|View from Fig Tree Point|
This was one of those fill in days when you are having a road holiday: one of those days when you’d rather be somewhere else but you have to be where you are, so you make the most of it.
We dropped the van off for repairs a little after 8:30am and then took off exploring the area around Morisset, area which almost exclusively had water views. It took us a little while but we eventually found a small beach near Fig Tree Point. It was sort of nice but it wasn’t until I sulked and sat on a park bench by myself because Sue had a conversation with a couple of locals, that we finally found a really charming place.
Shingle Splitters Point at Balcolyn, is a delightful reserve for families, right at the entrance to Bonnells Bay. Alfred Sara built the original house here in the early 1900’s, from slabs cut from local timber. In fact, that local timber, the casuarinas which line the shore of Lake Macquarie, was perfect for the cutting of shingles used for roofing in pre-corrugated iron days. It wasn’t that the casuarinas were in more plentiful supply on the point but the locality offered safe anchorage and made the transportation of the timber so much easier.
The earliest land grants stemmed back as far as 1881.
Today, it is a broad section of grassed areas, with casuarinas still the dominant tree species but eucalypts emerging above them. Water activities dominate, even on a windy spring day, when at least one ski boat and one jet ski were operating. We walked along the north eastern foreshore – a wide grass verge which separates the shore from the houses built next to the lake. The character of residents shows on the strip between house and shore, with seats and bush bbq’s and several old dingies overturned and slowly whitening in the sun. The odd Norfolk Pine rises in triumph at it’s oddity, planted more than a hundred years before by Sara. Flowers have spewed out in wild escape from managed gardens and do the wild thing to varying degrees.
|Foreshore at Shingle Splitters Point|
We walked for an hour, there and back, baulked only by a magpie landing near me and causing a quickening of my pace.
After our walk, we settled in on the western shoreline of this narrow peninsular and ate lunch andtalked the talk of long term lovers: of things past and days present and of dreams to come.
During lunch, I fielded a call from Pam O’Brien, producer of the Richard Fidler’s “Conversations” on ABC Radio, asking permission to play the interview I recorded with the host last January. It was nice being able to answer her questions about my life in such positive tones.
After a long, language heavy lunch, we drove to the other side of Bonnells Bay, to the almost complete non-event of Dora Creek. A newsagent, a closed hair salon, fruit shop, gift/arts/craft shop and a creek which would be called a river anywhere else. I’m not sure what we expected but we didn’t find it there.
By late afternoon, a few simple shopping tasks became complicated by a lack of good local directions which had me driving 10kms in the opposite direction to the Bunnings I had enquired about.
We picked up the van. The water problems had been caused by small stones lodged in the tap, apparently flowing up from the water tank and passing through the pump. I was left wondering why there was no inline filter? The poles which had been lost when a door hinge dropped off the van between Glen Innes and Inverell and replaced by me, were not covered by warranty, even though they came with the van, even though they were stored where they were intended by design and even though they were lost by equipment failure. The poles had suddenly become “private property”. A bit like one of my Mum’s stews, this was a large grey area but there come times these days when I just shrug and walk away. I tire of the tedious battles which I used to think were so important they all had to be won.
Stocked up with food, all repairs completed and everything working (for now), its south now on our real holiday.