Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture in Harvey

Great excitement this weekend as of course Saturday was not just any old Saturday; this Saturday was Rapture Day!  By 6pm I had the dishes done and the house nice and tidy just in case.  6pm came and went and nothing happened.  I sat down and watched Dr Who with the children instead, which was nice. 

On Sunday morning I wondered whether it was actually supposed to happen at 6pm Saturday in Mr Camping's hometown.  This would give us a few more hours of normalcy; what a shame to spend those hours doing laundry and going to Open Homes. This might be our last chance to get out and explore this fascinating part of the world.  An outing was obviously in order, but where to go?

Today I grabbed my folder labelled "Harvey - not the boy".  There are a lot of Harvies around these parts. Harvey is a town, a food bowl farming region, a river, an estuary, a dairy company, an orange juice company, a cheese factory and many more things besides.  In my folder I'd stashed maps, brochures and clippings about that town and region and today we set off on a Rapture Day Sunday drive to Harvey.
I believe there is a real art to concocting the perfect Sunday drive.  According to me, they must:
- not involve too much driving and preferably be a loop route,
- be to places that are actually worth getting off the couch to see,
- include a variety of sights and activities of interest to all participants,
- cater to the individual requirements of all participants (e.g. constantly hungry, require scenic car-sickness stops), and
- cater to the differing abilities of all participants (can't walk, can't walk far, dream of walking fast for two hours without stopping).  
According to my father Sunday drives also had to include a stop at at least one major feat of engineering.  According to my mother they also had to include an enormous Tupperware container of carsandwiches. (I'm not mocking.  I love carsandwiches.)

Harvey township is only 77 picturesque kms from Mandurah and the journey is through countryside filled with farms, vineyards and orchards.
Our first stop was The Big Orange at Harvey River Bridge Estate winery.  How could we resist?
Then off to Harvey Dam;  my father would be proud.  A damned fine dam it is too with a lovely picnic area, a superscenic walk to the top of the dam, the cutest little amphitheatre in the South West and the tidiest public toilets I've ever seen.
Next stop was the tourist precinct.  There we saw some beautifully maintained historic buildings, various tributes to May Gibbs who lived in Harvey for a couple of years, some pretty gardens and a shop selling a huge assortment of cow ornaments.  The member of our party who is allergic to tweeness did a top job of keeping it seemly. 
Finally we headed out into the wopwops for the main reason we went to this neck of the woods and the reason we'll go back; this time of the year is perfect for bush walking. 
The bushland we walked through was blackened from a fire but full of plants that have a "yeah, yeah, whatever" attitude to fire.  Fresh green foliage was bursting through the blackened trunks.
The more I see of the Australian bush the more I love it.  The plants and colours and textures are beautiful. 
By the end of our walk none of our party had rapturously disappeared though by now some felt in danger of fading away through hunger.  We drove back towards Mandurah via a different route and at 3.40pm stopped for lunch in the town of Waroona.  I figured that what with Rapture and the Apocalyse coming we could lay off our usual lentils and chickpeas and eat whatever we liked.  Delish burgers at Dizzy's Diner hit the spot.
We drove home through low wintry sunshine.  When we got home Harvey the boy walked Tammy the dog, whose owner is very holy but thankfully still here too.  I cooked dinner and drank a glass of Harvey wine.  The children watched Merlin then helped their father with the dishes. 

No rapture today, which was nice.

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