“We will remember them”

All alone am I ever since your goodbye
All alone with just a beat of my heart
People all around but I don’t hear a sound
Just the lonely beating of my heart

written by Altman Arthur and Hadjidakis Manos

Performed so beautifully by Brenda Lee

I am not alone, of course, because I have the beautiful and hyperactive MTC at my side. Or more correctly she has me at her side. Those of you who know me well know that I enjoy a bit of solitude. A book, some music, a quiet G and T. There are worse things in this world. But there are limits so I have taken to chatting often (at a safe distance) with the other dozen outliers caught by the virus in the campground at Jurien Bay. We are variously from Queensland, Victoria, NSW, Switzerland and Germany. “You’re a bloody old woman” MTC was heard to comment the other day. I didn’t take offence because I knew that we are all under immense pressure at the moment. Here in Jurien Bay we are limited to filling in our day swimming, biking and drinking beer and wine. Oh and reading, listening to Brenda Lee and mixing G and Ts. Bugger.

Convoy Walk, National ANZAC Centre in Albany W.A. The promenade lists the ships of the first and second convoys that left from Albany in 1914

When I was a teenager I was secretly in love with Brenda Lee. When she sang “Johnny One Time” I had shivers down my spine. Well I had the same sensation when we climbed Convoy Walk at the National ANZAC Centre in Albany. In 1914 some 41,000 men and women, Australians and New Zealanders left King George Sound aboard troop ships bound for Gallipoli, Egypt and France. I thought of my Great Uncle Eric Low who, after surviving Gallipoli at 19 years old tragically died on Flanders Field near Ypres, Belgium. He most likely sailed from here. We have visited Ypres and Eric’s gravesite. One amongst tens of thousands. Sometimes I think we need to put some things in proportion.

But first. We left Bremer Bay for Albany late March. Albany, 400 kms south of Perth is the second largest city in W.A. and the earliest colonial settlement. Originally established from NSW as a British military outpost to deter the French, who were sniffing around at the time, it became Albany in 1827 named after Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany. Now a southern tourist entry centre it was early on an entry point for the goldfields and a significant deep water port. The emergence of Perth and Freemantle ports put paid to that and the main industries became agriculture, timber and whaling into the 20th century. Modern day Albany is an attractive city of 35,000 with a town centre that descends into the bay and the port. The deep water port is attractive to cruise ships and the tourist industry that follows. The central York Street is a mix of cafes and bars, bookshops, hardware stores, pharmacists and hairdressers. Just like a town centre should be. And a fantastic Information Centre. We were given the full noise on Albany by Cynthia who, it was plainly obvious, loved her job.

We stayed at Emu Point Caravan Park and it is highly recommended. The park runs along Middleton Beach and is some 8 kms by bike trail into the town centre. Not too bad until we realised halfway that the uphill part never seemed to end. And on a hot day. But the views over the sound and township are more than worth the effort. I decided to have a haircut in town before more severe restrictions were put in place. It started badly when the hairdresser suggested using a No. 2 blade. “I usually just have scissors” I said as I felt my scalp slowly drawing into itself. “Ok we’ll go with No 3.” “But I usually have scissors”. Buzzzzzzzz.

Things didn’t improve when my hairdresser breezily informed me that she had just returned off a cruise to NZ. But don’t worry the boss was making them all do tests just in case. Probably the worst haircut I’ve ever had since Mr Gibbs in the Square in Palmie North during the 1960s.

Albany town centre was looking a little haphazard. Cafes and restaurants closed other than for takeaway, pubs closed altogether. Notices everywhere and a distinct lack of tourists. We decided that we needed to think about heading home but borders were closing and our house was let anyway. MTC said let’s get north somewhere so if we are caught we are at least somewhere warm. We began a mad dash for Kalbarri which is on the coast and 500kms north of Perth. It is at the entrance to some spectacular gorges and towering ocean cliffs. We did not get there. But thats another story.

4 thoughts on ““We will remember them”

  1. Guess the hairdresser in Albany knew a thing or two – giving a haircut that should last the lockdown and some more…


  2. Hi Mike and MTC, from your description of Jurien Bay and the photographs you are doing it tough!
    Your haircut sound fun and you can thank your stars you are not in Ironbark!
    You may have heard that Jock Edwards passed on at the young age of 64 from Cancer, you very likely played with or against him at some stage.
    I heard also that Honour Blackman shed the mortal coil at 94………. she was a stunner in her day and of course starred in Goldfinger. Apparently in the film when she introduced herself to 007 and said “ My name is Pussy-galore Sean Connery said he thought he was dreaming!! Haha
    We had our last swims a few days ago and even that is verboten now.
    Stay safe and well.
    Cheers Randal and the other half (Gayle)


    1. Hi Randal and Gayle
      As you well know a writer does embellish his material sometimes. All is not always at it seems!
      I did see that Jock died and was saddened. I knew Jock very well in our younger days and we played often against each other and the odd time together. We shared many a beer as well – sometimes in circumstances best not related. Did not see the cause though. He was a lovely man who lived a bit like he batted and was a ver y good all round sportsman. I havent seen Jock for probably 20 years though. Sadly I did not know Honor so well!
      Hope you two going well and keeping safe.
      Love to you both


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