Trash and treasure market

The market is run by OPAL-FM every Sunday morning out by the tourist information place. If you’re quick you can get a sausage sizzle from the people who run the UHA. I do not know what the UHA is [1], and when I got there they’d run out of sausages.


As with every market of this kind there are lots of books. (I did take pictures but, in act of self-censorship, I’m not going to post them. Photos of dead trees with Bryce Courtenay’s name on are unspeakably depressing.) I guess these books have come from all over the world and each one’s been read by a thousand backpackers or grey nomads before washing up in the Ridge. Then they’re off again, to Sunday morning markets in Kuranda or Byron Bay or Margaret River.


I didn’t realise that it was actually a “trash and treasure” market until I’d gotten halfway through. If I’d been more alert, the contents of the stalls would have been enough for me to deduce this. It’s not even like I was drunk or hungover.


I was just thinking, wow, this is a really weird market. Crutches? Is that an outback thing? Perhaps in places where there’s no health service it’s what people do: use their crutches till they get better then offload them at the market. Maybe, like those Stig Larsson trilogies, these crutches have had 26 different owners.


Maybe 67 different children have tooted a tune on that pink plastic trumpet. That faux bronze Opera House has graced 19 different mantelpieces. Maybe. Who knows.


But the most interesting part of any market, whatever the name, is the customers. The Wife did markets for many years and I’ve done my fair share of book fairs, so the movement of people in groups has long been a secret fascination. When a stall has enough sticky to make one people stop, then so will twelve other peoples.


But if you ain’t got no sticky it can be a looong day without any no peoples at all.


Chin up, mate. The herd will head your way soon.

[1] I Googled for you: it’s the United Hospitals Auxiliary of NSW. They take sausages and turn them into hospital money, which makes them the most successful stallholders  in Lightning Ridge.

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