Day 2

I had brought the ‘Before I Die’ stencils with me and hold them entirely to blame for the weight of my luggage. I spent most of the day outside Jana’s council shed, taping them up and spray painting the boards between ball throwing.

 

The boards were HUGE and very heavy. They’d been left outside the shed, so every time I sprayed, the wind took most of it, and they were standing up so the paint quickly started to run. I had to lay them flat on the ground without breaking them and then get the paint where it needed to be, minus dirt. It was like playing solitary Twister- the adult language version. I hoped no-one was watching.

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At lunch time I limped over to the bakery to try a pie and was happy to see that they also made single serve, homemade meals. They also served Wallaby in red wine pies, hmm maybe later. I bought a green chicken curry with rice for my dinner later tonight. Looking for a loo, I headed to the pub and was directed through to the lounge area. The room stopped me in my tracks. What a stunning example of federation design. Every detail is in its original place. The woodwork glowed with a hundred years of polish in the filtered light thrown by stunning stained glass windows. This room was very much loved and you could feel it. It is the heart of the town and the setting for every event and occasion. I felt almost intrusive and left quickly and quietly. I did peek at the blackboard menu hoping to find some of Flinders Island’s famous fare I’d been anticipating for months but, with the exception of wallaby, it was the same as home, only more expensive. As a foodie, I have to say that didn’t improve my day.

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Everywhere I looked I saw the name ‘Bowman’. It seemed that everyone I met was either a Walker or a Bowman. It made me smile.

Once I got the hang of stenciling, it was quite easy but my dodgy knees were in a world of pain by the end of the day and I was dying to get it done. Peeling the last stencil off, I realised that I had accidentally stenciled over the tape underneath and missed half a line. Oh well, adds character. No time for corrections, the ribbon cutting is tomorrow.

I headed to the supermarket to stock up with some basic food items and was shocked when my tiny box came to $65. How do people afford to live here full time? I loved that there were barely any plastic bags though.

Every time I got out of the car, I took the keys out of the ignition, threw them in my bag and walked away before I remembered and put them back. Then every time I returned to the car I expected to see it gone, although that wasn’t logical, it is an island after all.

My biggest concern though, was that I still couldn’t get a phone signal. The text I’d sent to Jana was still unsent and the red ‘no signal’ sign was on even when I was in the middle of town. I hadn’t been able to let my family know that I had arrived and one of them surely suspected I was missing by now.

Back at the retreat in the evening, I was devestated to hear that Arwen had left her $700 tripod behind after camping at Palana. Helen was going to get the word out amongst the locals and seemed pretty confident that it would arrive before long, probably on boat day when people were in town. It would be like me losing my net book, I felt her distress.

What had I done? This was such a dumb idea. No-one turned up to help with the spraying, what did that mean? The project was much more expensive than anticipated, no-one was going to get it, no-one was going to come to the ribbon cutting of a chalk board, the town was too small and I’m just another arty-farty weirdo passing through. I’d just undone three months of physio and, despite weeks of careful planning, was cut off from the world and feeling very much alone and stupid.

I’d come here to write after all and should have stuck with that. Climbing slowly into bed I braced myself for the humiliation that tomorrow – launch day – was about to heap on me and thanked God or whoever that after that, I could just put my head down and go get lost in the edges of this place that had been whispering my name every minute since I arrived.