by Michelle Douglas
Reading: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon
Listening to: Adele
Making me smile: hazy beach days
Last Wednesday I made an odyssey to the seaside township of Tuncurry. Why? The dedication in my latest book – The Secretary’s Secret (out now in Oz/NZ) – might explain why:
To my grandparents, Bunny and Beryl Snaddon, with love and thanks for all those wonderful summer holidays!
From the time I was a baby until I was about eight or nine years old, my family spent the summer holidays in Tuncurry – at Tuncurry Beach Caravan Park in my grandparents’ caravan, to be precise. (After that we moved around the headland to Hallidays Point, but still spent a lot of time in Tuncurry as it was the nearest place to stock up on groceries)
As a general rule, I prefer to set my stories in locations that I’m familiar with, so when my secretary in the big smoke suddenly finds herself pregnant and decides to move back home, I decided to make that home Tuncurry. I may not have visited my old childhood haunt in twenty years, but in my mind I could still see it all so clearly.
And I have to say, when I revisited Tuncurry last week, I wasn’t disappointed. This is what I found:
The Rock Pool: This is a great place for small children and it’s where I learned to swim. Alex, my hero, takes the odd dip here. You can see from the photos below how popular this spot is in summer.
Wallis Channel (leading from the sea into Wallis Lake): Kit teaches Alex how to fish from the breakwater where this photo is taken. This, I have to say, is where my memory broke down. I’d have sworn black and blue that the breakwater was waaaay longer and the rocks bordering it waaaay bigger. I, umm, think I took some poetic liberties with this in my story. :-)
The Dolphins: who often frequented the channel and obviously still do. They visit in my story too!
The Beach: Glorious golden sand and foaming breakers for almost as far as the eye can see.
The Bridge: We walked across it every year. Why? For ice-cream, of course. :)
I had a wonderful day and it seems that the place of my childhood summers is as magical as ever.
Do you have a special summer place?