Friday, January 19, 2007

One man's scrap is another man's chopper ride

It all started when I spotted this collection of sofas and arm chairs in the carpark at Albie's Bar and Bistro (reputed to serve the best steak in town) while driving the cab the other day. Ever alert to a bit of unwanted lounge furniture to use in the teen tent at Augusta I made enquiries as to Albie's intentions with said furniture. As I suspected, it was surplus to needs. I offered to take it off their hands. They agreed. The deal was done. I hitched up the trailer and headed for town.

When I say it all started the other day, that's not quite right. It started a couple of weeks ago at the end of beach mission. A large group of us were enjoying the peace and rest that comes at the conclusion of 9 days of hard work. A group of people were sitting on the fold-down sofa I had bought for the teen tent, and had decided to bring home because it was pretty cool and could serve as an extra bed in Jordan's room when he has a friend for a sleepover, when one too many people sat on it (the blame was laid on Tara but she was only the straw that broke the sofa's back) and it gave way under their combined weight, the frame buckling and sinking into the sand.

I wasn't happy but what could I do, it wasn't intentional, just one of those things that happens. Walter was volunteered by Mum to take it home and fix it. Poor Walter! But, sure enough, he took the frame off the sofa and took it home to Bridgetown and a week later they arrived on our doorstep with the repaired frame in the back of the ute. Close inspection will show the support braces he fitted to it after straightening it out. It appears sturdy though the panel beating is a little rough. I'm not unhappy or ungrateful tough, I'm glad to have it back.

The only problem was that we hadn't had enough room to bring the sofa part home on the trailer at the end of the mission so we packed it into the sea container . I'd planned to go down and collect it at some stage. Now the perfect opportunity had arisen, not only could I collect the sofa for reassembly, I could also deliver several new chairs ready for next year's mission at the same time. So, I loaded up the trailer and a reluctant Sport Boy and we set off for Augusta. I say reluctant only because he was tired, swimming lessons this morning had taken a toll.

I phoned Darren to check the Birches were still in Augusta. They were, for one more night, so I set up a rendezvouz so that he could give me a hand with the changeover.

Sofa so good. (Sorry, couldn't resist couching a little pun there, oops, there's another one!)

We headed for the sea container when on the way I spotted a sign that sparked an idea.

Now when I say it all started a couple of weeks ago, what I really mean is it had it's true origin two years ago when a helicopter company started offering scenic flights over Augusta and Cape Leeuwin. I've always wanted to go for a ride in a chopper and I had asked Jordan if he'd like to go in one with me as a "starting high school" treat. (We have done something special with each of the kids when they've reached that milestone of life.) To my amazement (and disappointment) he declined saying he wasn't really keen on the idea but that he'd always wanted to spend a night in a motel so could we do that instead? And so we did, spending a night at the Kings Park motel in West Perth. As a further aside to this story I'll give a verbatim account of a conversation we had on that particular trip.

In recognition of a coming of age, the treat has also been an open invitation for the kids to ask any questions they might have about any subject: life or love or sex or whatever. However, this question took me by surprise:

Dad: Jordy, this is a chance for you to ask any questions you like and I'll try and give you the best answer I can, whatever you want to ask, this is an open invitation.

Jordy: Well, there is something I've always wanted to know Dad.

Dad: Yeah, what's that mate?

Jordy: How does a computer work?

Back to the main story. On the way out to the sea container I spotted the sign advertising the helicopter rides. I rang the tourist bureau who put me in touch with the pilot, we discussed flight times and costs and agreed on a deal, then Sport Boy and I headed out to the airport for a ride in a chopper out around the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and back. We chose the cheapest option which gave us an 8 minute flight! Not long I admit, but, it was worth it.
We loved it, it was fantastic in fact, so different to flying in a plane, even a small plane. The vertical take off is amazing and we were very quickly skimming the trees and heading out along the ridge and down to the cape. Cape Leeuwin is in fact the most south-westerly point of Australia and is the place where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. It was spectacular to see it from the air and to take in the cape and the surf beaches, the bays and the bush and then to fly back along the coast and around the outskirts of Augusta. It was brief but brilliant and both Sport Boy and I were ecstatic about our experience.
I highly recommend it.


Peter said...

That was certainly a convoluted journey from Albie's to Cape Leeuwin, but couched in terms we could understand sofa, now tell us ... how does a computer work? or more importantly quite often... Why doesn't the computer work?

Marcus said...


I gave it my best shot for about 4-5 minutes, mentioning things like hard drives and digital memory storage and whatever else I could think of when Jordan cut in with, "Don't worry Dad, it doesn't matter"!

I*f only he'd asked me about something easy like sex!