Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Know Where You Live #4

Seeing as this is my first contribution to this series, I thought I'd introduce one of my favourite locales. It's not quite a suburb, it's not quite not a suburb, but every bit of it is, incontrovertibly, Bacchus Marsh.

Bacchus Marsh (or "the 'smarsh", as it is almost never called) nestles in a valley some fifty kilometres north-west of Melbourne. Ringed by orchards, set upon by lettuce farms, and positively riddled with strawberries, Bacchus Marsh is a true fruit and veg town, and as such populated almost exclusively by dirty-kneed types in aprons. The road into town is lined with enormous oak trees, each commemorating the death of a chipmunk in the First World War, and ma-and-pa fruit and veg stalls, where the brave traveller can purchase disturbingly ripe melons and bizarre, phallic tubers for use in soups, salads, and orgies. Hey, they don't call it Bacchus Marsh just because it's swarming with Maenads.

The town itself is your typical bustling semi-rural centre. That is, it has a McDonald's, a supermarket, and four hundred flavours of unpleasant teenager. The cavernous shopping centre specialises in discounted seconds and is home to something called Target Country, which is just like a regular Target store except the staff wear Drizaa-Bone riding coats and chew stalks of hay and there's nothing to buy. The girls at the nearby Wendy's, however, do a mean coffee-and-doughnut combo. Mind you keep an eye on them, though - they spit.

No visit to Bacchus Marsh is complete without a visit to the marsh itself. Irrigated by the Lerderderg River (named for George Lerderderg, a local man who once held the rest of the town at gunpoint and forced them to name the river after him), the marsh is fecund with plant life and insects. During summer, young people gather on the marsh and perform strange, wild rites, as is appropriate for a town so named. Bacchus, presumably, is still the god of wine even when that wine comes in a cask.

Bacchus Marsh: three dithyrambs out of five.

1 comment:

Brownie said...

The Marsh is terrific. Jim at the BP garage patiently and kindly fixed my car when he was flat out busy working alone on ANZAC day with constant customers other than me.
The new Mall is awful but across the stret is the absolute Best totally Aussie bakery.