19 August—21 August 2002
The following morning, Susie and I went into the GPO to collect the latest batch of materials from Sydney Distance Education Primary School. Susie and Jane then went op-shopping in the late morning. I stayed back at Jane’s place to help the kids with their schoolwork. When the shoppers returned, I served up re-heated veggie curry from the previous night. The kids did more schoolwork in the afternoon, and for dinner Jane cooked some tofu with vegetables and rice, Javanese style.
After dinner we all watched videos. First we watched Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café. After the kids went to bed, Jane, Susie and I watched a David Lynch film called Mulholland Drive. It was deeply troubling and confusing. I absolutely loved it. It kept me awake half the night. I finally hit on an interpretation that I was happy with, and only after that was I able to fall asleep. God knows what time it was. I love movies that make you think.
The next day we went on a day trip to Victor Harbour. Jane stayed at home to recover from an infection that was rapidly causing her to lose her voice.
Our first stop was The Bluff, just west of the main township. From this vantage point we enjoyed the magnificent views of the town, the harbour, and the coastline to the west. In the distance we could see a storm dropping showers of rain over the cliffs and out to sea. Ruby and Clare climbed the granite outcrops and admired the view.
Our next stop was the South Australian Whaling Centre, which had many exhibits on the marine life of the area and on the history of whaling. We then drove to Port Elliott, and had some rather greasy pasties for lunch. We drove out to a small reserve with a view of the ocean and sat in the shelter of the car and ate our lunch. Even though the food was lousy, the view was great.
After lunch we drove up the road to Middleton and watched the southern right whales basking in the waters of the bay. There were three adult female whales and their calves. It’s a real treat to see these giants of the sea rolling around, especially considering they were almost wiped out entirely by the whaling industry.
After our sojourn with the whales, we drove back to Victor Harbour and walked out along the jetty to Granite Island and took the 45 minute walk around the island. We saw three penguins tucked away in their little nest holes. Clare was in one of her chatty moods and almost talked my legs off as we walked. We stopped at the far end of the island to buy the kids an icy pole and a lemonade drink at the kiosk. We sat by the water admiring the beautiful view, late afternoon sun on rolling green hills, and the steel grey water of the harbour.
We stopped at an op shop and made a few purchases including two lovely woollen blankets that will hopefully keep us warm for the next few weeks. Finally we drove 80 km back to Adelaide. On the way home we were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets we have seen on the trip to date – and that’s saying something.
When we got back to Adelaide, we paid a quick visit to the local supermarket, and then bottle shop, and then went back to Jane’s place. We all enjoyed a tasty dinner of Dory fillets, potato and broccoli.
The next day we went on a day trip to the Barossa Valley with Jane. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and it wasn’t too cold or windy. We drove through the Adelaide Hills and stopped at Tanunda, a picturesque little town with a different church for each different Lutheran sect in the district (!) We spent most of our time pottering around a junk shop, and then another junk shop, and another. On our way out of town we bought some food for lunch, and then drove onto Seppeltsfield, where we had lunch in a pretty park adjoining the Seppeltsfield Winery. Afterwards we went on a tour of the winery. It was a brief but fascinating glimpse into another world. Susie and Jane tasted some wines after the tour, while I snooped around the showroom.
After Seppeltsfield, we stopped at another smaller winery in Nuriootpa called Elderton’s. Susie and Jane did some more tasting while I eavesdropped on the spoken interaction. I was fascinated by the mixed messages and subtle manipulation that was coming from the other side of the counter
After our visit to Elderton it was time to drive back to Adelaide. We took the main highway rather than retracing our steps back through the hills. When we got back into town, the girls had a bath and Jane went off to Gamelan practice.
Our final day in Adelaide was largely dedicated to school work. Susan and Jane took Ruby and Clare op-shopping while I cleaned out the car and packed stuff away. For the rest of the day I supervised Ruby’s basic skills test and assisted Clare in the breaks. Susie managed to restrain her acquisitive impulses at the op shop and returned with only a pair of shorts for Ruby. She also picked up some supplies at the supermarket, as we would be leaving Adelaide the next morning. Susie cleaned the outside of the car, and in the evening, Jane cooked a delicious spinach pie with roast vegetables, and her girlfriend, Hermina, came to dinner.
We had heard much about Hermina but had never met her. She was a Dutch immigrant and was also an artist. We had seen some of her work at Jane’s place, including a shoulder bag that had been skilfully knitted out of plastic shopping bags cut into strips. Hermina herself was a short, slim greying woman in her 50s. She was reserved at first but warmed to us during the evening, especially to the kids with whom she was a real hit. While Jane was preparing the dinner, Hermina helped Ruby and Clare make clothes for Ashlee (Clare’s teddy bear), including a cute raincoat.
After dinner we all sat up chatting around the dinner table. The kids eventually went off to bed, and then Susan too. Jane, Hermina and I sat up talking until after midnight. I enjoyed drawing Hermina out, getting her to tell the story of how she came to Australia. This took some hours and was very entertaining. After that I told her a condensed version of my father’s story, which Hermina enjoyed. My father was also a Dutch-speaking immigrant to Australia, and there were many similarities between their two stories.