31 January 2013

Art, food and freedom

Only one more sleep

This time tomorrow I will be back in Hobart thinking about returning to work. As usual, there suddenly seem to be a lot of things I didn't get round to doing. But I did manage a couple of little jobs today.

Grazing in Grassy

Liz Butcher is a talented artist who works in many different mediums; I particularly like her felt paintings. She is currently engaged with a far more ambitious project - a mosaic mural for the side of the Grassy supermarket.
just the wall for a mural
It consists of 288 individual thirty centimeter square tiles. Each is being painted with a different image and when assembled they will create a complete picture.

I painted two for her and delivered them to Grassy this afternoon. I could have left them here for her to collect, but I had an ulterior motive. 

Marie and her Corner Store
You see, Grassy's most incredibly well-kept secret is right there at Marie's Corner Store. The supermarket might lack the ambience of more trendy establishments, but Marie's home-made pies and pasties are definitely worth the drive. 

curried beef pie for tea - yum!

And she sells Liz's gourmet ice-cream which defies description, and didn't last long enough for me to photograph it. Forget the cheese factory – go to Grassy!

Restaurant with no food

If Marie's Corner Store has super food in a functional setting, Caroline's Boathouse Restaurant in Currie goes to the opposite extreme.

originally the lighthouse keeper's boathouse; now a totally silly

Currie is proud of the Boathouse – the "Restaurant with no Food". At any time of the day you might encounter a family who have brought a picnic, a couple enjoying the view, a gentleman reading the daily paper. They can stay as long as they like; there are no signs saying "tables for customers only". There is no pressure to order another latte or more scones and cream. In fact, there is no pressure to do anything at all because there are no waiters and no food to be served.

Caroline's pottery studio
The proprietor, Caroline Kininmonth, is one of King Island's Colourful Characters, with emphasis on "colour". She has a brightly painted studio in Wharf Rd and the equally brightly painted Lollypop Gallery in Main St as well as holiday cottages and no doubt other tourist-related businesses around the island.

She does very nice pottery and bright, competent acrylic paintings, just the thing for tourist souvenirs.

The Gallery and the Boathouse are crammed with kelp baskets, craypots, fishing nets and floats, driftwood, seashells, bric-a-brac and bird nests; bright, skillful sketches and paintings of the island cover the walls. The atmosphere is inviting and amusing, and the real hook is that they are open to the public but there is nobody in attendance. Should you wish to buy something, there are price tags and an honesty box. You take what you want and leave the money in the tin.

The Restaurant with no food
The Boathouse is equipped with barbecue, crockery, and utensils. Tables are laid with bright cloths, glasses and cutlery. Anyone who likes can bring their own food and make use of the facilities. It can be booked for special occasions. There is a box for donations towards upkeep.

garden at the Boathouse
People appreciate and respect this arrangement.
The community is small enough so anyone who misbehaves is soon found out; cars and houses are seldom locked. Islanders are open and friendly. Everyone talks to strangers (admittedly, strangers are usually tourists or itinerant workers bringing money to the island) and the people I have met all have very lively social lives.

They value the feedom of their casual existence extremely highly.

Et in Arcadia Ego

The vandals who set fishing boats adrift last Saturday night did more than wreck a half-million dollar boat and force a popular and well-respected family to give up their livelihood. A unique and important feature of island life is lost.

Security fences are to be erected at the harbour; no more strolling down to talk to the fishermen, drop a line off the end of the jetty or just admire the view.

Insurance companies have spoken. Despite their best efforts, King Islanders are being dragged kicking and screaming to face some of the unpleasant realities of twenty-first century life.

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