Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Often I wish someone would invent equipment/technology to monitor and film my dreams. How I wish I was smart enough to do so myself. In no time at all, I'd race past Bill Gates in the multi-millionaire stakes, I'm sure. I'd make my fortune and begin living the life I know I would rapidly become accustomed to. I know , in all honesty, I'm meant to be accustomed to that lifestyle. I turned left at the cross-roads instead of right...or perhaps I should have gone on straight ahead! I'm living in my present state of existence just experience what it's like for myself. Well, "Hughie"...enough is enough! I know what it's like...let's move on!
Last weekend, I had a dream. A dream, which continued over three nights. It was like a mini-series. Each night, the dream picked up from where it ended the previous night and so on. Even if I woke during the night in the midst of the dream, upon falling into sleep once more, the dream continued. It was if there was a comma at the end of the sentence, a full stop at the end of a paragraph or the page was turned to commence the new chapter. It was fascinating. During my waking hours, my dream remained vivid in my mind. I knew, without question or doubt, that that night the dream would reappear and chapter two, three, four or whatever would commence. The storyline was never repeated. In my dream the location was the same each night. Each night I travelled back to the location in my dream and continued living the experience throughout my weekend. It was like having a 'weekend away' when not having a weekend away! A "Clayton's Weekend", I guess one could describe it.
I have wonderful adventures in my dreams. Once I was riding with Genghis Khan across the plains of Siberia! I dream in full colour, huge screen, sound, smells, tastes, emotions...the whole catastrophe! In my dreams, I meet real live people and those no longer on this earth. Many of the people I've never met in my life and never likely to meet, but we greet each warmly as friends, because we've met previously, many times in my dreams. We converse discussing what we have done in between visits.
Of course, some dreams are not as pleasant as others, but they obviously are all part of the tapestry, rich or otherwise, of my subconscious/unconscious.
Each night upon going to sleep, briefly I wonder what my dreamworld has in store for me in the bewitching hours to follow.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Let's Add a Bit of Colour to the Conversation!
At present, I've an abundance of cherry tomatoes on my tomato bushes (well, it would be a little odd if they were on my potato plants!). To be honest with you, not all my cherry tomatoes are on the bushes/vines, because I've picked a hell of a lot of them! So, you see, I have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in bowls in my kitchen, but that also is not entirely true. The reason being, I'm making a tomato sauce from the abundance of cherry tomatoes that were hogging my bowls in my kitchen, which originally were in abundance on the bushes/vines. That clarifies the situation!
Not wishing to waste the glorious fruits of the vines, a pot on my stove, containing the ingredients for an Italian-style tomato sauce, is sending out aroma-signals. Once the sauce is cooked, after simmering for quite a while, I will then freeze it in batches for further usage.
I grabbed one large onion, chopped it into little pieces; tossed it into a saucepan bearing some virgin olive oil, threw in a few garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs from my herb garden. These herbs included curly and Italian parsley, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and basil, again chopped coarsely. (Nothing refined about Herb and me!)
To this concoction, I added a couple of packets of tomato paste, a sprinkle or three of powdered chicken stock, some freshly ground black pepper, splash of red wine from a re-corked bottle on my kitchen bench...umm...oh...yes...a little, teeny bit of water (we are on restrictions, remember!)....well, we're not on restrictions up here on the mountain, but that doesn't mean one has to waste water. I don't leave the tap running when I clean my teeth, but that's by the way. I am discussing food not the cleaning of teeth. I will leave that subject until another time and place. The kitchen is not a suitable area to do such a thing as cleaning one's teeth, or if in 'red-neck' country, tooth!
I did add a couple of teaspoonfuls of sugar, raw, to the witches' brew, as well. That's raw sugar as in 'raw sugar', not uncooked sugar as in raw sugar. After a moment or two, the 'raw' sugar is not only cooked, but it's dissolved into oblivion. If, of course, you added a raw piece of sugar cane, that's a whole different story!
