Tag Archives: Home & Away

Beached Yacht, Ettalong, NSW, Australia.

This afternoon while walking the dogs, we spotted the wreck of a yacht beached upon the sand. Of course, it immediately caught my attention, and I wished I’d brought my camera with me. Wrecks make for great for photography. So, after our walk, I dropped our son and his mate home, and headed back with the camera and Geoff. We’ve been living here for over 15 years, and this is only the first yacht wreck I can recall. Initially, I didn’t know how long it had been out there. The entire hull was missing, while the mainsail was still tied around the mast and our son, (AKA Popeye Junior) noticed the pump was still in situ. Seems that wasn’t enough to save it’s life, or perhaps there was no one on board to perform CPR when tragedy struck.

I don’t know much about yachts, but this one looked a little on the mature side and, as I said, the hull was missing. Indeed whatever had happened to it, it was clearly an “insurance job”, although my husband joked to other walkers that it would be a “challenging restoration project”. As a car enthusiast, my husband has a few of these in our backyard.

Of course, the questions were mounting. Where did it come from? How did it get there? As boat owners ourselves, I naturally felt sorry for whoever owned it. While it wasn’t the latest and greatest, the little blue yacht could well have been someone’s pride and joy. Equally, it could well be like most of the boats out there on their moorings. I might onlyly get out once a year, and spend most of it’s time entertaining the sea gulls.

It was right on dusk when we turned up, and there was the usual scattering of dog and power walkers moving a long the beach and adjacent promenade. Many stopped and paid their respects to the poor little yacht, taking photos and also wondering what had happened. There was a night of strong wind and rain two days ago, which could’ve washed it up , but where did it come from? Where is home?

Eventually, we spoke to some walkers who’d seen it out sailing on the weekend. They’d also been there earlier in the day and had seen the hull washed up on the sand at low tide. However, the tide had come in since then and reclaimed it and as the tide rushed in, I couldn’t help wondering what if anything would be left of it tomorrow.

I’ll have to pop back and see and keep my ears open. There’s no such thing as private around here, and no doubt words gone round the sailing club…or maybe not.

Has anything mysterious happened near your place lately? Please share in the comments.

xx Rowena

Ettalong Beach is located 86 kms North of Sydney and is a half hour ferry ride from Palm Beach where they film Home & Away. You can see Whale Beach Headland, Palm Beach and Lion Island in the background of the featured image as you scan from left to right.

Map from Ettalong Beach, New South Wales 2257 to Palm Beach, New South Wales 2108

PS I forgot about a possible Home & Away connection for our beached yacht. Do you think Alf sunk the boat and has gone missing? Not sure of any of the other current characters, but Alf has to be immortal by now.

Home & Away

Home & Away

Portrait of a Lady.

Apologies to Henry James! This is a portrait of quite a different Lady.

You see, Lady is our new dog and I’m sure she wasn’t the sort of “lady” novelist Henry James had in mind in his Portrait of a Lady. However, it’s always good to revisit an old classic and add a fresh spin. Mind you, after getting to know Lady a little better, I’m starting to wonder whether Daniel Defoe’s novel: Moll Flanders would have been a more appropriate choice. As much as I don’t expect Lady to be ladylike, after all that’s a very old-fashioned view of women (even female dogs), a bit of added restraint might be in order.

Two weeks ago, we welcomed our new dog Lady, a two year old Border Collie x Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into our family almost with the excitement of a new baby. If you’re not an animal lover, this comparison might seem a bit over the top. However, I challenge you to look deep into those adorable chocolate brown eyes and not fall head over heels in love with our little bundle of joy. I’d be very surprised. Lady is simply irresistible and even better…she doesn’t cry or put us through those dreadful sleepless night either! The perfect baby!

However, the grandparents don’t share our uber-joy about our new arrival. They are yet to photograph Lady and certainly haven’t emailed half the universe proudly announcing the new arrival. Moreover, my mother hasn’t started knitting dog jumpers either…not that she’d knitted anything for the kids so I can’t accuse her of bias. The one concession that my mother has made to the dogs has been bringing over little scraps of ham in what we call “Grandma’s hambag”. Just like lollies with kids, the ham is an instant hit and the dogs never bark when my mother turns up. They both adore her.

Bilbo our 8 year old Border Collie who naturally behaves himself despite Lady's antics.

Bilbo our 8 year old Border Collie who naturally behaves himself despite Lady’s antics.

This lack of enthusiasm for the latest addition to our family wasn’t just confined to the grandparents. Not unsurprisingly, Bilbo our 8 year old Border Collie didn’t share our enthusiasm either and greeted her with a growl. For a few days, there was quite a standoff between them but there’s something about being stuck in a lift or in the same backyard that draws you together in the long run. After a few week’s together, they have now become “the dogs” and mostly hang out together. They have even survived the long drive to Palm Beach without a growl in a very cramped car.

The real odd couple. This Lady with her Dad..a ruby cavalier.  Lady actually looks more like Bilbo. Her mother was the Border Collie part of the equation.

The real odd couple. This Lady with her Dad..a ruby cavalier. Lady actually looks more like Bilbo. Her mother was the Border Collie part of the equation.

When you look at Lady and Bilbo together, they don’t immediately strike you as the quintessential odd couple. After all, they do look very much like each other. They’re both black and white with varying degrees of fluffiness. However, their temperaments are quite different.

The dogs out walking.

The dogs out walking.

