Watch a flower undress

Agapanthus flowers and olvie trees in South Willunga, Australia.

“Is that an…onion?” I ask Ruth, beckoning to a bush in her backyard. It’s a huge growth of lily-like leaves but with incongruous, onion-like flower bulbs.

“No,” she says, “That’s Agapantha. I remember its name because it sounds like panther.”

Hers haven’t bloomed yet, but later that day I discover a border of Agapanthus guarding the olive grove at The Farm winery and café in South Willunga.

These lilies of the Nile are in varying states of undress, and I marvel at the beautiful shapes the flowers take as they throw off their “jackets.”

Agapanthus flowers in various stages of bloom near olive grove.
Agapanthus flowers in various stages of bloom near an olive grove at The Farm cafe and winery in South Willunga, Australia.


Attend a show at a Waldorf School

Willunga Waldorf School choir at end-of-year concert.

Tilly is in Class 8 at the Waldorf School here in Willunga. It’s an unusual school, where 13-year-olds discuss personal journeys, portrayals of women in advertising, and 9/11 conspiracy theories.

I was pleased to join her and her family to the school’s end-of-year concert. According to Wikipedia, a Waldorf education’s “…overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence.”

It also includes a high degree of musical competence. The event showcased everything from percussion poles to xylophones to classic guitar. A piece by the Senior Band, Kaze no Toorimichi, felt transcendent.

During the break I wandered the school grounds and got a sense of the Willunga Waldorf School’s  radical building and grounds design.

Classroom building from Waldorf School in Willunga, Australia.
Classroom building from Waldorf School in Willunga, Australia. (Source:

From what I’ve seen so far, and having spent some time with Tilly over the last couple of weeks, I’m impressed—and just a bit jealous.

I wonder how my generation would have turned out if we could have received this kind of creative education?


Sleep in a swag

Swag bedroll with a sleeping bag inside, inside a tent in Wirrina, Australia.

The temperature went down to 8 degrees Celsius for my first night of camping in Australia at Wirrina Cove Holiday Park, south of Adelaide.

Luckily, I got to sleep inside a real live swag.

A swag is a canvas bedroll. It’s heavy and waxed and includes both a zip-over mosquito net and a cover. Ropes at either end allow you to tie it to a tree, or like a bivouac sack or camping hammock.

Or you could make like a jolly swagman and pitch it under the shade of a coolibah tree.

Sleep inside a swag.

Grill a Postie

Letter carrier on a 110cc Honda "Postie" motorbike in Willunga, Australia.

I want to ride a motorcycle in South Australia.

The roads wind beautifully along picture-postcard coastlines, through vineyards, and between mountain ranges—how could I not?

The trouble is, I need a bike. It’s got to be small, light, ready to carry gear, and less than $2000 AUS.

A few people have suggested a Postie bike. Similar to my vintage-style Symba Honda Cub, the Australian Post’s delivery vehicle of choice is small (just 110cc) motorcycle that is nimble, easy to operate, and tough as all get out.

Today I caught sight of a Postie zipping in and out of drive ways on his specially-equipped Honda Super Cub CT110. I literally waved him down and then fairly grilled him on the particulars of his bike.

He told me Australian Post puts the bikes to auction when they get near the 30,000-kilometre mark. He suggested I look up the Postie  bikes at Pickles Auctions and maybe Gumtree (similar to craigslist).

There were lots to choose from. One fellow is even selling a Postie bike equipped with travel bags for $2,250 AUS. The price seems a bit steep for a 110cc bike, but oh-what-fun it could be to ride.

I’ll have to grill up a toasty and give this some thought.

Meet a Postie and ask him about his motorcycle.

Eat kangaroo

Bag of "Gourmet Game" frozen kangaroo meat on an Australian food counter.

I’m staying with Jared and Ruth and their girls Tilly and Delilah. They’re a modern family who try to live consciously.

That includes food. One member of the family is gluten-free, another dairy-free, and another meat-free, depending on the day of the week.

Tonight’s meal is a fusion affair: Italian-style spaghetti bolognese with ground, organic, locally-sourced kangaroo substituting for beef.

According to local company, kangaroo meat is:

“…one of the most sustainable, lean and delicious meats that Australia produces. Kangaroo is a 100% natural lean meat that is sustainably and ethically sourced from the open ranges of Australia. Kangaroos are free-ranging animals, the range over extensive pastoral areas of Australia, graze on natural vegetation and are harvested in their own environment…”

Eat kangaroo.

Order a long black

Cup and saucer of coffee on a cafe table at The Farm in South Willunga, Australia.

I just want a plain cup of coffee. But I discover that I must decide between a flat white and a long black.

I use Google to look up the Australian version of an ‘Americano misto’ and see that a long black is an approximate equivalent, just add milk.

Since I already know how to speak English, I use this language expertise to order “A long black with milk, please.” It seems to work.

√ Order a long black.

This long black is in a garden setting at The Farm, in South Willunga. It’s a cafe, winery, cellar door, olive grove, vineyard, and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.

Refuse pie as refuse

Garbage can at railway station says "No pies" in Lindfield, Australia.

Pie is trash, according to a garbage can at North Sydney’s Lindfield railway station.

It is foul and in need of disposing along with plastic bags, yogurt containers. and—diapers.

I dispute that. Pie is a delectable, flaky pastry filled with fruits or savoury fillings. It is delightful warm and with a cup of good coffee.

Pie is not akin to dirty nappies, City of Sydney train system.

Pie is not trash.

Question the wisdom of a garbage can.

Find love at Bondi Junction

1973 B&W photo of Bondi Junction train station ticket turnstiles in Sydney, Austraila.

I was twelve years old when Peter Foldy’s 1973 song Bondi Junction played on my white plastic radio in my pink-and-lavender bedroom in Guelph, Ontario.

The sweet-voiced song told the tale of a young man who met his first true love at a mysterious place called “Bondi Junction.”

I eventually discovered that Bondi Junction is a real place in faraway Australia. I wondered if I would ever go there.

I did. It’s a transit station east of Sydney. It’s a great place to find a direct bus to Bondi Beach. But, like poor Peter, it was not the place to find love.

The song did well for Peter, though. It was a Canadian’s break-out hit single nominated for several awards. He might have been influenced by three brothers he met when he was still in Australia—the brother Gibb. They’d go on to become the Bee Gees. He’d go on to direct a film that is rumoured to inspire the film American Pie.

√ Catch a bus at Bondi Junction.

χ  Find love at Bondi Junction.