Everyone appears to blend effortlessly into its low-key, leisurely way of life. Time scurries away like a furtive squirrel. Everyone seems to know everyone. People there are so, well . . pleasant. It feels as if stress isn't part of the vocabulary there.
After arriving on Flinders Island the day before; moved into our lovely little cottage on the beach right away, and nothing could have prepared us for the immensity of a predicted forthcoming storm.
We could feel the wind as it roared up the beach to us and everything that surrounded us. The trees started to creak ominously. It was dark. The gravel road shone uncertainly in front of us, minimally lit by a feeble street light.
We set out on the short walk up to the pub, our planned source of an evening meal. As we rounded a slight corner, we'd stepped right in the middle Flinders Island's storm of the century.
Gasping, we had to enter the pub through the side door, as it was impossible to open the front one. Inside were a few quite amused and calm regulars, still determinedly drinking at the bar. Many pails were set about, catching the stream of water coming from the ceiling.
Wait a bit ... this was a double-story building! How could that be?
Later I realised that the entire second story of the hotel had been pushed back by the wind.
"How can they just sit there?"
And oh my ... the food!
This became a daily highlight of our month-long stay on the island. The food is more than good. The menu offered substantial portions, presented with flair and generosity. After one tasty meal, home cooking didn't seem quite as wonderful any more. Later, we leapt at any excuse to eat at this source of a veritable bonanza of prawns, steak, lamb shanks and wallaby. The veggies were great too, and the desserts ... Mmmm!
Replete with nourishment and satisfying conversation with new Flinders friends we struggled our way back home, intermittently stopping and equally suddenly being helplessly propelled along according to the vagaries of the gale gusts. In the morning we awoke big-eyed to the sounds of wind whistling around us, and the occasional crash of trees meeting their demise.
We tried to accept the disturbance around us with aplomb, although it was a bit unnerving to watch large tree boughs tear off from their trunks, and huge she-oaks fly through the air like projectiles.
There really wasn't anyone to talk to at that point, and it looked as though the gusts of wind would carry on indefinitely.
Perhaps this was normal for an island situated on the fortieth parallel we decided. We certainly had no wish to behave like tourist wimps if that was the case.
Cheerfully hopping into our car, we turned onto the road. The wind continued to roar around us, and our vehicle swayed sympathetically as it was buffeted from all sides.
We looked uncertainly at each other a few times, but resolutely carried on towards our mission. I was the driver, and congratulated myself several times as we narrowly avoided the numerous tree pieces, either on the road, or directly attacking us from the air.
Nice adventure, we told ourselves, with somewhat shaky smiles.
Our trusty vehicle slithered with alarming wilfulness from the centre, where I strove to keep it, towards the edges, and the definitely frightening drops in the terrain there. In Canada we use snow tires in the winter, and summer tires in the summer. I pondered very briefly, in these moments of high anxiety, whether mud tires, if there is such a thing, should be used on Flinders island.
By then I knew how tough these people were.
This was unlike any other Sunday drive I had experienced.
I noticed with relief that there were three other cars in the visitors parking lot.
"Pull yourself together!" was my self-directed order.
After we had managed to brave the wind and stagger inside, an immaculately dressed lady greeted us and sold us tickets. She explained that the viewing might be somewhat curtailed as one of the doors had come off, and there was some concern that exhibits might fly out!
They showed mild interest as they looked up from their task at us, and our bedraggled state. "Bit heavy out there," remarked one to us, with droll understatement.
Our trip back to the cottage was equally adventurous. By this time there were electrical repairs going on at different poles that we passed.
Part three coming soon!
We're down to the wire for Halloween now, and if you're doing any last minute entertainment you might like to fit in some Pumpkin Pielets! They're delicious and easy to make, and a recipe is available for them in this past Monday's edition of Food Therapy. (Link's embedded for you!)
They're sure to be a hit with grown ups and goblins alike!
Wishing you a beautiful, relaxing and peaceful weekend!