January 30 – February 4, 2009
Robin and I are enjoying lazy days here on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Both of us have been constantly on the go our entire adult lives. Shadows of work-ethic guilt follow us around like heel-nipping dogs.
Mostly we ignore them, but sometimes they sink their teeth in deeply and shake us with “do something productive” snarls. We quiet them by sweeping a floor, preparing a meal, doing laundry, updating the blog…but they won’t be completely pacified.
I suspect they’d be quieter if we weren’t in the middle of a global recession that has played havoc with our retirement plans, along with everyone else’s. Those yapping dogs can’t dim our gratitude for this long sojourn away from our Kelowna home.
Since arriving in Adelaide and traveling to Point Turton and Port Elliot, we have met a parade of warm, open, friendly people. Friday that meant a trip to Goolwa to meet two couples who’d been part of one of Robin’s APT (Australian Pacific Tours) groups. Di and Wayne Darling, the first two in the photo, live right in Goolwa. Mandy and Brenton Perry live in Willunga, one of the many country towns where David’s and Robin’s father was posted during his years as a Methodist minister.
We dined at Hector’s on the Wharf. I indulged in a plate of salt-and-pepper squid (aka calamari) while looking out on sailboats on the River Murray.
That great river, one of only a few on this dry continent, is no longer running. If you look beyond the sailboat in the photo, you’ll see a broad expanse of brown silt where once the river flowed to the sea.
Wayne and Brenton have that rare gift in our age of mobility, a friendship that started at birth. Their grandfathers were friends. Their fathers were friends. They are friends. The next generation will find it harder to maintain that connection since the properties on which they farmed for generations are no longer in family hands.
They are vivid examples of what is happening to agriculture throughout Australia, the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. The average age of farmers has edged into the late fifties. Their children don’t want to farm. The only way they can retire is to sell the land.
There are encouraging signs in young people with a passion for the land, for growing food, for living with the rhythm of seasons. But the vast majority of farming operations, in terms of acreage and production, are in the hands of agribusiness, whose eyes stay fixed on profits while their degradation of land, air, and water and misuse of animals continue largely unchecked.
OK, kicking out my soapbox and heading back to Port Elliot, we had the best fish and chips I can remember right here in this little (2000 year-round population) seaside village.
The Flying Fish is named for a two-master that foundered during PE’s brief period as a shipping port. I don’t know what goes into their light, crunchy batter, but they have learned the secret of turning butterfish and potatoes into an addictive feast. Sharing the salty morsels with long-time friends of David, Jeannette and Robin made the meal all the more delicious.
Lest we slip from a run of calorie-heavy days, we drove out to the Glacier Rock Café Sunday, the first of February, for a Devonshire tea.
The setting is the site of a glacial erratic discovered by geologist A.R.C. Selwyn in 1859. One of the largest in the world, the glacier-scratched rock is 500 million years old and was left behind by the glacial ice sheet that covered the South Coast 250 million years ago.
A parrot played hide and seek in the gums, successfully eluding my attempts to get a close shot. This was the best I could do, considerably cropped.
The unfamiliar face is Tony Jarman, the youngest of the three Jarman brothers.