FRIDAY AUGUST 2 FORREST BEACH
I woke about 7am. Walked Couey along the foreshore path. Again, she rebelled part way along. Damn smart dog had realised that breakfast came at the end of her morning walk, and food was much more important than exercise.
After human breakfasts, we drove into Ingham to do a food shop.
It was a hotter day, with cloud building up through the day.
This weekend was the annual Italian Festival in Ingham, celebrating the heritage of so many of its residents. Sugar growing commenced in the area in the 1870’s. Initially, as in other parts of north Qld., Pacific Islanders (kanakas) were brought in to work in the cane fields: under deceptive promises or plain just kidnapped. By the 1890’s this practice was declared illegal. A trickle of immigrants from Italy began to fill the labour void, and in the early 20th century many came from Italy and Spain and settled in the region. Ingham came to be known as “little Italy”. (So too, did an area near Coraki, in northern NSW, also a sugar cane region, where a friend’s family hails from).
I’d looked at the Festival program earlier in the week, but did not see much that was of great interest to us – particularly since dog limited what we could do.
Whilst we did the shopping, she stayed in the car, with windows part-down. She seemed to be ok with that, and we made sure not to be away long. Had a quick look in shops for a polar fleece throw. The one I had on the bed was just not quite enough in the chilliest part of the early morning. Couldn’t find such an item, so texted daughter to buy me one and mail it up.
When we got back to the park, there was a strange trailer type of thing parked across the grass area, down in front of Bus. I thought it might be something associated with the Festival, but John said it looked like it belonged to a circus. Neither of us really thought it could be, though.
After lunch, walked Couey on the beach, as far as the Cassady Beach houses.
The park became really, really full. Through the day, campers and caravans had multiplied on the grass area below us, even though there was no power down there. A slabbed site further along from us that had not been used to date because there was no power, was occupied, and the park manager came and changed the power leads from some rigs, around to other poles, doubling up, to remedy the situation. Probably wouldn’t have passed any regulatory inspections, but hey, this is north Qld!
Just after dark, a couple with young children set up a camper trailer across the access road from us. It must have been the last empty “proper” site, as opposed to setting up in an ad hoc way on the central grass.
I wondered how many people the park was actually permitted to have – if they even worry about such things up here? There must have been in at least two hundred bodies in residence. There were only five toilets and four showers in the Ladies’; going to be queues in there for sure.
I cooked threadfin salmon in tempura batter for tea, while John went off to buy chips and potato cakes. We didn’t factor in the new crowds, he was gone a long time, and the fish was over-cooked as a result. We found – again – that the shop food was too greasy. From now on, I would be cooking our own fries while here.
A TV advert came up for Leonard Cohen concerts in North Qld, in November. Obviously, that meant the great man was doing another concert series in Australia. I immediately texted daughter to check if there were any scheduled for Victoria, remembering the great time we’d had at his brilliant Hanging Rock concert in 2010. She found out there would be one held at a Geelong winery, in December, but she was not interested in one that far away from her home. I texted friend M about it – she was definitely interested. Emailed former work friend T to see if he would like to attend, too. That was really something to start looking forward to; my mind was already mulling over the logistics. John was not enthusiastic. He didn’t come to the Hanging Rock concert back then. Doesn’t know what he’s missing!