Family / Friends

Roadtripping

Decided to follow my gut and collected the Delica from Jan and Ross up in Hervey Bay. They were SOOOO good to me – despite the fact that they had me packing up chairs in the rain after a wedding service in the park an hour after I’d flown in.

Sydney
Sydney
Cloud from aeroplane. Sydney to Hervey Bay.
A little cloud.

Oh my god. The humidity. As soon as I stepped out of the plane I remembered how tortuous I’d found it. I’d planned to change into Queensland clothes during my four hour stopover in Sydney – but they sent my bag direct from Hobart to Hervey Bay, so I arrived in black jeans, boots, and a woollen top. Sweat city.

My Hervey Bay bed.
My bedroom.

I had the spare room all to myself with the best mattress ever, and a spectacular bathroom with HOT WATER. I stayed in the shower for a long time (it was pouring with rain and the tanks were full). Caught up with almost everyone – including dinner at the RSL. Examined the many gemstones J & R have found and was jealous. Had to stop myself from stealing their metal detector (that is how I dream of my elderly self – armed with a metal detector, a go-anywhere van and a travelling dog and cat – finding treasure in many places… sigh… anyway…).

I left at 7am on the 9th of March in sheets of rain. Jan handed me a thermos of hot water and a container of teabags. Ross drove ahead of me to the servo at Torbanlea where I could fill the tank and stay on the same road for just about ever. Those two things reminded me so much of my dad that I felt a bit wobbly – they are so kind. I hugged them both tight; excellent people.

Destination on the first day? Belinda’s house in Yamba via a stop in Eumundi and Southport. In my head, for some reason, Eumundi is a place of utes, camels and lots of red sand. In reality, thank god, it was gorgeous, small-scale and sub-tropical, with too many cafes. I chose the one that adjoined the bookshop, and they were happy to do my coeliac bidding for toast-made-in-the-sandwich-press-with-no-butter-because-there-might-be-crumbs-with-avodcado-on-top.

(This was amidst the initial flurry of Covid-19, although all that had really happened by that point were raids on toilet paper and rice.) I borrowed the key to their bathroom, walked around the into the alley, and had begun my ablutions before I even thought to check. TOILET PAPER! There was none. Goddamnit. All that was available, no joke, was a book that the pages had been torn out of – a hardback with a dust-jacket. That dust-jacket was MINE.

Once I’d ripped it into a few strips, it was quite effective. Given the time of the month, the title was utterly appropriate. The Scarlet Feather. Thank you so much, Maeve Binchy.

Powered by toast and avocado, I powered on down past Brisbane to Southport. It felt quite odd knowing my way around – I’m so familiar with the library, the foreshore, the supermarkets, the bulk-food shop – none of which were my aim. I headed straight for the best cafe – Giri Cana the one with the gluten free apple pie with cashew cream. They hand out water pistols there so you can shoot the pigeons.

It continued to rain and rain and rain. Bucketing. It slowed my progress, as did the roadworks near Ballina. I didn’t make it to Yamba until about 7pm, where my divine friend Belinda had made me a potato pizza from scratch. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. It was so lovely to have a catch-up and see Roxy and Eddie who I love. In the morning we all marvelled over the little green tree frogs in the front garden.

Eddie and his frog.

Tiny green tree frog.

I took the three of them for a spin in Delica and we went to the local op-shop where they bought me a hammock!! I found THE BEST woollen blanket for three dollars – an essential travelling companion.

X

Roxy!
Always know where your towel is. And your beautiful blanket.

I was very sad to have to get on my way. I stopped in Coffs Harbour (somewhere I’m also very familiar with) – I’d messaged Melissa before I got there that we could do lunch at the Happy Frog at 2pm if she was so inclined. However, she refused to believe in my presence and was also tied up with a client. I had to send her a picture of my lunch and the cafe before she accepted that I was actually in town.

She forced me to spend the night in Bellingen 😉 I turned up feeling all excited to show Miles and the kids the Delica. But… there was already a white Delica parked outside. What the? It was EXACTLY THE SAME. It belongs to Gigi, who had been visiting her mother in Melbourne, just like I’m going to in a few days. She was on her way back to Mullumbimby and was stopping over for the night. I laid down my two blocks of carob on the table. She laid out her two blocks of Pana Chocolate. We have never met before. We are the DOPPELGÄNGERS… It was crazy.

