A few weeks ago, Viv and I held a housewarming with a somewhat unusual theme- Hillbilly, Leather or Lace. I had written a short speech to deliver, but the evening moved so fast the opportunity did not eventuate, so here are some excerpts.
Viv and I would like to welcome all you hillbillies. Unfortunately our families, other than our son Jay, are not able to attend and Lisa, our daughter, is now studying in Chilli. My parents, Bev & Jack will never get to see our new piece of paradise and Viv’s parents, John & Barbara, now in their 80’s, are unfit to travel from the eastern states. They have been great role models for us and so we would like you to toast to them in their absence.
The Gracetown and surrounding community has been wonderful to us since our arrival in 1987, arriving the day we lost the America’s Cup. We have never taken for granted the experiences and opportunities that have come our way and would like to acknowledge some wonderful Gracetown community members and organisations. Firstly, Jan/Bruce Macaulay and John/Jan James for their tireless efforts in all things Gracetown. David Martin for his Progress Association role, Vic Fitzsimmons for his coordination of the annual Gracetown September family reunions and Aaron MacFarlane for taking on the Gracetown Swimming Pontoon project.
The Gracetown Bush Fire Brigade members, ably led by Pete Delfs and the Gracetown Tennis Club. Even though you rarely see us at tennis now, I am proud my name is on the club championship board even though some years I was the only competitor in my division. Then, of course, a Group very close to my heart, the Margaret River Marine Rescue crew, now with Trish MacShane at the helm. We would also like to thank Don & Barbara Wilkie, previous owners of our property and now our closest neighbours. They sent their apologies, came to visit a day earlier with a lovely gift and ‘sanctioned’ a little bit of noise on the evening. And what about Arthur Armstrong, the real hillbilly of this area, who has provided much assistance to Viv and I? Once I ‘sift through the mist’ in our conversations, he is a wealth of knowledge on the land. Gary Berson also made an incredible seafood bouillabaisse for over forty people, with local produce of course. This, coupled with Victory Point wines, was the highlight of the evening.
Viv and I have fallen in love with this place, as many others have before us. We love history, bush and open spaces and this has it all. There is the original Gracetown surfers shack relocated here before the town was gazetted, Dudley’s old fishing shack and ‘bric a brac’ everywhere, including rusted old shovel heads and frying pans. One can only imagine the thousands of herring pan fried around a fire, back in the ‘good old days’. The place has provided Viv with an opportunity to display all her creative talents and she should have been a farm girl with the amount of rock she has ‘tunnel balled’ around the property. As for me, a man of the sea, I have had to learn many new skills, but boy I do love that chainsaw. A lovely couple from South Australia, Chris and Des, will be minding the property while Sea Soaring Marine heads north again for six months, so please make them feel welcome. Our first stop will be Karratha, but we intend to hide away in the bush for at least a few days before arriving there. Our facebook site will be regularly updated with photos and these weekly articles will continue while we are away. Hope winter is good to you all, with plenty of surfing and fishing days during the quieter months of the year.
To answer last week’s question, some chefs now cook their Dhufish fillets with the skin on, as a flavor enhancement. This week’s question is, ‘How old would you expect a Western Foxfish of 50cm to be?’