The cereal crops were green and lush when I left Forbes, and the canola was blooming, hundreds of hectares of buttercup sunshine stretching horizon-to-horizon. Best Spring in decades, the farmers were saying.
Green, yellow and big sky blue with eucalyptus highlights, the colours of home. But as I headed east the yellows disappeared, the blues became greys, the towns bigger and closer together, the roads steeper, and the temperature cooler, especially in the Bue Mountains, that Sandstone Curtain dividing we Rural Inlanders from the eighty-five percent or more of Australians who live on the coast.
Then Sydney, the biggest, brashest, loudest town of all. I ignored it, and passed straight through, one train to the next, to meet my travelling companions at the airport.
A coffee break in Abu Dhabi, a big brown oasis town on a sea of Emirates oil, then Manchester, a town more famous now for its football team than for the part it played in getting us all hooked on fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution … and finally rural Wirksworth in Derbyshire where Autumn green is even greener than Spring in inland New South Wales.
This visionary cultural exchange, The Australian Pavilion Project, was inaugurated by Tracey Callinan of Arts OutWest in Bathurst, NSW, and her colleagues at Derbyshire County Council, England, and co-funded by Regional Arts New South Wales, Derbyshire County Council and the English Arts Council. We, the Australian Eleven, are contributing to our own airfares and to the food kitty. This is a log of our sojourn in Derbyshire for the 2013 Wirksworth Arts Festival.
Revised 9 September 2013.