Dying Embers out now

Dying Embers out now

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Currarong break

I haven't posted for a while, as we've been on a break to the south coast of NSW. Specifically, a couple of weeks at Currarong, near Abraham's Bosom national park; the inspiration for my eponymous short story. Running and walking through the bush reminded me how magical this part of the world is. Part of the magic is how remote it is here; on a peninsular, surrounded by national park and only accessible by one road. There are unspoilt, deserted beaches, pristine rainforest, deserted tracks through the bush and amazing views of the coastline. Not many creature comforts though; one tiny general store and a fish and chip shop just about sums up the shopping experience (although they do get fresh fish every day direct from the boats that use the jetty in Currarong). Most of the houses are holiday lets, so in the winter there's hardly anyone around. Oh, and the nearest petrol station is twenty minutes' drive away!

Looking towards Abraham's Bosom beach
On a bush walk yesterday, my children came skipping back to us very excited; they had seen a snake. And what a snake! Seriously big, curled up by the track and obviously asleep, digesting something large clearly visible as a lump inside. I don't know what kind it is, but the children were convinced it was a viper. Not sure about that; no doubt a python, so no danger to us, but best to leave it alone. It had gone when I ran past later in the day.

What a snake! It really was a big one.
This place was my original inspiration for writing strange stories. On our very first visit here, I ran Coomie's Walk, a 9k loop through the bush, not knowing exactly where it went. Inevitably, I got lost, once the yellow direction arrows disappeared. Being from England, it hadn't really occurred to me then quite how remote things could be; as it started to get dark, I was crashing through undergrowth, having strayed from the path. I realised that no one would find me if I could not find my way. There was no chance of seeing anyone (in fact, in the years I have been running round Coomie's Walk, I have never seen anyone else there). I must admit, I was panicking a bit, and my skin was really 'prickling on the back of my neck'. After about half an hour of systematically searching around, noting landmarks and trees, I stumbled by accident back on to the path. By the time I was back on familiar ground it was almost completely dark, and it was obvious how lucky I had been. I still get goosebumps when I think about it now.

The turnoff for Coomie's Walk, which Merewether
missed in my short story Abraham's Bosom.
So this exquisite fear made me think that I could try to re-create the feeling in a story, and I started to think about some kind of plot. It soon became clear that there was some interesting local history which I might incorporate into something readable; a shipwreck and some biblical references from the past, and my first story was written. That was eight years ago, mind, and I've still only written eight or so more, so still not enough for my first collection! Mind you, watch this space ...

The beaches are so crowded here ...

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