Saturday, August 04, 2007

More Tales Of Paradise....

Watching a television programme late yesterday afternoon, tears filled my eyes. Over the years I’ve lived in some beautiful areas, not the least being Hinchinbrook Island and its surrounds. Yes, you guessed it! The programme was about Hinchinbrook Island and Silkwood, a small town north of the island.

Friends of mine lived in Silkwood, a sugar cane area, for a short time while their new home was being built on acreage at nearby Japoonvale. Mena Creek, with its wondrously, magical Spanish castle is just “up the road” a bit. I’ve written about Mena Creek previously in this blog.

Ted, my maintenance man-come-python-remover-drot-in-the-ocean-drencher, originated from Silkwood, often spending his time off spear-fishing in the waters off Murdering Point and Kurrimine Beach (other friends of mine owned and managed the Kurrimine Beach Motel…I had a wild week there one night helping them demolish their wine cellar, but that’s another story!), which is east of the highway, opposite Silkwood. My staff and I would love it when Ted took time off, because invariably he’d arrive back to the island with a large esky or two full of Painted Crays upon which we would dine in style in the staff room, away from the prying eyes of the island guests. “Painted Crays are magnificently armed and brilliantly coloured. They are vegetarians and it is only possible to net or spear them.

As an aside…the male half of the couple who owned the Kurrimine Motel was Ian who had been best man alongside me as attendant at Margaret and Denis’ wedding that I described to you not long ago in a chapter of my “Reaching Out To The City Lights”. Again just proving life does, indeed, go around in circles!

Back to the painted crayfish…after one of his trips to Silkwood and Kurrimine Beach, Ted arrived back to the island armed with an esky full of crays just in time for one of my staff members’ birthday. Daina (correct spelling…pronounced “Day-na”) turned eighteen the day of Ted’s return. I’d arranged a party for her to be held at my little abode on the island. In my not-so-infinite-wisdom I had declared it to be a “Toga Party”! David, my head chef, unburdened Ted of his load and proceeded to prepare the crays for the staff and my consumption. Eagerly, we gathered around the large staff table, drooling as we waited the festive feast. Our poor guests didn’t partake in our tasty fare and we didn’t tell them what they were missing out on, either!

As soon as our dinner was completed and we were replete, my staff, those who were not on kitchen and table duties, rushed off to the laundry to clothe themselves in togas made from the older stocks of bed sheets. In the meantime, I visited my dinner guests, joining and chatting with them at their tables. One by one, my “kids” wandered nonchalantly through the restaurant area donned in their “togas” en route to my house, much to the guests' delight. There was quite an “ado” as each made a detour to the bar before progressing out of the restaurant to the track leading across to where the party was to occur.

To my surprise and then laughter, the last two members of my staff to parade through the restaurant were Ted, followed soon after by my brother, Graham. At the appearance of Graham, I heard one of the guests utter, “There goes another one!”

Seeing my brother dressed that way, for one thing was surprise enough for me, but to see him strut through the restaurant with a wide grin on his face really “knocked me for a sixer”! Such a display was not his normal style. If you’d known my brother, you would understand completely!

Eventually, we all gathered together out on the deck at my house. I was the only “civilian” present, opting out of wearing a toga. Generously, the island guests didn’t linger long in the restaurant and soon my bar, restaurant and kitchen staff joined the party. David, my chef, and the others who'd been on shift arrived armed with platters of tasty tid-bits. By that time, the party was well under way. David, being the class clown he always was, arrived suitably attired with the addition of two lemons attached to the ends of a piece of string that was tied around his waist. The lemons dangled suggestively in front of a certain part of his anatomy. This turned out to be a regular party trick of his. Somewhere during the course of events, he’d grab a meat mallet or cleaver to ceremoniously smash “his lemons” to smithereens, much to the delighted amusement of his devoted fans and bystanders!

What a fun party, it was, one enjoyed by us all. I think Daina will always remember her eighteenth birthday spent on Hinchinbrook Island. Where else could she have had such a feast of fresh painted cray for no cost, followed by a toga party to end all toga parties, with the sounds and view of the ocean on either side of the venue?


  1. Painted Crays? are they a type of Lobster?

    Good post as usual Lee.

    G'Nite from me, it's after Midnight!

  2. Yes, they are, Marc...a crustacean as depicted in the picture. Very tasty, indeedy! :)

  3. Hi Lee. Hinchinbrook is certainly a piece of paradise...wonder how long it will stay that way? Keith Williams was making noises about the big expansion again a few months ago. Why doesn't he enjoy his retirement, instead of thinking of ways to litter the planet?

