“When the leaves burn, summer ends”
– Buffalo Tom, 1994
Leaves are falling around Canberra, a reminder that all things, good or otherwise, must come to an end.
Strange things were afoot in Dickson last Monday night.
Walking from the autoteller next to Woolies around to Canberra’s mini-SouthEastAsiaTown to meet the Bald Man for a cheap & cheerful dinner, the first thing I noticed was that MacDonalds was shut. More precisely, I noticed dozens of bewildered would-be customers loitering about, peering through the windows at the deserted dining room, wondering why a 24-hour junk joint would be closed.
Not to worry; the notice on the door said it was just a temporary closure for Drive-Thru renovations. Tough luck loiterers, wog food for you then.
Just down the street there was an almighty racket. Outside the Dickson Tradies, another era was passing under big spotlights, to the sounds of shouting workers and the straining of a giant red crane.
The old tram, long a feature of the Tradies’ dining room, was being extracted from a maw knocked into the club wall.
For years children climbed over its wooden seats and swung from its lights while their parents tucked into the schnitzel with salad, chips and a beer, grateful for a Friday night break.
Early into our Berra residency, Bald Man and I had dinner in that very tram. The steak was quite forgettable, but as I stood in the street last Monday with a gathering crowd of locals, I was glad to have spent that $12. Never guessed I could say I’d experienced a special bit of suburban Berra.
It’s ANZAC Day this Sunday. According to local wisdom, the day to turn on your heater. In my view, most locals must be hypocrites; everyone I know turned their heater about two weeks ago with the first light frost. But this week just gone has been a glorious balmy autumn, the kind of thing that makes living inland attractive. The rain forecast for ANZAC Day will bring a smart end to that.