Bilbo is a rather shy, nervy and introverted dog who takes a long time to warm up, even to regular visitors at our home. He’s become very protective and I know that my ongoing health struggles have stressed him out. Moreover, he didn’t get out all that much for awhile there. This means that he isn’t all that comfortable around other dogs and I’m still not really sure that Bilbo acknowledges that he’s a dog himself. To make matters worse, a dog roughed him up a bit and that set him back as well.

Meanwhile, Lady is your classic extrovert. Go walking with her and it takes at least twice as long to get anywhere. It’s a bit like when you drive a Kombi or some other iconic vehicle and everyone keeps stopping you in the street. Except with us, it’s Lady making herself at home with everyone she meets. Just like me, she is what you’d describe as uber-friendly. I’m constantly apologizing for her enthusiastic intrusions into other people’s space. The upside is that I’ve been meeting quite a lot of people and feeling quite at home in our adopted neighbourhood.

Despite knowing all of this, our walk today was still quite an experience and full of the unexpected.

Ever the social butterfly, Lady invited herself to a couple of picnics and was jumping up on total strangers just assuming they would fall completely head over heels in love with her and didn’t mind a strange dog intruding on their space. You know what dogs are like around food and I couldn’t be sure that she wouldn’t help herself but while I was still getting my head around that situation, she’d moved on.

I’m sure I’d only blinked but when I looked up. There she was up by the road jumping into a stranger’s car. I was absolutely mortified and I’m sure I almost stopped breathing. Thank goodness, she hadn’t strayed into a gang of dognappers. It was just a carload of backpackers who, like yours truly, had made the mistake of buying a Mitsubishi Magna and had broken down. Now, they had Lady leaping up into the car waging and wagging her tail. She just lapped up all the attention. Apparently, Lady just can’t get enough.

It’s great that she’s so friendly but we don’t want to lose her. Don’t know how I’m going to have the stranger-danger talk with a dog but I guess that’s what leads are for. However, it’s been almost beautiful watching her running free and she just loves jumping up and down the sea walls which are about 2 metres high. She’s a real little canine dynamo and such a happy, happy dog exuding such joy!!

When I give my overactive imagination just a little bit of scope, I reckon all it would take is a Superdog cape and Lady would actually fly! She’s an absolutely incredible dog!

I had just managed to extract Lady from the backpackers’ car when she jumped on top of a lady sleeping in another car with her door open. I was getting quite exasperated by this point. Not to mention embarrassed. Lady might be absolutely gorgeously irresistible but not everybody appreciates a strange dog giving them a big kiss in their sleep. Just when this poor sleeping stranger is dreaming about Mr Right, she opens her eyes. Oh no! It’s a dog!

So far we’ve only been walking for around 10 minutes and already Lady had invaded a picnic, jumped into two strangers’ cars and I haven’t mentioned how she’s meandered in and out of all the yards along the waterfront. Most of these houses aren’t occupied so it’s not a huge deal but watching her jump into strangers’ cars was alarming. I know it sounds like I’m not watching the dog but it’s a bit like when I’m out with the kids. One minute, I’m watching them and they’re right with me. Then I blink. By the time I unblink and we all know that only takes a micro millisecond, they’ve either vanished like magicians or they’re up to serious mischief.

However, while I blink and unblink this time, there was a noise in the traffic. The backpackers are calling out to me and Lady is running off towards the beach with something big and furry in her mouth.

What the???

OMG!!! When I finally catch up to her, Lady is eating a rabbit. I’m pretty sure she didn’t kill it herself and that it was road kill. That brought some relief but after watching Lady at work, I had no doubt that she’d had rabbit before and knows how to hunt. After all, in her past life she was a country dog living on a farm, not a city dog used to hanging out at the dog salon or even the local café.

That said, it’s obvious Lady needs a few lessons on how things are done around Palm Beach. I mean, it’s not the sort of place where you can just go and eat any old road kill…especially without a decent knife, fork and a crisp linen napkin. Such primitive behavior is completely unacceptable. Forget what the neighbours or the Joneses might think. At Palm Beach, we have the Murdochs, the Packers and enough paparazzi and do-gooders to really get busted. The last thing we need is Lady’s photo in the press along with the heading: “The Wild Savage of Palm Beach”. Or even worse, featured on the TV drama series Home & Away! Oh no! We don’t need that kind of publicity at all.

I have to admit that I was shocked and disgusted watching Lady at work and yet she was just following through on instinct. A dog is a dog. The rabbit was already dead and she was in effect just taking advantage of a free meal. Waste not want not. You could even say she was cleaning up and as much as rabbits might be cute, they are actually a serious environmental pest in Australia. They have devastated the Australian landscape. So as much as Lady’s behavior gave me the horrors, some would say she was being environmentally friendly.

Meanwhile, it’s been hard for me to reconcile the image of Lady eating that rabbit with the same gorgeous, little dog who crawls into my lap, loves being cuddled and stares at me with those gorgeously huge brown eyes. How can these two characters co-exist in the same dog: the affectionate lapdog and the savage? We seem to classify things into exclusive categories: good or evil. Yet, we know there is good and bad wrestling in all of us and that sometimes, even despite our best efforts, we succumb and require forgiveness… or at least a bit of compassionate understanding. Sadly, these days there’s no such thing as a chance. We’ve all got to get it right the first time or we’re out… at work or play. Clearly, in reacting so harshly, we are not playing fair. Everybody makes mistakes.

But there is such a thing as damage control.

Since the rabbit incident, Lady has been revisiting the road in search of fresh spoils and rather than coming back to me when I’ve desperately called her, I heard cars react. She was definitely on the road. As much as I want to give Lady her freedom, I don’t want her to pay the ultimate price. Now, as we approach the park and the road, she’s on the lead.

Better to be safe than sorry!