|Teewah Beach, North of Noosa Heads|
|The Coloured Sands|
|View from atop of Double Island Point|
|Randall, Lee and Jill...in the "Fire Truck" at Teewah Beach|
|Troy (chef) and me at Teewah|
|Randall and me at hard at rest on the beach in front of our block of land at Teewah|
Still on “The Laguna Belle”…I’m unable to disembark without telling this story…
After firing the owner’s daughter that fateful Friday afternoon described in a previous post, we never set eyes upon her again. If the truth be known, she probably was happy not to be working; preferring to spend her time with her deadbeat friends, sharing pipes and needles rather than battering fish; slicing potatoes and standing over hot deep fryers in the fish shop. She preferred her crumby mates to crumbed fish fillets, prawns and squid rings.
Things were going along smoothly. “The Belle” was making her way; old and new bills were being paid. The debt outstanding was diminishing at a very satisfying rate of knots. The locals had started filtering back through the doors. It was smooth sailing or cruising; nothing was rocking the boat other than the wake of a passing speed boat once in a while. However, the peaceful ambience of the Noosa River didn’t encourage many thoughtless speed boat operators, or jet skis. Once upon the river, everyone soon fell under its calm, harmonious spell.
After closing the doors on Sunday afternoons following the luncheon cruises, time was ours to play with as we wished until around 8.30 am Tuesday mornings when once again, willingly, we were back in business and work mode. It became a habit on Sunday afternoons when the last guests departed and everythin was back in order in the restaurant, our staff joined Randall and me at the “Banksia Lounge” for a few leisurely drinks where a lot of high-spirited laughter and nonsensical conversation filled the air; sometimes late into the evenings.
The infamous “Banksia Lounge” was situated under what is commonly known as a Coastal Banksia Tree. The hardy tree grew to the side of our land upon which our cottage sat at Sunshine Beach. The tree stood at the start of the track that led down to the shops at Sunshine Beach as described in an early post.
Relishing the sea breezes and sunny skies, the Banksia’s roots were set firmly in the sandy soil. The nectar produced by the tree’s uniquely beautiful flower spikes attracted the cheeky, boisterous lorikeets and various honeyeaters. Our large, round barbecue table sat beneath its leafy limbs; a perfect spot for an outdoor lounge bar.
The botanical name of the Coastal Banksia is “Banksia Integrifolia”; it’s one of many in the Banksia species. The species of Banksias were named after Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who was travelling with Captain Cook on the “Endeavour” when they bumped into the land Down Under.
There were the odd times, too, when one or another, or more, of our staff, at a loss what to do on his, her or their day off turned up on a Monday at our small cottage. It didn’t take much persuasion for us to drop tools and step outside to our “watering hole”. It soon became our oasis, to be shared with friends.
On other occasions we’d load up our old 1948 Land Rover and head off up to our vacant, beachfront block of land at Teewah Beach for a day’s outing, fishing or just lapping up the sun; whatever we felt like doing or not doing. There were days some of our staff went along with us for a day’s fishing or just to cop out and laze on the beach or under a shady She-Oak.
Our days spent on the beach at Teewah were free of stresses and pressures.
Teewah Beach is just north of Noosa…north of the mouth of the Noosa River. Teewah is the only developed area of a lengthy expanse of beach that runs from the river mouth at the southern end north to Double Island Point. The distance between the southern point and the northern is around 51kms (31.6 miles). The Teewah end of the beach, the southern end, oddly enough is referred to as “the north shore” by the people of Noosa.
Randall and I, at the time, owned one of the very few beachfront blocks of land at Teewah There were either only nine or eleven beachfront blocks available; I forget the exact number. There were no plans in place for any more land to be legislated for development. We ended up selling our piece of paradise a few years later when our marriage broke down.
Further north along the beach from Teewah; between Teewah Beach and the Freshwater camping spot at the Double Island end is an area known as the “Coloured Sands”; high, wind-sculptured sand dunes; vibrantly-coloured cliffs that stand like beacons looking out upon the ocean, while, in the meantime, staunchly protecting the inland lakes, paper-bark swamps and natural forests.
Randall and I bought the old Land Rover specifically for the purpose of going to the “north shore”. We had two other cars, but the old Land Rover was for driving along the sandy, saltwater-washed beaches and for fishing purposes, only. It didn’t matter if the vehicle got covered in sand, inside and out; or that it came in contact with ocean.
Once we arrived back home, we’d just hose the car down, and then let the garden sprinkler run for a while on the vehicle’s underside to wash away the day’s effects. The body was aluminum; and once the sprinkler had fulfilled its duty spraying water all over and through the chassis underneath, all was well in the land of the Land Rover; it was ready for its next beach adventure.
Upon purchasing the old Rover Randall removed its top/hood and painted the body bright, fire-engine red! We referred to it as being our high-rise sports car. Tongue-in-cheek, we also named our fishing transporter the “Fire Truck”; which was a playful anagram! At some stage, a re-conditioned Holden motor had been put into place; our high-rise sports car performed well. Never once did it let us down. It was an ideal vehicle for driving along sandy beaches. It had a winch on the front and one at its rear end, too. There were times our humble little red “Fire Truck” pulled much fancier and more expensive 4WDs out of bogged situations along the beach.
