Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Makings of a cunning plan..

May 24th, 2011

At first I thought Roger might have thought me a bit odd. He’d wandered into the campsite kitchen as I was in talking aloud to my small computer. Gesturing a little as I did so. Animated. Quickly explaining I was recording a piece for local radio.

Roger

He was from Birmingham. Goldsmith by profession. Not just jewellry but higher end object d’art. Well-travelled. Europe certainly. Had taught himself German. Could get by in Norwegian. But felt his Danish had faded a bit now. Just a few words. More than I’d ever manage.

Roger had been visiting his daughters. One in Australia, the other in New Zealand. Now spending some time exploring. Hired a car and bought a tent. We exchanged a few suggestions on places to stop along the coast. My favourites like the St Lawrence wetlands. Did he have the map of Queensland’s free sites? Yes. He did. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The attention to detail I suppose you’d expect of a skilled craftsman.

Rogertent

But it was his experiences of New Zealand that had me most intrigued. I’d begun to toy with not visiting. Partly focus. It hadn’t ever actually been part of the original plan to go there. And cost. Flying there with a bicycle exorbitant. And I was still smarting from the similarly priced cost of living in Australia. But Roger had me reinvigorated. Much cheaper there, he said. And an excellent network of hostels and public transport. Far better organised than here. Affordable. Makings of a cunning plan….

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Paths crossing

May 23rd, 2011

That’d be fellow cyclists Chris and Roland I said. Explained I’d met them up in Cairns. While back now. Adding Chris had, I thought, been a British diplomat, Roland, an Aussie landscape garden designer. Very much into environmental and indigenous issues.

I’d found a small coffee shop in Maryborough. Chatting to Jason, its young owner. Offering an irresistible deal for coffee and toast. He’d invited Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh to the opening but she’d politely declined. Other engagements her letter said. On the cafe’s noticeboard. Wished him the best of luck nevertheless. Actually, I’d discovered she only drank tea. Of this I was quite sure. Met her doing a talk radio piece.

Jason had seen a few long-haul cyclists pass through the town. Chris and Roland included. He thought they were heading for Rio de Janeiro. Some sort of environmental event. I agreed. As for the others, quite a few, he thought, riding around the whole of Australia. Mostly anti-clockwise. Prevailing winds on their backs.

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Poppin into Maryborough

May 23rd, 2011

Maryborough. Another birthplace town. But one I actually liked. Bit of character. From where author and former Shakespearean actress Pamela Travers hailed. Penning the first of the Mary Poppins novels in 1934. In England. Not only did she leave. Changed her name as well. Born Helen Lyndon Goff.

Poppins

Chancing on a decent van park on the outskirts, I’d decided to stop for some days. Set up the new netbook. Barely out of its box. Upload photos and videos. Courtesy of fast WiFi. Knuckle down and catch up on the blog, e-mails. Dull stuff like admin. The odd visa application. Domestic chores. Itching to return to the road. Once the necessities are done.

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Inconvenience store

May 22nd, 2011

Inconv

Maryborough, central Queensland.

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Pomp and circumstance

April 30th, 2011

Had I stayed up to watch the Royal Wedding, enquired Chris and Tina? Coffee shop in Maryborough. Owner Jason’s parents. No, I explained, I’d missed it. Sure there’d be ample opportunity to catch up on the highlights. For many years to come. Adding that whilst I’d wish any couple getting married the best of luck, pomp and circumstance wasn’t quite my thing. Much preferring understated. Flag waving simply not my thing.

Tina had spent time in London. Working as a nanny. Kensington. Greenwich. Expensive city to live in I added. Explaining I’d spent some time there. Not cheap. To the extent one of my predecessors had to rely on state handouts to make ends meet. Sort of. But that’s another story…

They were both keen Royalists. None of this Republicanism for them. Explained I thought the Monarchy a good idea. Stabilizing influence. Her Majesty had seen just one or two Prime Ministers come and go. Always wondered what they discussed during the weekly audience at the Palace.

Had even bought one member of the Royal Family a cup of tea. Well, sort of. On a train. Free with my ticket. An excuse to engage the lady in conversation. To the irritation of the two plain clothes Police officers who’d been watching me intently ever since they’d boarded.

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Premonition?

April 29th, 2011

Premonition

In Maryborough, central Queensland.

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