25 years of marital bliss. Spare me the shocked expressions, there is no tongue planted firmly in the cheek. It's been a quarter of a century jam packed with the type of credentials that a marriage CV should boast. A 25th anniversary should also warrant a special location to celebrate other than Cronulla.
Ten years ago for our 15th, Penny and I found ourselves planted at a Mediterranean-hugging seafood restaurant in cutesy Piran, Slovenia's mini Dubrovnik. Yeah, I know, another one. There are as many mini Dubrovniks as there are mini Venices but Piran's comparison is justifiable. Anyway, at that point in our lives it was decided we should be shoehorning somewhere exotic into the calendar every 5 years come May 17.
So what about 20 years? Glad you asked. Cannon Beach on Oregon's redwood-lined coast with dinner at a groovy Japanese fusion cafe.
Which brings us to 2017. No wifi, intermittent phone reception, 4 wheel drive access only and where Australia's red centre creeps right on down to the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. A permanently sunburnt expression where vivid primary colours abound. Reds, greens and blues are separated by blazing white sands. This is Cape
Middle Lagoon local
English is her second language
Leveque, a couple of hundred red dirt clicks north of Broome on West Australia's Dampier Peninsula.
We jumped aboard our 4x4 rental, home for the next 5 weeks, and headed north along a backwater track that somehow justifies a number. Let's go camping, surely a gilt-edged way to test the strength of marital bonds.
Night one and Penny immediately labelled camping as feral living. I prefer the perversely enjoyable notion that it's eking life from simple pleasures and connecting with some quasi primal instincts.
Fortunately it only took a couple of days to get the systems in place and the wife of 24 years 364 days was prepped and converted for our anniversary at Cape Leveque.
Kooljaman Wilderness Camp at the tip of the cape is pretty much what the name suggests, wilderness defined. Yet amongst this tough as old boots, end of the world location, Kooljaman is a homogenised, well-greased operation that welcomes guests by rolling out the red dirt carpet. Here is a place to resign from the world.
Digs range from star-studded Safari tents for the sinfully decadent right down to the lower wage bracket plots of turf to plonk your tent.
We sidled up to our powered site, plugged in the trusty Land Cruiser and set about the business of doing very little. First step, anniversary grits.
So here we were in the middle of Never Never Land and Kooljaman has a BYO restaurant. Unsheathing the Moët Chandon, we followed our noses over for what I assumed would be a choice of burger and fries combo or fries and burger combo. Cough cough splutter, time to push the culinary reset button. "Dig this crazy menu". All the gourmand theatre of Master Chef.
Kooljaman's Michelin trained bloke in the kitchen has amassed 7 years up here and in the process has, bless his little cotton socks, accumulated a menu where the outback meets Paris. So hungry you could eat a camel? You've come to the right place. Try these on for size:
Camel cottage pie (would you like that with one hump or 2?). Emu chorizo. Slow roast venison. Wild boar. Barley risotto. Bush tomato flavours. Exmouth slipper lobster. Confit kingfish fillet. Broome scampi. And on it goes. The little rustic bistro that huffed and puffed.
Sure it costs an arm and a leg plus a couple of
minor body organs but this was a stellar manner to ring in our 26th year.
The day was such a success that swimming a lap or two at Coma Beach the next morning got me pondering a possible venue for 5 years time. "Penny, Tahiti sounds nice". Or should we simply close our eyes and throw a dart at a world map? Whatever the outcome, Cape Leveque will be a tough act to follow.
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Home and Away
Congratulations on your 25th anniversary!!!
I like the idea of throwing a dart at the map of the world to select the destination for your 30th.
Ren & Andrew
Happy 25th Anniversary!
While I tend to agree that camping can be feral, this sounds like a rather romantic trip :)
penny and gary
If we can survive the next 5 weeks, 30 years will be a piece of cake
Fantastic - if only I could remember the date of ours!
You've really cracked an awesome marital model! Congratulations you two! xxx
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
Following in your footsteps
Happy Anniversary, congratulations on all those years of wedded bliss! A jam packed quarter of a century goes in a blink. We were married barefoot on a beach in Barbados so every 5 years we like to celebrate on an island. At 5 years we went back to Barbados, 10 was Fiji, 15 was Sanibel Island Florida and 20 was Ireland. Always thinking of the next island to celebrate the next 5. You can't go wrong no matter what you decide. Your meal sounds fantastic. Forget the money. 25 is amazing. A few years back on New Years Eve Dave put the names of 6 countries on pieces of paper and I put 6 on pieces of paper. At a small gathering we had people pull our countries out of a bowl and the last country pulled out was our trip location. It was a great deal of fun. We had no idea which countries each had selected. The interesting thing is we only had 2 countries in common. On any given week they just as easily could have been the same.... but that year we went to Nepal because our friends picked it out of the bowl. Every one had great fun.
penny and gary
You guys put us to shame
But I love it. In fact I'm going to steal your idea for our 30th.