Wednesday 4th October was both a usual and unusual Wednesday. I was in Dynnyrne having had TSO semi chorus the previous night and Gary was at the Venue opening up and preparing for the day’s meetings. But there was no enjoyably fresh walk for me to the TSO for meetings and Gary was thinking days beyond Wednesday. I was busy tidying up TSOC affairs so that the computer could be closed for four days and Gary was giving last minute instructions to Emma who would manage the business while we ‘surrounded Stanley’.
Needless to say we left Campbell Town a little later than discussed (11.30am) and not without tension and anxiety, but compiling a list of what I’d like to do on the way or way back filled the car with a new sort of energy and a familiar stopover in Elizabeth Town for coffee and then Devonport for two supermarkets settled the adrenalin, and set me up for the inevitable car sleep leaving Gary to drive through his thoughts uninterrupted and enjoy negotiating new roads.
We arrived at Beachside Retreat West Inlet just after 4pm and were agreeably welcomed at Reception, albeit by a woman who had welcomed too many guests in her shorter-hospitality-life than ours. Our cabin, Sandpiper, was just as the website had displayed and was immediately attractive. With the car unloaded, our provisions stored and gear sorted, the beach beckoned, and we followed the signs passing two other cabins – Oyster and Pelican – before clambering down the edge of a small dune alongside a running creek onto flat burnt cream coloured sand which stretched for miles. Looking ahead it seemed to change to a reddish colour, and we soon found millions of tiny crabs with pink legs and purple bulbous bodies. It was impossible not to tread on them. Crunch crunch. The tide was out and we followed the water’s edge of Western Inlet looking back over the dunes and finding the Nut peeping over the grassed sand dunes. We imagined that our research had told us we could walk right around to Stanley if we followed the coast, but we didn’t venture further, rather, with jumpers and jackets off and the warmth of the late afternoon sun making us smile – laugh even – we headed ‘home’ with not a care in the world: lime and chili salmon and mixed veg, Gary’s birthday Merlot, and conversation; maps and tomorrow.