I woke this morning from the best night's sleep of the four weeks we have spent on the road so far. We slept with all the windows open and a soft breeze from the ocean all night. Perhaps it was also because I swapped sides with Sue and let her sleep on the open side of the bed, meaning I wasn't woken every time she answered a call from nature.
The sun rose like like a reversed film of a fireball falling into the sea. It was blood red and beyond the capability of my cameras to capture with any justice.
The morning was absorbed by reading. Having finished an old Tom Kennelly book about a hijack situation on an international flight, I zoomed through a very interesting memoir which was given to me when we visited Newee Creek. Noel Robertson lives on the three acres which used to be the dairy at my father in law's first farm. It is his country retreat which he has engaged with permanently and where he wrote this frank memoir and two delightfully different books about his chooks.
It is self-published and at over two hundred pages (admittedly in a larger than usual font) there were times in the last third where it strayed from the narrative of his life and on to the lives of others but never the less, it was a well constructed and eminently readable tome. Born and raised in far North Queensland, Noel has had for himself an experience-rich life, dominated by his twenty years as cabin crew during the transition QANTAS made from turboprop to jet aircraft. It could have easily descended into a kiss and tell collection but he has chosen to tell only a few of the many stories he witnessed in the making aboard the Boeing fleet of Australia's national airline. His anecdote about Sir Robert Helpman was a hoot and his reference - incorrect in some details - to the 1975 Australian cricket team's return from England, was illuminating but not surprising.
His frankness about his own sexuality and his description of the times he lived through are as much a social history as a personal one.
I really enjoyed the read and virtually read it from cover to cover, with a break only for breakfast. I hope he enjoys my book of poetry we exchanged for it.
Nature played its part in our entertainment. A Brahminy Kite swept past, gliding on the breeze; two goannas visited our campsite and climbed nearby trees; Noisy Minors roared through at head height like reckless teenagers; and a storm approached from the south east, causing me to hurry repairs to our back window. By the time I was finished, I had made a messy but hopefully successful job of sealing seams, seals, rivets and screws. The storm went elsewhere but a few lonely stray drops called by.
When we should have been thinking about lunch, we instead took a drive into Minnie Waters villageship - an awkward term but it is definitely not a town. A community hall, a shop that does and sells everything and a Rural Fire Service shed are the only building which are not residential and the majority of the remainder are holiday homes. Surprisingly, some them are substantial in both building materials and size.
We had reasonable hot beverages - and yes, hot chips - at the shop and then drove up to the Tree of Knowledge Lookout. The tree must have just stepped out but the view was good. Phone reception in the woods here about, is pretty sketchy, so we were surprised when our phones jumped into life and even more surprised when Sue's phone rang. For the rest of the time at the lookout, I took pictures and Sue tried, with limited success, to attend to Facebook. She has moved on significantly from the days of being a Facebook doubter and these days, is in the fanatic class.
|Minnie Water Back Beach|
A short and unheralded drive took us down a dirt road to the top of a flight of stairs which descended onto Back Beach. Walled in by headlands at either end and large, inaccessible sand dunes behind, only the ocean has a view of the gently sloping sand. Within moments, Sue had flung her clothes onto a rock and herself into the sea. These are the moments when she is still my awesome, seventeen year old, free-spirited girlfriend, cheeky in all respects and from any angle.
I spent the late afternoon writing, whilst Sue disappeared to wander the campground for conversations. It had become cloudy and cooler but the birds still sung from trees and other more stealthy places and the ocean was still our most obvious and most noisy neighbour.