Albany, Fremantle and Perth

Albany was a wonderful little town. Picturesque, lovely architecture, friendly people, interesting history. The only niggles that marred the day were: (a) The Ulysses Club were in town (3000 bikers with the motto “Grow Old Disgracefully”) which meant noisy bikes and every single photo I took had a bloomin’ bike in it and (b) we only had half a day. Back on Board was 1pm, for pity’s sake. I know the town is small, but it’s not THAT small! Still it meant a leisurely afternoon on board eating Magnums and napping, so not all bad news then…

Today was Fremantle and Perth. Lovely towns, both. Did a tour in the morning, which consisted of a coach trip to Perth, a little tour thereof, then a boat trip back up the Swan River to Fremantle and a coach tour of Fremantle. It was 38 in the shade today, which was so hot even the locals were complaining. I think it’s equivalent to about 100 in English money. We wandered a bit, shopped a little and had a lunch in a lovely little tea room. We pootled a little further and then Mum and Dad caught a heritage tram (really a trolleybus, not a tram) back to the ship. I took a taxi up to Cottesloe Beach, where there was a sculpture festival on the beach, which we had driven past on the way to Perth. It was truly astonishing to see people sitting on the beach in between large modern sculptures, leaning on them and eating their picnics in the shade of them. You know by now how I feel about public art and it was a truly wonderful experience.

All the sculptures were for sale, and the catalogue included a comment from each artist. One, Ken Sealey, had done a piece which was a swimmer made of layered plywood suspended in a block of laminated safety glass. Think Hirst and sharks and impossibility of death etc. But the swimmer isn’t in formaldehyde but encased in green glass. The comment the artist gave was as follows: “We have salt in our tears, sweat and blood. We came from the sea. We can never return. We are trapped in our ideas.” I’m still trying to decide whether this is the most pretentious thing I’ve ever read or quite possibly the most profound…

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