AROUND Wednesday last week it seemed a good idea, at least initially, to head back to the Billabong. The fishing had been better than good, the weather not so bad and all the gear needed for the trip had actually been packed, so the Bunyipmobile was turned to the west and the journey home begun. That lasted until, oh, somewhere south of a hamlet called W Tree, which is infested with Buddhists from Fitzroy, sundry greasy-sweatered types and a postman with a hernia from delivering sheafs of Centrelink cheques, illustrated guides to amorous activities involving knot holes and fund-raising letters from the Victorian National Parks Association. The town does have a mobile tower, however, and it was just down the road from the organic soy chai shop that accumulated messages began to pour in. The very first of these was a voicer from Doctor Yowie, who has not had the good sense to get a divorce but had nevertheless managed to temporarily offload his little woman on her sister in Noosa. Would the Professor fancy a few more days of fishing, and perhaps a little bush golf? If so, he could be at Dargo or thereabouts later in the day.
Well, why not? Other than a little blogging there were no obligations that could not be set aside, postponed or simply ignored. An invitation to attend yesterday’s Carlton-Essendon game had been accepted, but it was no great sacrifice to let the would-be host know that he should find another companion.
And there was another factor that tipped the scales against a return to Melbourne, the tenth anniversary of Septemeber 11. A decade after a massacre, the event’s transition from bloody outrage to a nuanced and contextualised exercise in relativism would be completed in the opinion pages of the Fairfax press and on the ABC. A few years ago, when tensions with the former Mrs Bunyip were at their height, several doctors had prescribed various medicines to lower an ailing Bunyip’s blood pressure, which has been a stable 130/80 for the last two years. Why risk exposure to whatever Wally Aly had to say, for the ABC’s favourite tame Muslim was a dead cert to be holding forth on 9/11, when it could only set the temples’ to pounding all over again? So, for reasons of both physical and mental health, it was off to Dargo, where Doctor Yowie arrived with fishing gear, golf clubs, half a dozen bottles of white and red and several splendid thick-cut rib eye steaks from his wonderful Williamstown butcher (whose apple and pork sausages are a treat).
Things panned out exactly as expected. More trout paid with their lives. The wine disappeared, the steaks were gobbled and the snags cooked for brekkie. And on top of that, three fine rounds of golf at Lakes Entrance, Paynesville and Bairnsdale.
Oh, and Wally also matched expectations, filling a double page spread in the Sunday Age with incomprehensible waffle about the “real” meaning of 9/11.
Anyway, it will be back to more-or-less regular blogging until the next expedition in a few weeks’ time.