Sunday, 10 October 2010

A Little Further North To Lucinda

Station Hotel, Ingham
Our stay with Jim and Judy continued with church this morning with their congregation at Ross River Anglican Church (yes, that Ross River) but there was nothing annoying or dangerous about these folks. The service had much to remind us of St Peters, in Tamworth, including familiar songs and even a familiar face, as Jeremy Gehrmann of CMS was the guest preacher. We have caught up with Jeremy in Tamworth as part of his role as the coordinator of Northern NSW/Qld. The folks there a mix from babies to elder statesmen such as us and many young people from James Cook University who were very keen to have a chat.

After a quick lunch and with an eye on the approaching weather, we lit out after lunch for Lucinda, a small town which is a Mecca for small boat fishermen. It's about 30 kms from Ingham. The drive was uneventful and we stopped in Ingham for groceries at an IGA as Woolworths was closed.

Whilst Sue shopped, I snapped a few photos, including the Station Hotel, established in 1925 and less than 200m from Ingham's railway station on the main northern line. It must be the only hotel so located in Australia, not to be called "The Railway Hotel"! This one was shut because its open seven days a week ... it must be a Qld thing but that's what the sign said. There was another, more straight forward sign erected in an area on a downstairs side verandah where some old chairs and tables were huddled together. It's message was simple and to the point ... "This area for the banished, so non-smokers F*** off" No ambiguity there.

As we reached our destination, Lucinda, as storm clouds were gathering afresh, looking to restock the unseasonable pools already providing beds for randy mosquitoes at the road side. After a check of Weatherzone on the laptop, Sue and I decided for a second time in a week to take a cautious approach and took refuge in a cabin. We had no sooner moved the last items from the car and trailer when it poured, coming down in what Jim Parsons had described the night before as "fat rain".

As I sipped a cold beer in the cooler, thinner air that always results from these tropical storms, the following found it's way onto the page.

10 Minutes In Nth Qld
The air, pregnant with rain
gives late afternoon birth
as finches sing the songs of their fathers
in celebration of broken tension.
A chorus of friends join in
as thick drops beat on corrugated drums.
A breeze stirs the wet curtain
committing sweat to history
on bare backs and smile-scarred faces.
One face, work-stained but worry free
looks up and drinks in mad lapped slurps
as yellow and orange work camouflage
repels then clings wet to tired muscles.
From another doorway
a smile and nod is shared
as I stare into the big, fat rain
and colours as bold as any manic day.

Washing day tomorrow and then off to look at Lucinda's big wharf (5.7kms long), the longest offshore sugar loading facility in the world and get our first look at Hinchinbrook Island.

Postscript: 20mm fell in the first "shower" in the 30 minutes after we arrived. At 9pm, another shower dumped 20mm. Wind gusts topped at 60km/hr. Vindication is a wonderful thing.

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