pool have been put on hold. The council hasn’t been able to figure out how the scrub on the North East side of town managed to make it’s way from wherever it came from, or why it is purring, or even how they are going to be able to push development forward.

They’ve got a pool going on down at the Metropolitan Hotel and so far everyone one is betting that they send in the negotiator again to try and reason with like they did with the crocodile. I don’t know what they could possibly offer the scrub, considering that it’s a group of trees, but the council has yet to run out of ideas for things that they can offer problematic situations, so chances are they’ll have something good to offer within the week.

In the mean time everyone is starting to get all their beach gear ready so the moment the days start to hit 25 degrees, we can head down to the Beach and just enjoy the sunshine, before it gets too hot, and before Dad starts playing that Beach Boy’s Song again. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s goes:

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go,

– Grace

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Spring has Sprung

When I was little my mother liked to say this poem every time spring arrived:

The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.

I can’t exactly remember who it was that wrote it at this point in time, but I’ll try and google it and find out after I post this up. It’s a cute little poem that I think about now because without hesitation Mum would always say it as we walked out the door on the first day of spring – regardless of whether it was sunny, or belting down with rain.

Its one of the things that I miss about her being gone. She always had some little poem or saying that was perfect for the moment, and I never understood how she remembered them all. She wasn’t a literacy professor or anything like that, but she did delight in reading and I guess that is where she came across a lot of these sayings and such.

When the first of September hit last week, I kind of expected to see Mum looking out the kitchen window, humming to herself as she did while she made coffee for her and Dad, before turning to me and asking how I slept.

It’s still strange that I’ll never be able to see that play out any more.

Like everywhere else in Australia, Spring has hit Nariah and I was expecting a lot of strange things to begin to happen, but nothing did. Everything has been super quiet on the weird front, especially since the appearance of the new scrub on the north east side of town. You know, the one that purrs. People have actually taken to seeing if they can take cuttings of the trees and grow their own miniature versions, like bonsai trees, so they can have a smaller version of the purring trees in their house. So far all reports that have been going around town have shown that there is no way to get a cutting out of the scrub, home and re-potted before the cutting dies and turns to dust. I’m still waiting to see who will be the first to realise that their cutting may actually live if they bring all the materials that they need to the scrub instead of transferring the plant home. So far my money is on Eric’s Grandmother, who has been talking to everyone and finding out what they have been doing so she can be the first with her own potted purring tree.

Other then that everything has been really quiet around town. I’ve been told that this is normal and once it really starts to warm up I’ll start to see things get back to the way they normally around town, but in all honesty I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve been enjoying the way things have been and I’m not counting down the days until summer comes and something else starts to happen around town.

Dad just got home and showed me the community calendar for the next couple of months and I didn’t think that Nariah was going to have so many community events. For example:

September

  • 11th – The Beach reopens for the summer season
  • 12th – Market Day
  • 16th – Spring festival
  • 26th & 27th September – Nariah Show

October

  • 3rd – Market Day
  • 6th – Book Fair at St Mary’s Church
  • 10th – Clean up Nariah Day
  • 17th – Market Day
  • 23rd – Community Production of Hairspray Opening Night
  • 31st – Market Day

They’re just the community ones. Dad told me that there are a number of council meetings and committee stuff that hasn’t been put in the community calendar because final dates have yet to be finalised. I can’t see why it’s taking so long, other then the fact that there are numerous people who make it their business to be on ever little committee in town. I don’t know where they find the time honestly.

I’ve got to finish up now. We’ve just hit preliminary exams for Year 11 and I’ve got one for Maths first thing tomorrow that I need to study for.

Before I go I thought that I would share with you this music track, it seems appropriate given that spring has finally arrived.

– Ben

The Purring Scrub

We’ve just recently had a new addition appear on the boarder of Nariah, and it’s unfortunately not a Mall.

About a month ago, when we started to have some trouble uploading to the blog, people started to notice that the treeline was starting to get closer. No one thought anything of it, it’s not uncommon for the Nariah Beautification Committee to suddenly start planting things unannounced and for flower beds and trees and various other items that can be used to beautify a community to pop up out of no where. Everyone just believed that this was just another one of their projects that they were doing when they weren’t working on the lake in Centennial Park and left it as that.

Then Yesterday everyone looked out their windows and we noticed that the treeline was no longer just a treeline. It had become a secondary scrub-land on the outskirts of town and no one had noticed it creeping closer. I suppose because we all thought that it was a project by the Nariah Beautification Committee that we put it out of our minds, until it was suddenly there in our faces, like a clown at a birthday party.

