Friday, December 2, 2011

A welcome home for Doug, me and the mutton birds

For 15 years I've been meeting a group of around six to eight women friends every Saturday morning at Harry's on the Esplanade, in Cowes, on Phillip Island.

For two hours we drink coffee, share confidences and laugh in a way that's unique amongst a group of women friends. It's not that we don't like men (most of us love men!), it's just that talk is different when it's a women's only group.

Today's welcome home was heart warming: hugs from my five friends, our waitress Jip and the owner of Harry's, Kirsty. Harry's is an upmarket restaurant with breathtaking views across the bay, including the Cowes jetty and tree-lined Esplanade.

Meanwhile, Doug set off for the Jetty Cafe, in Cowes, on his treasured 1949 Ariel Square 4 motor cycle. Doug's been meeting his motor cycle friends every Saturday morning for 15 years too.

Over a late lunch, Doug and I shared all the local gossip. A huge chunk of prime farmland on the outskirts of Cowes is being carved up into a housing estate. Blocks are selling from $124,500. Development on the island is astounding with a huge Woolworths complex opened just a few weeks ago. We now have Coles and Woolworths. Where will it all end?

From our part of the island -- on the north-west corner -- all is relatively unchanged since we left in April. There is not the population pressure that exists in and around Cowes. Peace, the blue glitter of the ocean and the golden hush of sundown signal the time for the mutton birds to return to the rookery and their mates sitting on eggs deep in sandy burrows.

What a welcome they receive! My mind backtracks to the welcome I received this morning from my friends -- and I feel warm inside. Birds have feelings too, and I've no doubt they feel pleasure and excitement on the return of their mate.

When it's all boiled down, we're not all that different to animals and birds!

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