the daring grandad
The day was grey, drizzly and cool. Sensible folk were staying indoors. But my dear old Grandad is not so sensible – especially according to some of the women in his life. So, when I suggested a quick drive to Haycocks Point – the furtherest rocky outcrop to the south that we can see from Mum’s front porch – this gorgeous old thing was more than happy to ditch the laptop (after protesting for years that computers were not for him, he became besotted with the online newsletters of the Australian Lighthouse Association) and his funky headband, and hit the road for one last adventure before returning to his much more sedate everyday life back in Brisbane.
At this time some of the women in his life (perfectly lovely and best intentioned) were debating who bossed Grandad around the most. I, naturally :-), declared that I did not need to be considered because I did not boss him around. ”Ha!” one of the aunties pooh-poohed, “Just because he’s always happy to do what you want, don’t think you aren’t included in the bossy list.”
Not so! The only reason Grandad is always happy to do what I want, is that I always want to do what HE wants :-) He’s taught me well. So, shunning offers of jumpers and jackets and lunch, we hit the road. With a stop-off at the fabulous Wild Rye Bakery in Pambula for supplies – freshly baked organic cinnamon doughnuts. Yum!
:: yes! it’s a wallaby! we knew they must have been around
given all the scat we had to carefully step over ::
Now, my only knowledge of Haycocks Point came from Mum who declared, following our epic 27 km bump along the rocky trail to Green Cape Lighthouse, that the road to Haycocks Point was trivial – short and paved – and that once you pulled up in the carpark, you did not even have to get out of the car to see the view. Hmmmmmmmmm ….
In fact, the road was dirt and windy and when we finally reached the carpark, the signposts advised that the shortest track to ANY view (apart from the environmentally friendly toilet block) was 2 km round. Keeping in mind I did not want to spoil Grandad’s last day – either by telling him what he should or shouldn’t do, or putting him at risk – I asked what he thought our best option was. ”Walk!” he declared emphatically. ”That’s what we’re here for!”
So walk we did. And it was magic. Sitting here now, in my inner city, sun filled kitchen, remembering the stillness, the quiet, the misty coolness, the incredible beauty of both the landscape and being there with my Grandad, makes me pause, close my eyes and sigh. It was such a fabulous afternoon.
Soon after setting off, we encountered a rather alarming set of stairs, dug into the side of the hill. All I could think of was Grandad tripping and how I was ever going to explain the ensuing chaos to the aunties. Grandad, however, assured me that as long as he took it carefully, slowly, with me on his left elbow, and him leading with his left foot, he’d be FINE. Okay!
Two hours passed blissfully. We slowly, slowly made our way up the stairs and along the track. There was so much to see and learn … Haycocks Point was, until recently, privately owned grazing land. Now it is part of the National Park and a revegetation programme is in place, hand in hand with a weed eradication programme. Once you climb the small hill and head out along the narrow finger of land to the sea, there are few trees. Instead, the landscape is thick with waist high shrubs – the perfect cover for the local furry folk – black rock wallabies and kangaroos.
Oh my, there we were meandering slowly through the grey drizzle, chattering all the way, when all of a sudden I looked left and there she was. Standing still and silent less than a few metres away from us. Grandad was utterly enchanted. We watched her until she tired of us and hopped away. Honestly, I have tears in my eyes now just thinking about it. It was so beautiful – we were the only people there and it felt like we’d entered another world. One that neither of us had ever had the privilege of visiting before.
We kept walking until we reached the sea. It was one of those days where the gloomy, still, wetness of the sky seems to hold the ocean beneath just as still. There were barely any waves and the water simply sat there below us, as pretty as ever, but almost motionless. There at the edge, we found what looked just like the berries described back on the carpark information board as bush tucker that the local Aborigines enjoyed. So we picked some – for Julian to try later :-) – and tucked into our doughnuts instead :-)
Once we’d filled out hearts and eyes with the view, we headed back, meeting another wallaby and a pair of feisty kangaroos on the way. It was almost like a Where’s Wally – if we just peered closely enough, we realised that the bush on either side of us was actually wriggling with animals. And so our steps and voices were gentle and low, as we relished every moment of sharing this almost eerie place with such beautiful creatures.
Upon our return to the carpark, there were five young men trekking back from the beach with their rods and buckets. Grandad instantly puttered over to them – he so loves meeting new folk – wanting to know how their fishing had gone, what they’d caught, where they were from etc. After several hours, they’d caught just one whiting, but assured Grandad that the fun was in being there together. He chuckled heartily, agreeing with everything they said. We hopped into our car and as we pulled away, the five young men stood there, rods at their sides, waving goodbye to Grandad. It was divine and such a perfect affirmation that our world is full of lovely people.
Once home, Grandad and I peeled fresh, sweet prawns which we ate with buttered sourdough, and gave the bush berries to Julian. Our lunch was delicious. Julian’s was disgusting. He couldn’t even manage one berry – had to spit it into the sink and rinse his mouth out copiously. Maybe we picked the wrong berries.
To quote my Auntie Wig, it was the beautifullest day (that was her favourite adjective – beautifullest) and I’m so incredibly glad we ignored the drizzle, the grey, the cool, and the worriers. See, I concur with Grandad. Life is there to be lived – especially when you’ve made it to 87 – and if the inevitable arrives a wee bit sooner, just because we took an adventurous walk in the rain, then at least we had a marvellous time doing it.