Tomorrow we leave mainland Tasmania for Flinders Island. It’s high time, therefore, to look back over the voyage of Captain Quirk.
Mrs P, or Captain Quirk as she’s now known to Platypus Pandemonium, loves taking quirky photos. Her favourite subject in the USA is the humble mailbox. Outside big urban centres, mail is delivered to a mailbox on the curb-side rather than being posted through a letterbox cut into the front door. Most US mailboxes are boringly utilitarian, rectangular in shape with a simple domed roof.
Just occasionally, however, on our American road trips, we’ve come across an act of rebellion, a mailbox that doesn’t conform to type but rather gives us an insight into its owner-creator, perhaps a trout-shaped box outside the home of a fisherman or a maybe a horse-shaped creation at the gates to a farm. Inevitably, therefore, when we spot one of these quirky American mailboxes I’m required to screech to a halt to allow Captain Quirk to photograph it.
To our amazement, and the Captain’s utter delight, the Tasmanians have got in on the act too. It was only a couple days into our trip, on Bruny Island, that we spotted this Dalek, a truly brilliant creation that comprises, amongst other things, an egg whisk and a plunger for unblocking sinks:
After that we kept our eyes open, and came across other mailbox magic. Sometimes we’d drive three or four days without seeing one and then stumble across two in a single afternoon. Maybe it’s something in the water?
Whatever, here are some of the best. I’m not quite sure what these mailboxes tell us about Tasmanians, but her keenness to record them tells us heaps about the good Captain. She was, for example bowled over by this fellow, who bears a striking resemblance to Sean the Sheep, still loyally guarding an item of mail awaiting collection:
Here’s a smart skewbald horse:
And a lighthouse, inevitably seen on a coastal road:
This dog looks full of personality, though perhaps a bit goofy:
But sometimes a much-loved dog isn’t enough, its owner wants to get in on the act too:
Some tailor-made mailboxes, such as this, almost qualify as works of public art. It’s not clear what the guy’s occupation is – note the enigmatic tank on his back – but he’s plainly of the Aussie persuasion as there are corks dangling from his hat:
This knight in shining armour looks a little out of place on a rural Tasmanian road, though no more than a marauding Dalek I suppose:
A splendid cockerel looks much more at home in Tassie:
But as for this aviator, I’m lost for words. The Red Baron’s long lost cousin, maybe? …
Reviewing these photos for Platypus Pandemonium, I’m reminded that at its best travel engages all the senses and emotions. The trick is to be open to the possibilities inherent in day-to-day existence. We didn’t visit Tasmania for the mailboxes but they brought us moments of sheer delight, of hysterical laughter, of shaking our heads in utter bemusement. All credit to Captain Quirk for recognising that these mailboxes should be recorded for posterity, as final and irrefutable evidence of the human ability, when the mood takes us, to be as delightfully daft as a brush.