Friday, May 01, 2009

day trip last week

last tuesday a friend and i went to check out werribee south, and campbell's cove bathing boxes, which i'd read about once a few years ago, and then again recently.

it was a sunny day, loverly, and we drove across the bridge and saw the new suicide barriers, and both felt yuck thinking about the little girl, and how people can do that, and how people can kill themselves etc and so by the time we had crested and gone over the top we were a bit quiet, and my friend paul had to concentrate because we were boxed in by mammoth trucks and i got a little scared.

first, we went to point cook. clokes and i have been trying to think "outside the box" about our accommodation iss-ews. but frankly, point cook is too far outside the box. i'd rather live in geelong, some beautiful places there.

first we found ourselves at sanctuary lakes resort if you don't mind. it was fucking horrible, and the lake was like a burley griffin wannabe. we drove around for a little while, and we each found maybe one house that we would pick were we forced to live at sanctuary lakes resort. my friend's an architect and he talks about 'good bones.' but not that day. apparently also the place is built on landfill which is dirty: i quote from a message thread "the ground is full of broken concrete and asbestos wall insulation steel rebar bricks chipboard topped with 12-18 inches of the original topsoil scraped of and dumped back on top of the fill."

then we went across to the other side of point cook road to some new estates. two literary pieces came to mind. one was ts eliot's the wasteland, and the other, for some reason, was dickens' bleak house. one of the streets was called home street; it was hopeful and pathetic in equal measures.

it was so depressing. i just don't like new houses and housing estates. if i had to live in a new house, i would choose something that was mock victorian or georgian or something. i can't stand the lack of character, and the formulaic designs, the mix and matchness. i like old houses. i don't care if the paint is peeling (like on our bedroom ceiling) or there are other signs of shabby - i have high ceilings and good light and well-proportioned rooms. i've lived in some shitboxes, really i have. in japan we didn't even have a bathroom in our first apartment and we washed on the roof and at the sento or the gym. it's not that i'm a princess, i can do rough. i just need to be in a suburb or area with soul. as far as i could see, all those new housing estates and satellite towns have no soul. not yet. they might. later.

so we hightailed it out of there. i hadn't seen anything that was remotely pretty; paul quite liked one of the display home offices.

just like the bellarine peninsula, no?

next stop was werribee south. well, there's a beach there did you know it? it looks not unlike queenscliffe and them there parts on approach (see photo above). we got out of the car at the spot where the river joins the ocean, and there were people, and the beach wasn't as bad as you would think. it is indeed a secret little gem. we had lunch at this fab milk bar, and chatted with the people running it. paul had a burger, i had a cheese and salad sandwich and we shared a bowl of chips. we had a coffee each and then shared a vanilla slice. the floor was amazing terrazzo with about 4 different colours and borders edged in gold. it was in amazing condition and at the doorway there was a built-in plaque with the date - 1959 from memory. we both agreed we'd thought it would be earlier, but the building itself was a big, blonde-brick number; very boxy and with a residence upstairs probably.

good-lunch milk bar.

next stop was campbell's cove.

when you get to the road the beach shacks are on, it looks like this:

cool, right? so we drove along behind the shacks, to see how long the stretch was. at the end of it, there was a car park. so we parked there. there were a few cars, and we thought we'd walk back along the front of the beach huts, along the sand.

it was a good idea, right?

so we parked the car, walked down onto the beach, looked around, and up the beach i saw two nude men. that's when i remembered that the article i read had said this was a nude beach.

oh, ok. no problem with that.

we went back to the car to get my bag etc, and then something like this walked out at us, from the scrub:

> sorry to disappoint, folks. i just spent about half an hour offending mine eyes by trying to find a picture of a fat, nude man. i can't find one that's right, so i'll just have to use my words.

so, through the bushes, towards our car walked a nude man, with a really big penis. he was old, and fattish, and headed our way. looking right at us, it was most disconcerting.

so we walked away heading up the beach, away from the nude action. i started to realise why there were so many cars, it's a beat, it's a gay beat!! i said to paul. we clung to each other in excitement, giggling like school girls, and went to look at the huts. as we walked, paul was saying he hoped his car would be alright and i teased him about men having sex on his bonnet, or ejaculating all over it.

and here are the beach huts, they are so cool:

campbell's cove beach huts.

as we walked along we met a couple who were outside one of the huts. he was getting on his waders to do some fishing and had a couple of rods down on the beach. she was sitting at a card table in the sun. they were friendly, and we chatted for a while, asking questions about the huts. they said it was wild down there in winter, a great time to go, or at the end of summer season, through autumn, and also in spring, before it gets too warm. they said sometimes the seaweed is so bad and it really stinks. they said also sometimes vandalism can be a problem. you're not meant to "stay there" but they said the local council turns a blind eye, and really it's better having some people around, otherwise there'd be nudists completely out of control.

some of the shacks are quite derelicte-my-balls, but others are even flasher than this one.

i liked this fence.

i'm guessing there's no "town water" so it's rain tanks.

we walked back to the carpark a bit scared of what we might see. there'd been heaps of traffic on the road as we'd walked along the beach and then back behind the shacks on the road. all men, and most of them old. saw one couple. maybe it's a dogging place? i don't know.

we got back to the car and there was actually a guy launching his boat near-by off a trailer. paul went down to the beach again, and there was a young dude (non-nude) there that i could see from inside the car where i was sitting. he was looking shifty, standing on the beach and looking at something in the shrubs? paul cam e back to the car, then as we were driving away another old nude guy walked through the bushes away from the clothed young guy.

