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Post 330: Boonville Fair & Rodeo ....

The house build is going well. Three weeks since we first began digging the foundations and we’ve just started to raise the walls on the ground floor. Structurally everything is fine and my lack of building knowledge is as yet undiscovered, but on Saturday morning a letter arrived. It was from the Ukiah Department of Planning and the letter began …. ’’Dear Mr Thomas, we regret to inform you’’. When a letter begins with those words you just need to sit down with a very cold beer. It appears that the Department of Planning are not entirely happy with the proposed structure and have denied permission to build. Well, the structure isn’t “proposed” it’s actually “half built“, but thankfully not the part that they’ve objected to. The plans will be adapted to suit their administrative requirements and we’ll still build the house that Alan and his wife Torrey actually want. It’ll take a little longer then planned and add a few thousand dollars to the final cost but there’s no use crying over red-tape …. mai pen rai

The disappointment of the official letter was short lived. It’s “Fair Weekend” in Boonville and that means a time for fun and relaxation. That is unless of course you’re a Rodeo Rider or a Bull. I suspect that you don’t need to be amazingly bright to ride 500Kg’s of angry bull, but an honours degree in stupidity wouldn’t go a miss. I think the point of the game is to stay on the bull for seven seconds and the angrier the bull is the more points you’ll receive. Fortunately, the bulls seemed to win every round without problems or injuries, and as for the Rodeo Riders??? …… mai pen rai

They seem to like things big here in California; hats, guns, trucks and bulls included. It’s Halloween in a few weeks time and some kids are going to need strong arms is they’re carrying lanterns made from any of these beauties. The winner of the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off was 207lbs, which is only a few pounds lighter than my new bike. Apparently the local Messiah of Pumpkins has an example weighing at least 500lbs but is saving it for the State Fair in a few weeks time. Bigger pumpkins for bigger prizes.

On Sunday morning at the main arena, I thought for a second that I was back in Blighty. It was one man and his dog, or in this case, several girls and their dogs. No, this wasn’t anything kinky from the darker regions of Craig’s List, this was just good old fashioned sheep dog trials. I haven’t watched sheep dog trials since I was a kid growing up in Darlington, but it was actually good fun to watch. As the beer tent opened relatively early, I’ve no idea which dog eventually won, but the dog that came home in third place is the full brother of Emma, my brothers dog who you can see inspecting the new house in the photo above.

Sunday lunchtime was spent on the steps of the Boonville Hotel watching the annual parade and drinking a few beers with friends. The parade was led by the ‘Veterans’ and this year there were only three. The proud trio got a rousing cheer from the appreciative audience and everybody hopes that next year all of them will return. To the outsider, Boonville probably appears to be an area populated by fully grown-up hippies, and that’s because it is. People flocked here in the 60’s & 70’s and many of them have stayed and matured here. Where Goa became a little bit twee for the discerning hippy, Boonville continues to provide folks with an environment that allows practical freedom. It’s not perfect but it’s probably about as good as it gets …. mai pen rai

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