Regular readers may recall my uneasy détente with heights, so get this: last Thursday, I climbed a lighthouse.
And not just any lighthouse: the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, which is the tallest in mainland Australia. (It’s nice to know that the carefully-qualified superlative is not just an eastern states thing. The tallest is on King Island. And Cape Leeuwin is the south-west-most point of Australia.) Here is a photo as proof:
And then I walked around the railing at the top. I should have said “the photo” because I didn’t have the nerve to take any more, so you’ll have to trust me on that.
Lighthouses are at once purely functional – a light on a pole which won’t fall down in the first storm – and romantic and symbolic: the combination is a large part of their charm. The two-ton Fresnel lens at the top floats on a bath of mercury; according to our guide it was brain poisoning, not isolation, which posed a danger to the keeper’s sanity.