Being by nature tidy minded, we had developed a regular series of shared rituals, unconnected with birthdays and the accepted dates in the calendar. Two of us would work towards marking the third’s Success Day, say, when a notable event had defined her/his trajectory and was worthy of commemoration. Each of us could be assured that while we were planning a picnic, a thematic walk, a compact fete, the others had similar preoccupations on an almost weekly basis. We drew the line at Well Dressing, Corn Dollies, and Choral Singing, or any joint activity that required quick movements or acts of gratuitous violence.
The thematic walk began with one Sunday afternoon when we noticed that we all were wearing similar striped scarves, and knitted mittens. By the time we got to the gate we had similar nosegays, sticks and, once on public land, walked in step, humming and smiling in synchronicity. No-one we encountered could suppress a certain merriment at the spectacle. It was neither mocked nor admired. We learnt much from the inadvertent choreography.
The dates and times of our picnics were announced well in advance by the local press, so we have to get used to being scrutinised by a flotilla of binoculars bobbing on the horizon, clear of the sinuous breakwaters. We were accused by a radio journalist , “abstruse feeding rituals were glimpsed performed by three participants in high visibility costumes” We were forced to correct this misunderstanding in that we had been confused with the Tiger Balm Garden we had built on the western shore of the property.
Mr. Trevor Kent in his much respected column in the Westerner observed “bounded by a web of garish barber’s poles, a jovial octopus with protruding eyes was being tied in a reef knot by a grizzly bear in polka dot trousers . This latter spectacle , gentle Readers, was the Gentleman Resident. He was flanked by two Bacchantes in Purple.” Imagine my embarrassment, at being taken for a static Bear although my companions took it in good part. We were satisfied by subsequent apologies but the corresponding local curiosity as to what purpose was served by a Tiger Balm Garden on the Coast, served to intensified speculations about the residents in the House.