I’ve digressed from the core of this story, but I wanted to give a bit of background into what comes next. I veered off the beaten sandy track, but now I’ll step back onto it!
Friends of ours had twin boys who, at the time, were attending the Peregian Beach Kindergarten. The father of the little boys was one of the people who asked Randall and me to take over the management of “The Belle”. Peter was a Chartered Accountant; and he was the accountant handling the restaurant’s accounts etc.
Peter and Randall were good mates, and had been for quite a while. Both shared a common love of fishing and mud crabbing. Over dinner one night it was decided that “The Belle” would play host to a fashion parade on a Sunday afternoon lunch cruise along the Noosa River. The purpose and intention was to raise money for the Peregian Beach Kindergarten Association.
Plans were put into place. Local boutiques owners were approached regarding their fashions and if they’d be willing to put them on display at our parade. I contacted some local models asking if they’d partake in the event. Surprisingly, and fortunately for the kindergarten, the girls generously offered their services for the afternoon free of charge, believing the parade was for a worthy charitable cause. We promised them lots of good, pictorial and editorial coverage in the local newspaper - “The Noosa News”; it was a win-win situation for all parties concerned.
Having had previous experience putting together similar shows when I was employed by The Kolotex Group of Companies in Brisbane, I took over the reins in the planning of the fashion parade, and all that was needed to make the afternoon a success.
I didn’t want a catwalk as such. We needed as many “bums on seats” as we could possibly seat to make the afternoon profitable for the kindergarten (and us, of course); so no tables were removed to add a catwalk to the area. Instead, I choreographed it in a way that the models would walk around the aisles between the tables and diners. Their change-room was a cordoned off area upstairs where the cocktail bar was. The models gracefully descended the spiral staircase to the lower dining level. I chose Grace Jones and David Bowie tracks for them to strut along to in rhythmical motion; good strutting music, I believed – and, it all did blend together well. Fashionable outfits befitting the coastal atmosphere and lifestyle were shown accompanied by music that put the models and the spectator-diners in the mood for a pleasant interlude.
It turned out to be a wonderful, fun-filled happy afternoon on “The Laguna Belle”; and a profitable one, too; not only for us, the operators, but also for the Peregian Beach Kindergarten Association. And, in turn, further down the line…for the boutique owners.
Randall and I planned a picnic/fishing/leisure day on the Monday following the charity fashion parade. Jill, our kitchen-hand and Troy, our new chef who had replaced Phil (another story for another time) asked if they could come along with us. We told them we’d pick them up at “The Belle” as a central point of collection at 9 am Monday morning.
Randall and I arrived at the restaurant earlier than the arranged pick-up because we wanted to do a couple of chores on board “The Belle” before the appointed meet-up. So we arrived before 8 am to attend to whatever it was we needed to do.
We entered “The Belle”. Everything was in place on the lower level of the boat where the dining room and kitchen were; but when we went upstairs to the bar area both of us picked up on a strange vibe, simultaneously.
The bar had been left neat and tidy with everything in place when we’d closed the doors the previous day after the parade was over; and after everyone had left. On the shelves behind the bar that usually held bottles of spirits and liqueurs were many gaps; empty places where bottles had once stood. The drawer to the cash register was open wide; and one of the windows on the riverside…the outer side away from the street and jetty side of the restaurant…was ajar!
The cash register hadn’t been forced open because after every shift, once we removed the takings and the float for the next service, the drawer was never locked; it was closed, but not latched or locked. And, of course, we never left any cash on the premises. We weren’t that silly! Or if we did, there would not be a thief in this world who would have found it!
We were hit immediately with the thought of who had conducted the heist. Randall instantly laid the blame on the owner’s daughter, perhaps done with the help of a drugged-up mate as her partner-in-crime. I agreed with his suspicions.
Randall’s reasoning was because all the sweet spirits and liqueur were the stolen goods. After his years managing a bar in the Upper East Side of New York City, he was familiar with the tastes of “junkies”. Apparently, their taste leans towards sweet things. (And I don’t mean me)!
We called the police; they arrived on the scene post haste. Inspections were done; questions were asked. They asked us if we had any suspicions as to who we thought may have perpetrated the crime. We answered we did have an idea; but we named no names; however we did make clear inferences. The police knew who and what we were talking about without us needing to go into further minute detail. They weren’t fools; neither were we.
It was all was sorted out in the end; and dealt with accordingly. Our suspicions proved to be correct.
As I mentioned earlier, we never set eyes on the daughter again from the afternoon of her sacking forth; but we did feel her presence in the bar area that Monday morning.
We figured she thought it was her way of getting back at us. We believed also that she and her dumber-than-dumb assistant in the robbery thought, wrongly, that after the huge event we’d held at “The Laguna Belle” the previous day…Sunday’s fashion parade…that there would be a lot of takings for the taking!