Across Continents

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Dawn breaks

April 30th, 2011

Dawn breaks from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Morning after the storm. Proserpine, north Queensland.

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Four pegs

April 30th, 2011

Woken about one am. Wind had risen sharply. Rain had returned. Conscious I’d avoided sinking into the quagmire by pitching on a concrete slab. But only able to secure the tent with a few guy lines. Four pegs. Hoping that’d be enough. Dome appearing top flex alarmingly with the gusts. Amplified by the gloom.

windsigns

Suddenly remembered the signs I’d seen around the park. "Beware falling limbs". Council liability disclaimer for high winds. Thinking I should have pitched in the relative shelter of the camp kitchen as "Two Bob" had suggested. But by then it’d been dark. The tent already wet. Too much hassle.

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Sapping headwind, steady drizzle

April 30th, 2011

South of Proserpine thirty miles of sporadic sugar cane. The odd homestead. But otherwise nothing save frequent uphill drags. Sapping headwind. Steady drizzle. And roadworks.

Waiting at a stop sign for my turn to pass, I chatted for a while with the traffic controller. Noticed she was wearing a fleece. Still warm. T-shirt and shorts ample. But it was beginning to cool a little as I’d continued south. Heavy rains felt sharper. Icier touch.

Bloomsbury. Few houses. Rusting truck. And a small servo. Coffee and a crumbed snag. Watching two young women spend almost an hour sweep and mop a floor barely twice the size of my lounge. Smiled as I left. Returning into the gloom outside.

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Preoccupations in Proserpine

April 29th, 2011

After Bowen, nothing but sugar cane until Proserpine. And a headwind. Few brief rain squalls. Preoccupied with how I might revive my netbook. Refusing to contemplate replacing it. But conscious that labour costs might easily make that the cheapest option. Depressing. Hoping it’d be a quick fix.

Later a coffee in the camp kitchen. Funny sort of day. Defunct computer. Final skirmish of the hostel yielding the hood securing strap for my jacket. In the lounge. Somewhere I’d never taken it. Spot of rubber glue and fixed easily enough. But strange all the same.

In Proserpine I’d ridden off from the cafe to the campsite without first securing my map case to the handlebars. Normally as intuitive as tying shoe laces. Noticing its absence in time to retrieve it from the roadside a little way back.

Hardly show stoppers. Rather, irritations. Inconvenience. Hoping the next day would bring better luck.

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Awash with prohibitions

April 29th, 2011

soapsign

Definitely not topping up my small shampoo bottle from the soap dispenser then…. as if…

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Washed out

April 29th, 2011

washsign

I’ve no idea either….

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Hair shirts and hot crumpets

April 28th, 2011

Yorkshire accent. Strong. His name was John. Where did I hail from, he asked. Manchester, I replied. Quickly adding I’d long since lost my accent. Not that I was that sure I’d ever had one in the first place. In any case, I explained, I’d moved around quite a bit. Thought I might pass as a soft Southerner. He disagreed. Definitely a northerner.

Curious as to how he’d managed to keep his accent after decades in Oz. Plain stubbornness? Knew of another Yorkshireman whose dulcet tones had somehow surviving the finishing school we’d once both shared. Not the approved type you understand. But we’d passed through its hallowed halls at a time when strong regional accent attracted mandatory elocution lessons. Suspected he’d the resilience born of a Jesuit education. Speaking proper when required. Even joined up writing to boot. Something to do with hair shirts and hot crumpets.

John’s answer was plain and simple. He’d arrived as a teenager with his "Ten Pound Pom" parents. And married an English lass. Lancastrian.

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Looking for Bob

April 28th, 2011

It hadn’t been easy. Looking for "Two Bob". So called because he was such an affable chap. Worth far more than one of his kind. Small matter of first locating the right van park. Town of Proserpine. Upriver from the Queensland coast.

I’d stopped at a small cafe on the main street. Had they heard of him, I enquired. No, the owner explained. But there was a site off to the left. Not too far. Next to the swimming pool. This jolted my memory. Claire and Wayne, the Aussie cyclists who’d suggested I look up "Two Bob", had mentioned this. Smiling, I thanked the proprietor and headed off.

Finding the site without too much difficulty, I’d asked enthusiastically at Reception if "Two Bob" was around. Blank looks. Quickly added I thought he ran the place. No. Definitely not the woman explained. But there was a permanent resident of that name. Glimmer of hope. Sure I was in the right place.

TwoBob

Found him later in the camp kitchen. Wanted to know why I’d not pitched my tent inside. Plenty of room. Had asked, I explained. But told I might be in the way. He laughed. Claire and Wayne had spent a week or two sleeping there, he replied.

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