NORFOLK ISLAND PINES (Araucaria heterophylla) – ALTONA

I fully intended to get back to posting daily since I returned to my old riverside apartment, but got caught up in lockdown restrictions and tedious emailing/phoning back and forth trying to organize food supplies and medical appointments, so am a bit slow off the mark (so to speak).  Seems some of our restrictions are tighter than earlier this year in Melbourne.

When I was living down at the beachside suburb of Altona for 8 days recently, I did 3 very short walks ‘around the block’ (taking in the shops, supermarket, pier, beach etc).   I admit the Fish n Chip shop(s) featured heavily on those walks.   After all, there’s no place to indulge in my love of hot Fish n Chips (and Calamari) than the rare times I’ve gone down to various beaches to do some photography in the last 10 years.

When I was a small child these hot, salty treats were wrapped up in recycled newspaper (which is now banned I might add – has to be clean, new butcher’s paper mostly, but cardboard takeaway boxes do feature at some beaches).   They rarely featured on the menu in our household when we were young as our diet mainly came from what my Mother grew in her large veggie garden.

Now, as an adult, I only buy them when down at the beach and they have to be really, really crisp and light and super fresh and piping hot.   (Nothing is worse than cold, soggy fish n chips – except to throw to the seagulls to entice them closer to my camera lens).

I usually ended up with 3 times as many hot chips than I could eat on those short walks though.  A few times the seagulls came so close to where I was standing at Altona Beach I thought they were going to ‘wrestle me to the ground’  (to steal the remaining chips).

I think that might have been the closest encounter I’ve ever had with Seagulls.

One of the lovely aspects of my short walks were the beautiful line of Norfolk Island Pines planted along the esplanade.

Historically, they were significant in demonstrating the improvements to the foreshore in the 1950s due to the popularity of the area in the postwar period.

The tall trees cast long shadows on the sand at certain times of the day and I, for one, love their attractive shape and foliage.  I was really taken with the efforts of the local council to plant further trees in more recent times to ‘fill the gaps’.

I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how far this row of pines extended.   They seemed to go on as far as the eye could see.