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Today's quote:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

La Paluma


Cairns has Kuranda, Mackay has Eungella, and Townsville has its "Village in the Clouds", Paluma, nearly 3000 feet above and as much as 10 degrees below the sweltering heat at sea level and steeped in almost 150 years of history - see here.

Just an hour-or-so drive from Townsville, Paluma is quite literally an island in the clouds, cool and misty one minute, then suddenly the clouds part to reveal a brilliant blue sky and dazzling sunshine that bathes the glistening rainforest in shades of turquoise and emerald green, with birds and butterflies adding a riot of colours.

During my short attempt at domesticity in Townsville in 1981 when I unsuccessfully tried to answer that nagging question "Is that all there is?" with a hesitant-sounding "Y-e-s", before again returning to the wilds of New Guinea, followed by the emptiness of Saudi Arabia and the glory that is Greece, I visited Paluma a couple of times.

With little more than two dozen residents, it was then as sleepy as it is today, and it may get sleepier still, since what little commercial activ-ities there are to attract the passing tourist seem all up for sale: there is the Rainforest Inn which didn't even exist back then, but has since 2013 been listed for sale; then there are the Hidden Valley Cabins which were still being constructed when I last visited and which are now also for sale; and even the owner of Paluma's oldest attraction, the Ivy Cottage Tea Rooms, wants to move on after twenty years - see here.


Click here for an aerial view of the Ivy Cottage Tea Rooms on GOOGLE Map


During WWII, it was called 'Hotel Australia' and served as recreation area for Australian troops. When the village was returned back to the control of the residents after the war, the building became "The Ivy Cottage Tea Rooms" under the original proprietors, Mr and Mrs England, a retired sea captain and his wife, who served Devonshire tea and homemade scones.

It changed hands several times - most recently in 1986 for $65,000, and in 1998 for $220,000 -, but almost all previous owners still live in the village. The current owners, Ian & Sandy Marshall, now want to sell up for $430,000. As Sandy explains on facebook:

"Thank You to all our wonderful customers, many of whom have become our friends.

Thank you for your Loyalty over the last 20 years, when Ivy Cottage has not just been our Café, but also our home. It was for you that we reopened 3 years ago.

Thank you for your “Bookings” that are such a help in trying to “Guestimate” how busy it will be, how many staff we will need and how much to cook.

Thank you for your patience during “Peak Hour”, when everyone gets hungry at the same time and there isn’t a table to spare, when a simple pot of Tea, or coffee and scones can take over half an hour to arrive at your table, and the noise and confusion makes you doubt our sanity.

Thank you for graciously and discreetly letting us know if we make a mistake, forget something, or in some way fail to meet our usually high standards, and for giving us the opportunity to quickly make it right.

Thank you for taking the time to brighten our day, especially when you can see that we are too exhausted to brighten yours.

Thank you for your consideration and kind words and for Thanking Us – for welcoming you into our rainforest sanctuary, for giving up our weekends and our holidays from our “Real Jobs”, for being here and being open.

In February (date to be advised), Ivy Cottage will close for the “Wet Season” and we can not say for sure when or IF we will reopen.

Ivy Cottage has been For Sale for a year, with plenty of interest. But with no school in Paluma and no deliveries of any kind, the new owner of this Iconic Cottage has not yet been found.

It may be that Ivy Cottage will simply become someone else’s “Private” Rain Forest Sanctuary, but as it is zoned “commercial shopping”, it could become almost anything for it’s new owners.

Wishing you all the best for 2018 and Thank You once again."

Although I wasn't at my tearoom stage in life back in 1981, I remember it well and wish them well with their sale. Now that I'm into my 25th year at "Riverbend", I could just as easily see myself doing another ten-years-plus at Paluma. How one's perspective on life keeps changing!


P.S. Speaking of perspective makes me think of that old codger who's having a drink in a bar. Suddenly a gorgeous girl enters and sits down a few seats away. The girl is so attractive that he just can’t take his eyes off her. After a short while the girl notices him staring and approaches him. Before the old bloke has time to apologise, the girl looks him deep in the eyes and says to him in a sultry tone: “I’ll do anything you’d like. Anything you can imagine in your wildest dreams, it doesn’t matter how extreme or unusual it is, I’m game. I want $100, and there’s another condition”. Completely stunned by the sudden turn of events, the man asks her what her condition is. “You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words”, she says. The man takes a moment to think, then whips out his wallet, puts ten $10-bills in her outstretched hand, looks her square in the eyes, and says, “Paint my house.”