I am fed. Bedded down as I have been a few times before in a swag in the lounge room. GiGi and I chatted a while before we fell asleep. In the morning I again watched the machinations of a family of five get their lunch, bags, instruments and selves all together and out the door by 7.15am. Again I am astounded. I was going to stick around for toast, but GiGi and I couldn’t figure out how to light the griller.

A Bellingen golden frog.

Can’t remember where I stopped that day – other than to refuel a few times – but I got to Goulburn in the last light of the afternoon. I have never been able to justify paying for accommodation merely to sleep somewhere for 12 hours, so I tooled around the back streets looking increasingly suspicious until I found a spot outside someone’s house, hung a sheet over the back window and ate bread with avocado (are you sensing a theme here? it’s just easy travelling glutard food) and feta while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on my computer. Only got half way through.

I’d decided to sleep on the floor of the van. I had my sheet (thanks Jan), my towel (thanks Douglas Adams) and my woollen blanket and tiny pillow (thanks Yamba OpShop) and confidently assumed I would pass out immediately. WRONG. Sooo uncomfortable. Feeling distinctly unheroic, I flattened out the front passenger seat and lay across the middle seat in kind of a demented ‘L’ shape with my feet on the front.

By 6am I was over it. It was getting light and I got going. I didn’t want to stay in Goulburn longer than I had to because it is a place where there are BORDOODLES FOR SALE. I desperately want a BORDOODLE. And so I had to absent myself before my will faltered. Blah blah blah, drive, drive, drive. That morning I began drinking coffee – not something I’m keen on, but for medicinal purposes, I had a go.

Still didn’t know if I was going to make Melbourne that day and was half inclined to sleep somewhere in Seymour, but the thought of having two nights in a proper bed at the Mothership’s house won out. Stupid peak hour traffic. I weaved through the back streets of South Melbourne and St Kilda, and could hear Grand Prix cars carving up the ambience. The weather was very warm. I arrived just in time for dinner, having not pre-warned of my appearance, because I didn’t know when I would turn up – until I did.

It was lucky I had not stopped in Seymour, because T and the Mothership took off the next morning to go to a croquet tournament in Boort – the sign to which I’d driven by 24 hours earlier. I frolicked about – bought Delica a fancy steering wheel cover from Aldi for $10 and met L for lunch in Hampton St, where if felt like we barely scratched the surface of anything before she had to do school pickup.

063/366 • …my one full day in Melbourne - feeling like a zombie, op-shopping like a boss! A 100% merino #macpac dress I tried on a few months back had still not been claimed and was half price! $4  #frugalfashion - oh, people who know me well are aware of
New woollen dress, brooch and blanket.

Made it to the ferry the following morning at 6.15am – getting aboard was a breeze. Haven’t been on it since 1998 and it has vastly improved during that time! I got a seat and basically just moved about finding sunny spots, crocheting and listening to podcasts as we did 28knots across Bass Strait. Not quite the passage I’m used to – our best effort has been two nights from Jervis Bay.

Twelve hours after leaving Melbourne I was in Devonport. I’d read something on google about free-camping in Latrobe, but once I got there just before dusk, I couldn’t really figure out where it was. My information was pretty dated. The park in Latrobe was beautiful, and I went for a short wander. By then I realised I must have been very tired, because my decision making had taken a dive and I lost my car keys IN THE CAR. At least, I presumed they were in the car, because I couldn’t find them anywhere else.

I gave up and replicated what I’d done in Goulburn, Bordoodle Capital of Australia. Drove around until I found a spot that wasn’t too isolated, but wasn’t outside a pub. Ate the same food, watched the rest of Ferris – and this time lay down all the seats like a normal person. It hurt. Found the keys in my pocket. Shortly afterward I realised that a doubled over blanket, a towel and a sheet weren’t really going to cut it, but they were all I had, so I just wore layers and wrapped my scarf around my feet. It was bearable.

Had breakfast in Deloraine – where I’d been previously for the craft festival – and had a chat with Small Brother, whom I was relieved to find was not stuck in some foreign airport, but tucked away in the Hudson Valley watching the world go to hell. I made it back to Bella Luna, in Kettering, by 4pm. Super exhausted, frustrated by not being able to go exploring during my travels, but happy to have our new set of wheels.

*Apologies for the stupid photo captions that refuse to centre. I’m working on it.