For dinner last night, I absconded with some sauce I had already stored in my freezer, defrosted it, re-heated it, then tossed in some green prawns to the tasty mixture. In the meantime while all of this excitement was occurring, I cooked some fettucine al dente'. When the prawns and the pasta were cooked, coincidentally at the same time, a most delightful meal followed, even if I do say so myself. I have to say so myself as no one else was here to witness it. I could be telling 'porkies' for all you know...but I'm not!
A Little Light Relief...Just Because, So No Grief!
Some so adamantly believe in daylight saving
But how do we stop the curtains from fading?
How marvellously wonderful 'they' say, is motherhood
If 'they' knew how difficult it is, I wonder if they would!
The problem is, in the corporate world
There are too many administrators
And not nearly enough applicators
If only the whole truth would be unfurled
It’s all very well to have wealth
It's far better to have good health.
TWISTS AND TURNS:
He makes a rod for his own back –
He takes a wad for his own sack
Discretion is the better part of valour –
Migration is the better part of a callow
Expression is the better part of behaviour
Familiarity breeds contempt
Temerity needs hemp
God heals and the doctor takes the fee –
Prod the seals and the proctor fakes a sneeze.
Edible Phones: Advertising slogans:
If you’re like me, there are many times you would like to eat your words
When you wished you’d given thought before you spoke or were never heard
Don’t despair, there is a remedy – try our edible phones
Not only are they audible, but edible, too!
Feel like eating your words
To never again feel like a nerd
Try our digestible edible phones
They're nicer than ice-cream cones
Slogan for the subject of re-cycling:
I don’t think you oughta
Drink used dish water
Better to recycle it
Give it to your daughter!
Old publicans never die…they get spirited away
Old concreters never die…they keep on paving the way
Old writers never die…they become lost for words
Old musicians never die…they only miss the beat
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Unspoilt Tin Can Bay
These photographs were taken by a special friend of mine who visited me from the States when I was living in Gympie, before I moved up here to the 'mountain.'
I have other photographs of that day but they are proving too hard to upload for whatever reason known only to "Edgar". ("Edgar" being my computer, in case you have forgotten). Perhaps they are too big. I'll give up on them for the moment, because I've already managed to delete an almost-completed post on what I am about to re-write. You can imagine the mood that put me in! But just in case, I wasn't quite yet in the right mood, the power went out for about a minute...so I had to start all over again...for the second time!
Often, Mum, Graham (my older brother), Nana and I jumped on a bus en route to Tin Can Bay. In those days (even more so than nowadays), Tin Can Bay was a sleepy little fishing village, consisting of corrugated iron, timber or fibro shacks. Most were without electricity. At night, hurricane lamps and candles shed light inside the beach shacks in which we and others holidayed. Late afternoon and evening the air would be dense with a heavy cloak of smoke from the smouldering cow manure packed in forty-four gallon drums in the backyards. The burning of cow manure was an endeavour to keep the mosquitoes and sand-flies at bay. The sand-flies were the bane of my existence. They loved me. They still do, for that matter! The feeling wasn’t and still isn’t mutual! I hated them then and I still do now!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I begin at the first appearance of the said distinguished J. Cosmo Newberry:
I hate to whine
is it by design
I’ve had no wine
you didn’t ask me to dine
tho’ I would decline
I’d rather we be clandestine
shall I now define
and call you a swine
or my thoughts I’ll confine
forever to remain mine
I know you prefer Catharine
As I sit alone with my feline
I considered Mr. J. Cosmo Newberry's and my banter far too much fun, complete with never before seen intelligence, originality and brilliance to be confined to the forgotten realms of the archives, forever to remain out of sight and out of mind.
