Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writers' Festivals

Some of the Black Inc. staff are preparing to head up to Sydney for the Sydney Writers' Festival this week. Funny things can happen at writers festivals. Just ask Sandy Mackinnon (also known as AJ Mackinnon, which is the name he published his book under.)

Sandy recently returned from the Williamstown Writers' Festival. He told us the following story about his adventures in Williamstown, which he has kindly allowed us to publish here:

I stayed in the most superb Bed and Breakfast right by the sea in the centre of Williamstown, a boutique outfit called Captain's Retreat, beautifully restored and furnished and, as it turned out, run by the sister of a teacher colleague of mine from the Corio campus. She was marvellous and ran the B&B superbly, with home-made cakes and everything just perfect. I was put in the Captain's Suite where, Hal Porter, the famous Australian writer writing in the 60's, had written much of his stuff. After a slightly dreary afternoon, I settled down to some much needed relaxation, finishing up in a very deep hot bath in the en-suite spa. To really relax, I lit the three little tea-candles, turned out all the lights, switched on the bubbly jet things and lay back to relax in the candlelit darkness. As I lay there, I felt all the tension in my shoulders easing away and my body slumping lower, lower, lower in the water. Then the place exploded and everything went pitch-dark.

What had happened was that I had accidentally dislodged the bath plug so the water was slowly draining out - hence the feeling of slumping lower and lower. This wouldn't have been a problem except that when the water level dropped below the air-jet pipes still going at full-force, they sent all the water rocketing straight up in great fountains of spray
like power-sprinklers, extinguishing the candles and hitting the ceiling, the mirrored walls, the window sill and curtains, and hissing like a nest of angry cobras. It was like suddenly turning on ten fire hydrants all at once. Of course in the darkness I couldn't find any of the controls to turn the damn things off or replace the plug or turn the taps on to refill the bath so I wallowed and blundered around getting sprayed in the face before I finally managed to hit the right button and everything went quiet, except for the steady drip-drip of half a ton of water as it descended from the ceiling to the floor again.

After that the mood was lost somewhat, so I called it a night and went to bed, helping myself to half a bottle of port that had been thoughtfully put by the bedside.


  1. Hi Sandy, I know this was posted a few years ago but I've only just seen it.

    I'm Melissa, 'the sister' who owns the Captain's Retreat. Your post did make me laugh. What you don't know happens in your own house!!

    ps. I must admit that the home made goodies are the work of either Aunty Marie or Chris.