Work done for the week and gumboots, beanies and thick, woolly socks on, it was time to head to the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival at the Apple Shed in Grove.
Red Brick Road scrumpy cider, a pork bun from Fat Pig Farm, a hot cider from Willie Smiths, some goat chilli with corn chips and sour cream, a Lady Hester sourdough doughnut with rhubarb and whisky jam and a McHenry sloe-gin chocolate from Cygneture... oh my god. All superb. The burning man ceremony was a hit with the crowd again, and with glowing fragments of straw streaming into the crowd I was reminded of a recent article by Sydney broadcaster James Valentine on why a festival like Dark Mofo could never happen in Sydney. Put simply, too much OH&S getting in the way of common sense and good fun. We managed to miss much of the musical entertainment this year, but we did take a walk through Woolfzinger's Cider Show Alley, where I heard a young fellow say, "Mummy, does that man have eyeliner on? Are those real eyeballs on the back of his head?"
This is one seriously well-organised event, as we've come to expect from the teams at MONA and at Willie Smiths. We've had a lot of rain and that morning nearby Huonville saw some of the worst local flooding in 20 years, but the not-quite-Glastonbury level mud was tempered with truckloads of mulch and sand. We didn't have to queue long for anything despite the big crowd, there was plenty of seating, all undercover, well-organised parking a short walk away, good-humoured staff keeping the place clean and loads of fire barrels to stand around to keep warm... just amazing. It was brilliant fun - again - we'll be back next year for sure.