from Anne in Adelaide, South Australia: travel time – off to the Yorke Peninsula

Black Point shack resisting the sea

December 10.‘Where are you going for Christmas?’ my friends are asking. Australian families are on the move once more. Tentatively. Within Australia.

During this year, our 8 states and territories have acted rather like different countries. Their premiers have had their year in the limelight as each one has dictated the terms of who will enter their state and what quarantine they will undergo. These restrictions should have come from uniform federal health advice but it is pretty obvious that local decision had a lot to do with a dose of aggrandisement and the proximity of elections. In all cases where the premiers have been tough and declared that they are but protecting the (especially precious) residents of their own states, their popularity has soared.

West Australia (WA), in particular, has been most reluctant to open its borders. Even one case of Covid-19 in another state, causes an immediate banning of interstate travel to WA. Premier McGowan would only open the WA border to NSW after 30 (yes, THIRTY) days of no new cases.

AND, if South Australia (SA) remains Covid-19 free for 28 days, we will be allowed into WA without having to go into quarantine for 14 days – and that will take us to midnight on Christmas Eve. Thus, all those SA people who have families in WA cannot plan to be together at Christmas. It does seem rather absurd.

Meanwhile intra-state travel and travel to states that are open (Queensland in particular) is booming. AirBnb is flat out, rates are up, December and January are almost booked out for holiday accommodation.

So, with my birthday coming up, before the schools broke up, we booked a 4-night getaway on the beach at Black Point on the Yorke Peninsula (YP). The Peninsula is foot-shaped and Black Point is almost due west of Adelaide on the eastern shore of the peninsula. We have to travel north for an hour and then south along the coast for another hour. The YP consists of flat, almost completely cleared farming land that is planted with barley, wheat, canola and lentils. In summer after the harvest, it is depressingly brown and dusty. Along the coast little towns are tucked into protected bays. Almost all have slowly collapsing jetties that once shipped grain to Adelaide.

Last November, we sold our own beach ‘shack’ at Port Julia on the YP. All Australians call their holiday homes by the sea, ‘shacks’ even if the building is brick with 5 bedrooms! We were missing our regular visits to the coast and Black Point is well known for its beautiful 3km scoop of beach, north-facing, with its back to the prevailing wind.

Basic beach shacks and rough boat sheds were built there long ago and some remain right on the beach front. But with the passing of time and the rising of the seas, planning regulations have resulted in the replacement houses being constructed about 30 meters further back on the sand dunes. So now some of the crumbling corrugated iron and board shacks remain almost on the high tide line and new huge million-dollar houses are rising further back.

our beach rental

We rented an old but renovated shack on the beach. (It did not have an outside ‘dunny’!). The verandah was on the spring high-tide line and at night the sound of the sea kept we wondering where I was.

It was lovely! Just to watch the changing face of the sea and sky from our shack was enough. I fished from my kayak for crabs (too small at the moment) and squid (more success there). We celebrated with a good bottle of champagne and grilled crayfish – bought in Adelaide (the price of crayfish is down because China has halted our exports saying our seafood is contaminated).

a birthday treat

Our children across the world phoned using Whatsapp – from Seattle, Indianapolis, Sydney and Cape Town. Life is pretty good at the moment. No complaints.

from Nike in Katerini, Greece: We did it!

After the patchwork of fields lies the city of Katerini. Across the part of the Aegean known as the Thermaic Gulf is the city of Thessaloniki. At night, we see its lights twinkling. Behind it is Mount Holomondas. (view from our house)

June 5. Greece had a Covid free day on Wednesday. Yesterday we had a new outbreak of 15 people up north in the city of Xanthi. Today mass testing is rolling out in that area. It’s a good thing. If our case count rises then we are identifying where they are and controls can be activated. We’ve been lucky in our city of Katerini. We’ve had zero cases for over two months and only ever had six cases in total.

Yesterday, I spent the day at the Olympus house. I had to mow the lawns. I always wear protective gear when I mow the lawns: safety glasses, ear protection, hat, gloves. I also follow the example of the local boys. They wear knee-high gumboots. I mean it is almost law that you wear closed shoes when walking around the mountain for protection from snakes but the boots are better. Ankles are protected too. This time I also changed my gloves from my regular garden gloves to thick leather ones.

our views to Mt. Olympus

Last week, one of the local men, a shepherd, was bitten by a venomous horned viper right behind my house. He only just made it too – thanks to the intervention of two other men who happened to be close by. They whisked him off to hospital. Knowing they might not get him there in time, they called an ambulance which met them halfway. He’d followed all the rules. The closed shoes. Carrying a stick etc. He’s been shepherding all his life but when his kerchief slipped off his neck and he bent to pick it up, the snake struck.

The St Konstantine and Eleni family chapel: fully consecrated with great ceremony over thirty years ago by the bishop, seven priests and the entire village in tow.

Because it happened behind my house a couple of the local women went to the little chapel my mother had built in front of our house and lit candles and prayed for him. He’s home now after spending three days in hospital. Recovery is slow, and he still might lose half his hand plus he’s still bed ridden. But the women are convinced he’ll be just fine because of their prayers.
So now you know the reason why I change to the thick gloves.
It was a beautiful clear day and the views from our veranda are of the peaks of the mountain and of the plains and right down to the coast.