Wondai. Part Three.

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The next day was a road trip. I think Derek thought, if he kept me in a vehicle, traveling at a decent speed, there was less likelihood I would could keep trying to apologize to every carvanner I saw.

We were off to meet a long lost friend from his army days.

I need to point out here that Derek and I were pretty impressed with how we were flowing with the whole caravan thing. We were able to eat and sleep and even watch some television. The only real frustration was the Telstra internet device which amazingly used wayyy more download when we were on the road and using it a fraction of the time for a fraction of the things, than it ever did at home. THAT was going to be a problem for long trips as my family is in Canada, and much of what I “do” requires the internet.

It was also going to be a problem for the first Telstra dude we spoke to when we got home.

Don’t get me wrong, happy to unhook and enjoy nature but when Derek goes to play golf etc, I find things to do. And besides, have you ever accidentally gone away without saying anything and not checked in with your kids for a few hours? The national guard know our whole family by name … including middle and nicknames.

Anyway, Fluffy was parked and comfortable so we locked that puppy up and headed off.

Can I say how cool it is to drive off the main roads to the secondary roads, and then the third and fourth roads, and find a dirt trail, that leads to someone’s house? In North America we tend to pave the way to everyone’s house just to make sure the taxman, the sales people, and the Mormons can find you. Here they let you escape. Except for Google Earth.  Google Earth knows every trail and road .. even some that are just in someone’s mind and not exactly there yet.

I especially love the tree lined roads in the middle of nowhere – not that all my pictures reflect that or anything.

You know how people say, “I don’t know what we did in the days before ….?” Well when people say, “I don’t know what we did in the days before Sat Navs,” (Satellite Navigators in Australian speak) I do know. We got in our vehicles, the wife read the map, and we got to where we were going and no-one got hurt. OK sometimes the man had some pressure marks and bruising on his head but that was just from the wife having to pull back hard on the reins and sometimes having to hit him with her purse to get his attention. Men slap women when they are hysterical … women hit men with their purses. The reason Hollywood never captured THAT moment in movies is that they did not want to demoralize men, or make them fearful. Old Hollywood was all about trying to bolster men into feeling like they were large and in charge. Then the women’s movement hit and they are pretty much still in shock.

Today we put in the address where we want to go and IF the thing works, a nice lady tells you where to turn. It is all good unless you are going faster than she can talk, or the satellites did not know about the road works. Oh, and it is a real problem when the technician in charge of checking the mapping missed that there is or isn’t a road in the big field that you always find yourself in, lost. Try finding a road that actually isn’t there when you have to get off a busy freeway. You can never trust that you didn’t miss it because you are going so fast … so you spend the day getting off and back on the freeway, driving about a mile strip of the freeway, back and forth, searching. I also love when you are on a road that does not exist on the sat nav. I guess we should be grateful that the woman does not scream at us that we are lost and going to die.  Although I know she does get crankier each time she has to repeat herself.

But we did get lost. And we had to phone the long lost friend, who it turns out, was getting more lost by the moment, several times.  I bet he rocks at “hide-and-seek.”  (I would just like to point out I could have said Derek sucked at hide-and-seek but I don’t always just throw him under the bus despite what he thinks.)

We eventually found it, but I did not have a lot of confidence we would find our way back to the caravan. I was not sure how the National Guard was ever going to find us this time.

What incredibly lovely people Allan and Kay are. Derek and Al went off to the man cave to discuss their old memories and Kay and I wandered around the house and yard as she talked about their life and showed me her spectacular plants and knick-knacks. I loved her creativity and way of looking at things. Her life was tucked in every corner in such interesting ways. Things that she had made, things that she had been given, that she picked up in her travels, that she found . . . and then she put it all together and it was a home that held the stories of their lives and she was sharing it with me!

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They had designed their house – kind of like a Canadian cabin you would find in the mountains somewhere – and they even used Canadian wood on it. It was a home that they lived in and life spilled out everywhere.  Spread out throughout the rooms was plenty of  evidence of all the people who came there regularly.  I noted the cups stacked in the corner next to the coffee and tea tins, the table outside with all the chairs pulled up to it, the fire pit, the converted “card room” with tables and chairs set up close to the “bar,”  to name just a few.

Their story was amazing. Wow, the lives that people have lived and the journeys they take to get to where we meet them never ceases to inspire me.

Kay loves birds and they were everywhere. Of course, we were going to bond. Tucked in the trees were feeders and bundles of food tied to the branches.  Shelters and houses were created and set up in the gardens.  I sat and listened and looked, asking her about the different ones that I have not seen before.

Just outside the kitchen, close to the table where we sat most of the day, was a bird in a cage. It was a ground parrot that normally lives in an area hundreds of miles from where we were. I taught it to play peek-a-boo in the corner. She had a fuzzy piece of cloth tucked in there for him to sleep in and cuddle up and we had a great time. I was trying to figure out how I could get him in my purse and sneak him out.

Kay told me he never left his cage.

She told me the story of how she ended up with SP (Special Parrot). She had another bird – a Corella I think it was. She loved it and had it for years. She takes in rescue animals for the area, and one day, after a fire, they brought her a baby corella. She put it in with her bird. After a few weeks, the baby died, and a few weeks later her beloved pet also died. She was devastated.

She was up in her bed, lying down one day and her husband called out to her from the kitchen that she had better come downstairs. There on the doorstep of their open kitchen door was a parrot. He walked back and forth and then came in. They were incredulous because that type of bird does not even live in their area. He was very friendly and especially with Kay. Kay checked him out, thinking he had to be someone’s pet, but there was nothing to direct her to the owner. Still she contacted the RSPCA to let them know she had him and she took him and put him in the big cage that had been her corella’s. He has never come out since.

That story was awesome enough but then she told me that she had a little friend. A little mouse came to visit him every night and share in his food. The two of them were great mates. I asked her for a couple of pictures and she sent me these.

I love Australia.

How great is it to be able to travel places, meet up with old friends, and your drive home to just be down the road to where you parked your caravan? You get there and it is your things, with your food, and your own little bit of space?

We did find our way home because Derek is awesome with his internal mapping system. Sometimes I think all the new fangled crap just complicates our lives. Our brains worked perfectly fine without someone politely telling us they are recalculating and to make a U-turn at the next possible opportunity.

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