Thursday, October 27, 2005

Circumnavigation & Halloween

Went all the way round Brisbane Water today. Didn't realise it until I was most of the way round. It was fun.

Had to go to Kincumber this morning and got the bus. It leaves from Woy Woy station, rushes over The Rip Bridge, trundles up Daley's Point, past the ramp down to St. Hubert's Island, round Empire Bay's hill, then down to the ferry wharf at Empire Bay. Then through the bush and straggling houses between Empire Bay and Bensville, round past a massive retirement village and the bus depot in Kincumber South, down past the 1847 sandstone church (St. Paul's on the corner of Avoca & Empire Bay Drives), past through or possibly between endless brick retirement villages in Kincumber proper (they were all the same, couldn't work out if it was the same village seen from seventeen different angles or seventeen villages & about seventeen thousand Dear Old Things clambered slowly aboard at each stop) and down the long straight stretch of Avoca Drive to the Kincumber shops and the pub.

Then, after my thingy in Kincumber, out of Kincumber at the other end and up over Dunlop Hill (in an older bus this time which groaned a bit on the steep stretches) and down the other side, past Yattalunga (the handle suburb on the hammer of Saratoga & Davistown), up and over the end of Kincumba Mountain at Green Point (Kincumba & Kincumber, same place different spelling), out onto Erina Road beside the heliport, through Erina Fair (known to loathers of shopping centres as Bloody Erina), alongside Erina Creek, through East Gosford with its private schools, past The Finger (AKA Pt Frederick), through Gosford, through Point Clare, Tascott and Koolewong on Brisbane Water Drive along the west side, across the bridge at Park's Bay and back into Woy Woy station.

Circumnavigating Brisbane Water
Annotated map

Probably a two hour trip all up. Pretty good way to get the big picture of where I'll be walking. Got to see which roads have shade and which have killer curves. From Green Point I could see straight across to where I was walking yesterday and from this side of the Point Clare hill I had a clear line of sight down between Saratoga and Koolewong, over Pelican Island and Brick Wharf, past Blackwall Mountain and over Umina to the distinctive shape of Lion Island. Behind it is Pittwater but without a pair of binoculars its tricky to pick out what bit's what there.

There was a fire at Point Clare. Just a small one on the ridge above the houses. I could see it as we crested the hill at Green Point. Not visible smoke. Just those whatsits that come invisibly before the visible smoke. You know what I mean. I'm rambling. Anyways, it wasn't a big fire then but it might be getting bigger. The wind's up now and I can smell the smoke through the window beside my desk. I can also hear those bloody mynahs fluttering and squawking about in the guttering of my balcony. Building a nest and having a shag no doubt.

Got home in time to watch a thing on the telly about the Celtic traditions of Halloween. The first twenty minutes was fascinating. After that I was trying to tune the fucking telly because it was going off the fucking station every fucking minute. Can't find the fucking manual so now I'm without a watchable SBS. Bastard!

Anyways, what I did see some very illuminating stuff. Made sense of the various elements of it. The main thinking behind the whole of Halloween is that as the longest night of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) and Celtic New Year's Eve, it's the one night when the realm of the living and the realm of the spirits are not separated.

The elemental spirits (spirits of earth, wind, fire & water), faeries (the evil Irish sort not the wussy Hallmark sort) and the souls of the dead roam amongst the living and try to carry them away to the realm of the spirits. To confuse them you disguise yourself as an animal or some fierce creature. The noise and carry-on is also to confuse them.

The boundaries of houses and fields were protected with bonfires. Didn't hear about the jack-o-lanterns but they look like a combination of a fierce mask and the protective fire. There was also a thing about a "great black sow" who grabs the last person to leave the dying fire and "crunches their bones". That'd make you run home fast and bolt the door behind you.

Didn't hear the history behind trick or treating but there's somewhere in the UK (Britain) where trick or treating was considered too dangerous for children. And some particularly evil crowd of faeries on an island off Ireland took a yearly tribute in the form of food, drink and children.

Now I get it. Before it was just a jumble of apparently meaningless and conflicting whatsits. Now it looks like good scary fun.


Suzanne said...

LOngest night of the year around here is winter solstice, around Dec 21 or 22 - Halloween closer to autumnal equinox, when day and night of equal length, around Sept 21 or 22. So that's a little confusing. Beware the Black Sow!

Spike said...

Interesting. Maybe I misheard that bit. The fucking telly was flickering off station mid-sentence. Drove me batty. The equinox sounds a more likely candidate. Those bloody Victorians probably moved it. They never could leave anything alone. But anyways, no I know what it's all about I wanna have one here this year :)