Christmas day, like Christmas eve came and went with little sign of festivity. Surfers surfed, campers camped and little sign of huge turkey dinners, of bloated Christmas puddings or excessive beer consumption. A lovely cooked breakfast was served to the sound of Christmas tunes and cracker hats, but otherwise my day was unremarkable.
A walk along the Cape Bridgewater beach filling my lungs with fresh salty air, feeling the breeze of a balmy summers day... Christmas eve had seen me walk around the headland taking in the sights of the coast, with a fur seal colony and what is known locally as the "petrified forest" but is in fact a collection of limestone tubes created from water collection and erosion..
All a very sharp contrast to the commercial and hugely interpreted importance of a single day at the end of December in the depths of the European winter. Maybe the lights, the huge amounts of food and alcohol, the gathering of friends and family is a symbol of a deep need to fend off the harsh winters darkness and conversely it doesn't have the same driving force in the warmth of a southern hemisphere summer.
Whatever the actual truth, the relevance is somehow lost to me as I watch the surf rolling onto the long beach with a cold beer to hand and a lack of appetite after a hearty cooked breakfast.
Imagine celebrating Christmas with all is attendant trappings while you are on your summer holiday at the seaside and maybe you can get some understanding of my point of view.
News arrives late on Christmas day that the glorious ancient flora of the Otway park that I had travelled through along the great ocean road a few days ago was burning fiercely as an uncontrolled bush fire raged towards Lorne. It will be sad to see what the effect had been when I retrace my steps in the new year.
A cool and blustery boxing day dawns and a traditional walk. Albeit in a non traditional place, breaths new life into the non festive season. From Bridgewater lake a sandy path reaches out to towering sand dunes and a fierce windswept beach littered with the flotsam and jetsam of a little visited landing of crashing waves.
Standing taking in the fury of nature's unconstrained strength on what is a relatively calm day it's easy to imagine the huge undertaking it must have been to land on these shores only a couple of hundred years ago. The numerous known shipwreck sites illustrating how fragile human life is against the whim of wind and wave.
Life has been easy over the last few days. My Christmas treat. With a comfortable room, a sunlit sitting room and wonderful cooked breakfasts served by the friendly host of the seaview lodge. The random meeting of fellow guests at a concurrence of journeys. Sometimes chatting, sharing their experiences, sometimes self engrossed, mobile phone in hand. Aussies, Germans, Japanese, Brits. Most on holiday escapes from winter climates.
But moving on will happen and moving up the coast the landscape becomes a little more remote.
I'm planning to head as far west as kangaroo island just short of Adelaide, before I turn around and get back to Melbourne, Not sure where I will see the new year arrive yet. As usual something will turn up.