I hope you can read between the lines and recognise the undiscovered excellence of our combined skill, mastery (mistery?), craftiness, sleight of hand, ingenuity, invention, flair, genius....need I say more!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thank God for "Op Shops"! There is a wonderful little "Op Shop" up here on the mountain run by the RSPCA. Periodically, on a Thursday afternoon, I fill in for a couple of friends when either one or the other can't perform their charitable duty. I was to go in this past Thursday afternoon, but I "pulled the plug" on going in as I had a few other things that needed my attention. Around 3.30pm, I received a phone call from one of my friends who was in attendance at the shop. A Canon printer had just been brought in to be placed on the shelves for sale. Knowing my need of a printer, because mine had died and gone to printer Heaven, my friend rang to inform me of its momentous arrival. I've been putting off and putting off buying a new one, reading catalogue after catalogue in search of one. Only this week, I almost grabbed my passport and visa to head off down to the Gold Coast to purchase one, but put it off, again, because other bits and pieces of life came in the way, also because it's been so damn hot and humid, a trip down to the nether regions below, didn't enthrall me. Fortunately for me, as it turned out! Regular readers of my blog understand my hesitation (dislike) of venturing out of my mountain greenery where the air is clear and fresh, to join the madding throngs of humanity hustling and bustling their way through over-bearing, over-stocked shopping centres where temptation is rife, not to mention cars after cars greedily and impatiently hogging the motorways.
I jumped into my trusty little coupe....well, 'trusty' might be a slight exaggeration as it's making very weird noises lately. I drive it with my fingers and legs crossed, (which is no mean feat, I can tell you!) along with flattering words and silent prayers with the intention, hope and desire of encouraging it to keep going as I can afford neither a new car nor an expensive repair job. I'm straying from my original path...sorry.
To "cut to the chase", albeit a noisy chase, there waiting for me with a wide smile on his 'face' was a very good-looking Canon printer. Upon his rosy cheeks (you have to use your imagination here as his cheeks are actually grey) was a price tag showing $20.00! I promptly exchanged a paper note for my handsome grey and steel-blue 'new' printer, which, by the way, leaped gratefully into my welcoming arms. Happily, gratefully united, we raced back to my cabin, where I immediately installed 'Kenny, the Canon'. Perched upon as set of drawers alongside my computer desk, he lived up to his dapper, well-proportioned appearance. 'Kenny' performed brilliantly at the first push of his button, eager to please, he presented me with clear, precise, crisp print. I jumped for joy as I patted 'Kenny' on the head, thanking him for coming into my life. We are now on the best of terms with the hopes of remaining so.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Proud To Be An Aussie...
I thought I'd share with you these images of Australia, our beautiful country. The paintings and drawings were done by me, a couple of which I've previously posted.
The beach photographs are of Noosa Heads, one taken from the top of Noosa Hill and the other, towards the northern-end, looking across to North Shore.
With Australia Day tomorrow, I've been invited to share a barbecue with friends. I hope you all have a fun day.
We live in a wonderful country. Let's hope it remains this
way. I had a big smile on my face when I saw on the
news a few moments ago, all the young people defiantly
wearing and waving the Australian flag at "Big Day Out".
I bet the organisers wish they had have kept their mouths
shut! That will teach them to suggest the Aussie flag be
banned from the "Big Day Out" concert!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
No doubt everyone is aware by now that the Australian Tennis Open is currently being played in Melbourne. It's been very exciting to watch. I wake bleary-eyed every morning with every muscle in my body aching from all the activity and energy I'm exerting.
On the subject of sport, I never excelled at anything, really. I hated running at school. A friend and I used to take it in turns who would come last, or we would hide in the locker room until the race was over. I played basketball in high school and managed to represent my school in a trip to Maryborough and continued playing for a short while after I began working. I gave up basketball to take up surfing, body and board, because my every weekend was spent at the coast. Years later, when I lived in Noosa, I took up golf and thoroughly enjoyed it, not disgracing myself on the course. I continued swimming and surfing throughout the years but when it came to tennis, I was absolutely hopeless. I love the game, watching it, but when it comes to playing tennis, my dire limitations are obvious to anyone and everyone who dares to watch. I have two speeds. I either miss the ball entirely or if I do manage to hit it, the ball flies high over the surrounding fence, soars above the buildings next door into the street beyond never to be seen again! No skyscraper is safe when I'm in full flight! As a child, I had a couple of tennis lessons, but the coach shook his head, defeated and suggested I take up disc-throwing instead. My bludgeoning tennis career was brought to a rapid end.
