Today 28 February marks the end of our second month on the road. ¬†(It‚??s not a leap year, I checked.) ¬†Only 10 months to go... We‚??ll be back at a desk pushing paper before we know it. ¬†Or not.
Anyway on this fine day we find ourselves in coastal Victoria ‚?? Lakes Entrance, to be precise. ¬†¬†After a brisk 18 holes this morning we drove through from Narooma, on the New South Wales coast, some 500km away. ¬†And didn‚??t see one measly kangaroo. ¬†Despite the 65723 ‚??be careful of kangaroo‚?Ě road signs. ¬†It was like going to Disney world; seeing a dozen ‚??Mickey Mouse this way‚?Ě signs; and later learning that Mickey‚??s name is actually Sharon, and Sharon‚??s on maternity leave. ¬†A let down. ¬†Maybe the ‚??roos were too busy to be hopping across the highway for tourist amusement. ¬†Maybe February 28 is the day they have their AGM, somewhere in the bush. ¬†Who knows. ¬†Regardless, it was a huge great disappointment not to see at least one marsupial. ¬†Just gum trees, dirt and gypsies. ¬†¬†¬†
Lakes Entrance must be some kind of holiday town, because there are more motels, hotels, caravan parks and camp grounds here than the whole of New Zealand put together. ¬†It‚??s got a bit of a Forrest Gump feel about it. ¬†Haven‚??t seen Bubba yet. ¬†Although there are a stack of fishing boats, and we did meet a bloke at the local hotel who could have been Bubba's twin brother. ¬†This lad was entirely genuine though; he and his labourer mates had travelled 40 minutes for a beer from the site they were working on, bless 'em. ¬†A bit rough around the edges, these boys were, but they'll all have mothers that love them and in any case they had good chat. ¬†Who knows what they thought of us... ¬†¬†
Going back to those road signs ‚?? what on earth is with the tired driver signs here? ¬†Every 200 metres a sign asks you if you feel drowsy, or if you need a nap. ¬†‚??Have a powernap‚?Ě, you‚??re told. ¬†Reading the dam things makes me tired; it‚??s like holding a gun to your head and telling you you need life insurance. ¬†Madness. ¬†Anyway.
Rewind to this morning, to Narooma. ¬†Fortunately thunder and lightning didn‚??t show up to the party, just drizzle (which made the fairways greasier than this evening‚??s fish and chips, testing our cart driving skills). ¬†Mike and I shot round the first 6 holes by ourselves, a couple of which were spectacular. ¬†The 3rd hole ‚?? Hogan‚??s Hole (which takes its namesake from Paul Hogan ‚?? aka Crocodile Dundee ‚?? who featured in a Winfield cigarette shoot in the water below, some years ago) ‚?? lived up to its billing. ¬†From the 7th onwards we were joined by Joe, a colourful character from Tipperaray, who came to the antipodes in 1959. ¬†Joe turned up in his red, fully stickered up cart, but without clubs ‚?? so Mike asked whether he‚??d be playing. ¬†‚??Nooo, sure ye woodn‚??t be gud enuf fir me‚?Ě was the response, delivered with a charming Eire lilt. ¬†
The combination of Joe‚??s chat and fast wheels (a V8 petrol cart) was a winning one. ¬†The course was a ripper too, although after volatile weather conditions of late the fairways had seen better days. ¬†Who‚??d be a greenkeeper? ¬†Drought then monsoon. ¬†Monsoon then drought. ¬†How they had the greens in the condition they were remains a mystery as puzzling as the disappearance of the Marie Celeste, a feat as impressive as being able to touch your toes. ¬†Even Matt Cleary would‚??ve sunk a putt or two on ‚??em. ¬†
Peter Jones Club Captain joined us for our last few holes. ¬†Charming chap if ever there was one, only too happy to fill us in on what it means to be a Narooma local (spoiled) and point us in the right direction. ¬†After he turned up I managed two birdies, so I‚??ve brought him with me. ¬†Against his will. ¬†I haven‚??t really, but I could have, and Peter himself said he‚??d love to be doing what we‚??re doing. ¬†So the invitation remains open my dear friend, if you happen upon this ramble. ¬†
Michael and I were privileged enough to be looked after by Joe and Peter in the clubhouse (and met another brilliant man by the name of Ray, they‚??re everywhere in these parts). ¬†They loaded us up with burgers and ginger beer before sending us on our way, along the not-so-kangaroo-infested Princes Highway. ¬†What a pleasure it was to spend the morning with such colourful characters at such a hospitable club. ¬†Go to Narooma. ¬†And if you‚??re looking for somewhere to retire, to spend your last days playing golf, it‚??s only $500 a year and it‚??s a top 100 course in Australia and I‚??m sure the sun shines most of the time and the burgers are magic. ¬†
I have a question for all our Australian readers: when are you going to reclaim your country from the Mosquito Race? ¬†They seem to rule the roost around here, and I‚??d personally like to see the back of them. ¬†If I scratch my leg any longer I‚??ll be bone carving. ¬†Dam things. ¬†At the other end of my lifestyle magazine-esque ‚??Going up; Going down‚?Ě list are flathead tails a local delicacy pulled straight from the Tasman Sea for the dining pleasure of lucky locals and tourists. ¬†When in Rome logic prevailed at the fush n chup shop, Mike and I opting for 4 said tails and 18 kilos of salty chups. ¬†A food coma I may have, but a happy one. ¬†Try flathead tails if you get the chance. ¬†Leave the chups though.
Tomorrow morning we‚??ll rise and play at Lakes Entrance, which looks like a beastly track that might chew us poor unsuspecting Kiwis up and spit us out. ¬†Violently. ¬†Especially if the wind keeps blowing. ¬†For the moment we‚??ve retired to the Riviera Backpackers, who‚??ve most generously put us up for the night. ¬†Slick digs, for a backpackers. ¬†
See y‚??all in March. ¬†
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