I have been to hell. And here I'm not talking about the 47 degrees that greeted me in the supposedly chilly Esperance. A day so hot I might add that large numbers of rare, white-tailed cockatoo fell dead from the sky. Squawk, sqwawk, sqwa...crash.
No, as Auden has observed before me, true evil wears a much more ordinary face. At least more ordinary than the hottest day on record in a southern beach resort.
You see, I've been to Gnomeville. Been and retained enough of my sanity to return and tell the tale. Even post the photos...some day soon...
Gnomeville is in the otherwise lovely Fergusson Valley. A valley which has everything to recommend it - there's a brewery, there are many wineries, some of these wineries also sell cheese. It is warm, pretty and has fabulous off-road national park countryside perfect for exploring in a small hired Hyundai.
But then there's the gnomes.
I believe that I am not alone - neither in the great big 'verse or indeed in my solid belief that garden gnomes are in fact the earthly incarnation of Beelzebub. And I have the photos to prove it.
You see, Gnomeville is a little piece of collective insanity that obly the Great Deceiver himself could have thought up. It is an otherwise pleasant little glade, just off the highway, on one side of a deceptively easy to navigate roundabout. And in this little glade, clustered under trees; huddling inside little gnomehomes; standing on bridges; hanging, somewhat macabrely from said trees and generally getting under your feet at every opportunity: is every size, shape and diabolical variety of garden gnome every put on this good green earth.
But the horror doesn't end there. Because the people who've transported these gnomes so they can gather together for their unholy sabbath, have painted them "zany" colours and patterns (Aussie flags a favourite...); gathered them into "family" groups and horror of horrors written truly bad "poetry" on little cards round there necks so that the gnomes do truly have the look of penitents on their way to the stocks.
The photos...and watch this space, they are almost ready for download, cannot truly capture the strange feeling of dread, the prickles at the back of my neck as I explored the full extent of the Evil One's work here in WA.
There is something truly disturbing about the fact that people have travelled from all over the world to visit Bunnings, buy a cut-price garden gnome, paint in a garish representation of themself and leave it standing under a tree for other people to shrink in horror from.
The only thing more disturbing is that this in in the top ten most visited tourist sites in Australia. Think about it.