Byron Bay in Winter; Writers, Whales and Wallabies
Before we left Switzerland many of our friends made comments along the line of 'Won't it be hard going back to Australia in the middle of winter?'. We assured them it wouldn't be and it definitely hasn't been. We've been in Byron Bay since last Thursday. B/Bay is the easterly most situated town in Australia, famous for it's beaches, surfing lifestyle, the BB Blues Festival and as one of the must stop and do places for European backpackers.
|Mount Warning - my 'Yumba' (homeplace)|
|A writer meditates at the 'fat lady' sculpture|
I've been coming to this place since about 1957. In 1972 I lived here for six months and worked at the now defunct Anderson's Meatworks. After working three days a week at Anderson's I would hang out with my five cousins, surf and get up to all sorts of mischief that I no longer subscribe to. Jo and I have been coming here for a week long holiday every year since 2001 (not including the two years we were in Switzerland). Before going to Switzerland we would both say Byron Bay was our favourite holiday lifestyle destination. After spending two years flying all around Europe and seeing some amazing places I would have to admit this place still feels like home to me and I would still rank it at number one.
|Jessica Watson - an 18 y.o. legend - sailed single handedly around the world 2 years ago - a study in courage|
|Looking back to Byron Bay from The Pass on our morning walk|
At this moment of blogging, the sun is setting behind Mount Warning like a honeymoon photo, about thirty kilometres to the north west. The skyline is a warm ochre, the ocean at our feet lapping out a sweet, continuous and calming melody in blue. I'm sitting here in my board shorts and thongs (in Australia we wear then on our feet where they usually fit better). Jo is entranced beside me scratching out a new kid's story in the old fashioned, inky method on parchment. A kilometre to the north, the lights of the town hug the ocean like a Rainbow Serpent.
|This is the Humpback Whale that had moved way off-shore|
I was born in the shadow of Mount Warning some sixty years ago. My great-grandfather originally settled in this area in the 1890's and I think that explains my sense of home whenever I can see the carved outline of Mount Warning's volcanic plug. I've wandered in and out of this country all my life.
Before we left Switzerland to come back home Jo and I made a decision to attend the Byron Bay Writer's Festival which is held during the first weekend in August. It was a good call. After spending four weeks getting our cottage in Witta up to speed it was amazing (to overuse the word yet again) to soak up three days in the sun with a couple of thousand like-minded travellers. We sat in on an endless program that overflowed with a diverse and eclectic array of authors and writers who passionately shared their ideas through forums, discussions and debates. Not only were we rewarded with a whole range of challenging ideas and opinions but also introduced to a couple of bags of new books that are now having turns at sitting comfortably between our fingers. In addition we had the opportunity to meet some of these writers in more casual situations and increase our understanding of the creative process.
|Children's author Andy Griffiths of 'The Day my Bum Went Psycho' fame- kids just love him|
|Jo leading the way along Clarkes Beach|
|Pandanus Palm fruit|
On the last day of the festival, at the last discussion session I attended, funnily enough called 'Small World', I was reeled in by the words spoken by Arnold Zable. Arnold is a compassionate and insightful, Australian writer. After the session ended I walked and talked with him over to the book signing tent and found the voice in me that I have been looking for to complete the manuscript I have been working on for Lubna, my beautiful, young Libyan friend.
So now we have a couple of days reading, writing and sunning before we pick up 'Magic' our white rabbit and our 'magic' drawing board. Then it's back to the hills of Maleny to work on our new 'magic' shows for kids and enjoy all the good that surrounds us (and that includes the 24 celsius warm winter degrees).
And by the way. I've realised that I am truly more content up to my ankles in soft, warm, squeaky sand than I am up to my bum in freezing, cold snow.
Love and blessings
|A late winter afternoon Byron style|