An hour or so up the coast from Eden is the town of Bega where the cheese is made. We visited Bega and the cheese factory. Apart from the cow pictured below, the best part of the day was a diversion to the coastal hamlet of Tathra on our way home.
(a) The result of a genetic experiment to increase milk productivity?
(b) Born downwind of Chernobyl?
(c) The result of an over-enthusiastic veterinary midwife?
Quote from Wikipedia:
Tathra may mean beautiful country or place of wild cats in a local aboriginal dialect.
So now we know. Or rather, we don't know. A wild cat, in those days, would have been a quoll.
May I divert for a moment? Have you ever heard of the Nineteen Counties? It appears that in 1834 New South Wales was divided into nineteen counties and settlement outside of the boundaries of those counties was forbidden, probably because land within the nineteen counties had to be purchased. Not that settlers obeyed that ruling; Tathra was built outside those limits and squatters* used to run large numbers of sheep and cattle outside the legal boundaries. Since this grazing would have been very difficult to police back then, the government did what governments do best. After 1836 they allowed the practice and charged the squatters £10 per year for the privilege.
*Squatter, Australian historical: A large-scale sheep or cattle farmer. A person occupying a tract of pastoral land as a tenant of the Crown.
Tathra is a very small town. It had a population of 1,622 at the 2006 Census. Like Eden, it has a very rocky coastline with lots of cliffs.
This photograph is of the historical wharf at Tathra, taken from a nearby lookout platform. The wharf is a popular haunt for fisherpersons. Yes, one was a female. I think.
In November 2008 a father took his two young sons, one aged four years and the other fifteen months, fishing with him on the wharf. It is believed that the four-year-old climbed onto the baby's stroller which overturned, tipping both children five metres into rough seas.
The father leapt into the water to rescue his sons.
Other fishermen rushed to help, one also jumping into the sea, while rescue boats were launched. It was all to no avail; the father was pronounced dead when pulled from the water. His sons were taken to Bega Hospital but were dead on arrival. The heroic volunteer was slightly injured but recovered.
As the photograph (above) shows, there are no guard rails around most of the wharf;
doubtless railings would inhibit the wharf's prime function of loading and
The picture on the right illustrates how rapidly the weather was changing on the day we visited; one minute a band of blue sky above, dark cloud the next.
Tathra doesn't have a cemetery but somebody had the bright idea of spacing small, concrete pads along either side of a semi-circular footpath in a beautiful local park. Plaques commemorating those who have died are bonded to the pads and, hey presto, you have a remembrance garden.
One plaque stood out from the rest as it was accompanied by a vase of fresh flowers so, naturally, we were drawn to it. Aleysha Motbey was sixteen years old in 2008 when she had a row with her boyfriend. She had stormed off and, just six days before Christmas, hanged herself.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we were able to learn details of both tragedies. Christmas 2008 must have been heartbreaking for many people in Tathra.
On Christmas Eve we again drove down to the Snug Cove fishing harbour for breakfast though it was nearer lunch time when Pam finally prised me off the laptop.
After a very nice egg and bacon roll I strolled down the jetty while Pam waited in the car. Again there were seals in the harbour and I watched one playing an interesting game with the gulls. The seal in question was quite a distance away so I had to use full zoom on the camera. The gulls, having a bird's eye view of the seal below the water, provided me with a convenient early warning system. When they saw the seal catch a fish they began screeching and homed in on the spot where the seal would surface.
What happened next revealed the gulls' involvement in the seal's activities. The seal, already having a nice mouthful of fish, deftly flicked its head left and right while biting into its prey. The fish, except for the part in the seal's mouth, disintegrated and after a short flight, landed with a splash.
I was sitting on the edge of the jetty watching the seal and gulls interact and was quite startled by a noise right beneath me. It was another seal taking a breath then diving. It headed off towards where I'd last seen the fish-catching seal.
There were several immature pelicans on the harbour, some needing a tad more practice in water landings.
This subsection is unrelated to our travels. Please read the sample extracts below the picture, they are taken from a web forum on the subject of withdrawal symptoms from a very common anti-depressant, venlafaxine. It is marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Efexor-XR (spelt
Effexor outside Australia.)
I stress, these are not side effects while on the medication, this is how these patients were left when they stopped taking it.
Effexor withdrawaland thank goodness for sites like this. I have been on it for 8 years and I'm trying to very slowly come off it. I've been fine until the last pill and every time I stop taking it I get all the symptoms, but mainly insomnia and I'm so damn tired. My head feels fuzzy and I cant stop crying.
And many, many more. Do what I did, Google
Effexor withdrawal for hundreds of horrifying reports.
I had personally taken Efexor (150mg/day) for about seven years. I quit 'cold turkey' in December of 2012. The accounts quoted above are no exaggeration; withdrawal from Efexor can be horrific. Okay, so the 'cold turkey' method of stopping is not advisable but so many patients report similar effects when weaning gradually off Efexor that you have to conclude that, whichever method you use, once this drug has got you it's not going to let you go. Nor does anyone seem to know when, if ever, the withdrawal effects will end. It's as if the drug permanently changes (damages?) your brain and that is really frightening.
Doctors seem to dispense Efexor for the slightest reason; in my case I was suffering from anxiety. Yesterday I spoke to someone who was put on Efexor for what was diagnosed as a
stress related rash. Often it's prescribed for depression and it does work, however you have no idea what it's doing to your brain until you stop taking it.
Brain zaps, terrifyingly vivid dreams, aching all over, total exhaustion, ringing in the head, loss of balance, sweating and a feeling of unreality are some of my own reactions.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many doctors who prescribe this drug have no idea what it does to your brain. No G.P. should prescribe Efexor until he/she has tried it themselves and then tried to stop. There are even reports of doctors increasing the dosage to combat side effects of Efexor.
Why am I writing this here? In the hope that anybody about to start on Efexor-XR will do the research and then make an informed decision.
If Internet forums don't impress you, take the time to read this Wikipedia page:
Read it carefully, check some of the many references, then tell me honestly: Should this drug ever have seen the light of day?
That ends my soapbox rant for 2012. Click the
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