We must be running dangerously low on corflute up here in the north-west. Brooksy, I suspect, has consumed most of it. At least, that’s how it appeared when La Contessa et moi drove along Braddon’s coastal boundary recently.
We do like to take the Silver Wraith through its paces on a decent road trip every few months. And to escape to our coastal bolt-hole where we can re-charge and wallow in vats of tepid Marrawah Gold (which does wonders for the internal colonics).
As we purred along, we couldn’t help noticing the riot of colour-coded corflute signs festooning properties everywhere.
The Countless seemed to be under the mistaken impression that it was all some sort of art installation. Mind you, she was slightly discombobulated by a mid-morning tincture at Hellyer’s Road (I had pre-warned her of the dangers of imbibing cask-strength spirit at such an early hour).
“It’s all a bit half-arsed,” she observed, “ and so terribly repetitive.”
By the time we were tooling along past Edgecumbe Beach, a pattern had started to emerge among the regular smatterings of blue, red, yellow and (very occasionally) green. One air-brushed visage beamed at us more regularly than any other. In fact, by the Countess’s reckoning, it beamed more often than entire swatches of other colours. Ubiquitous Brooksy was our friend, our local, our fighter and our defender of the right to become pokie addicts (should we wish).
I tried to divert her by pointing out the presence of other quirky candidates.
“In- ter-esting,” she drawled (in a way which clearly intimated that it wasn’t anything of the kind), when I pointed out that Shane Broad of the red army shared the same initials as that Winter Olympic opportunist Steven Bradbury.
Hadn’t he similarly skated his way into state parliament late in the piece, after the rest of the field had retired, lost interest or simply fallen over? A snort was all I received by way of reply and then I noticed the Countess dozing in head-slumped fashion.
She revived somewhat as we passed Port Latta (or Port Latté, as she prefers to call it). So I started explaining the devilishly cunning intricacies of the Robson Rotation until I realised she’d nodded off again immediately, visibly drooling this time.
Trouble is, explaining the whole Hare-Clark fandango is exhausting for listeners long before they might be able to grasp the concept of “exhausting quotas”. Oh, dear.
It might just be the “fairest” electoral system in the world, as one of our esteemed pollies tried to persuade me recently. But he would say that, wouldn’t he, having snuck into the fifth ticket on the slippery poll courtesy of the coat-tails of others.
“Bit like the Duckworth-Lewis farrago to decide rain-affected limited-over cricket matches,” I explained to La C, as she appeared to regain consciousness briefly – somewhere around Dismal Swamp. “Decided by some obtuse algorithm which is unsatisfactory to spectators and participants alike.”
How would it be, I persevered – but could see La Stupenda was about to go under again – how would it be if one applied the Hare-Clark nonsense to the Melbourne Cup? You might get some also-ran promoted into the frame on the spurious basis of past stable connections or a coincidence of colour in jockeys’ silks.
Come to think of it, isn’t that how Steve Martin just scrambled into a gig in Canberra? (Too late, sadly, to rub shoulders with Tassie’s so-called “Three Amigos”, which would have made for delicious cinematic symmetry and a headline-writers’ field day.)
Thankfully, the corflute forest grew thinner, and upon reaching the outlying hamlets of Redpa and Marrawah, only one anodyne image persisted. The Brookster, no less. Appearing leeringly in various paddocks like some noxious weed that had sprung up overnight and (presumably) to be eradicated sometime after the forthcoming election.
By now, The Countess was snoring loudly in full head-lolling glory. As we approached the rococo wrought-iron gates of Gastropod’s Folly, I cut the engine and gazed on the sweeping vistas of thundering surf and twirling wind farms.
After such a tiresome journey, I knew that Madam C would have to be placated with a trencher-board groaning with freshly-shucked oysters, buttered rye soldiers and lashings of Blanc de Blanc. Or simply lashings, perhaps.
*The Count is known to the Editor