Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joy of the 20c book

One of the benefits of living in the Halfwit Sundays is the Op Shop. Where else in the world can you get a book for 20c?

I regularly find myself in there, trawling the shelves to see what the tide has brought in. It's a fascinating mixture, given the ecletic population mix of the island itself.

The island is an amalgam of artists, greenies, musicians, retirees and young families with a desire to raise their children in a natural environment. I've never lived anywhere with so many painters, sculptors, writers or craftsmen. Every second person is fulfulling a desire to write their life story or paint that sunset. The others are caring for the bush, counting the birdlife and saving the turtles and dugongs in the Bay from extinction.

But I digress ... I was talking about the 20c book.

My last $1 worth of pulp fiction found me -

A Patrick White novel "Eye of the Storm", one of his best. I'd read it before but it was worth a second read after a lapse of ten years or so.

"The Secret Life of Plants" "astounding discoveries about the physical, emotional and spiritual relations between plants and man" (like, yer!!!) OK, it's kinda creepy to be chatting to your plants. Makes you think of Prince Charles and God knows that's not a good idea. "Well, hello, pelargonium. How are you today? Bit hungover? Cat peed on you again?"

"Moreton Bay People" a collection of reminiscences from bay personalities spanning the twentieth century.This sounded a lot better than it turned out to be. Earlier history might have been better but this seemed to be a bunch of old grannies talking about when they were young.

An old edition of Lonely Planet Thailand (with page 23 missing). Always good in an emergency, I love to read about places I plan to visit. Yes, I've been to Thailand but only Bangkok (en route to London) and Phi Phi Island (for scuba diving)

A very strange but addictive first novel by Marisha Pessl entitled "Special Topics in Calamity Physics". Took me quite a while to get the hang of it but then I couldn't put it down. Won't try to describe it: to say it's a murder mystery lowers it to the banal. I loved it!!

What a magnificent hoard.

And if I don't like one, so what? I can donate it back to the best little second hand book store in Queensland! After all, it only cost me 20c!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saving the "Camargue"

Early on Saturday morning, we received a frantic phone call from Billie.

"The Camargue has gone! I walked down to Dalpura this morning and she wasn't on her mooring! What shall I do?"

Billie is a delightful Scottish lady in her seventies whose husband Dudley works on the mines. She reminds me of a tiny little bird, bright inquisitive eyes and the cocked head that goes with them.

The night before had been extremely stormy on the island. We could hear the wind thrashing the treetops all night and had already decided to check our own boat after breakfast.

Hastily finishing our coffee, we piled into the 4WD and set off. Guy dropped me at Thompson's Point to climb down and walk along the beach to see if I spotted the errant craft. He, with Karla and Bec (here for the weekend) continued on to the Boat Club to launch the safety boat.

A turtle lay forlornly on the sand as I approached. Dead? There were no prop marks but although I willed that thin skin on the neck to pulse, the eyes remained glazed and the waves lapped over its flippers, burying them in the sand. Another casualty of the infernal plastic bag! Fishermen take their bait out in a bag and toss it over the side without a thought. Poor turtle comes along and the faint remnants of fish tempt it to swallow the bag which ties up its stomach.

Saddened, we left the burial for later in the day and hopped onto the safety boat.

The weather was still gusty. The previous night had been a king tide as well as the strong winds and now the wind was whipping up the waves like a giant eggbeater. It was easier to speed across the top of the waves rather than labour up and down each swell, so we hung on and closed our eyes against the salt spray. Screams of delight rang through the air each time we became airborne.

Suddenly, we espied the errant "Camargue" hiding itself in the mangroves about 500 metres from its mooring. We nosed in towards shore, finally jumping out on the beach and wading ashore. Ouch!!! Have you ever walked on a mangrove beach? The tiny mangrove roots stick up out of the sand every centimetre or so and they hurt! I imagine it's like walking on a bed of nails. We tied our rubber ducky onto a mangrove trunk before hobbling towards the "Camargue".

The "Camargue" is a 20' steel craft with a wooden mast and twin skeg keels. At least this meant that it was unlikely to have much damage. A sail boat with the conventional deep keel would be lying on its side with mast and boom shattered. But "Camargue" was sitting firmly on the sand, rammed into a group of large mangroves.

Guy hopped aboard and checked out the craft. Apart from a showering of debris from the mangroves, she appeared to be OK. The mangroves had definitely come off worse, with large branches floating in the water around the boat.

On the beach, I telephoned the good news to Billie.

And the bad news. "Camargue" had run aground on a king tide. With her weight, we would have to wait for the next king tide to shift her. And the next king tide is not until October.

The joys of boat ownership!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My early morning run

The platoon advances up the beach
a slippery, sideways pincer movement,
armour glistening black against the wet sand.

The leader calls a halt. Something approaches.
Thunder in the distance and the sand shakes.
Warily, they retreat and as the sound increases,
turn and run for cover ... a rout.

From their foxholes in the sand, eyes peer on stalks
at the early morning jogger
pounding along the beach.