I suppose the irony is that while I was listening to RN's 'you will never have to leave your home again', I was driving the 150 kilometres out to Pallinup to catch fish that I would drive back to Albany and put on a truck to Perth, to be auctioned at the markets and sent back to the supermarkets in my home town.
While out at Pallinup I decided to take a drive east to my Kundip shack. I needed to drop off a load of wood and planned on having some lunch, a read and a little sleep in the lovely bed I'd built, to get back in time to set nets with Old Salt.
Turning off at the Jerry roadhouse is always like stepping off a jetty for me. At that point, I'm leaving and civilisation drops away. Radio reception dies and the road stretches into a few hundred kilometres of paddocks and bitumen.
I passed a red scooter, loaded up with fishing buoys, sleeping bags, backpacks and tents on the roadtrain highway, the rider looking grimly ahead. As I flew by the scooter, I was thinking, man, that is brave. Crazy brave. I began thinking about the two people I know who have ridden bicycles across the country, how unexpectedly urbane they are in their present lives considering their adventures. I thought this scooter rider must have been one of those Japanese blokes; sunburnt, strident, tenacious.
When I arrived at my shack, I walked around the place as I always do. Someone had lit a fire there.
Other folk had decided to move in.
That last photograph is not that great. It's a 'snap and run' shot. Black bees have moved into my shack. They've built four or five hives in the place. Honey and pollen were running down the windows. I was truly outraged! But the honey comb, oh boy, that stuff smells so yummy.
So, how to tell the bees to leave? Politely?
I drove back to Pallinup and talked to the other fishermen. They've had shacks around this coast for generations. Unruly said, "Talk to Grievous' Bro. He loves bees."
Grievous' Bro walked into the camp. It turns out he's a bit ambivalent about bees.
"Get some flea bombs. Pour diesel over the hives," was his advice. "We got back to our herring shack one year and there were twelve beehives in there. Diesel is the only way to deal with them. You've just gotta kill them."
I'm quite devastated that my shack has been commandeered by bees. On the road back to Pallinup that day I was feeling cranky and needing the close comfort of a pest control confidant. It turned out there was an entirely different epiphany lurking. I pulled into the Jerry roadhouse and the red scooter I'd seen before my aparian odyssey was parked out the front. This bike was a crazy mix of visionary/fisher/traveller. Then I saw the South Australian plates.
I walked in and bought a coffee credit. Apart from the smiling Irish attendant, there was only one other person in the place. She was little, tousled, young. She looked tired. She had her ears hooked to her lap top. She sat at a table at the far side of the room. I waved at her and she took out her earbuds.
"Did you just ride that scooter across the Nullabor?"
She nodded. "Yes. Yes, I did."
She looked like she was about fifteen. I stared at her. She stared back. Both of us were quiet.
Finally I blurted, "I am so fucking impressed."
Shy, awed, I pressed the 'flat white' button on the machine, made a coffee and then I left for Pallinup.