Queen Elizabeth Too…

The Smalls had not been told about the cruise until a day or two before we left. I had harassed them for weeks beforehand about the necessity for ‘fancy shoes for when we go to the fancy restaurant for Nana’s birthday’. Thank god for op-shops. Both of them got a pair of sandals each – good ones – and I picked up a pair of heels from the tip shop and some black sandals from an op-shop in Hampton street. The Mothership shared out some of her dresses to the Smalls and we were ready for action!!

We had to play some backyard croquet to calm down.

We were able to disappear for a day and a night (thank you for the car oh Mothership) and visit our lovely Emerald friends. Small Z had not seen those guys since they visited us in 2018. TOO LONG. All five Smalls clicked into their regular groove almost straightaway – it was so reassuring to be with our friends in their house where I know where everything goes and can make cups of tea at whim.

022/366 • Zoe and cello 🙌 during a quick jaunt to Emerald. Tomorrow we board an entirely different kind of boat...•

Zoe and the cello.

Along for the ride were TD, Small Brother, SWWNBB, the Mothership’s cousin and her partner, and spawn of SWWNBB – my nephew. It was pretty cool! The coolest thing was (besides the bottle of proper champagne on arrival) Small Brother’s ROOM!! OMG!

Being on a boat that is at kilometre larger in every respect was odd. Dislocating. I can see the sea out of the many many windows (so many windows, just not in my cabin) but I can’t feel it. The swell is tangible, but other than that, if you remain inside it is as if you are contained within a hitherto unexplored area of David Jones.

DB tries on her lifejacket in case the Titanic sinks.
DB practicing for a possible Titanic scenario.

Small Z daily crucifies the buffet, and when she’s eaten enough, she plays waiter and goes and fetches cups of tea and pieces of fruit on request. Small DB seems enchanted by the nightly fine dining, holding her goblet of iced water in a debonair-I-do-this-all-the-time kind of grip and thanking the staff when they spread a linen napkin on her lap.

DB at dinner.
Fine dining with DB.

For the first couple of days the journey adhered to my former boss’s description of sailing:

The passage is to be endured, the destination to be enjoyed.

Beth’s Boss – 2016

Both my siblings spent chunks of time prone and green. One has vomited, the other alleges he has not. The three grandchildren, while exhausted from late nights and choosing which juice to have next (with ice, or without?) are unaffected by the rolling of the boat.

027/366 • oh @cunardcruiseline - on a ship that cost $700mill to build , could you not have thrown in a few USB wall plugs? Or even an Australian adapter to use in your American and English powerpoints? #designfail Meanwhile, here are the Smalls, wonderin
Bedtime, cruise ship style.

They (the Smalls x3) are an anomaly here. By my guess, there are no more than ten kids aboard. The average age is about seventy-four. Weight? Over. Skin? Anglo crepe. There are many walker frames and several wheelchairs. I can see how travelling via cruise liner would be a comforting if one is old and infirm. I get it – but I remain astonished by the lack of people under sixty.

028/366 • Smalls all dressed up for last night’s Black & White Ball (poses are their own, the dresses are not - they belong to the Mothership) Fashionistas!! • ❤️

Ready for the Black & White Gala

The ‘KidZone’ – the childcare centre (or, as Small Z labels it “Childcare Jail”) had a couple of women working there – but a chunk of their time was spent playing the Wii because there were simply no clientele. Before boarding the boat the Smalls were both told by the Mothership that they were ON NO ACCOUNT to walk around the ship without a grown-up. That lasted about five minutes.

A highlight was docking in Adelaide, where our friends from the boat ‘Gusto’ came and whisked us away to their boat, bought us cakes and sushi, and best of all – a borrowed cavoodle named Daisy – which sent us into cute overload. It was so great to see them, and also get a small idea of what the area around Semaphore is like – they have a pretty good setup going on. Dolphins come past their boat every day…

Goodbye South Australia
Goodbye South Australia

They are near a library, lots of shops, the train station, and a macaw called ‘Stella’. Time seemed to pass very quickly and we were suddenly saying our goodbyes out the front of the floating behemoth, the Queen Elizabeth. From there we steamed at 20 knots to Hobart.

Queen Elizabeth II. Hobart. Kunanyi.
kunanyi
kunanyi (pronounced koo-narn-yee) means 'mountain' in palawa kani, the beautifully revived language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

We remained in Hobart for the day and then, after dinner, journeyed on (at half the speed) to Burnie. BURNIE!! Why Burnie?! I can only assume the mayor of Burnie (who personally greets every cruise ship that comes in) has swung some kind of sweet deal with Cunard, because, in the kindest possible way, Burnie simply lacks charisma. Or in the least kind way – Burnie greets you with a depressingly large pile of woodchips as you dock, and it’s hard not to think of how Tasmania is allowing further logging in the Tarkine. Jesus.

