I have been escorted, supported and assisted, and now it is time to move on and face the world solo. The day starts abruptly, with a massive electrical storm. The lightning is impressive and slightly scary. A kind-hearted person had made sure I didn’t miss it by making their breakfast in the kitchen, which is on the other side of my bedroom wall, at 5.30am. Even with determination to be stealthy, which they had, it is difficult to microwave quietly. But pretty soon the sound of the rain beating on the tin roof of the Dolphin Retreat drowns out everything else. The storm sits overhead for around thirty minutes. There isn’t time to count any elephants between the lightning crack and the thunder roll. The rain is coming down so hard I worry that the sand under the bike will wash away. It doesn’t, but it does leave immense puddles all over the car park. This is Australia. It is not supposed to rain. I have not come prepared to be wet and cold. I read my book and drink instant coffee, because I forgot to pack my coffee filter and now I am doomed to start my mornings with Nescafe, scavenged from the Premier Inn and tucked into my wash bag next to the mascara.
There is no point starting the day under a cloud, so I lie reading and not really sleeping for another two hours.
I feel unusual. Tired and unfocused. The trees in the Tuart forest smell of mint. Can that be right or am I hallucinating?
In Busselton I want to see the Big Pier. It is grey and damp and I struggle to find a place to park. I think, maybe breakfast would help. In my fantasy I thought I would have breakfast in a beach-side cafe looking at the pier. In reality I have a small thimble of lukewarm gritty mud in a cafe on the main shopping run. I read the local paper. It seems that people getting married, crashing cars, suffering break-ins and writing long letters make news anywhere in the world. In a few days time there will be a big festival here, but today is just a weary working day.