Friday, 11 May 2012

... prawns & beer

Image: And I did!, postcard, Murray Views Australia

Ah, Cairns! Beautiful one day, category 5 cyclone the next. Today, however, it is perfect: high twenties in the centigrade and a few fluffy white clouds in the sky. And it has been perfect for a few weeks now, which is just as well since the reason I have time to fuff around setting up a blog is because I am on seven weeks sick leave from work. Seven weeks!? Holy moly! Who is ever even not-normally-sick enough to accrue that much sick leave? (A: a workaholic – Ed.) What does one have to do to need seven weeks sick leave? Meh, that’s a question for another post. Anyway, today I sat in my sweet little garden in the dappled sunlight, accompanied by one of my cats, and indulged in a prawn and avocado salad and a beer for lunch. If one must be on sick leave, I guess that is probably the way to do it. I felt pretty lucky, all things considered.

The postcard image that accompanies this post was given to me by a visiting friend as a thank you card early on in my time in Cairns – I have lived here for just over eight years, but I’m originally from Adelaide, in South Australia. To me this card summed up all of my preconceptions about Cairns before I moved here, and, really, this is still how I like to view it after all this time.

The best thing about Cairns is not Cairns itself. In fact the ‘city’ is pretty ugly. As a locals’ town everyone tends to go hang out for drinks and a barbie at each others’ houses because the night life is so geared towards the backpacker trade. What’s so great about Cairns is what is just outside of Cairns – the rainforest , the reef and the savannah – as well as the misty afternoon light and the views of the surrounding hills glimpsed over the top of the Bessa block houses and the overhead power lines. Gardens also spring up overnight and try to crawl in your window and strangle you in your bed. Almost every day I have lived here I have had a moment of thinking, “That’s just so beautiful!” about some small thing, as opposed to the bigger picture. What I also like about Cairns is that if you squint your eyes up a little, so your vision goes a bit soft focus, you can still see Cairns as it was back in the 50s, 60s and 70s – that Instagrammed/Hipstamatic view of life in which the businessmen wear socks and sandals with their shorts and everyone has horn-rimmed glasses on.

I know Cairns is trying to move on, apart from the recent election of a very conservative mayor, and there are some massive issues surrounding equity and unemployment, but I do like the romance of its old school aesthetics and the sense of being at the end of the line – as a town it is ‘classic Australian dag’. (Disclaimer: I was too sick to vote in the recent local council elections. However, despite my love of all things vintage, I would not have voted for Bob Manning.)

Sometime next year I will be leaving this rather visceral earthly paradise though and moving to pretty much the exact opposite side of the planet. I intend to make the most of the end days of my life in the tropics, and from time to time we can give Cairns a big fat ‘cheers’ through a post and forget about the mould and the rain and the small town mentality it can sometimes have. I’d also like to cheers the many wonderful people I have met in Cairns. A large number of them have now moved on and my turn is coming, but I know what we would all be doing ... if you were here.


  1. Welcome to the club Beverley! Congratulations on this step. Everything has a time and a place, that's for sure. I am looking forward to reading your posts and following your brave steps into your next big adventure. Let love rule!

  2. reading this on a train on a freezing Melbourne day where i have somehow found myself wearing all black makes me very misty eyed! thanks B xx