Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eyre apparent

Day 5 - SAT 24 January

Port Lincoln

Next morning, Kim Callaghan came calling with his grandson, Tyreece. I made us cups of tea and entertained them in our heavenly hotel room with its glorious sea vista. Blossom, the travell

ing chilli plant, seemed to be thriving in the fresh air on the little balcony.

Kim is the Mayor of Elliston and my host for the Australia Day Awards. He's a small, talkative man whose life has undulated with interesting jobs and bad luck. Since his daughter committed suicide seven years ago, he and his wife, Robyn, have raised their grandsons on their little property at Sheringa.

Tyreece is a handsome boy, very bright and extroverted. He was quick to introduce himself as a star of Peter Goers Kids' Quiz. He's a coin collector. He has lots to say for himself, very engaging, but his grandfather keeps him in check for he, too, has lots to say to give this guest a rundown on the district and the Australia Day events.

It was a convivial and information-laden meeting. Instinctively, liked Kim and his grandson. Kim, a lifelong Leftie, is not the usual cut of a Mayor.

We didn't stop talking until we got to his car in the carpark. Still talking, it seemed, we waved goodbye, our plans settled for the next day. I had done quite a bit of research on Elliston and, fired up by the stories of the writer Ellen Liston, I was excited about going there but and also Lock which is an hour inland in that huge Council District and was where, Kim explained, the core of our Australia Day events were to take place.

Meanwhile, it was Tunarama time in Port Lincoln, a festival of the region's agri- and aqua- cultural economy - and it features a large pageant. The festival is quite a tourist drawcard. I'd always wanted to be there for one. I am one of those people who loves a pageant. I wasn't going to miss it.

We walked down the main drag and found a place to watch it all, chatting amiably to a slightly simple chap who said he was a professional photographer. I adored the parade. Many may call it hokey but I think it is a regional joy. Oh, for the old tractors, the many old tractors one after another, ancient puffing, rumbling things lovingly maintained by ruddy-faced farmers. And the faces of the farmers driving their machines. Something about the rugged dependence on the elements gives these men wise, weathered, and good-natured faces.

Of course there were tuna floats and boats, sea rescue, old cars, clubs, bands, marching girls, kids in costumes... It was a major parade as thousands of locals lined the street to see it and to wave to their friends and rellies. It went on and on and on.

Consequently, the town was swarming. The restaurants were packed and my new fav place, the Peacock, was closed. We repaired to the hotel and ordered room service. It took a while to come, but were comfortable in our lovely room, reading in the window corner with the rooftops and sea craft of Lincoln in expansive view - and the food was good.

Bruce had been fascinated by the Tunarama tuna toss competiton so we headed back to the shorefront park to find a place to watch it.

En route we came upon a fabulous art exhibition in a huge old hall, maybe the town's theatre. There was some wonderful work and, with Bruce hanging around outside, I revelled in it.

And on to the Tuna Toss. They used to use frozen tuna but now it is a big fake tuna. It was amusing with the various tourists and locals having a go to do a whizzy hammer throw technique tuna throw. Some of them almost went with the tuna. Bruce was not much impressed. He reckons he could ace it. He wants to come back and show 'em after a bit of practice. The general hubbub in the town was pleasant and we ambled about. I actually did some rather good bargain shopping. We managed to get a dinner at the Peacock that night. It was not as impressive as the first experience. So it goes.

No comments: