Sunday, December 12, 2010

STRADDIE 3 – Introducing the Tadpoles to Straddie


Straddie had become our home.  We immersed ourselves in island life, acquired a four wheel drive, spoke knowledgeably about tide times for accessible beach driving, bought fishing rods and crab pots and a freezer to hopefully hold the excess of fish and bait.  

We even bought a wee small boat we christened the Queen Mary, big enough to take out in the bay and small enough to easily push off the many sand banks we managed to mysteriously become stranded on. 

It was my job to paint on the boats registration, and it was many months before we realised I had mirror reversed the numbers on either side of the prow.  Just as well we weren’t pulled up by Marine Inspectors.

At long last I thought, we had become Islanders.

Well almost, its not something you acquire overnight.  In between though we did become grandparents, three times over, and we couldn’t wait until the little tadpoles were old enough to have sleep over’s with Pop and Gran, but minus their mother and father.

Back in those early days the water taxi was a modest affair and one the boys in particular looked forward to, especially when the weather was windy or stormy and the speed boat bucked and dipped in the waves.  The rougher the better for the tadpoles.

While they were small I crossed over first to bring them back.  But both looked forward to the red letter day when their parents deposited them at the harbour and they braved the crossing alone.

Naturally we introduced the tadpoles to our friendly birds, acquainted them with the island golf club where their grandfather and father played,  and exposed them to all sorts of marine daring do.

Gran had a hard job keeping up with all the mischief, the chains on middle tadpole’s ankles, secured here by the eldest wasn’t so bad.  It became a whole lot more serious when he strung his little brother upside down on the branch of a tree.   Despite all the mayhem they survived and more to the point so did I.

As the tadpoles grew older and taller, the island activities graduated to camp fires and golf at the local golf course where they sometimes had to share the greens with the resident kangaroos.

By the time our little grand daughter was old enough to join the boys, the daily jaunts to the beach became a constant echo of ‘wait for me’.  

Both boys learned to drive on the long deserted beaches of Straddie, an activity that came a close second to exploring the sand dunes and the inland lakes.

 As small children they experienced a freedom no longer accessible in urban life, and now they’ve taken their island memories into adulthood.  But of course for us time has stood still and our memories are locked into the little tadpoles they once were... a tiny little tot running to catch up with the others, a small brother hoping his tee shot goes as far as his big brothers.

The tadpoles have grown up, their interests have changed, the city holds an attraction stronger than ours.  But there again it did for us too when we were young.  Nothing in life changes all that much, patterns are slavishly followed.  In time our grown up tadpoles may find their own little piece of serenity, and who knows, it might even be on an island like Straddie.


Robyn Mortimer©2010


Further ahead – A surprising slice of history.