SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Aireys Inlet: pub, parmas, poetry, Perlman, police and pulchritude

The Grand Ole Dame: Airey's Inlet Pub

Our weekend away for R and R had everything. But no matter where we roamed, we kept finding ourselves back at the hub, or should I say the pub, and a grand old one she is. First built on the spectacular Great Ocean Road in 1904, the Airey's Inlet pub was razed during the bushfires of 1983. It was totally rebuilt but then shut down again in 2011. Recently it has reopened in style after a consortium of local residents decided the town isn't the same without her.
Last weekend the pub provided us with parmas, wonderful views of the ocean and the Otways in the distance, a roaring open fire in its sheep-sized original fireplace. And culture to boot.

Poetic trio

On Saturday afternoon, local poets Amanda Johnson, Antony Lynch and Brendan Ryan read their poetry to a small group of enthusiasts. Their task wasn't an easy one as the venue was adjacent to the kitchen, where it sounded as if there was a cutlery war being waged. Obviously made of stern stuff, the poets managed to carry on regardless. Which was a blessing, as even this non-poet could appreciate that some of their poetry was very fine. The poetry reading, I should mention, was merely the supporting act. The main attraction was to be an interview with the internationally renowned Melbourne writer, Elliot Perlman.

Elliot Perlman

I want to say that the interview was great, because I love Perlman's politics and his commitment to introducing some of the unspoken and unpopular big issues into the public domain via his fiction. I'm not sure if the session just wasn't pitched correctly for me. The interviewer assumed audience members had no prior knowledge of the writer and avoided any probing questions, so that while I found Perlman charming, I came away with nothing controversial or challenging to mull over.
But I certainly got challenged on the way back to our 'home' - Surf Coast Cabins - our peaceful bush retreat.

View from our cabin's doorway - see what I mean by peaceful?

Mere metres from the pub, driving along the unfamiliar windy dark highway, I noticed a police car with flashing lights trailing me. Panicking, I missed the turn into our access road and wobbled back on to the main drag. The policeman, drawing the obvious conclusion, turned on his siren, and clammy-palmed I pulled over to the side of the road. He was very nice and after checking my license and breathalysing me sent us on our way. But I didn't stop hyperventilating until the lock of our cabin door clicked behind us.
Despite that, I'd return to Airey's in a flash. The beauty of the bush and the sea are the perfect tonic for all human and writerly ills.

The surf meeting the turf

I look forward to many return visits to Airey's and its great old pub.


Blogger Luke C Jackson said...

It sounds like a great trip! I think that every writer should make time for a retreat (given enough funds) once or twice a year. :) My favourite spot in Victoria is Phillip Island, but I'm definitely going to give Airey's Inlet a look.


7:53 PM  
Blogger Sue Jackson said...

I couldn't agree more about the benefits of writerly retreats, Luke. The only problem with me as that I usually recognise I need one weeks or even months after I should have. There is nothing quite like getting away from your usual routines and letting the mind off its harness.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

It sounds like you had the Perfect Pitstop! xo

5:24 PM  
Blogger Sue Jackson said...

We certainly did, Kelly, and thanks for leaving a comment! It's always lovely to hear from real people out there in the blogsphere!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Diana E C said...

I have walked some of the coastal path but not at Airey's. I understand the sweaty palms even if it were one glass of wine 2 hours earlier. Heart palpitations for me every time I've been flagged down. Total fear!

1:11 AM  
Blogger Sue Jackson said...

I'm so glad to hear that there is someone out there just like me, Diana! Very reassuring.

1:23 AM  

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