Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It will be a shame when that fence comes down

This sign has mysteriously appeared on the fence surrounding the demolished Esplanade Hotel site, Albany WA..
Gone are the socks, the undies, the towels, the bras, but the Christmas tinsel remains and now this.
Just goes to show, you can't stifle comment in a democracy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 4/1/2011

Given it is that time of the year again, the one when our town is packed to the skirting boards with visitors, I thought it might be timely to offer a few tips.

The first set of pointers will be for those who have chosen to join us and before I go any further allow me, on behalf of the entire town, to welcome you and say that if you have any problems while here, please, don’t hesitate to call.

 The second set is for us, the real locals, the wannabe locals and people who live here.

-          No, you are not wrong, this town does not have one single traffic-light. Before entering a roundabout, park your car nearby, sit, relax and watch how the locals enter, move through and depart.
-          Even better, park your car on the outskirts of town, call a taxi and ask the driver to take you through the system 10 times. Make sure you ask to see his or her Roundabout Tour Guide Certification.
-          If one of your party passes on while you are in town don’t take them to the large mortuary on North Road. It is not a mortuary. It is, in fact, the Albany City Council.
-          More than likely you have brought socks, fully intending to hang them on Albany’s famous Esplanade Sock Fence. Be warned, the Sock Fence has been declared a Public Menace, all socks removed and the culprits have been hoisted by their own petards.
-          No doubt you have brought rubbish with you and will collect more while in town. Please dispose of it in the proper way. If you are seen littering, a large sea monster will rise out of the harbour and eat your parents.
-          No, I’m sorry, we do not have a Big W. It’s been lovely seeing you, thank you for visiting, goodbye.

-          If you see a tourist entering a roundabout, the same one you are in, there is no need to show them a finger, or even fire a hand-gun at their wheels. Give them time, after one week they will probably use Aberdeen or Collie Street s. Or drive to Bunbury.
-          The wonderful thing about tourists is that they have come to town fully intending to hand over most of their money. Let’s make it easy for them, be welcoming, try a smile and if they complain about the coffee, bring them another one and try not to spill it on their lap.
-          If you meet a tourist who seems bored, tired of the magnificent scenery, the world’s finest beaches, the excellent local produce and superb cooking, the historic landscape, the brilliance of local musicians, visual artists and fine literary talents, take them out to Misery Beach and leave them there.
-          If one of them approaches you in the street and asks where the Big W is, don’t use the phrase “Go forth and multiply.” 

Finally, to both parties, please, do your best to get along, we don’t want a repeat of last year’s incident, the one involving the dead fish, the Volvo, the man with the wooden leg and the tree that used to be on Middleton Beach.

Oh, by the way, word is out that 2011 is going to be the best ever. Make sure you stay in it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 21/12/2010

It’s almost Christmas and, before you know it, it’ll be the next one. And they told us technology would give us more time. What a lot of poppycock. What a con. We have less time. Australians are working longer and harder than ever. We have to. We must. It’s imperative. Is it?

I remember it well, that day, about this time of the year, when mum asked me to ride into town to buy a fresh loaf of bread and a bottle of lemonade. I rode to the baker, bought the warm bread, all wrapped up in tissue paper, and was half way home before I remembered the lemonade so I turned back and it was only then I noticed my hand had been hard at it, ripping soft bread from the middle of the loaf and stuffing it into my open gob.

For a brief second I panicked, but then my clever little brain realised I had just enough for the lemonade and another loaf. I bought both while my hand continued to rip and stuff, rip and stuff.

Half way home again, belly bloated, I decided to lie down on the side of the road. I day dreamt, dozed and two hours later got up and continued on home. When I got there, mum was so busy in the kitchen she barely noticed me sneak in.

I often hanker for those days when time was timeless, meaningless and only one in five wore or could afford a watch.

Just in case you have forgotten, or never knew, time is a human contrivance. Nature doesn’t recognise it. We made it up. Skinks don’t know the time. Kangaroos couldn’t care less. As for magpies, well, they have a rough idea because they keep a close watch on all our comings and goings.

For those of you who feel a hanker coming on, here’s a tip for this Christmas: ignore the clocks and watches, don’t organise too much and try and find a soft grassy patch to lie on and let your mind wander.

Yes, life is short, but you don’t have to rush it.

My favourite festive periods were those spent at the family’s beach house in Safety Bay. Back then we might take a day to catch a feed, most of the night to eat it and around a week to clean up the mess.

Back in Bridgetown we lived on part of the original Doust farm which had been split among three brothers and some years all of us would gather at my grandfather’s and rip into what seemed a massive pig, laid out on a huge table with a granny smith in its mouth.

One of my uncles liked too many Sherries and the other one too many beers and a cousin had a hanker for whiskey. By the end of the day, and the pig, the grassy knoll was full of tired and emotional bodies flung out to dry.

Looking back on it all I have to admit my favourite festive days of all were spent on my brother’s farm, because by then we were all grown men with wives, sometimes new ones, and children, not always our own, but none of us had lost our love of action.

My brother would make a water slide down his back yard into the river and everyone armed themselves with water cannon, water bombs, buckets, anything to ensure no-one left un-drenched. The party ended one year when the brother brought out his fire fighting equipment and blasted an older family member into the river and we had to drive to Augusta to recover him.

Whatever you do this Christmas and Boxing Day, do it slow, do it with warmth in your heart and have a bloody good time.