In Noosa, during the time I lived there, the Ken Rosewall Tennis Courts on Noosa Sound were very popular amongst the tanned, fit locals. I'm not sure if the courts are still operating. I guess they are. A "Round-Robin" competition was organised. A friend and I decided to enter. Her capabilities as a tennis player were slightly, only slightly, above mine, but we thought it would be a bit of fun. At the very least, in the ensuing years we could brag that we'd been in an "Round-Robin" event on the Ken Rosewall courts. Ken Rosewall, for those of you who are unaware, was a champion Australia tennis player in years gone by.
I was married at the time. My husband, who had never seen me play tennis or even show any interest in playing tennis, said to me in stunned amazement.
"But, honey...you don't play tennis. You've never played tennis!"
Those few words stirred my competitive spirit!
"I've had a couple of games," I retorted. "Penny doesn't play either, but we're going to enter for the fun of it! Who cares if we're in 'Z-grade'!" I added indignantly.
The day of the tournament quickly arrived, allowing us no time to practice. Well, to be honest, we would have needed a lifetime of practice under the expert guidance of Federer, but I won't elaborate on that small point. We donned our shorts, t-shirts and caps, hired racquets and definitely looked the part. It was at this stage that any similarity between tennis players and us ceased.
Because of our 'high' ranking, we were up first to play. Within minutes, it was 'game, set, match'. I think the spectators believed Penny and I were the warm-up comedy act. We said nothing to dispel their belief. With our racquets under our arms, our heads held high, we walked off the court acknowledging our adoring fans. Hastily, Penny and I made it around the corner of a building, where, out of sight of our adoring fans, we collapsed in hysterical laughter.
It was at that very moment, an epiphany came to me. The time was nigh to hang up my racquet. If it meant disappointing my adoring fans, so be it. "Epiphany" had spoken.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Look at all that wonderful water! Put this, plus all the water flushing out the Todd River in Alice Springs (thanks, Peter) at present and the dams in south-east Queensland would look like dams once again, not dry, barren wastes.
Of course, what we need are a couple of cyclones (minus the devastation) to push down the monsoonal trough, thereby causing a decent wet season. It would probably take three good lows (cyclones) to break the drought, to cause enough run-off to fill the dams and also top up the aquifers. Three decent rain depressions, spaced over a period of a couple of months would be a blessing. You wouldn't hear me complain about mildew. A few of bottles of bleach soon fixes that! After being faced with blackened walls in the cabins on Newry Island after Cyclone Joy dumped nigh on four week's continuous, heavy rain on me, what's a bit of mildew and mould between friends? I related part of the story of Cyclone Joy's visit to Newry Island in a previous post.
The day the rain stopped, my two cats at the time, Pushkin and Rimsky, accompanied me on a walk along the beach, scampering ahead of me. In unison, they would screech to a stop, then race back to me as if urging me to join in the fun. That wasn't so bad but when they began running up and down the coconut palms and she-oaks, I declined their kind offers.
During the fury of the cyclone, with the help of my male guests, I secured the huge fuel barge high up on the beach well above the sea's normal high-water mark. The last thing I needed was to lose the barge to an angry ocean. Once the rain ceased, I had a small window of opportunity to float the barge back to its usual mooring with the onset of the king tides.
After an energetic walk along the beach, I climbed on to the barge, where I sat for a while reflecting over the events of the past weeks since Cyclone Joy's arrival on Christmas Day, and contemplated my next steps. Looking out over a finally calm, still ocean, Pushkin and Rimsky joined me, sitting quietly beside me, staring into space. They, too, were a little shell-shocked in the aftermath of the cyclone and rain depression that followed.
If only we would get three weeks of solid rain now. What a blessing it would be. By 'we', I mean all the drought-affected areas in this fine country.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Dedicated to My Two Furry Rascals And All My Past Furry Mates!
Life would not be the same without my two best mates. They're never far from my side. All through my life I've either had one cat or two. My first cat, named "Socksie" was adorable. Here is the story of my first love.