    Shut up, Robyn...

  4. Robyn, I doubt that Keith Williams can do much to Hinchinbrook. All but 22 acres of the island mass (245sq miles) is national park. The resort occupies only 22 acres of that mass. I very much doubt he will do much to ruin the actual resort, too...the lay of the land won't allow it.

    Hinchinbrook Island is magnificent, there is no doubt about that.

  5. Addendum....I hope not, anyway, Robyn.

  6. Anonymous1:07 AM

    Sound delicious and like everyone had a blast. I still think you should write a book about the life and times of Lee.

  7. Hey there, Steve...I might do so, one day. ;) Getting it published is the difficult part!

  8. Hi Lee ~~ Another great party and I guess you enjoyed seeing Hinchinbrook
    on the TV. Did you manage to tape it to look at again? I have heaps of CDs but it was the novelty of downloading on the computer that got to me the other night. They played beautifully, but next day they wouldn't, so I was diappointed.
    Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

  9. Hi Lee, well what can I say, Ooopps, that lines been taken, good post about a lovely spot.

  10. I don't think I'll try David's trick. After a few drinks I'd probably forget to count.

    "Hey gto, didn't you already..." "YYEEEEEOOOOOOOWWW!!!!" ...thud

  11. Wow! What gorgeous pictures!

    Do you happen to know Norfolk island?

    That features in that book The Thorn Birds. Now aparently the author Colleen McCullough lives there. I don't blame her if it's anything like she makes it sound ...

  12. How are you by the way? Hope all's good.

    All the best


  13. Painted Crays are beautiful and if they taste as good as they look, a feast was had at the party.

    Sometimes I wish I were a genie and could blink my eyes and be at Hinchinbrook post haste.

    You were one lucky girl to work in such a postcard paradise.

  14. Hi Merle and two commented in tandem...synchronized your watches by the looks of it
    ! ;)

    Hey gto...ouch! Please...please, don't try it! lol

    Hi Gledwood...yes, I almost went to Norfolk Island at one stage...I thought about applying for a restaurant manager's job there..but I decided against it at the last moment. From all I know about it, it is a beautiful place but not as "natural" as Hinchinbrook. People live there, houses, roads etc. McCullough has lived there for years and has a lovely house there. I'm fine and dandy,and I hope you are too. Thanks for asking. :)

    G'day Lady Di...I wish I could wriggle my nose and be landed with a feed of painted crays now, too. They are delicious as you say. Yep...I was lucky. It was a very, very special time in my life. :)

  15. I liked lemonade up until just now.

    "I had a wild week there one night"
    This is good and must remember and steal that for personal use. Thanks.

  16. Hahaha, Cliff! Yes...just never bash your lemons with a meat cleaver or mallet! ;)

    I'll allow you to use my words...I've not yet copyrighted them!

  17. Great story Lee, with beautiful photos. No wonder you cried. I'll bet you miss it, it's great that it's now a park and can't be ruined in the pursuit of the mighty dollar.

  18. Hinchinbrook Island has been a National Park for many, many years, jmb. The resort at Cape Richards, on 22 acres has also been there for many, many years :)

  19. my goodness...take me to that beach..

  20. You would love it, Rebecca...but you've got to bring that chair and hat with you! ;)

  21. wow.. i've never seen or heard of a painted cray before! he's so pretty I don't know if I could eat him though! lol

  22. Fabulous story and fabulous pics, Lee. I've never seen a pic of painted crays before. What a party! Love the "lemon crushing" bit. Now you must tell us the tale of how you helped demolish the wine cellar!

  23. The crays are quite magnificent, aren't they, Deslily...I'm sure if they were cooked up for you and placed in front of you, you wouldn't hesitate. ;)

    I shall elaborate on the wine story, Welsh. The strange thing is I even remember it after all that wine! Hehehehe!

  24. Do the Painted Crays loose their colour when cooked? Just curious.
    BTW a real good picture posted.

  25. What a beautiful paradise! I've never seen anything like the painted crays. Gorgeous!

  26. Yes, Marc...they do...they don't stay the brilliance they are live.

    We had a little one in a fish tank at one stage, on the island, Serena...and it was interesting watching its growth process.

  27. Hi Lee, what stunning photos. You sure have some interesting stories to tell. I really enjoy dropping by to read what you have been up to, and what you have done in the past. Thank you.
    Take care, Meow

  28. Hi Connie...I'm glad you enjoy my stories. A lot of fun was had. :)