I’m sorry to hear that the school year has begun again (& with it, the farewelling of summer holidays), Ange of the North! It always surprises me how quickly summer flies past! And you’ve had such a full time this summer...
As I began this post a few days ago, I had just tipped my cuppa tea all over me. Drat. I was having lunch about 70kms from Brisbane in the bustling metropolis of Beaudesert (population of about 5,000)! We had an early start that morning on account of our 1.5hr journey southwards. Lil L had been chosen as 1 of 6 students from his school to take part in a special science programme for gifted students, on ‘Electricity & Magnetism”. It was a struggle to rise with the dawn to make it to this event, I can tell you! However, my 3 fellow-passengers kept me well entertained and I now know ALL the jokes that Yrs 4-6 students find especially funny!
I had the most pleasant day wandering around this shire in my new vehicle, aptly named “Ollie the Truck” ! Beaudesert shire is well known for its horses – stud farms, equine rehabilitation centres, racing farms etc. I had been warned however, that there is not much to do here. This was evidenced by the fact that as soon as parents had dropped their kids off at the programme, there was an almost instant exodus, with most parents choosing to drive the long distances back from whence they came.
I myself considered this option too, but as I looked at my map of the area, I became intrigued by the fascinating names around these parts – Biddaddaba, Mt Chinghee, Jimboomba, Lost World, Rathdowney, and especially Wonglepong! I decided to explore. The elderly gentleman (with 2 teeth) at the Information centre was a mine of local knowledge. After he told me that “Wonglepong” is Aboriginal for “Death”, I decided that today might not be the day I explored this option. Instead, I headed for Hillview in the hope that I might get just that.
The land around Beaudesert was so dry. Fire alert was/is on ‘extreme’ caution. Fields are so brown and you can almost imagine the grass crackling as you drive by. But every so often, there will be a very well delineated patch of green – tended paddocks of turf farms or the well-moneyed racing stables. These green bits reminded me a bit of NZ’s landscape. But the eucalypt and gum trees identify the land as being undeniably Australian. And having a Big Red Kangaroo boinging across the school courtyard was definitely an Australian sight! A very un-kiwi expression burst from my lips – “Oh MATE! Get a look at that, will ya!”. The parent I was talking to at the time, barely blinked an eyelid! Probably wondered what planet I’d just hopped off…
I really enjoyed absorbing the landscape armed with camera, laptop, and refreshments! And I loved having the freedom of a day (well, some of it) to myself and the opportunity to determine the extent of Ollie the Truck’s capabilities. At one stage, I was so busy testing Ollie’s limits, that i missed a major turnoff! Well…I did see it flash by…Oops. Naturally, I’m presuming you have done the same with your new chariot?!
I must confess that I am feeling as "literarily" parched as the ground is here.
We did have our first storm of the season that same night we went to Beaudesert. K took great pains to manoeuvre his car under our porch (about a 20-point turn) to protect it in case of hail or other nasty storm-induced things. As K stood admiring his handiwork, the storm blew over! So much for filling up the water tanks….can’t complain – it is nice to wake up to those blue skies and sun we have come to expect!