With thanks to Kate who provided the many pleasures of this day.
It’s a perfect winter’s day, warm in the sun but a definite chill out of it. I meet my friend at the highway turnoff near Central Tilba, and head through farmland following signs to the cemetery, two enclosures on an empty hillside. We ramble round the one nearest the sea, noting local names; the age demographics of the dead; and the devotion of descendants who mark unmarked graves after locating them with cemetery records. Then we settle on a substantial and comfortable wooden bench amongst the graves to enjoy our picnic lunch.
A sandy track leads through dune growth to the beach. A lagoon reaches out from the sand towards majestic Mother Gulaga.
We skirt the water, amongst many footprints, human, dog and bird, and head towards the low cliffs on the south end of the part of the beach we can see. The beach actually stretches for five kilometres, but the tide interferes with any plans we don’t have to walk the length of it. The beach tilts towards the water, and is quite heavy going for someone who only likes the taut sand of low tide. However, I trudge my way along, stopping for desultory conversation with my companion.
I reach the rocks, and forget the human as I and my camera converse with them, different yet again from others I’ve seen along my coastline. The cliffs are listing under the impact of past – long past – upheavals.
The rock face below the cliffs has the appearance of bulbous blocks stacked neatly – or is it rounded tesselations? – and broken occasionally by diagonal lines and mini-gardens.
In other places the rock forms tiny caves with stalactites, or elegant swathes.
Then there are the blue rocks: some with stripes, others with more regular geometric shapes.
There is also honeycombing and wandering inserts, such as I’ve seen in slightly different forms elsewhere.
I acquire delusion of grandeur and decide I’ll play the role of a seismic shift and photographically tilt the rocks. Such power!
A lone seagull with a limp takes a fancy to us and follows us back along the beach, hoping for who knows what. Out at sea a faint haze resolves itself into a whale blow, and we pause to track and capture it as it moves slowly north. The sun is speeding down the sky, cars are spilling out dogs eager for an afternoon run, and we make our way to Central Tilba (remember it, Jude?) for a cuppa. The café clocks our age, and the music changes to the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and Elvis.
Wallaga Lake, south of the beach we’ve just walked along, is fading to pink in the late afternoon light.
This charmed day ends with a concert hosted by the Yuin Folk Club in Cobargo. Fiona Ross, singer of Scottish folk songs, has a voice unlike any I’ve heard before, and entertains us with an account of the unremittingly lugubrious nature of the songs she sings: you meet a girl and you die, or your mother puts a curse on you, or (less direly) the girl you want marries someone else.
However it is Tony McManus the guitar player who makes my evening. He is one of those musicians who is inseparable from his instrument. The music flows as the fingers move, and when he and his steel guitar play his arrangement of Sati my enchantment reaches its peak. It doesn’t hurt that his patter is laconic and amusing, but if you follow the link and just want the music it begins at 3.20.
And so to Kate’s place, and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.