Hot deals on the Market, new rules on the bus, and the keys to the Jackaroo!
While the Sydney version had been quiet and disappointing, Adelaide’s was seemingly bigger and better in every way. Focused around food, the stalls were packed with colourful and quality displays of unusual and exotic fruit, pastries, meat and vegetables, cheese and yoghurt – with some tempting cafés serving breakfast. We lingered longer than expected, spoiled for choice before settling for an English-style fry-up with HP Sauce… Wisely, we kept to half-portions, as we’d learned that full Aussie plates were not calorie-controlled.
Our reluctant exit took us through the Chinese area next door, where Elaine spotted a jewellery stall. After a thorough investigation, and a battle negotiating a neurotic credit card machine, she walked away with a silver chain costing us/me 17 Aussie dollars (c £8.50).
The shady side of King William Street saw us returning to Elder Park and a fresher breeze by the river – but not before Elaine seized an opportunity to add another yoga demonstration to her portfolio. (This one’s called “Warrior”)
Beer o’clock comes early on hot days. The walk since breakfast had been both scenic and beneficial for our health, but other facilities beckoned, so we returned to the bustling streets that sprung south of North Terrace.
This attractive building (Beehive Corner) stands at the westerly end of Rundle Mall, near to the Paringa. We wanted to stay close to the motel, as we would need to return there by 2.30 to collect our bags. Remembering a street bar we’d used on our last visit, we strode up the Mall and had the undivided attention of two bartenders mourning a quiet day.
We stopped briefly in K-Mart (Australia’s bargain department store), then continued our browsing in the more attractive and historic Adelaide Arcade.
This was a place I’d spotted on our last visit, but time had been too short. Note the animals forming part of the heraldic crest above the portico. (Questions may be asked later) The Arcade has been around since 1885, and while it has survived the ravages of time pretty well (and a serious fire), it still maintains a distinctly classy appearance. That’s despite being split into two levels with some major re-designs at some point in the twentieth century.
But time was pressing, so we returned to the Paringa to wheel our bags back to the cooler waiting area of Franklin Street Bus Station.
Boarding the Sealink bus to Cape Jervis was our first proper introduction to restrictions resulting from the spread of the coronavirus. Passengers had to keep their distance. Every other seat had a cross taped on it, and we were told we must all sit individually, by the windows. So, I sat behind Elaine. No worries – it seemed like a novel idea, and gave us each a good view of the scenery for our two-hour trip.
Our driver Tony told us there would be only four stops during the journey to the Kangaroo Island Ferry Terminal at the Cape – the fourth one being ours. These were all scheduled around individual bookings, either to pick up or drop off. I was impressed with the whole business, relaxing into a comfortable leather seat where I could forget about driving and appreciate my surroundings. We followed the coast south and onto the Fleurieu Peninsula, through townships like Yankalilla and Normanville with which we already felt familiar. Then we passed Sue Mac’s place at Delamere before descending to the Cape.
Our stop was outside the Cape Jervis Tavern, chosen because the due time (5.30 pm) coincided with the Community Club being open. The regular Thursday night session would bring Sue Mac, Lyn and Linc, and Lillian and Alan Cole together, and we could meet them at the Clubhouse, two minutes’ walk from the Tavern. It was another perfectly executed plan – we’d only wheeled our bags about fifty metres when we spotted Lyn approaching in their car. As we flagged her down, Linc pulled up from the opposite direction in their older car – a 4WD, fondly known as “The Jackaroo”.
Here was another example of Aussie generosity: knowing we only had a rental car for a week, yet we’d be staying at Delamere for another few days, Linc had kindly offered to lend us the Jackaroo. It would give us some independence, as otherwise we would be reliant on Sue Mac for transport in an area where a car was essential. Tonight, all we had to do was put our bags in the back and drive to Sue’s.
It felt good to be with our friends again, and to be welcomed by familiar smiling faces – our adopted home community. It also helped to sit down to a nourishing meal of home-cooked chicken carbonara, washed down with a glass or two of wine, and catch up on the news. The charity lawnmower racing had been held while we were in Sydney, although not everything had gone as expected. Sue had to slip away for part of the evening for an inquest, as she was part of the organising committee.
We were getting to know a wider circle of the locals – Lorraine, Kay, Robert and Moira – and now two more faces we’d not met before. Wally and his wife Alvie had driven all the way from Alice Springs, in the very heart of Australia. The thousand-mile journey would be pretty punishing for most of us, but while this couple were both reputed to be in their nineties(!), they took it in their stride. Wally is a retired road-train driver, accustomed to hauling huge loads across the country over many years, and he had a host of stories to tell about his experiences.
But now it was my turn to focus on driving again. After the well-lit hall where we made our farewells, the car park seemed pitch-black. We found the Jackaroo from memory of where Linc had left it earlier, and Elaine and I climbed inside. It was still black as pitch until Elaine found the light-switch above our heads. This was just the first of several hurdles we’d to negotiate before we found ourselves back safely on the road. Turning on the ignition was straightforward enough – it was, after all, in the same place as all the other vehicles I’d driven. But certain things were different: a) it was a diesel vehicle, b) it had a manual gearbox while I’d got used to driving automatics, and c) Linc had left it in gear. It didn’t help that my feet had now completely forgotten what to do when faced with three pedals. Which one was the clutch again?
Having mastered reverse gear and found the headlights, I did eventually manage to point us in the right direction. Driving that switchback road with all its inclines and swooping descents, but without the assistance of streetlights, was an adventure in itself, so it was with some relief that we reached Sue Mac’s house unscathed around twenty minutes later. Re-united with our belongings, as well as with Lizzie and Kato, it felt just like home.
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