I’m in Walpole now, on the Southern coast. A town close to my heart. I’m having a rest day today, a getting errands done day and an eating fresh food day (and yoghurt, coffee, fudge, cake, ice-cream and beer!). I’ve just been on a river cruise around the Walpole inlet, an enchanting estuary of clear green water, tree-carpeted banks, dolphins streaking around and lots of birds.
It was a Walpole Eco-cruise presented, captained and catered (home-made lemon cake!) by local legend Gary Muir, and it was seriously THE BEST tourist kind of outing I think I have ever done. Like ever!
One 19th Century French dude – who ended up in Walpole – nicknamed it ‘le nombril du monde,’ the navel of the world, because all the fluff ends up there! And Gary told us story after story, complete with props and accents and improvised stage sets, of the wondrous things that have happened here. Wondrous both in an objective way (such as the long-lost book manuscript and personal correspondence from the like of Tolstoy and Chekov found under the floorboards of a boat shed) and wondrous in the thousand-and-one ways given by the eyes of someone who loves his home with a passion and loves sharing about it.
Like there was the time back in 1987 that the one bank in Walpole was robbed – the bank that was only open for two hours every week – by two men wearing stockings on their heads that had the other legs still attached. They only made off with nothing but the petty cash because no one had made any deposits yet that day, and were chased by the towns people up the main street because Ma in the gettaway car – an old combi van – had lost her nerve and driven off!
Also, the horses for the 10th Batallian were trained on a beach near Walpole so Gary organised a kind of personal reconciliation between Gallipoli and Walpole that culminated in a visit by the Mayor of Gallipoli, exchanges of soil and many words of peace. He also traveled to Russia last year to repatriate these letters by Tolstoy and Chekov and ended up being arrested because someone was connected to a Cold War spy etc. etc. More colourful than Jacob’s coat, this one! Just a total pearler all round, and I hope to inspire some of you to come down to Walpole and experience it. Including you from far away!
The weather today is blustery with scudding mashed-potato clouds dropping the occasional spit of rain and taking turns with bright, hot sun. It is a good, good place. Nornanup, the old Nyungar name for it: place of the many black snakes! I’ve seen a good handful in the days walking up to it too. Tomorrow I’ll have another lounging morning and get me to the 10am service at St George’s for the second Sunday of Advent. Joy Sunday.
Love, and sunny ripples on green waters.
Joy shall come, even to the wilderness, and the parched land shall then know great gladness. As the rose shall the desert blossom and deserts like gardens will blossom.