My earliest recollections of my childhood extend back to an era when, even if briefly, life was simple, uncomplicated and happy. The way life is supposed to be for a young child. Sheltered from turmoils and hardships, I was allowed to run free within the safety of the boundaries set.
My mother, grandmother, older brother and I lived in premises attached to a little grocery store, in a seaside area east of Mackay. My mother had remarried. Our stepfather was also part of the equation. I felt no warmth towards him. Rarely did I encourage his attention nor did I venture to reach out to him. He was a violent man who harboured darkness in his soul. Truthfully, in reflection, I don't believe I was fearful of him. With the candour of a small child, I simply did not like him.
The store, situated close to the beach, catered to locals and regular day-trippers who came to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside. Laughter and eager chatter filled the air as folk, in brightly coloured clothes, sat under the pergola at tables adorned in crisp red and white gingham tablecloths. Bougainvillea decoratively draped itself over weather-beaten lattice. The aroma of sandwiches freshly prepared from warm bread filled the air. Each morning, I stood on tiptoes straining my small body to see above the edge of the table, as my mother prepared snacks for the hungry patrons. In eager anticipation, I watched as she cut the crusts from the bread. The crunchy tidbits bore remnants of the tasty filling of the sandwiches. These mouth-watering morsels became my special treat day after day. In my childish mind, I thought I was helping in my own small way as I hovered around my mother.
Although I had no friends of my own age, I wasn’t lonely. With the ocean nearby, I spent many hours in the cool, calm waters or played along the beach, collecting shells and chasing the hordes of Soldier Crabs. Fortunately, I learned to swim at an early age. Because of this, I wasn't a worry to my mother or to my grandmother. My brother spent little time with me, as he was almost three years older than I. Being a girl, I compounded the problem. Often he became impatient with me, storming off in boyish disgust. He had already commenced school. He had his own group of friends, which, of course, excluded girls. Alone, in my own world, I dwelt, playing with my dolls. They were the only company I needed, I thought, until one wondrous day.
Fun acrylic "Feeling Groovy" and graphite drawing "Curiosity Didn't Kill The Cat" painted and drawn by me.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The aroma of Mexico is floating through my cabin this morning. I soaked a whole packet of dried red kidney beans overnight. Presently, they're cooking in a huge pot with finely chopped onions, garlic, celery, red capsicum/peppers, cherry tomatoes from my garden, canned Roma tomatoes, fresh herbs, again from my garden, tomato paste, powdered chicken stock, a pinch of dried chillies, again from my garden, coriander/cilantro, a couple of teaspoons of raw sugar and freshly ground black pepper. I couldn't see any point to preparing a small quantity. My intentions are to have tacos, tortillas or nachos over this weekend, whichever one takes my fancy when starvation kicks in. The balance of the beans, I'll freeze in meal-size quantities for devouring later.
Other than preparing the beans, I've done little this morning. With all this tennis going on here at the moment, my nights are very active and lengthy! The quarter-read Saturday paper is still spread over my bed that I've not yet. made. One cat's on the roof, running to the guttering, poking his head over, meowing every time I venture out the back door. My other cat is inside here with me, sleeping. I did a quick dash to the supermarket again this morning as I wanted more peaches. They're on special this week. I ate most of my stock purchased yesterday watching the tennis last night until an ungodly hour. Very tasty and tempting they are, so I needed to refill my stores. I eat lots of fruit. The only difference between me and a fruit bat is I don't sleep upside down, hanging by my ankles. And that is debatable at times, particularly on a day like today when I have a friend urging me by email to pop open a bottle of wine to assist her in celebrating her birthday! As if I need any excuse! The sun's has almost reached the yard-arm. It looks like I'll have to concede and hand her the victory medal for the day. Excuse me while I pop the cork from this bottle!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
To my mind, the months of April and May are amongst the best times to be in the tropical areas of North Queensland. Skies of azure, unblemished by clouds other than perhaps flimsy wisps of almost transparent gossamer. An ocean so calm it looks like a floor constructed of glass. One glorious day as described, I flew by light aircraft, a four-seater, to the mouth of the Hull River, north of Tully. We flew low over the Family Group of Islands, which includes Bedarra and Dunk Islands. The ocean bed, clearly visible below appeared to have only six inches of water covering it, so crystal-clear was the sea.
