Story Archive

eSWAG 3

CONDOMS & BIRD SEED

Posted on February 14, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
Young NSW

CONDOMS AND BIRD SEED

Tom and I pulled up briefly in the little NSW country town of Young. The stop was short & sweet like the pastry I picked up from the award-winning, and deservedly so, Young Bakery.

This is clearly not a wealthy town but nor does it suffer from obvious social disadvantage. The local IGA store on pension day wasn't exactly Toorak, more shuffling uggies than the click-clack of designer heels, but at least the shops weren't boarded up along the main street as in so many other communities.

I am coming back to explore some time. The railway quarter is impressive. There's a massive quadrangle of red brick buildings with pubs and stores. I imagine steam from the old trains merging with mist from the western plains. Easy to picture excited young men leaving wives and mothers to head into a deeper mist on the Western Front, this one mixed with explosives and mustard gas, often never to return.

Country Australia needs to be re-visited with its history in mind. But that is for a later time.

Pastry in hand I wandered up the main street with Tom on a lead. He tormented himself as I savoured each mouthful, waiting for a dropped crumb like manna from heaven. Up front was a Pet Supplies Shop. Why not put an end to his slavering mouth and get him a treat.? I entered, only vaguely registering the shop's sign. Did that say PET SUPPLIES ... ADULT MAGAZINES ... TOYS AND NOVELTIES? Surely not.

But yes .. right here in Young, the world's only adult store and pet shop. I tied Tom up outside and entered.

I looked at the thin, grey shop keeper. He looked at me. He was more sex shop owner than 101 Dalmatians. There was a kind of Mexican standoff as he assessed my intent. Unsure, I guess, whether I was after a leather collar for my dog or myself.

In the adult section a young couple flicked thru videos. I watched from the relative safety of the fish tanks and cat food. The counter was positioned between the two universes that the shop keeper bestrode like an anorexic colossus, framed by pink plastic maid outfits. Around the cash register were assorted lubricants, prophylactics and tasty dog treats.

There is nothing either erotic or adult about a sex shop. When set amongst twittering birds and flea powders there is even less.

When you think about it though this is very clever. Entry into a sex shop is usually conducted with all the grace of Gollum in dark sunglasses and a raincoat.

The alibi provided by the pet supplies allows not only for an unashamed entrance but a proud position in the main street. No reason for the pet shop to be hidden down a dimly lit alley or fear your mother is passing. Who cares if your old headmaster is inside? Just borrow a poodle and charge in. You can come out with Debbie does Dallas hidden in the fish tank pebbles. Brilliant!

I came out with a pig's ear. It is Tom's favourite. I don't respect him for it but I try not to judge.

We headed off, charged with the randomness of the road. Who would have thought? Those young soldiers leaving for the Somme sure as hell wouldn't have. The ladies of the Country Women's Association who sang them farewell wouldn't have. As a gauge of the dramatic cultural change that has descended on Australia, Young's sex and bird seed shop stands as a front runner.

Tommie loved his pig's ear more than anyone should love anything. The trotter's former hearing apparatus put up a stubborn resistance for hours, only yielding as we arrived in Blackheath.


 

