Monday, May 12, 2008


A Mongolian yurt is not the first thing i expect to see as i ride into Mount Barker. The first thing i would expect to see in a place called Mount Barker, if i thought about it at all, which, up until this point, i haven't, would probably be a mount, or perhaps a pack of dogs.

But in fact, the first thing i see as i ride through the roundabout into Mount Barker, is not a Mongolian yurt, but a somewhat derelict 1960s-style revolving house. Green, with a silver balustrade. Cute as a bug. To be brutally honest, at the time i didn't realise it was a revolving house. I discovered this revelatory fact later, talking to one of the journalists at The Newspaper. The owner of the caravan park wants to restore it and get it revolving again, Martine says. Who wouldn't. I just want to buy it and do a stump and dump.

For those avid readers of The Nerve who are unaware, a 'stump and dump' does not, in fact, refer to a toilet-trained amputee, but to the architectural practice of uprooting an existing, usually timber-framed house, and dropping it onto new footings in another locale. But i digress.

Circular houses. What a very special idea. I remember i used to be the owner of an eight-sided, almost circular waterbed, which held pride of place in one of my many West Leederville abodes. I occupied quite a number of incredibly old, yet palatial West Leederville houses - all of which were invariably demolished soon after i left, to the point where i began to develop a complex. I felt like one of those people on whom wristwatches suddenly stop and around whom electrical items mysteriously fail. A human wrecking ball.

In those halcyon days i was partial to the cone, and was therefore in a perpetual state of blissful confusion. The waterbed, placed as it was in the centre of my room, gave the space a circular feel. I would walk around my octagonal berth, from dresser to wardrobe to door, collecting my wallet, my coat, my thoughts, girding my loins and preparing to go out and face the day, before remembering at some point in my circuit that i had forgotten my watch, or my shoes, or my keys, and would do another lap, collecting these misplaced and mislaid items, once again orbiting the bed and heading more quickly for the door, before remembering my bag for uni and veering into another orbit i would swerve from perihelion to aphelion collecting ventolin and cigarettes on the way and accelerating in an increasingly perilous ellipse before eventually the centripetal force would overwhelm me and i would hurtle out the door, a blazing comet, to explore well beyond the furthest reaches of the public transport system.

But i digress. A circular, revolving house! Now that would be something.

I meet Sarah Toa and one of her seven sisters at the Mt Barker Hotel, and after refreshments we head out to explore the Mongolian Yurts of Mount Barker. These huge, circular Himalayan circular made of felt, canvas and psychedelically-painted wood.

No comments: