Friday, January 2, 2009

My Summer Holiday

They were one of those couples I imagine indulge in subversive sexual practices. All that was missing were the neck braces and the wife suckling a piglet way past its weaning age. I write 'imagine' coz I don't really want to find out, I just enjoy projecting thoughts like that onto unsuspecting happy campers who epitomise the nuclear family daydream.
Jaded? Not me! There are some strange people out there, guys. There's no better way to find this out than to go camping for a few days on a sun drenched beach, blown to bits by the easterly, sharing a drop dunny with forty or fifty other punters, all of whom are determined to see out 2008, whether 2008 likes it or not.

It gets a bit like tenement housing around the salmon camps this time of year. Things become positively Dickensian in our deep south paradise, especially when the toilet fills to the brim and wafts its ripe aroma around the cooking fires.

The ranger is absent. There are no 'interpretive plaques'. Tick.
There's a bunch of teenage p-platers next door, busy gidgying inedible fish and stoking up their bonehead bull mastiffs. They are nice. They took some of our empty beer cans and plastic bottles back to their camp.

There's cooked chook and blood-soaked watermelon and coleslaw and chops in the esky. Tick.

There's a couple of crusties, all thorny toes and wrinkled ochre knees. 'Sunbirds' who fish all day, play 6VA on their car radio and give the kids party poppers and whistles for New Year.

Then there's the snooty school mums in their new Landbruisers, whom we don't like and only ever choose to hang out with in the real world when our children are too young to just drop at birthday parties and run.
There's the other crescendo of teenagers, hurling around an axe in a world record attempt at drunken wood chopping, to the strains of doof doof and breaking glass.

There's the Mexican festival of inebriated guitar-playing derelicts staggering across the dunes, stopping occasionally for a 'little rest' in the soft, soft sand, and then invading en masse somebody else's modest New Year bonfire, crossing arms with them all and insisting on singing Auld Lang Syne. (Oh, hang on, that was us.)

Past BeachCamp Neighbours of Note.

There was the good wife who knitted beanies for a living and home-schooled their peer-starved only child. The husband killed sheep.
Things began to get strange after the smoke did a few circuits. "I know where there's some sheep," said Hubby. He got out his knives and left for an hour.
During his absence, his wife quizzed me on my relationship with my friends there. She was one of those people who just won't listen once their mind is decided and sniffily told me that she thought it highly inappropriate that I was married to so many men all at once. Her knitting needles fairly clacked with disapproval.
Hubby returned with a sheep of dubious origin that he proceeded to butcher in front of us, in the most inept and macabre fashion I have ever witnessed. It was getting close to midnight. Limbs, bits of wool and strips of fat and flesh dangled from the carcass. These bits he'd slash at with an intensity that flagged with time (even though he held a knife in each hand), gripping a fag in his twisted little sphincter mouth, stopping only to neck more straight Bundy.
The baling twine broke. Mutton hit the dirt. He stayed up the rest of the night, muttering, shouting and guarding his kill from the dogs.

There was the Magpie Man, doing laps of the continent in his orange Kombi with a pet magpie and a broken anvil in the back. He told tale after tale and not many were true, most were probably lies but he held me in thrall and I think that is the point.

There was Pricilla, queen of the vision quest, who disappeared for days up Mount Manypeaks, found her way to the iconic nipple and met her Familiar, returning craggier and more spaced out than ever.

There was the couple who arrived at Cosy Corner for the local square dancing convention. Their caravan had - electric stove, electric lights, electric television and dvd player. Oh and did I mention the electric hot water system? They hated us because we tried very hard to make more noise than their thumping fucking genny, it whoomped all night. On the ground. On a piece of corrugated iron. We failed.

I could go on and on. Yes. Pauly. I was never sure whether Pauly was Aboriginal or Lebanese but he talked like those guys from Pizza, so he was most likely the latter. That urban, toothless, snakey flatterer, one eye on me and the other scanning our camp.

There was the old man at Cosy, who spent weeks there recovering from an intestinal disease he'd caught during his ten month stay with a family in Brazil. He sat perfectly upright in his Coaster bus all day and just looked out to sea. When we finally got to talk to him, he made the kid's eyes bulge at the photos of those Rio Mardi Gras women. He was kind, he told lots of stories and I think they were plausible.

And the Subversive Sexual Practices Couple? Well that was another outrageous Sarah Toa hook, I'll admit. He was actually a mortgage financier from Sydney, fleeing the carnage that he could well have helped perpetuate, driving with his family to out-of-the-way places in their black Mercedes four wheel drive. Quiet places, anywhere out of mobile phone range.
His wife was a handsome sort with impossibly gorgeous breasts, quite probably a product of the pre-economic meltdown. And no, she wasn't suckling a piglet. Sorry.


  1. Fascinating bunch but not my idea of a holiday - more like a mission to the nuthouse. Or probably more likely just a representative bunch of the society we live in.

  2. Makes me want to go camping!

    Aw you know the rich can afford to get freakier than the rest of us, they can carry out their peccadilloes in private, behind big walls in leafy burbs and therapists and lawyers will clean up the mess....

    I almost ended up on the jury for the guy from Denmark who in a speed/booze induced frenzy half hacked his mates head off with an axe and then stabbed him 30 odd times for good measure. He decided a plausible cover for the blood in the kitchen was slaughtering a sheep and smearing the
    blood round the house.

    ' yeah , I was just killing a lamb your onour an it got loose and fucken, sorry beg your pardon your onour, it was runnin round the kitchen, and I clobbered it with the axe to stop it , yeah to stop it'

    ' and Mr Hack you were doing this at, let me see, 2.30am on Saturday night. '

    ur... yeah that's right your onour'

    maybe he was your camping companion?

    Actually i wouldn't have been much good as a juror anyhow cause when they bought him out and placed him the dock, I took one look and thought.....


    He was an axe murderer if i have ever seen one!

    great stuff, gotta love the mexicans!

  3. Oh how fun the camping grounds are at this time of the year.. I shared a beach last night about ten cars in the space of 500m...

    Got really interesting when some well tanned guys bogged a 100 series below the hightide line.. We watched on and the waves crashed up the sides of the doors :).... "What do you mean. Let the tires down"

  4. Sounds like a cosy corner...gotta watch out for the sargeant ants but, their pincers hurt when they bite your bum when your bogging in the bush... cause the caravanners make the dunnies stink, makes you take risks with ants, snakes and worse...

  5. "Then there's the Mexican festival of inebriated guitar-playing derelicts - oh hold on, that was us"

    One time i went camping with some derelicts way out of town at a festival in Cue. We lit a bonfire and had The Granites all to ourselves - until, late at night, a big four wheel drive pulls up and camps not 100m away. We are INDIGNANT! Damn them! we shout. All this space in this endless outback, and they have to set up right next to us, with their kids and all. We hit the Irish whiskey hard and turn the cd player up full bore in the rented Toyota. I'm a bit worried about flattening the battery on this shiny new automatic, but my friend reassures me, it'll be fine. What the hell - drink more Irish whiskey! Let's sing along to Iggy Pop! Think they'll camp next to us, do they?

    Sheepish, in the morning, when we ask these brazen interlopers for a jumpstart - only to find they've been camped there all week.

  6. Sarah,
    You just made me piss myself. Oh how that me reminds me of my camping trips Thanks for the laugh. I have just started wrighting blogs because of you. Ceck out THE DRAGONS LAIR tell me what I am doing wrong CHEERS D.ragon