My Old Red Gem

This post is part of the 31 Days of Writing for October. Click here for my previous posts or click here if you would like to join in.

Day 2: Do you remember your first car? Did you give it a name? Tell us about your first car or what it was like when you learned how to drive.

I decided to give this post prompt set another try. I wasn’t too keen on the September prompts but think some of the October ones could be fun so here goes..

Do I remember my first car? Of course I remember my first car! Is there anyone that doesn’t? I feel like many people think fondly of their first car, regardless of whether it was a rusting heap of junk or something fancy and new. My first car was a red Holden Gemini, 1981 model.. it was older than me but I still loved it. It was (and still is) the only car I ever liked to drive.

My car looked a lot like this – except mine was cooler!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of my actual old car, but it looked a lot like the above image but it was lowered, had a little spoiler, tinted windows, a black interior and a sun roof. Probably not the best car for a P plater to be driving around in, I got pulled over by the cops a few times until they realised I was a 17 year old girl and not a 17 year old boy. I know I know, massive stereotype but given the boys I went to school with.. it’s pretty accurate.

We had a lot of adventures together, good and bad.. like the time where I had a car load of friends in the car and drove out to a party in the middle of no where.. I don’t think my car was made for that type of weight. It struggled and I wondered whether it was going to get stuck on a bump or in a pothole. We made it home alive though, although I do remember having to do a roll/clutch start around a round-a-bout on the way home that night as it randomly decided to stall on me. It did that a lot, I got really good at those.

I did name my car, it’s true… her name was Ruby. Very creative I know, Ruby being a red gem. I remember friends yelling “Come on Ruby, you can do it!” whenever it sounded like she was about to stall, in hopes that she wouldn’t. She probably did.

Fortunately, when I was a learner, the stalling problem hadn’t started happening yet otherwise it would have been no fun at all trying to learn hill starts. There were many a fight between my Dad and I on those lessons. It reminded me a lot of this scene in Looking For Alibrandi:

I probably didn’t swear at my Dad though… probably. I think I’d have remembered the consequences of that.

I haven’t driven much since my beloved Ruby died and was towed away to the wreckers back in 2003, I didn’t have my licence for 10 years up until earlier this year. Since then I’ve only driven once too, so now it’s like I’m learning all over again. I don’t think it’ll be quite the experience it was last time though.

An adventure to Eden

A few months ago Jarrod and I decided it was time to take a holiday (our first together) and get away from work and Canberra. After a bit of indecision we finally decided on going down to a little coastal town called Eden and that we were going to stay in a B&B for the first time. Whale Cove B&B had great reviews on Trip Advisor and we liked that they only had 2 rooms for guests so we wouldn’t have too many problems with other people, plus the reviews all said they did an amazing breakfast so there is that.

The drive took us through a lot of open land and tiny one street towns and then down Brown Mountain, which was dry and hot on one side and then lush and cooler on the other side. It was sort of amazing what change a mountain could make to the weather. Jarrod did an awesome job getting us there and I like to think I did a good job navigating.. we didn’t end up lost after all.

For much of the trip we’d seen nothing but land and cows and a few houses dotted here and there but finally as we drove into town, there was the coast. A few turns later and a wrong turn down the tiniest street ever we ended up at a nice little beach, which as it turns out was only a short walk to where we were staying.

Cocora Beach looking out into Snug Cove

Cocora Beach looking out into Snug Cove

Not a lot of waves but that was ok with me, I’m not much of a beach fan and it’s been about a decade since I’ve been to one so I was happy with a nice calm beach with soft sand. There also weren’t many people which was a plus. After 10 mins or so we decided to drive up to the B&B and check in, we were greeted by our very welcoming host who wouldn’t let us do anything until we’d tried the cake he had baked. So cake it was, with the other couple who happened to be staying for the same days as us. They were quite a bit older than us and appeared to mostly be country hopping and didn’t seem overly impressed with our choices of, well, pretty much anything. They were a bit to snobby and posh for our liking so needless to say we didn’t spend a whole lot of time with them.

The first night we didn’t really want to do much of anything so went and got some takeaway pizza and brought it back to the B&B, it was AMAZING! One of the best pizza’s I’ve eaten in a long time and we teamed it up with excellent Chocolate thick shakes from a different takeaway. We badgered the girl to make them for us nearly every day of our stay because they were so good. The other couple seemed somewhat shocked at our choice of pizza in a coastal town, why weren’t we eating seafood? *gasp* Mostly because we didn’t want to. In fact, we had the pizza again the night before we left, fresh seafood be damned! – we did actually go to the local Fish and Chips place too, which was also very good.

On our first full day we decided to go down to the Green Cape Lighthouse, there were good reviews for it but the road might have been a bit understated. We turned off onto Green Cape Rd and were presented with a sign that advised that we had 27km (16mi) of bumpy, dusty road ahead of us. I wondered whether our little hatchback could make it and if we’d ever get back from this trip. Jarrod did a good job of driving and avoiding obstacles (mostly 4WD drivers who sped around corners and didn’t seem to care less about anyone else sharing the road with them). After much bumping around we saw a sign for Disaster Bay Lookout which was meant to be beautiful so we turned into there for a break from the constant vibrations in the car.

