May 19, 2012

The Curse of the Mummies

So there was this one day when the Senior Slimms took Eloise to South Bank to see the Mummies exhibition, where the Egyptian Mummies from the British Museum came to visit Brisbane and look upon this Antipodean River Paradise of Suburban Modernity with their cold, dead eyes.

I dropped them off down there and arranged to pick them up from the same spot outside the State Library of Queensland, then embarked upon the day's business.

I was on my way to walk the dog when I was surprised by the premature call for retrieval. I should add that this was a couple of hours later and the Mummies had been fully enjoyed. The terrible trio were now in the Entertainment Precinct and hanging around in the pool area, and Eloise was toying with the idea of a metropolitan swim.

I walked the dog anyway before heading off back into the city, touching base with Grandad to discover Disunity.

Yes, they had become split-up.

Twenty minutes or so later I arrived at the Extraction Point to find Grandad Mick waiting, lonely. No sign of Anne, or my precious daughter!

Michael was dispatched to track back along the likely route that the Displaced Duo should take to the previously agreed Rendezvous Point, whilst I drove up to find a parking place for the car, from where I would walk in the opposite direction, searching the other end of the South Bank Complex.

Needless to say parking places were hard to come by but eventually I collared one and proceeded, with dog, with the search, exploring the market and pool area as well as the ornamental gardens before running into Mick, who was still alone, but convincingly calm and level-headed.

Of course, Anne had no mobile phone, and no numbers written down to contact anyone even if she could get hold of one, and we didn't know if she and Eloise were still together, or where they were, or what they might do, so a level head was very important!

I have an "app" on my handheld device which has a spirit level, but I didn't need to use that to know that my head was as level as they come.

We talked to a Lifeguard, and called Security in.

Mick stayed with the Authorities while a search was ordered and I marched back to the RV point in a final desperate re-tracing of potentially probable steps to discover them there, tight-lipped and anxious.

It seems that when they split up, they agreed on a re-meeting place by the pool, and Eloise and Anne had departed to the water-park area where they had hung around for an awfully long time waiting for Grandad Mick, who was waiting by a different pool. And while we were carrying out our pincer-search they cleverly eluded us by walking to the Pick-Up Point and waiting there.

Oh, how we laughed!

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."

On the day that Josie was to leave us to return to windswept Melbourne we decided, the three of us, to journey to a local National Park to witness for ourselves the wonder of Bangalore Falls.

Armed with peerless cartography, we set off to Bindarri National Park to embark upon the epic 1000 metre walk, and with firm resolve I navigated us into the hinterland behind Coffs Harbour and up into the hills, then along a valley road. The road gave way to gravel, as is common I am sure as one withdraws from civilisation, and then proceeded to ford a stream. This did seem a little odd, but we arrived at the entrance to the Park, where we were confronted by a not-quite-fork in the road, the offshoot of which was marked "4WD only."

So gaily we pressed on down the straight road, which deteriorated with each passing metre into mud and occasional ruts and wash-outs. But this was still a two-wheel-drive road, we were assured, until we reached the lip of a steep incline. Only a few hundred metres to the picnic area. But that hill does look steep. And the road is muddy. And bumpy. Maybe not.

I turned the map over and there was in fact a more detailed insert. Oh, so this was a 4WD track too. Well, perhaps we'll make it back!

Not to be too discouraged - there was a definite kosher two-wheel road into the park but around the far side - we set off the long way round with ope in our hearts and the reserve light on the fuel tank illuminated.

The final turn-off soon had the road turning to gravel again, and twisty-turning into the forested hills, but no mud or ruts now, just the cold hand of fear embracing our hearts as we contemplated, to the sombre tones of Radiohead, the prospect of running out of petrol in the back of beyond far from the gentle caresses of mobile phone coverage.

We marched into the scrub (well I hobbled) to arrive at a poxy viewing platform over a distant waterfall.

I used my phone to try to find our preferred petrol station in town as the motor began to wheeze on the last of the fumes, but it told us outright lies. I watched the blip on the GPS screen wander past the flag marked "petrol" and looked up at the row of residential housing in perplexity.

May 8, 2012

In The Butterfly Garden

In The Butterfly Garden Before we went to Sawtell the Relative Youth Component journeyed to a nearby tourist attraction, the Butterfly Garden, or House.

Probably House actually, as it was a large Greenhouse that was attached to a house, although there was also a garden. The garden though wasn't excessively butterflied, whereas the greenhouse was.

It was pretty humid in there too. My camera kept fogging up. Eloise loved it though, chasing around the butterflies, of which there were many, and even learning some of their names.

Now - in the present day - when we walk around she's identifying Cruisers that we see in the forests. If she could remember any others, she'd be identifying them too, of that I have no doubt.

A Cruiser landed on her hand and stayed there for quite a while. We saw some enormous butterflies, rippling with colour, on a leaf, conjugating together.

A butterfly get trapped in the airlock between the humidity of the greenhouse and the cheesiness of the gift shop. We found a Butterfly Encouragement Device and between us restored the little lost soul to safety.

Afterwards we found a maze in the front garden and negotiated it. Mazes are good.


Milkshake and Coffee After we went to the Butterfly Garden and wandered around its Maze of Hopeless and Eternal Loss, we traveled to Sawtell, a little place to the South.

My telephone had mysteriously begun to receive signals from the internet this very day, a most encouraging sign, and I was able to use the Sat Nav feature to simultaneously guide us to our destination and annoy all the occupants of the car with its deeply patronising tone.

Sawtell's high street was rather charmingly decked with enormous trees which would have provided marvelous shade had the sun been shining. Signs helpfully told us that the place was named after a person called Sawtell. Another example of Australian Etymological Ingenuity.

We stopped at a restaurant for a club sandwich or suitable alternative and drank things that were tasty.

Thence to the beach, where it started to rain.

Walking on the beach with umbrellas ready

Walking on the beach with umbrellas ready So the weather wouldn't make its mind up, requiring umberellas to be taken at all times. Clouds on the horizon but sun shining through.

Here are the girls, prior to taking most of their clothes off and stepping gingerly in for a swim.

Oh, my poor back.