It was in April, whether by coincidence, luck, fate or a bit of each, a group of guests arrived to the island by sea-plane. They were strangers to each other, except for one couple (who weren't really a 'couple'), Tim and Susie. Equally, of course, they were strangers to me when they first set foot on the island, a situation soon to be rectified.
Gaby, a thirty-something, career-driven lass from Sydney alighted first, looking a little stressed. Tim and Susie settled themselves eagerly into the punt that picked up the guests from the sea-plane. Gingerly, a tall, timid-looking fellow, Dennis, stepped into the punt, with the help my guiding arm. He set himself apart from the rest of us. This was to be his wont for the next couple days and nights we were to discover...until, that is, combined, we broke his resolve!,
After the 'greet-and-meet', something I did with all guests upon their arrival, whether by boat or sea- plane, the new guests were escorted to their respective cabins. All cabins were occupied after the arrival of this interesting-looking group, about 32 guests in total from memory. Remember, only 15 cabins were privately hidden amongst the foliage along the beach-front at that time. Nowadays, the amount has doubled. To recap, the resort at Cape Richards on Hinchinbrook Island covers only 22 acres of the total 245 square miles of the island. The rest of the island is a national park in care of the National Parks and Wildlife Department.
I didn't set eyes upon the new group of 'islanders' until pre-dinner drinks around the bar that first evening. After mingling with the guests at the bar as I always did, I joined my new guests at their table for dinner. Dennis, dressed in a vibrant lime-green shirt, once again set himself apart from everyone else, choosing to sit alone at a table in a corner. This was not to be...I treated all my dinner guests as if they were guests in my own home...the restaurant area was my dining room. I coerced and cajoled at length, finally breaking down his reserve. He joined me at the table with the rest of the new-comers. Well, that was the beginning of a most wonderful, fun-filled, insane, crazy week!
Tim, a journalist with a well-respected financial magazine in this country, the "The Bulletin", was highly intelligent, gentle, quiet and extremely humorous. Susie, who worked in advertising, from memory, was as bright as the shiniest button, a little avant-garde...well, a wee bit more that 'a little', and dressed accordingly. Both were from Melbourne. Gaby, the stressed career girl soon shed her 'city' worries, settling quickly into the island spirit. Gaby was from Sydney. Dennis, also from Melbourne...well....Dennis, shy, seemingly without humour, studious, silent unless urged to utter a word or two, sat amongst this motley crew of degenerates, which included me, not knowing which way to look. Unsuccessfully, he tried to escape our evil clutches each following evening! Dennis, as I discovered later, was using his holiday on the island as a time to consider his future. He had been offered a post at Oxford University.
Sun-filled, warm not hot days and balmy, playful nights followed. Dennis tried his utmost to distance himself from the 'group' but none of us would allow this to happen. After our first night of hilarity, he sat at another table with other guests, trying to remain invisible! How could he? His lime-green shirt let him down every time! Yes...he lived in that shirt! We came to the conclusion it was the only shirt he had brought with him. It was obviously his favourite shirt because wherever he went the shirt was sure to follow! By the fourth night, he realised he couldn't fight us any longer, so he gave in and rejoined our madcap activities. It was the best thing that could have happened to this 40 year-old bachelor! We certainly opened up his vistas! The rest of the group were in their early thirties.
I always mingled with my guests but never to the extent that I did with this particular group. We all 'clicked' for whatever reason. Our personalities, views on life, our senses of humour, our characters all melded. We bonded. We were a bit like the "Famous Five" out of Enid Blyton books, but much more wicked! And once Dennis learned how to relax, he let his guard down more than he ever had done in his past, I'm sure. He went with the 'flow'. He enjoyed himself as he never believed he could have. The lime-green shirt went wherever he went. I'm sure he slept in it! One day while he was out swimming in the ocean, Susie, Gaby and I stole and hid the damn thing, much to his despair!