Anyway, the council was not happy (to say the least) and got in contact with the president of the Nariah Beautification Committee (Harold Flint) and started to ask all these questions like “What were the Nariah Beautification Committee thinking about putting a new scrub-land to the North East of town?” and “How did you get the funding for something like this” and “Well we’re not going to look after it, it’s your responsibility” and “Where are we going to put the new arcade, movie theater and indoor swimming pool complex?“. The Nariah Beautification Committee however has completely denied any involvement in the sudden appearance of the new scrub, saying that they have been far to busy trying to work out whether or not they want ducks, swans or geese to live on the lake at Centennial Park once it has been completed.

The Council agreed that that was a very hard decision to make and conceded that the Nariah Beautification Committee had nothing to do with the sudden appearance of the new scrub-land to the North East of town.

No other groups have come forward either to claim responsibility for the scrub-land since it’s sudden appearance across the road from the Hospital, and all the local youth group have claimed that they have had nothing to do with it, that it is in no way a prank that has gone horribly wrong, and even if they did do it they wouldn’t tell you!

Ben commented saying that his Dad is going to have to add negotiator to his resume because he was the one that was sent out to the scrub-land to find out more information about it, and we were luck enough to go with him when he did.

You would think that this place would dark and scary but it’s not.It actually reminded me of the illustrations from the Gumnut Babies or Blinky Bill, not at all like the forest from Disney’s version of Snow White. I was actually kind of upset that we didn’t think ahead and bring a picnic with us.

As Ben’s Dad started to roam around and look at the trees and their root systems to see how long ago they had been planted, the rest of us were more interested in seeing if there were any good trees that we could climb, because the scrub on the other side of town has really weak climbing trees and if this scrub didn’t then all the kids in town would be in favour of keeping the scrub around. Regardless of who planted it.

Grace lost her footing at one stage and used one of the trees as a way to balance herself, so she was the first one to notice it. The Trees vibrated when you touched them. It wasn’t the kind of vibrating that you could feel if you touched an old fridge or if your mobile started to ring, It was the kind of vibrating that a cat would make if it was being petted. Actually, that is exactly what it felt like. It felt exactly like the trees were purring.

None of us believed Grace until we all gave it a go and found out that she was right. Ben’s Dad was amazed when we showed him as well and started to mutter about getting a scientist out to have a look at the trees to see if they were stable.

As a result the new scrub-land has been cautioned off, at least until Ben’s Dad or the council comes to a decision about what they are going to do with a purring scrub.

I don’t know whether they know this or not but the four of us discovered that the trees in the scrub were totally better for climbing then the other scrub and we’ve spread the word around town. We’re trying to get a committee together to see if we can save the scrub and not have it sent back to where it came from. We have a few good arguements, but we all agree that our best on is: Who has been hurt by a purring tree before?

– Juliette

A Note on Wednesdays

I hadn’t been in Nariah more than a day when I started to notice how strange the town was, not just because of the strange goings on and the ghosts that live in Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B or the animal that lives next door to Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B that is surely part werewolf. It was all that but I really noticed that Nariqh was strange because of Wednesdays.

Wednesdays outside of Nariah are considered to be Hump Day. The day in the middle of the week that seems to drag on regardless of if you are a student or an adult at work. Wednesdays are just a horrible occurrence.

In Nariah they took it one step further and completely removed the day from their vocabulary. No one in Primary School says: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

It’s more like: Monday, Tuesday, the day we refuse to recognise, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

Which, between you and me, doesn’t have the same ring to it as the original.

I can, however, understand why they would want to do this.

Wednesday is one of those days that always seems to drag on and never end. On Mondays you groan because the new week has begun and you need to go back to work or school. Wednesday is that horrible day in the middle of the work/school week that just seems to drag on and be a pain in the neck. Teachers seems to be extra slow at explaining things and slightly short tempered, Students don’t have the same attention span that they had at the beginning of the week, employees go about things at a slower pace and employers sneak back to their offices and play Candy Crush Saga in order to pass the time.

Even clocks seem to go extra slow on Wednesdays.

So I can understand why they wouldn’t want to acknowledge it, but they’ve taken it to the extreme. All the calendars had Wednesday wiped from their pages and with each new calendar or planner bought, you get a free pen so you can rename it whatever you want it to. When we got our new calendar, it came with a whiteboard marker and now Dad has made up a list of names that Wednesday can be called and rotates them so every Wednesday isn’t the same.

With no one calling it Wednesday however, it does get a bit confusing when you’re trying to make plans to meet up with someone on that day as everyone calls it a different name and no one knows what everyone else is calling it.

The only place that is consistent and lets people know what they have renamed Wednesday to on their calendar is the Council, who renamed Wednesday to Chocolate Fudge Sundae which everyone agrees is confusing, with there already being a Sunday, but no one has brought it up at a council meeting yet so no one has started the momentum to have it changed. Plus if you go down to the Flying Fox Cafe, opposite the Council, and say that it’s Chocolate Fudge Sundae you get a Chocolate Fudge Sundae for $1.

