Where’s Winter and a Whisper or Two…

Wednesday 1st June 2011

How Can This Be Winter!

 Well a pinch and a punch – first day of Winter is upon us, and in our part of the state, it appeared as if we would get a winter’s day, but no, it was still quite sunny, warm and lovely.   Can’t complain, but it is quite unseasonal!   So I will leave thoughts of open fires and hot soup for another day.

Last week, while taking photos of the delicious food created by Brenda and her lovely crew here, I thought that sharing images of mouthwatering dishes on the table before me each Wednesday, might give you the wrong impression ….. why, you might be lead to believe that my day revolved around what I was eating or drinking rather than anything I might write or share!    (Having said that, if you have ever visited the Tearooms, you would understand anyone’s delight and obsession with the food served there – it truly is all made with love)   So I thought a few white lies might be in order (ahem) and that I would share images of dishes that were ordered for a “friend”.

So I sat there pondering the person on the other side of the table to me…. whoever they might be.   And in that space I realized there was potential for the presence of someone quite special, someone who had been in the Café and gallery all along.  This someone had made their presence felt in the past in no uncertain terms, and was most likely sitting there quietly watching me hog the favoured spot on the green couch while consuming cake and coffee and pretending to be writing poetry.

Passageway Past the Cells

If you have not guessed where this is leading, the old historic courthouse and gaol cells have a lingering energy, like most old places from the past, steeped in conflict, unwritten stories and untold secrets.  When alone in the main gallery, you get a sense of hierarchies of humanity, of lives in the balance of the judicial system through time, of self righteousness, and men wielding the law and their own judgments over others.  When you stand in the gaol cells and let the silence bear down on you, there is strong feeling of despair at a loss of power and freedom denied,  a cry at the unfairness of life; you sense if anything that there was also a great deal of injustice felt in this part of the building, with many layers of anger, outrage and rebellion etched into these walls along with that sadness and hopelessness. reflections

 There are echoes.  There are whispers, if you allow yourself to listen.   Is it your imagination?  Or just the leaves dancing on the roof?  

If you walk alone through the old rooms, and down the narrow passageway to the gaol cells, you will feel a chill, quite possibly even get goosebumps – a sure sign that you may not be alone at all.  

Cell Number 4

What is it about cell number four?  

 Who knocked the teapot off the Café shelf in broad daylight when nobody was anywhere near?  

 Or hurled a small item across the room with no reasonable explanation?  

Staff at the complex call her “Mary” for want of a better name, and so I will refer to this special guest as Mary unless told otherwise.  

So this morning before leaving home, I spoke with a friend about my intention of having morning tea with an invisible friend and perhaps trying to involve this unseen person in my weekly written musings.    I had a chuckle at how such an “out there” idea would be received, and said something like “I am sure Mary will show her presence to me at some point – there may even be a bit of a crash or bang in the building today, just so I know.”    Then I rushed to get ready and head to town, and caught up in more tangible matters, forgot that conversation.  

Until….. I got to ArtGeo,  walked in the door, and spied Heidi, one of the lovely volunteers at the Courthouse Gallery.    As I said “good morning” to her, there was a crash from across the room and several pieces of the jewellery in a glass display case fell down.   Earrings and necklaces came crashing off their holders and display stands.  

For.    No.    Apparent.    Reason. 

…Nobody there that we could see. … 

 Or No Body…

“That has never happened before” said Heidi as we got over the shock and walked over to see.    Several necklaces and earrings were laying on the shelf as if suddenly dropped there.  I realized then, that “someone” was simply letting me know that my arrival and greeting had been noted.  Maybe she was looking for something nice to wear for her morning tea with me!  And so it was, that I smiled and looked forward to what the day would hold.

The Main Courtroom Gallery

There were a bundle of little pages from the table notepads….displaying nothing short of an amusing array of thoughts from the characters who have passed through the Tearooms this week!