It was Thursday afternoon around four-fifteen. I was in my office doing some paper work, when the lime-green shirt, and Dennis, appeared at the door.
"Come on!" He said.
"Where?" I replied.
"I'm taking you out in the canoe!" He spluttered excitedly.
"The canoe! I've never been in a canoe in my life! Have you?" I laughed. "I can't...I've got work to do!"
"No...I've never been in a canoe, either...but today is the day! Come on! 'No' is not an answer I will accept!"
"Oh! My God! What am I letting myself into!" I exclaimed as he dragged me bodily from my office.
Down to the little beach beside the jetty we went with much gaiety, me, protesting, laughing all the way.
At that point in my life, I had never before rowed anything, let alone paddled a canoe!
Like Pocahontas and Hiawatha off the two of us went, unstably! Dennis was like a person driven, driven from some inner demon of a hidden, long-forgotten sense of the ridiculous. We talked. We laughed and we giggled like two school children. When he was paddling one way, I paddled the other. Somehow, even with our lack of expertise at paddling we soon were approaching the bend leading towards Macushla Beach, both of us drenched from tears of laughter and from sea water!
"We have to turn around and go back, Dennis! I've got to race home and get changed for the restaurant!" The sun was now on its descent beyond the mountains behind Cardwell on the mainland.
As we struggled on our return trip, Johnno, my barman I wrote about in a previous post, was at the end of the jetty in the distance. He spotted us. I called out to him to come and rescue us. Jumping into the island boat, a yellow Abalone, which my staff had named "Lady of the Island" in my honour, Johnno came to our rescue like a knight of days of old. He towed us back to the jetty, making our return journey much quicker if we had been left to our own devices...thank goodness! It was a fun finale to our equally fun excursion! Our spontaneous adventure was the main topic of conversation over dinner that evening.
Dennis's time on the island came to an end on the Friday. He planned leaving on the island Reef Cat in the afternoon, catching a Greyhound coach at Cardwell, en route further north to spend a couple of days in Cairns. He was the focus of our attention on his final night. Gaby, Susie, Tim and I threatened we would all book into an adjoining room at the hotel in which he would be staying at Cairns. How dare he escape from the 'group'! One could tell by the look on his face he wasn't sure whether to believe us or not! We weren't going to let him get away that easily! He left as planned the following afternoon, amongst much joviality, mingled with a little sadness. Dennis was a changed person to the one who had arrived a few days earlier. His decision had been made during all the crazy fun and games and, also during his quiet walks, lost in his own thoughts, along the beach or through the rainforest to adjacent beaches. He decided to accept the Oxford University posting. To my surprise, when I arrived back at my office after farewelling Dennis, on my desk was a parcel wrapped in paper. Upon opening it, I let out a loud laugh. It was the infamous lime-green shirt! Dennis had bequeathed it to me! When Susie, Tim and Gaby arrived at the bar that evening, I called them into my office. I had a crazy plan!
I knew the hotel Dennis would be staying in, in Cairns. I also knew the time of his arrival. So I gathered my gang around the phone and made a call! As Dennis answered the phone in his hotel room, we all shouted out..."Open your door, Dennis! We're right outside! We couldn't do without you, so we've come up to join you!" There was a moment's silence from his end of the phone. Today, still, I'm not sure if it was from horror at the prospect!
The week drew to a close. Saturday morning raised it's ugly head all too soon. Tim, Susie and Gaby, my new, crazy, kindred spirits were leaving on the 1pm sea-plane back to mainland 'sanity'. They wandered down to the restaurant forlornly. I was in my office feeling similar emotions. It was crazy. We'd only known each other for a week, but we had shared such wonderful moments.
I never invited guests to my home (only twice I did so...the other time was one night I had Derryn Hinch, Jackie and Jackie's son, Dylan to dinner during the week they stayed on Hinchinbrook)....my little house on the island was my sanctuary...my escape and I protected my privacy. However, that morning, it seemed the right thing to do. I invited my 'partners-in-crime' to my home for coffee as there was time before the planes' arrival and their departure. We certainly were a maudlin mob! All the laughter we'd shared the past week had evaporated.
