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Kangaroo or Shutter Island?

December 2, 2012

Our tour guide John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees has done it again. As the dinner for the closing of the Golden Oldies cricket festival was drawing to its conclusion at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Saturday night, I asked, in Barossa-Valley, wine-induced hubris, what time the bus left the hotel the next day for our three-day excursion to Kangaroo Island. “6.10” he said; “At least that gives us a chance to have a lie in and a leisurely lunch” I replied.  “6.10 am” he said in that poker-faced manner then I have come wholeheartedly to distrust. I knew he must be joking as it was a little after 1 am when I posed the question. He was serious. Thus we were ejected from the over-priced money-grabbing Sebel Playford hotel and poured, at am impossibly early hour, into a very uncomfortable bus for the 2 hour trip to Port Jervis to catch the ferry over to Kangaroo Island.

The picture yesterday in this column of Hanging Judge John Judge-Mental passing sentence at the Teesside (kangaroo) Crown Court, sitting in Adelaide, the night before caused some consternation in the comments section of this column. One chap was concerned that the tie being sported by the Judge may have been an Old Carthusian, which in his opinion was a very serious and indictable defence. I have put this to the judge and am awaiting his plea.

We arrived on the island at 10 am and searching in vain for our hire car, the second foul up from our travel agents, the very inefficient Auztravel, who had failed to have the pre paid car ready for us at Adelaide airport last week. Eventually we found the vehicle, with a  different car hire company from the one quoted and set off to take in the local market which was taking place close to the ferry port, and from where I took this picture of some very useful headgear.

Kangaroo Island

Shutter Island inhabitant keeps the sun off

Nobody told us it could be cold in Australia, so whilst the locals were all kitted out in sweater and shirts, we were a little out-of-place in short-sleeved shirts and shorts. It warmed up a little as we visited a charming winery located in a hangar with its own airstrip for light aircraft, where we tasted some of their wines including “Happiness”, and which, after the morning we had endured, was close to what we needed. They served an excellent lunch of cold meats, quiche, marinated vegetables, olives and mushrooms, over which, for some reason, John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees revealed that his first car was a pink Hilman Imp. I know that, had the judge been aware of that fact on Saturday night, then, in addition to the charge of dangerously running out a disabled team-mate, John would have been charged with owning a lurid car in a built up area. The fact that it was pink should, in my opinion, double the sentence.

On the way back to the quaint Seafront Hotel, we popped into the rather alarmingly name winery called “Dudley”. Despite its name it had the most stunning views, which in some way mitigated it’s rather poor wine output and appalling Midlands connotated name.

Bizarrely, when picking up the hire car, we were told that car insurance does not extend after 8pm, that the restaurants all stop serving food at the same time and that to go out after that time risked being savaged by wild animals. I know that I was looking for an early night and it was that Nice Lady Decorator who hit the nail on the head; Shutter Island (as opposed to Fraser Island in Queensland, which refers to the place to which where all the fans of Frazer Hines are eventually committed. I believe I shall end up there myself). no space today for a reference to Currencies Direct, perhaps tomorrow.

Chris France


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