I am a meat eater. I eat kangaroo and I eat bacon. I eat whatever is indigenous to the culture I am visiting.
This morning I ate fake bacon. It was my first time.
That’s because I’m staying with an Australian family that is variously meat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. Two of them left the house this morning for a two-week sojourn. I faced a kitchen of intriguing leftovers including bacon-style rashers.
They invited us to join them for a coffee and tour of their heritage home the next day.
Willunga’s Old Post Office and Telegraph Station
While Leith made coffee, Sue led us through the 160-year-old building and pointed out odd features.
For example, the City council at the time taxed buildings according to how many windows they had. When it came time to build an addition for the new telegraph station, the builders added a large glass doorway, but blocked in a window space next to it.
Apparently, you didn’t get taxed for doors.
Wine, quince and a surprise
The four of us settled into the front verandah and Sue and Leith started telling hilarious stories about their days as tour guides and hosts in Adelaide.
Leith disappeared and then reappeared with tall flutes of sparkling red wine.
After the second or third bottle, Leith brought out a tray of local cheeses, home-baked crackers, and his very own quince chutney paste. He told us he named it “Black Ninja” after his little black cat.
Leith makes the quince in small batches, and local wineries snap it up to offer at their own cellar door tasting rooms.
I told a few stories of my own and when Leith heard me say that I’d like to get on a motorcycle to sightsee South Australia, he made a call.
A few minutes later Brett arrived on his Harley-Davidson and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. Did I?
I jumped on the back and Brett roared us out of town, along the winding B34 to Myponga (map), and then north along the coastline back into Willunga.
When we landed I asked Brett what our top speed was. 160 kilometres per hour, he answered.
It was nearing 5 pm and Mémé begged off our spontaneous dinner plans, saying she needed to be elsewhere.
Sue, Leith and I crossed the road to the Old Bush Inn, which locals call “the top pub” because there are two other pubs on the same road, on the same side of the street, further down the hill. Naturally, they are Willunga’s “middle pub” and “bottom pub.”
Leith told us it was “Rump and Red Night”—a roast beef dinner with a glass of wine for $18.
Brett whipped home and reappeared at the pub with a gift bag for me. I opened it and gingerly pulled out almost three metres (nine feet) of snake skin.
“I thought you might like it,” Brett grinned. “My Inland Python shed it.” Brett does welding, trailer repairs, and building maintenance.
It was beautiful. I gently looped the snake once, twice, three times around my neck like a boa scarf.
Brett promised to help me find a motorcycle of my own and we all settled in for a social dinner.