Tears were shed, not only by us girls. I noticed moisture glistening in Tim's eyes, too. Never will I be convinced he had something in his eye! The farewells were sad, but mingled with the sadness were glorious, happy memories of a time well spent.
Susie, as she stepped from the jetty into the punt (normally, I joined the guests in the punt, but this day, purposely, I didn't) that was to take them to the sea-plane, turned her face up towards me and said...."There is something waiting for you when you get back to your house...have a look out on the deck." With those words, she smiled and waved. I waited at the end of the jetty until the sea-plane lifted itself out of the water to commence its flight over the island, south to Townsville. Feeling despondent, I strolled slowly back to my house, thoughts of the past week sifting through my mind. I walked out on my deck as instructed by Susie, and there, hanging on a fine thread from a beam on the ocean side was a crystal. It sparkled brilliantly in the sunshine, reflecting the sun's glittering rays upon the sapphire sea out front. Final tears flowed, then a wistful mellow contentment settled throughout my being. That week, full of unexpected surprises, has remained firmly entrenched in my file of "fond memories". I'm sure the others feel the same way, even though we have since lost contact with each other. I did, however, visit each one of them, during my trips to Sydney and Melbourne after their visit. I had dinner in Melbourne with Dennis the week before he left for England and his tenure at Oxford.
As a finale to this lengthy tale....I was aware that Dennis, when he left Cairns, was boarding another Greyhound Coach south to Townsville airport for his flight back to Melbourne. Forever the clown and prankster, I organised with a friend in Cardwell to purchase some lime-green poster-board. I had her print on the bright cardboard, in very large, black letters "Come Back, Dennis! The Island Misses You!" You guessed it...as the coach, filled with passengers, pulled into Cardwell, Bonnie stepped out in front of the laden bus, waving the banner! It caused quite a stir, together with lots of excitement and laughter. Dennis did enjoy the special treatment...it was his moment in the sun!
A most memorable, cherished vignette...
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Going Overboard! When Is "Enough Is Enough" Too Much?
What's happening to children's birthday parties these days?
Peer pressure is butting in here as well, it seems. 'Peer Pressure' is a bit pushy, methinks, and should be taken aside, or down to the old shed out the back and given a good talking to! A few home truths and facts of life should be explained, in detail, to 'Peer Pressure'. I don't remember my mother or grandmother ever succumbing to this kind of nonsense. It used to be 'Keeping up with the Jones's'...but the 'Jones's' left town and the 'Peer Pressures' moved in to take their place! Now, with their pushiness, they've taken over the neighbourhood!
I do, however, remember excitedly shifting from one foot to the other, my eyes sparkling in eager anticipation, while I watched my mother preparing chocolate crackles, 'cheerios' ready to be heated when needed, accompanied by the obligatory bowls of tomato sauce, home-made sausage rolls, savoury biscuits/crackers bearing deliciously-tasting toppings of a vast variety, fancy cupcakes, bowls of nuts, lollies/candy and crystallized ginger. And of course, the main feature of the day, the decoratively-iced birthday cake.
When my brother and I were children, our birthday parties were never Cecil B. De Mille productions, but we eagerly and impatiently waited for each birthday to arrive (not like today!). Just a couple of good mates would join in with the fun. The afternoon would be spent racing around the yard, playing and chasing each other! Every now again stopping by the table for a 'top-up' of fuel to re-energise our motors for the next game of 'cowboys and indians' or whatever was on the agenda. A tub of ice loaded with bottles of sarsaparilla, lemonade, lemon squash, creaming soda, ginger beer and horehound stood by to quench our wild, young thirsts.
Kids don't need lavish birthday parties. They need to be able to kick off their shoes, run around the yard bare-footed, get dirty and go back to their homes with sticky faces and gravel-rashed knees and elbows!
Let's get back to basics....let's get back to the simple ways as much as we possibly can. Children don't need all the fancy toys and gadgets to make them happy. A child's imagination and the freedom to allow a child to utilize that imagination is the best gift one can give a child.