Disaster Bay Lookout

Disaster Bay Lookout

Obviously, it was a beautiful bay, but apparently treacherous for ships and was named for all the shipwrecks that have occurred there. Unfortunately, there is no road access to the bay so we didn’t get to see any closer than this but it was beautiful to look out over.

Back in the car and off to the light house we went! I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the first people to get down there or explore the area, even now it’s covered in shrubs and trees that seem near impossible to get through. It must have been a long and arduous task to cut through it all on the first ventures down there. Apparently, the people who were stationed in the lighthouse also didn’t like this or the seclusion and it wasn’t a very popular place for a lighthouse.

Green Cape Lighthouse

Green Cape Lighthouse

A short walk down from the lighthouse was the end of the coast and then there was nothing but water and sky as far as you can see. It was quite windy and choppy and the waves were slamming up against the rocks with so much force. I was glad for our barrier and that we weren’t standing to close. Looking out into the ocean makes you feel a bit small in comparison to the world, Jarrod and I were trying to work out where the closest land was from us and how far that actually was. 

View from the Lighthouse

View from the Lighthouse

After a while of looking out into the nothing we decided to make our way back to town, but not before a toilet break. We followed the sign to the toilets and found the little green tin shack that was the toilet. It was my first experience using a drop/pit toilet and felt weird not flushing once I was finished. 

On our way back into town we saw a few hitch hikers and realised they were guys dressed up in singlets and with women’s wigs. I’d seen this stuff in TV and movies but didn’t think people actually did it! Granted, they weren’t doing a very good job because we could tell, even while driving at 100km/hr, that they were definitely guys. I wonder if they fooled anyone. There were actually quite a few hitch hikers, I haven’t seen people do that in a long time and didn’t think it was something people still did because of how dangerous it can be. When we were leaving we drove past some and then we saw them later on as well, they’d beaten us to the next town somehow.

While we were down in Eden we ended up with a routine of waking up, having breakfast (this was at 8:30, when the host told us she looked at me concerned and asked “Oh, is that too late?” which no, we had to set an alarm to make sure we didn’t miss it), going on an adventure, having lunch and then napping out the afternoon. It was a pretty decent way to spend the days.

On our second day we went down to a different beach – Aslings Beach, the main beach for Eden during summer and more popular for surfing (it actually had some waves, unlike Cocora beach). I somehow ended up with one sunburnt foot and patchy leg sunburn at this beach but that didn’t matter, it was nice to walk along. When we got to the end we noticed a concrete structure, which turned out to be an Ocean Bath or Rock Pool. Apparently these are common down the NSW coast (but no where else in Australia) and are used for safer swimming from rip tides and large sharks. I didn’t go in, at the time I had nothing to swim in.

Aslings Beach Ocean Bath

Aslings Beach Ocean Bath

After going to Aslings beach Jarrod and I decided we needed some clothes to swim in, we were to lazy to do this at home so ended up with nothing and just walked in the shallow parts of the beach with shorts on for much of the time. There aren’t many clothing stores in Eden but they do have a surf place. After seeing their prices and determining we’d have to spend about $100 each just to go swimming we decided against buying there. However, as we walked away I thought we should give the Op Shop a try and see if they had anything. So, we walked past the Discount store on the way and bought $3 pairs of thongs and went to the OpShop where we found some shorts that were, mostly, our size and cost $3 each. So, instead of spending around $200, we spent $12. Not a bad deal. That being said, my shorts were see through but I didn’t much care.

 

Sunset on Cocora Beach

Sunset on Cocora Beach

Later that night, once it wasn’t quite so sunny, we put on our shorts and thongs and walked down to the beach. The hill from the B&B to the beach was incredibly steep, which didn’t matter much until we were walking back up it. It took about 5 minutes but I don’t think my legs have recovered yet. Once at the beach we decided not to go in to deep but far enough that we could see what was in the water around us without being disturbed by sand or waves, there were a bunch of crabs in the water burying themselves in the sand. Fortunately, they were quite small and not interested in attacking our toes. The next morning our host informed us that there were a lot of sharks out at the moment and many people weren’t going out into the ocean.. so we’re lucky we decided not to go out to far and didn’t encounter any sharks.

After that we spent our last night there listening to the crickets and the waves hitting the shore and enjoyed how quiet it was in comparison to at home. 

View from the deck while eating breakfast

View from the deck while eating breakfast

On our last morning we went down stairs for yet another excellent breakfast, this one involved half a mango, a passionfruit, strawberries, kiwi fruit and some delicious yoghurt. Followed by Bacon and Eggs with Mushroom and Sausages. It was delicious and lovely to eat while looking out to this amazing view. We were told it was going to be another hot day at around 28° C (82°F) which we basically laughed at because when we got home it was going to be 38°C (100°F) which was actual hot and made us want to stay a bit longer.

It was a lovely little trip and pretty successful as far as holidays go.