Monday, October 22, 2007

Day 7: Echuca

I poked around in the fridge for breakfast.
"Ooh, blue cheese!" I cried.
"Yes, I told you that I'd bought it yesterday and you stared at me in incomprehension. 'Who are you? And what is blue cheese?' Clearly nobody was home."

By any calculations I was now in my thirties, so to celebrate we took an hour cruise on the Murray on a paddlesteamer called the PS Pevensy. It is a good pace to travel. 'Languid' springs to mind, but I can't be bothered looking it up; we'll just go with that vibe. I like the sensation of going somewhere - I took the bus to and from Melbourne for that reason, and was why I volunteered to be the chauffeur on this trip.
I was half expecting to be assailed by a commentary the whole trip, but it was only where we turned around that the speaker came to life with pretty much 'Look up there. It's a nest. If you wanna know anything else: come and ask.'

The port is a very impressive construction of river gum pillars, trusses and a couple of narrow rat-runs. The whole thing has to deal with floods of up to thirteen metres. The river is standing at six feet at the moment. In '81 it reached 32feet and in '93 it was 33 anda half. The 38feet was in 1870.

Afterwards we admired the pair of Clydesdales at a horse-flu friendly distance.
Lunch was at Victoria's number one fish'n'chippery. It was good, sure, but I don't see the fuss.

I love my aunt's smart arsery that allows me to reply in kind.
In response to some snideness on her part:'Hate' is a strong word, but I hate you.
Explosion of laughter.

"Dear Caroline, I am going to stab you with this fork.
Would you like to be stabbed (a) in the leg, (b) in the arm, (c) in the privacy of your own home?"

We drove towards our caravan park, six kilometres out of town, wondering what to do for the afternoon when I saw a winery sign. Serendipity was fast becoming the guiding principle of the trip.
They have a brindle great-dane/mastiff cross who silently greeted us. He's a dopey and well-intentioned dog who dutifully ate the dead flies at the base of the window and flopped down behind the tasting bar.
We stayed an hour and chatted about water usage, infrastructure, the Gippsland drought of the sixties etc etc. They had a nice light dry riesling, a soft French-style shiraz, and a good durif.

In town I saw a shop called 'Complete Garden.'

A: You, sir, are a complete garden!
B: How dare you? I demand satisfaction: pistols at dawn.
A: Very well, you filthy gazebo.
B: Impudence!!

No, it's not the heat getting to me, but raw unblinkered genius let slip for the betterment of all.

In the afternoon I went for a walk along the river and saw a sacred blue kingfisher or, as the French say, Le Roi de Angleur Sacre Bleu.

The much anticipated cool front was coming through.
Caroline walked back inside.
'The wind's getting up. There'll be smugglers in the cove,' she told me.
How would I know? I'm not a sailor.
But I do kiss like one.


Anonymous said...

Is just me, or is there an image of the virgin mary in that last picture?

I hope you dug up that particular piece of earth for future sale on E-bay...


worldpeace and a speedboat said...

I agree with you, nofuckthat, *I* agree with *you*.

I love travelling, it's part of getting to your destination. although I much prefer trains to the godforsaken coach when it comes to insterstate travel.

but if you don't have the time to really enjoy the travel, then it's heads down bums up and zoooom.

also: still really enjoying the writing. triffic stuff!

also also: that prt along the Murray looks delicious and the cruise sounds great. I love travel by water.

also also also: your aunt sounds like a hoot.

harry said...

"your aunt sounds like a hoot."

# She actually sounds like a boat.