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Lynn
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Love it. Now thinking that I might gather my almost unused tent and head off to such towns. Although I worry about doing it on my own. I did it on the coast but a bit too many people there for my liking.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Lynn.. I am really grateful for your comment. I Love these little towns. I think my company - Into the Blue, might start developing small trips that seek interaction with culture and history in the little places. Like an outback God of Small Things
Deb
Reply
What a wonderful idea Raymond - so many stories out there - fascinating. And Lynn I'm with you - trips of discovery would be more fun not planned solo. 
Raymond
Reply
Hi Deb .. As I drove today I was thinking of all the simple trips to be had. Like an independent movie as opposed a blockbuster or looking under a rock to see the world that lives there. I have just driven into Port Augusta and there were red gums that you could spend a week photographing... and I might just do that. Thank you. Raymond
Heather
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That humorous account has made my day! In my country town you can get anything you want but you have to know where to look. It's a large town and there is one adult store but it is in the "less desirable" area of town. However, it may be there are others and I will be more observant in future. Since I moved here I found that country culture has a different slant on retailing. It took ages to find a health food shop because it just didn't have a sign at all. I needed some darning wool and searched all the obvious places to no avail and then one day I found it in the back of a florist shop! Happy travelling!
Raymond
Reply
Hi Heather The best place for yarning wool in a country town is probably the Post Office or the undertakers. If not go to the less desirable parts of town and try the Adult Book Store. Thanks for the input. Raymond
Trisha
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Love the idea of adult novelties and pet supplies under the same roof. Mind you having seen some of the unusually shaped dog chews around it might be hard to spot the difference! Lovely to see you on the road again R. Am doing similar..though not quite so often perhaps. It is just wonderful.
Raymond
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Trisha.. You are awful .. but I like it... It was hilarious.. My head nearly spun when I walked in. Happy travels to you. Raymond
Rowdy
Reply
love those country shops - particularly when there's someone working on - say - saddle making or whip making as happened to me in Walcha recently. Can never resist going in and smelling the leather! Maybe not THAT type of leather though
Raymond
Hey Rowdy ... Hope you are well ...I heard about your little friend and I am sad for you. Love a bit of good leather in a country town .. also love blacksmiths if I can find them. My friend, the artist Liz Ashburn has to be physically removed from Blacksmiths or she set up home there.. C ya Raymond

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The Dilettante
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These acute observations deserve wider readership in Junee.
Raymond
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The Dilettante .. My first mystery blogger .. You are right ... Junee needs me. I shall return. Raymond
Catherine
Reply
Raymond, you have reminded me of a very funny, and very true story - you will see why I am so sure of its truth. When I was younger, we lived in a relatively small country town, bigger than Junee but still small.†The pet shop was a front for the "adult" book shop, I kid you not. Now, I was neither an adult, nor did I have a pet or any interest in having one, so how do I know about this? Because ... the local priest, who I might add was a very good man, and very good looking, told me and a collection of my school friends that the man who owned that shop attended mass quite frequently and a group of the town's matrons told him, the priest, that if he didn't tell that man, whose business was so awful it couldn't be mentioned, to stop darkening the door of their church, they would remove themselves. I tell you, these small towns are not what they seem. Or are they? I agree, Junee needs you. Anyway, I am really enjoying your journey, and Tommy sounds well.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Catherine .. One of things that I like is hearing exactly these kind of recollections. It would be interesting to find any link between your pet/sex shop and the Junee one. The guy behind the counter did look like he was well over a hundred. The Journey will kick off in earnest when I get my camper after my Tasmanian Choir. I am developing a whole production unit with my mac, video, canon camera etc etc. Took my first video today. C ya and thanks for being part of this journey. Raymond
Sue
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Raymond, I laughed until I cried and then I laughed again reading about pet and porn in Junee. The Electronic Swagman is a joy to read - second only to one of your inspiring walks in Central Australia. I'll be putting the billy on in anticipation of the next instalment of the Electronic Swagman. Thank you!!
Raymond
Reply
Thats a nice idea.. Put the billy on and have a listen and a read ..Thank you Sue
Melody
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Hi Raymond, you are making my heart sing with the memories of the wonderful trip we did with you in central Australia. I love the pics of the Blue Mountains, Just beautiful and your stories of your adventures are always great fun to hear. Please keep the Pictures and the Stories coming. Thank you.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Melody .. Thank you... That was a great trip wasn't it. I will keep writing .. I think it has become my life now. Writing and photography provide an extraordinary balance to what is essentially a hermit life. Well if you don't count Tommie. I am just eating in Coober Pedy now and then off to Kulgera. I have bought a video camera and look forward to presenting my first video soon. This is fun but especially if feedback and comment keeps coming. Thanks Melody. Raymond
Hedley
Reply
Where have I been??? Your blog has me in stitches. Raymond, you have to write a book! hx
Raymond
Reply
Good idea. Oh no wait a minute. I just got published.