Some comments read like fragments of a Visitor’s Book….

“Very nice”   (Kath and Hazel)

“Service also lovely”



“Lovely end to our Busselton holiday.

Love it here!”

(Cec and Sheila)


And from some who savoured the Ploughman’s lunch, the scrumptious passionfruit sponge and Brenda’s delightful stories….


“How refreshing and delightful this is!

Love to all…”

(Heather and George, Melbourne)


Some gems were inspired by what lay on the table before them….

“Chocolate cake,

Chocolate cake,

Smooth and round and luscious,

Sitting gleaming,

Waiting for the boys

To come home.

Boys are home!

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake,

Crumbs all forlorn,

Scattered on the table.

Boys gone out to play!”

(Anne Thomas, May 2011)

(Hah!  I bet most parents can relate to that one!   *smiles*)

While some were inspired by the history beneath their feet …

“In 1892 my ancestor walked these boards as the local Police Sergeant”
Val McDonald  97522552


But what captured my attention was that there were some real funloving visitors in the Tearooms at some point, as they left behind quite a bit of mischievous evidence in the notepads…. 

Here are a few corkers….

“We are a couple of Brits

Who’ve got big tits,

Who’s having fun

In the sun…

Having a cup of tea

So we can have a wee….” (tee hee?)

“Lots of love”

Di from Windsor, England


“There once was a group of friends

Who came to Busselton for the weekend.

They had a lot to drink

And then kicked up quite a stink”


See?  Everyone’s a poet! 

And though I can’t help but wonder “What would Mary think of that!” –   I’ll have what they’re having!




Silence speaks, in volumes that ripple their thick base notes across the surface of my heart.

In silence swims the essence of memory, a slippery persistent fish, nibbling nerve endings of raw, familiar sorrows.

Silence rains with the gentle patter of teardrops against the windows of my dreams.

Oh, silence, too heavy to bear, so cruel a curse, the weapon of choice for a fearful soul. Silence, the sound of fear and woundedness, it cringes in the shadows, and torments itself.

Silence trembles waiting in the doorway, afraid to take that next small step, a limbic dance between then and now.

Silence, the humbling voice of truth, echoes across self deception, and is heard in the cold glassy voice of mirrors past and present, mirrors I have known and loved. self consciously reflecting what it hurts too much to hear.

Silence is the vacuum, a pulsing void of the unknown waiting to become known. Listen… as silence speaks, It is the language of the dead whispering secrets across the veil, icy words to remind and haunt, elusive answers dangling between unspoken lines.

Silence speaks in sameness, in difference,

Silence stands alone without keys to break its own code, an insurmountable wall, a deafening presence. Yet Silence at its worst cannot survive without the spirit of another to shine light into its darkness and kiss meaning onto its cold lips.

But silence has its sunset and sunrise.
It is the falling sun, and the awakening moon.
Silence holds a music of its own,
It dances in the light
And rings with hope,
Like birdsong in the dark hours
Before dawn.

Silence is a gift,
A healing touch…
A solace to the mind;
The herald of the now.

An affirmation of distance,
Invisible hands that push away,
Yet in a change of heart
A beckoning of souls,
The drawing near
Of intimacy,
A holy communion.

Silence bristles with passion,
The connecting force
That vibrates the chords
Between two hearts,
A living entity,
Rich with meaning.

Silence with soul, breathes
The song of the living,
The turn of the seasons,
The waiting breath for a baby’s cry,
The resting place for a body
Whose being walks another plane.

Silence holds power.
The Master musician knows.
In that instant between two notes
The silence dwells,
Defines their diversity and
Enhances the beauty of their union.

Silence is the tide
Between all islands,
A portent of emotion,
The song of the heavens,
And the swell of the heart,
Silence, whose connecting force
Tunes the keys of all instruments,
Lives, and its unsung harmony endures
Beyond life’s symphony, through the final curtain fall.

 (wendy slee)



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