Friday, March 5, 2010

close and personal

Well, the proofs are in - and it is raining. A long day of staring at the computer screen. I've turned in I think 14 books to publishers now, and it never gets any easier to let go.

Tomorrow is the Lions Autumn Market at the showgrounds (so the island gospel AKA the Island news informs us - published bi-weekly and paid for cheerfully it seems by the locals - imagine a suburban paper people paid for or that people drove in to fetch and wanted!). The only country paper that - if you go in to Bowmans, you can buy the day before it comes out. We're SO advanced we have time travel here. The Market should be interesting... you know, it's almost impossible to explain to big city people just how PERSONAL life in a place like Flinders is. Go into the Post Office (which is also the Wespac bank) and you will know the people serving you. You'll know John and Leanne (even if the spelling might avoid me) by first name, and they'll know your name. If post arrives... as some of ours has, without the box address - you'll get it. They'll tell you about chooks and about where to fish. Go into the General Dealer (and this has all the charm of stepping back to better time when there WAS a real general dealer - like the trader's store deep in rural Africa, you can get a kettle or a blanket or a cell-phone charger or magazine or the Island News or a shirt) and Lois is almost bound to introduce herself, Helen and anyone else in the shop to you. I get to feeling I ought to carry a note-pad around with me, because everyone knows the two crazy new South Africans who are staying in John Woolley's house, (there really is an address and a road we live on. I don't even bother to say it anymore. People look blank - I just tell them who owns the place!) and I get introduced to so many people it takes me weeks to work it all out. Because you do work it all out - the island fits together like a jigsaw. I daresay there are fueds and factions, which we'll doubless come across, but people know each other and need each other. There are grumbles about this that and the next, yes... but people greet each other. Because short of flying out this is it. If there is a fire or another ferry saga - these are the people you have to deal with, and deal with the situation with.

Okay so maybe this is not the life for the person who worries about his anonymity or is paranoid about his private life. People will know a lot about you, whether you like it or not. It's probably gossip central... But I must admit I love it. In a city you can live next door to someone and never meet them let alone know the name of someone living a mile away. Here neighbours are important. They're neighbours in the real sense... Makes me feel part of the place, even if we aren't. Yet. Give it 30 years :-).


  1. LOL Dave

    In 30 years you will be part of the community, but still referred to as 'the south africans who moved here recently'. ;)