By the time I had to leave for my appointment at 8:00am, I had the trailer packed and ready to roll. Dwayne - the physio - was more than helpful and like a string of people in his profession from Tamworth to Kunanurra to Margaret River to somewheresville in South Australia, he was amazed at the looseness of the ligaments in my knees. I thought, at one stage of the treatment, he was going to call others in to take a look as he flopped and flapped my knee joints in all directions. By the time he was finished I expected to look like one of those wobbly kneed dancers from the thirties. His advice and exercises were good though and I had less pain when I left than when I walked in (or during, as a matter of fact).
We had planned only a short hop or series of them, first to Burrum Heads, at the mouth of the Burrum River, which flows the relative short distance from Lake Lenthall to the west of the Bruce Highway. It is a sleepy little village built some time ago to the back edge of a wide tidal beach which extends around the southern side of the opening onto the sea. Old Queenslanders (the houses not Wally Lewis and Gene Miles) breast the shoreline and each are available for rent. A crowded caravan park a block behind the shore was spilling across the road to the river bank. It looked a pretty laid-back place where the only substantial building was the real estate office.
On the northern side of the Burrum, a river's width from Burrum Heads, is Woodgate Beach, which was know only as Woodgate twenty years ago when we arrived for two winters as refugess from the cold weather and even colder reception of the parents at Wongwibinda. Sue and I and our brood left one morning as snow was falling on Kangaroo Hills and arrived in the afternoon of the following day to T-shirts and warming sunshine. It has changed ... dramatically.
Burrum Heads today is our memory of Woodgate then. Of course, some of those old fibro shacks and weather beaten Qlders are still dotted along the streets of Woodgate Beach but the dominant species used to be the kangaroos, which made their way from the paperbark swamp behind the dwellings and into the town itself, lounging on front laws and even sprawling in the shade at the back of the beach. Today the bodies which reclined were in bikinis and expensive shorts and shades, lattes in one hand, business section in the other. Their two-storey dwellings more reminiscent of the swank development at Yamba rather than the 1950's at Iluka.
The caravan park remains but the house two doors down where the Langstons played board games and removed stinging cactus spines from their child's foot has long ago lost a game of push and shove with a bulldozer to be replaced by dark glazing and a broad sea-facing verandah. We pretended to fit it, had a mocha and moved quietly off feeling a little like someone had interfered with a cherished memory and wondering if it was really their right.
From there it was an hour to Burnett Heads, at the head of the Burnett River - fancy that - which is notable for flowing through Bundaberg. After setting up, we went into Bundaberg to look at the glass blowing and coopering at Schneiders. We had expected to watch glass blowing but the man with the hot, fragile lips is away for September ... yes, I know, it too crossed my mind that this was now October but the lack of interest in our progress through their premises didn't give rise to any belief that commenting would have made the slightest of difference. The cooper no longer coops because there is a video which shows you that. Even though entry was free, we left feeling ripped off. The cruise along the Burnett we had hoped to spent tomorrow afternoon wasting will have to be wasted without water as they are fully booked. We dropped in at the Bundaberg Rum bond store but we had missed the last tour of the day. A pattern was emerging ...
Not to be disheartened (okay, I was), we hit town for a spot of shopping which proved very useful, as I picked up the walking boots I need, a couple of shirts and some drill trousers for bushwalking. We finished the exercise with the best coffee we have had since heading north but also the most expensive.
Off to see a band tonight at the local pub and tomorrow the Hinkler Air Museum which by all reports