Burnie.

–no caption required–

On the up side, I did notice that there was a Nippers beach competition going on at the main beach. I recalled that Ford’s daughter does Nippers, and went for a wander to see if he might be there. I was, of course, looking for a man in a puffer jacket holding an unfeasibly large camera

I could not find him and turned around to head back to the family group, who were intent on taking on Burnie’s op-shops one by one. “Hey!! Beth?
It was Ford!! No puffer jacket! No camera! Disguised instead in a baseball cap and a hi-vis vest…
“How are you here? This is so weird. I thought I hallucinated you!”
I gestured carelessly behind me – “Just came in on the cruise ship.”

He didn’t really have time to be dragged off for a cup of tea and neither did I, but it was wonderful to see him regardless. And it was quite odd at the Motherhip’s birthday lunch, sipping on my sauvignon blanc and tossing back oysters while looking down (literally) at many many wet children (it was bucketing down) racing along the beach and in and out of the sea, presumably under Ford’s direction as he got wetter and wetter and wetter.

I left lunch and ran back to the shuttle bus and then hammered down the length of the ship in time to make it to my 2pm appointment. I had been invited to tour the bridge. I was also under the impression that I was to meet the captain, but that did not eventuate. It was very cool to see all the technology – some of which I recognised and a vast amount I did not.

040/366 • I just had a tour of the bridge of the Queen Elizabeth- so many buttons, bells and whistles! I got to see the computer database that shows how full the watertanks are and which doors are open, their charts, AIS, radios... I had many questions ab

Me, my feet, and the starboard cheating window.

The passage from Hobart to Burnie was the best of the week – calm seas and sunny skies – perfect cruising weather. If I had no children, that would have been when I might have lay on a sun-lounge with my Kindle and a supply of gin and tonics. However… We went for a swim, and the pool was sublime! The Mothership was our spotter and gave us the nod when the whirlpool hot tub was free and we jumped in and steamed ourselves. Heaven.

We played croquet and bat tennis until the Queen Elizabeth was shrouded in complete fog and it became correspondingly freezing. Library time. The LIBRARY!! Seriously – one of my favourite places on the ship. I love libraries anyway, but to sit in one with a coloured glass ceiling with a fantastic selection of books, comfortable chairs and desks that faced the ocean… it was the BEST.

The library on the Queen Elizabeth II.
Back where we began.


Back where we began.

2020: The beginnings.

From nine people aboard, the Smalls and I went and stayed with SWWNBB in an AirBnB in Taroona – a very beautiful suburb, but lacking any shop whatsoever. Woe betide if you run out of milk or tea. They had a little Belling stove and a great vegetable patch!! It was an awesome house and we are very grateful to SWWNBB to letting us stay. Small Z defected after a day or so, but Small DB and I stayed a week. She cooked this amazing dinner for her sister’s birthday – oh, how she longs for an oven!


Roast chicken dinner.

Zoe. Taroona Beach.

We op-shopped, visited the Botanical Gardens and took our hosts for birthday breakfast at the wonderful Cat Cafe. Then we op-shopped like demons and got some seriously good reading matter, as well as a suitcase for Small DB for our impending journey to see the Mothership.

During my time as a Taroona dweller I went out on my own (!) at night (!!) to the Brisbane Hotel (an excellent venue) and saw my friends in their production of Rocky the Third – it was great!! (And I’m not just saying that because they are my friends – it’s very funny.)

In my head I had presumed that they would have a million people they needed to catch up with and things to do – but no! They were happy to come for a sail out across Storm Bay with Small Z, M and I. It was so lovely to spend time with them – for years we have only caught up with them at birthday parties or housewarmings, so it was serendipitous opportunity! ❤️

009/366 • the ever affable @riksplosive owning the sleigh aboard Bella Luna today... he worked hard 💪•

Rik. Doing the hard yards.

We returned to Bella Luna and the Smalls had a brief respite from socialising as we moved in between our mooring at Sandy Bay, the jetty at Bellerive, and the city.

018/366 • sisters quiet on the sleigh, screentime silence in Sandy Bay •
Kicking back.

