Generally speaking, I am not one for collecting material washed up on the beach. I left that to my husband who could not wander along the strand without bringing home a selection of hooks, lines, and sinkers, along with a variety of other objects that “might come in useful.” However, when I saw a whole timber door washed up on the beach in front of us, I knew that all those lifestyle programmes that I had watched over the years, we’re about to pay off. With great excitement, and much huffing and puffing, I dragged my booty home, expecting the husband to be equally delighted. Not so.

I think he realised that this represented work for him. Still, he had to admit that I had supplied the inspiration and all that was required of him was a little perspiration. The top and bottom of the door were sawn off, which removed most of the dry rot. A little sanding and some puttying were followed by a generous splash of mission brown paint, and the tabletop was ready. Some wooden trestles, on which to rest our masterpiece, completed the rustic look.

The table was set up at the bottom of the yard, overlooking the ocean. Our garden bench, also painted in fashionable mission brown, provided seating. It is to this little bit of Heaven that we would retreat in the late afternoon. A bottle of Merlot and two glasses, and all was right in our world. Here we could catch up on each other’s day and relax before dinner. From our vantage point over the Bay, we frequently saw dolphins chasing baitfish.

It is hard to say which was the more beautiful, the graceful movements of the dolphins or the silver ripple of the baitfish in their anxiety to escape finishing up as someone else’s last supper. The birds too began thinking of retiring for the night, with just time for one last snack, before roosting. The lorikeets indulged in noisy squabbling for the best position to spend the night, whilst the pelicans and ducks flew in formation back to the nearby lagoon that was their resting place for the evening.

Gradually, the sunset and the sky turned to a rosy hue. We would just have time to admire our beautiful surroundings when the mosquitos and sand-flies began to arrive, and it was time to retreat to the house. We have no idea as to where our door came from, whether it really did once have as prosaic a purpose as we imagined, but whatever its past, we trusted it appreciated its romantic present.

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