Trying to keep track of what everyone calls Wednesday is next to impossible because they are constantly changing what they have called it. Apparently we weren’t the only household to get a whiteboard marker with out calendar, and a lot of families like to change Wednesday’s new name. Grace’s family is one of these and she said that they even have a challenge where the best new name doesn’t have to wash or dry up the dishes for a week. So far she is on a roll with six weeks off drying duty and another four owed to her whenever she wants to claim them.

I’m actually considering suggesting this to Dad, but I’m worried that he may rig it so he wins each week.

– Ben

Technology

Technology is a funny thing here in Nariah. Mostly because in certain places it doesn’t work, like at school for example. I’ve told you before about what happens to the computers in the Library if you try and search for something outside of what you are supposed to be learning. They kind of hiss at you, sounding like a cat, almost like they are berating you for looking at things that you know you shouldn’t be looking at.

Whatever Net-Nanny settings they have on those computers is really, really strong and if they sold it they would make millions.

Imagine being a parent, unsure of whether or not your son is looking at pornography or something like that. You could type a few things in, make sure that if he did search for porn sites the Net-Nanny would catch him and BAM! Instant cat hissing if he does start searching for porn.

I told my older sister Maggie about the idea, when I was over for dinner the other night, and she laughed before telling me that the computers hissing had nothing to do with an amazing Net-Nanny program and everything to do with magic. It was another hour before I was able to find out exactly what she meant.

Maggie told me when computer were starting to become common in schools the parents at the time were worried that they would use the computers at the school to look at things that they shouldn’t, especially around younger more impressionable children. So under the advice from Nora, one of the ghosts that lives at Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B, they got in contact with this Old Hermit that lives near the town dump.

The Old Hermit came and looked at the computers before disappearing for a couple of days. When he returned he brought with him that box filled with dust and a spell written on an old piece of cardboard. All the Librarians needed to do was write the spell in a word document, sprinkle the computers with the dust and hit save at the same time and the students wouldn’t be able to access anything inappropriate without anyone knowing.

Three days later a student (who will forever be unnamed) tried to search for something outside the school’s curriculum and suddenly the computer started to hiss.

I’m not too sure how true that story is, but I have been this old box sitting on one of the filing cabinets in the Librarian’s office and if they need to do that to all the computers when they arrive in the school, it explains why the Library is always off limits for the day when the new computers arrive.

The computers aren’t the only things that work strangely at school.

None of the students are able to use their mobile phones. The moment you step onto school property your phone shuts down until 3:35pm that afternoon when the final bell rings for the day.

I don’t know how they do it, but I think that it’s got something to do with why the front office asks for a copy of our phone numbers at the beginning of every year.

Teachers and parents, however, are still able to use their phones just fine when they visit so I’m sure that that has got to be the reason.

Or when all the students started to bring phones to school they brought the Old Hermit in again.

I don’t know if the Church’s in town got the Old Hermit in as well, which seems highly unlikely, but you can’t use your phone during sermons there as well.

And depending on your internet provider, Wi-Fi strength varies depending on which house you live in. The older the house, the better the Wi-Fi. Besides Ben’s place, Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B has really good Wi-Fi, and it should because the ghost that haunts the front office does a lot of the bookwork for Eric’s Grandmother because she doesn’t know how to use MYOB all the well and in order for her to send her BAS off at tax time she needs to have good internet.

Plus a couple of the younger ghosts have a thing for cat videos, and like to watch recordings fans have uploaded to YouTube of Broadway shows that they have gone to see.

I’m sure that they know the whole plot of Wicked just from these short illegal videos.

The other place that has surprisingly good Wi-Fi is where the sink holes are across from the Pre-School. Ben told me that during one of his Dad’s visits to the area, they discovered that the place gets even better Wi-Fi then at their house. The Giant Clawed Hand seems pretty happy about that as well because if you walk by you can sometimes see it using Councillor Michael’s laptop or watching Vines on his iPhone (both of which were in his car when the Giant Clawed Hand grabbed it).

Since that news got out a lot of people (re: high school students) have been flocking to the area to use the Wi-Fi. The Giant Clawed hand doesn’t seem to mind all that much, just as long as you give a gold coin donation to help pay for the internet costs.

Which is pretty handy and it gets a lot of teenagers out of their rooms, so parents aren’t all that upset about it at all. In fact they quite happily hand over a dollar or two if the teens are heading over there.

So while technology does work strangely here, at least we can’t complain about the lack of Wi-Fi.

– Juliette