About four days after returning to the boat, the Smalls and I flew to Melbourne to hang with the Mothership and assist in celebrating her 70th birthday. She had organised for me, my siblings and our offspring to go on a one week cruise on the Queen Elizabeth. WHAT THE? More about that here…

Christmas 2019 and Pand(ion)imonium

Since we turned right coming out of the Tamar River, instead of left toward King Island the west coast of Tasmania, life has been a combination of mad socialising and real estate limbo. We elected to turn right and be a presence in Franklin to try and help things along. On the way we stopped into Kettering and caught up with a lot of people – particularly we hung out with Gusto – who we met on the last day we were in Hobart at the beginning of 2019.

We barely knew each other, but that was OK. They are our people. They immediately lent us their car and their kid so we could do some shopping and the Smalls could have a break from being on their own. It was awesome. It was Tash who made me juices and chicken soup as I succumbed to some kind of infection and my face started to fall off. I have dot-pointed the whole debacle here.

324/365 • Hey! There’s a bumble in your bouquet! 🐝 💐 …•

Salamanca Market bouquets…

Suffice to say, I was repaired in time for Christmas, which we spent aboard the boat moored at RYCT eating tasty things, having spent two days tearing around the city preparing. I knocked up some last minute Christmas stockings – this is the first Christmas EVER that the Smalls have not had to resort to a pair of my socks.

325/365 • Bit of a scramble to get things sorted - multiple trips to the shops! Finally, for the first time ever, the Smalls don’t need to nick a random pair of my socks - I (hastily) handsewed them a stocking each - pretty sure Santa will be able to jam
Stockings!!
327/365 •❤️ ...let me count the ways...❤️•

DB made an awesome punch and fruit salad. There was also spud salad and happy ham.
328/365 • climbing off the sugar high... 🌳 •
Climbing off the sugar high in Sandy Bay on Christmas Day 2019

Boxing Day, our friends formerly of the vessel Pandion, arrived and we had NINE people on the boat for almost two weeks, as we explored around Bruny, ate abalone and oysters and caught one excellent crayfish in M’s new craypot. We all had an awesome time – having boat people aboard is just a breeze. The Pandion children were trained upon arrival to say to me, three times a day, “What can I do to help?” And such is their goodness, they kept it up throughout our time together. They used little water, cleaned up after themselves, swept up without being asked and lost very few clothes pegs. 


Kianinny Bay to Erith Island

The Smalls and I spent the day (Tuesday 22 October 2019) pretending Jean’s house was ours. Washing clothes, baking a lemon and yoghurt cake and making chocolate chip biscuits. (Oh it is excellent to have an oven!) I diligently fried the many zucchini I’d bought on sale into fritters. Tidied our bedroom, had a bath, oversaw sibling savageries… and thoroughly neglected my intention to ravish the lemon tree and the garden greens. I fear there may be some kind of mutiny in the Kent Group when our ‘fresh food’ is found to be largely carrots and frozen peas…

Down at the boat ramp, Jean and I saw M, ever the labrador, sitting in the backseat of someone’s dual cab ute. Everyday he seems to be getting on better with the locals, but this raised it more than a notch or two. Then the driver turned his head – it was a different version of M – his older brother Graeme. What the?! Such a surprise to see him, but also not so much. A (now retired) legendary abalone diver, he knows the underwater terrain of this section of coast better than almost anyone. We caught up with him for a couple of hours – it was lovely to see him and his wife. We took them up to Jean’s house and had a cup of tea.

283/365 • baked spuds on the back deck 💫👌❤️ •

Later we dined on burgers on the back deck and followed dinner with a weather meeting. It was decided to leave at daybreak and head to Erith Island – with Plan B being Lakes Entrance. We left at 6am. Ermahgerd – there was SO. LITTLE. WIND. Never have we motored for so far for so long. Inside my secret head I had wanted to stay at Kianinny until Thursday morning when there was a definite northerly, but unfortunately, a massive low from the west was predicted to move through and munch us up if we dared to try it.

We motor-sailed and motor-sailed. Then sailed. Then motored. Ford St Clair was somewhat disappointed in the benign conditions throughout. He felt cheated of the experience of ‘real sailing’ – completely oblivious to how lucky we were. We arrived at West Cove on Erith Island at about 3am on Friday 25 October – it took about two days for me to recover from the night-watches and sleep debt, which was fine – because the weather was BALLISTIC.

