This article was written by Ron Sims, a senior resident from Capel:
My wife, Angela, and I paid our $45 each and, ever mindful that descriptions like “extravaganza” have been bleached into meaningless beige by today’s craving for the spectacular in everything, boarded the ‘bus’ in Capel, for the comfortable haul south. At 7.30am the morning was chilly and heavily grey, hardly a good look for a day promising experiences and delights of gargantuan proportion. There were more than 30 people on board already and as we walked along the aisle to a gauntlet of smiling faces, cheery ‘good mornings’…we embarked on one of the very best 45 dollars worth of ‘day trip in a bus’ one could ever wish for.
Now Margaret River is already world-renowned for the pleasures of its ‘grape in a bottle’, but could 10 hours of swooning among its viny fields, farmers’ markets, luncheon hot-spots and raptors’ park really deliver the extravaganza-some day we were expecting? As I mentioned, ‘extravaganza’, like other superlatives has been bleached away by over usage so my expectations settled more into the realm of ‘comforting’, ‘reassuring’, even ‘quite a nice day out’. That was my first mistake as a ‘becoming-slightly-cynical’ senior.
As we eased our way south to Margaret River, calmly looked after by our organiser and guide, Donna, I was instantly aware that all 37 fellow, day-trippers were contentedly engaged in scenery watching, happily chatting, occasionally laughing and new-people-meeting so that the atmosphere in the coach was lively, upbeat and…yes, comforting. Soon a bus crowded with strangers became a bus of companions and even friends.
“Eagles Heritage”, the biggest collection, rehabilitation centre and free flight presentation of raptors, birds of prey, in all of Australia. We got in close, real close up, even as close as having a Barn Owl perched on our gloved wrist, and witnessing Black Kites swooping down a couple of metres in front of us, taking, with raptor ease, food morsels thrown into the air. It was humbling to be in their noble presence.
Now, I am rifling through my mental dictionary to source a brand new and more appropriate adjective than ‘extravaganza’ to describe the ‘day trip, suitable for seniors’, that we had just completed. ‘Comforting’ or ‘reassuring’ just won’t do it…Still rifling…still. Ok! An extravaganza it was! Thanks to all who made it possible, including the Shire of Capel and the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries for sponsoring this outing.