Saturday, February 18, 2012
Summer holiday at our beach house
This summer we didn't go away for a summer holiday. This was partly to do with the fact that I had just started a new job and had to work part-time right through the school holidays, and partly to do with the fact that we already live at a summer holiday destination.
Truckloads of people come here for their summer holidays; many mornings we would wake to find a seemingly abandoned beach house in our street suddenly populated with boats, vehicles and holidaymakers. Shade sails went up, patio furniture went out, shutters were opened, barbeques were cranked up.
As my household relaxed into holiday mode suddenly our house felt like a beach house too. Days were spent waking late and hiding indoors from the heat. Sustenance came from homemade cold tea punch, iceblocks from the freezer and GYO meals. Our soundtrack featured the pounding of the sea, tinny cricket commentary from a neighbour's radio, the faint whir of the ceiling fan and favourite music. Occasionally an adult would brave the outdoors to water our new garden, being wary of the initial stream of scalding hot hose water. Then we'd retreat back indoors to cool air and lukewarm water from the cold tap. Hours slipped by as we read, played board games and read some more. My housemates developed and cured various computer-game addictions. I had no hope of getting near the computer to write.
By late afternoon, when the sun had lost its harshness, we would venture out for slow walks and sunset swims.
If you head west from our house, you will soon find this in the path. (Don't be fooled. There is no naked lesbian pool party. That arrow actually points into a snake-filled reserve which ends with sharp crumbling limestone cliffs which drop away into the ocean.)
Stick to the path, walk on a few more minutes and you will come to this sign. (Sadly the only snakes we have seen here were squashed on the road.)
Then you will arrive at this gorgeous stretch of coast.
We don't know if this patch has an official name but a well-named friend who lives a street over from us has named it Harvey's Bay. It is perfect for exploring rock pools when the tide is out and swimming when the tide is in.
Head slightly north of our house past this letterbox, which always makes me think of all the wonderful people I know in Christchurch,
and you get to this craggy coastline. Perfect for fishing, walking and sightseeing.
Head east from our house past this sign
and you quickly reach the Peel Inlet.
Perfect for walking, kayaking, crabbing and boating.
Head south from our house past this sign, which always makes me smile,
and you soon arrive at our favourite part of Mandurah's beautiful 52km coastline: fabulous Falcon Bay. It is always popular with the locals but in peak holiday season it gets packed.
It is perfect for boogie boarding or surfing when the surf is up or swimming out to the pontoon when it is calm. It is perfect for shaking off workday crapola at any time, but even so I'd still arrive home from work too written-out to fancy writing more.
Some days we would venture slightly further afield to one of Mandurah's other beaches: Madora Bay, San Remo, Silver Sands, Town Beach, Doddies, Blue Bay, Calypso or Avalon. Then we would all agree that while those beaches are lovely too, we still love Falcon Bay the most.
In the evenings we prepared simple fridge-to-plate dinners and sipped icy-cold cider. We'd throw the windows open and let the welcome sea-breeze in. Sweep the sandy lino and hang out the wet togs. Rinse off under a cold shower despite having plentiful scorching hot solar-heated water. Put the sofabed down, the spare mattress out and welcome a sleepover guest. I'd end the day too tuckered-out to write properly.
So head to bed to read to a soundtrack of the faint drone of a distant road, revs of courting motorbike frogs, laughter from a neighbourhood party and the flapping of gauzy linen curtains. Finish one book. Pick up the next one from the pile. Read until the wee small hours.
Do the same again the next day and the next day and the next. No packing and unpacking. No marathon drives. No beach house rental costs. Just a perfect summer holiday at our very own beach house.