Williwaw: in meteorology, a williwaw is a sudden blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea. The word is of unknown origin, but was earliest used by British seamen in the 19th century. The usage appears for winds found in the Strait of Magellan, the Aleutian Islands and the coastal fjords of the Alaskan Panhandle, where the terms outflow wind and squamish wind are also used for the same phenomenon. On Greenland the word piteraq is used.
The williwaw results from the descent of cold, dense air from the snow and ice fields of coastal mountains in high latitudes, accelerated by the force of gravity. Thus the williwaw is considered a type of katabatic wind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williwaw

Ford St Clair was the most adventurous of our crew – though M wasn’t far behind him. For the first couple of days, other than visiting the hut, the Smalls and I ventured out for one Big Walk and Climb each day. The wind stole our breath. This is what a williwaw looks like:

Williwaw. Erith Island. Kent Group.

Imagine an arctic slashing slice of wind periodically scything through whatever happens to be in it’s path. Kind of like being run down by an angry ghost. Obviously we dug out our ‘Tasmania clothes’ – which have lain long-neglected in the back of the wet-weather cupboard.

The hut remains intact and I was so happy to see it – just as we all got inside for the first time, it began to rain, and we had shelter – as well as the potential for a fire in the woodstove and a few tunes on the resident guitar.

The hut. Erith Island. Kent Group.
Inside the hut. Erith Island.
Shelf in the hut. Erith Island. Kent Group.
Our entry in the visitor's book on Erith Island back in 2016.

Tathra, new friends and Jindi the Bordoodle

Ford St Clair invited his mate Jean to sail with us from Sydney to Bermagui. We enjoyed her company and delivered her safely after taking a week to make it down. She promised to return the next day with her two daughters, and Jindi the Bordoodle. It rained, so we ate hot chips in the main cabin, the four Smalls chattered and played cards – we all admired Jindi. I want to keep her. She made a good boat dog.

Jindi the Bordoodle on our cushion.
Jindi the Bordoodle of our dreams.

Jean very kindly asked us to come and stay over at her house in Tathra. So hilarious! A week ago we didn’t even know she existed. M wanted to stay in manly solitude and look after the boat, Ford St Clair was off doing his own thing – the Smalls and I jumped at the opportunity. There wasn’t enough room in the car for me, so I was given a lift to Tathra by the extremely obliging Werner, who runs a vintage/antique shop in Bermagui, and helpfully lives two houses down from Jean.

Admittedly, I did wonder what we would talk about during the 40 minute drive, but we barely drew breath. I learned about his time living in an artists enclave in an art deco apartment in Bronte, renovating houses along the coast, the liveability of Ecuador and the Mexican Day of the Dead. I almost forgot to look at the scenery, though I did note a car that had gone over an embankment – Jean had texted me an hour earlier:

[A relatively true depiction of our messages to each other.]

I lived in the floating cubby with Jean for an entire week, and had very little idea of her living circumstances, which was good, because I had no expectations. It turns out that her house is astoundingly beautiful. You can see the ocean from the front and back gardens. It has a massive cathedral ceilinged lounge-room which was tacked on by the previous owner to be a gallery space.

There was a vegetable garden… and we ate a lot from it. Broccoli, herbs, celery…

Jean’s youngest Small has a room with Queensland sparkle-glass windows up the top of some stairs. There are two wood fires and a backyard that goes on forever. I was instantly enamoured. And the bordoodle! The BORDOODLE.

Jindi.
Jindabyne.

Did I mention it’s probably less than a five minute walk to the sea? More specifically, Kianinny Bay. I asked Small N whether they go to the beach every day in the summer. “Yes!” she said. “We sometimes go three times a day! When we get home we lie on the warm deck in our swimmers until we’re dry.”

Kianinny Bay.
Kianinny Bay

As it turned out, the six of us all got on so well that we were invited to stay another night. Bliss. We went for a walk around Tathra and scrambled along the cliffs to the wharf – where we stopped for chai and iced chocolates. The bay around the wharf is wide and flat – Boulder Bay. But it’s basically an ocean anchorage, only good for sheltering from a southerly. Nevertheless – we hoped we might bring Bella Luna around and hang there for a bit.

Main Beach. DB and Jindi Bordoodle.
Tathra Wharf.
Inside the cafe on Tathra Wharf.

On the walk home I followed Small DB and Small L, as they walked through the burnt out trees on the top of the headland. (Tathra endured a fairly savage bushfire in March 2018.) The blue blue sea and the black black trees were eye candy, as was the new growth springing up all over the ground.

271/365 • burnt trees, new growth •

The Smalls and I felt so blessed to be invited into Jean’s home, and not a little wistful for that sort of life. The beach, the dog, the HOUSE.