it was seriously hideous but a bit exciting as well.

we drove back along the road, and the along the extension past the turn-off where we'd come in. there were a couple more cars down there, i think with masturbators. it seemed to be a younger man patch.

so that was it. we drove back across the bridge. i loved it down that way. i saw some seriously funky farm houses and there's a heap of horticulture going on, the air was scented with cabbages and other cruciferous vegetables.

happy weekend to you all. i am off being writerly tomorrow. there's a guy in the class that is kind of like the person who gets on the tram, and comes and sits next to you, and is weird and you don't want them to sit next to you because they might start shouting or talk to you in gibberish. last time, when we had to share bits of our work in small groups, his piece immediately reminded me of a confederacy of dunces. it was like it was lifted straight from it. he said he hadn't read it, didn't seem to have heard of it. i'm not sure i believe him. i told him i thought he'd like it, considering his own story. what i didn't say was that the character in his story, and the opening scene is very similar to stuff from that book.

however, an admission from me. once on this blog i said i was tired of the same-old, same-old fiction*, and sick of synopses on the back of books that go something like and so she returned to the family property, to rebuild her life and also rebuild the chook pen. well, tomorrow we have to take a synopsis, and mine reads like shit. exactly like the chook pen one. what to do? down the bottom, i have written "sounds like a crap marketing line" and put pertinent bits in bullet points. i don't know how to write a fucking synopsis; i guess i'll find out tomorrow. it's pretty confronting having to give people copies of your work, that's not finished, that still feels drafty. now i have to settle down and do some polishing.

*recent readings - the secret life of bees, ok for about 1/3 of the book, then got predictable and ordinaire; the reader, only ok but ultimately forgettable, didn't make much of an impression at all, maybe i shouldn't have seen the movie first; the dressmaker, wasn't sure about the style and had to stop, go back to the beginning and re-read when almost 1/3 way through because i was confused with all the characters, nobody seemed real or believable. i know it was gothic and hence meant to be strange, just didn't work properly for me; the gathering, fantastic. simply superb; the time traveler's wife, reading it now. love love loving it. the slap, not so much.

so out of 6 novels in the last 2 months i've liked precisely 2. maybe that's not too bad. i'm also reading the joan and bette gossip-bitch-fest. dipping into it when i want to get away from fiction.

also, don't know if my dad's read any of this yet. i was a little unsettled by the idea of him doing so, but then thought, fuck it. he was pestering me about it on and off over the years, perhaps it would make us closer? he's always busy doing his tax though. does anybody else's father always seem to be "doing his tax." is it a fatherly euphemism for something else? maybe he's a secret blogger?


BookMoth said...

Can I recommend 'The Kindly Ones' by Jonathan Littel? Yes? OK! It's awesome. Shocking. Totally different. The protagonist is a freaky incestuous Nazi. He's very evil. It's been called "the War and Peace of our times" by someone very intellectual. Not sure who. It's also 1000 pages long (small print! trade format!) so I will consider it a great achievement if I finish it before I die. So even though I'm nowhere near finished, I can tell you that 1/546th of the way through it's really good.

BookMoth said...

Oh, wait. Author's name is Littell with 2 Ls at the end. Whoops.

Also, totally agree with you on The Slap.

Melba said...

Thanks, I shall put that one on the list, most definitely.

Perseus said...

I didn't even know Werribee South existed. Did it smell like the sewerage plant there as well? It's like there's this whole part of Melbourne that's been hidden from me for 39 years. I'm going there to take a look myself, and we can compare notes.

I have 'The Slap' on my bedside table, which means it is high on the list of books soon to be read, so I've been avoiding your blog so as to avoid spoliers. But I did see in the corner of my eye something about genital descriptions and I can tell you, he did a fair bot of that in 'Dead Europe' as well. He was also big on describing spoof in that book. Even so, I think I gave the book a B, but without the genital fixation, it may have creeped into the B+ realms.

Melba said...

Nope, no sewerage smell. I tell you it was very pleasant. And a bit of a hidden jewel. I reckon it'll be developed in 20 and unrecognisable. Now would be the time to buy if there's anything to buy. Sleepy little hollow but so close to CBD, with hidden beaches as well. Altona is similar I believe.

I've got Dead Europe unread. It will be interesting to compare that with the Slap. But it'snot here at the moment, in storage with most my other books. Sigh.

jo_blue said...

I loved the description of Werribee and Point Cook. I've played golf at that resort when it first opened. Very, very windy and I wasn't impressed by the houses either. As for Werribee South, I had no idea it was THAT kind of place. When I was reading it, everything after the words 'gay beat' took on a whole new sleazy meaning - LOL - rods, even waders - though I don't know why. I must be sick. Thanks for the laugh.

KittyMeow said...

The burbs definitely have no soul. It is the same when you go far east. My boyfriend used to live in Narre Warren and it is such a generic suburb. All the houses look the same and there are no landmarks.

I think that is what makes these places so awful - the strict zoning. Most original Melbourne suburbs have the little corner milk bar or a strip of cafes but these developments lump all the shops into one ugly centre and that is it. It doesn't inspire you to actually say hi to your neighbours. Just like some places you live in aren't really home the same goes for the developments. Hmmm
It's such a shame though because it's hard to find places where people my age (20s) can actually buy a house. So they all buy these monstrosities out in the burbs and Melbourne just spreads.

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