These two songs I wrote for my husband when I first met him.
These two songs I wrote for my husband when I first met him.
One day when we were traveling in the Northern Territory in the East Alligator Region of Kakadu, I visited the Ubirr Art Gallery. It is not an ordinary Art Gallery. It consists of a group of rock outcrops on the Nadab Floodplain where there are several natural rock shelters that have a collection of Aboriginal rock paintings some of which are several thousands of years old.
It was there I met Wayne, a young aboriginal boy, who was guiding a party of tourists through the park. Wayne talked so exuberantly about the art that I couldn’t resist asking if I could join the party and offered to pay. He was only too happy for me to come along but wouldn’t accept any payment. I wrote this poem for Wayne.
We did not invent the wheel
We had to be content to travel by foot
But still managed to cover long distances
Through rugged lands in scorching temperatures
By walking in the early mornings and avoiding the heat of the day
We did not invent the telephone
But we know how to communicate with nature, the earth, the sky, the wind, the sun and the moon
And we can express ourselves in community with each other
And send messages to faraway places
We did not invent the aeroplane
But in our minds we often fly to other places and times
When we are walking along collecting our food for the day, fishing and hunting
Sometimes we can look down at ourselves from the sky
We did not invent the computer
But we have our ways of storing knowledge and passing it on through the generations
By the stories that our art communicates on rock faces
And the explanation of our laws which old men tell by the campfire
Or when they show the young boys how to fish and hunt
We did not invent the watch
Because for us time does not exist
And has no relevance to how we live
For it is the season that dictates what eat, where we sleep
And whether we stay or move on
And the sun and the moon who tell us when it is time to wake or sleep
We did not invent money
Because in our culture we share what we have with each other
With our family and our tribe
So we have no need for it
We did not know about a lot of things
But we have always known how to think outside the square
And look at things in other ways
We often see a different picture of how things are
It is more than 40 years since I’ve seen Pedro. He rings from downstairs in the hotel lobby just as I’m about to go down for breakfast. I’m not at my best – not having yet had my shower and washed my hair which is in dire need of it. Fortunately I have my hat on. I have definitely been caught out. One would certainly prefer to present oneself at their optimum in these circumstances. Pedro oscilates between being charming, vital, engaging and off with the fairies. He insists that we all go to the Cathedral Museum to see his painting and have our photos taken in front of it – all three of us – as requested by Alex.
Excerpt from “A Spanish Love Affair:
When I wake up, for the first few moments, I feel totally disoriented until I turn my gaze to the other side of the bed and look at Pedro. He is still fast asleep. His skin is glowing in the early morning light, his hair glistens and his eyelashes, which are thick and lush, are resting languidly on his cheek. He is a perfect specimen in the looks department, I decide after giving him another careful examination. I feel my heart beating a my eyes linger on his face and body. I still fell such a strong attraction to him, my whole body feels alive when I’m close to him – I feel like I’m going to burst.
But what am I going to do about the sex part?
We are currently in Margaret River, which I love and could easily move into one of the lovely little cottages down Willmott Street – just a short walk to the river and the National Park with so many beautiful bush tracks and a couple of minutes the other way to the village which has lots of interesting shops. We are experiencing unseasonably hot weather. My research indicated that the weather at this time of the year is normally 25 – 27 but yesterday it reached 40. I spent most of my day sitting in the van with the air con on. Today smoke was in the air as the West Coast fire season kicked off. I will be developing a fire evacuation procedure in case we have to leave one of our camping sites in a hurry. I just hope if such a situation eventuates, we’ll have time to pack the wine and that bottle of French Champagne which Markus bought on Black Friday.
As this will be our last camping trip, before Markus sells the van, we’ve decided to make the most of it and won’t be home until mid-May. It will be the first Christmas I haven’t spent in Narrabeen with family and friends for over 40 years and they will be sorely missed. But here we are in Margaret River, WA just about as far away from home as you can get without going overseas. Denmark, Esperance, Albany and Augusta all beckoned however, Christmas this year will be in Myalup, the only place we could find to stay after making more than 30 phone calls. All the best spots are booked a year in advance we were told.
Markus and I have been on the road for 8 months already. The time has just flown – so many interesting places to see and explore. Australia is such an amazing place and our history is so fascinating although somehow, they succeeded in making it deadly boring at school.
I’ve been keeping a journal every day which will no doubt be invaluable when I sit down to write “The Reluctant Camper”. I’m not such a reluctant camper these days as I’ve learnt to adapt and adjust. I’ve also been working on “Another Spanish Love Affair” the sequel to “A Spanish Love Affair”. We will be home for a year from May and I intend to really put my head down during that period in order to satiate the curiosity of my readers about what happened next. I’ve also typed up the notes for “Walking the Camino Backwards”which I took while walking the Camino le la Mozarabe in 2014.
I’ve had a wonderful year of reading – I brought 17 books with me and have knocked the lot of them off. However, I’ve managed to pick up some very interesting ones at the various book exchanges at the camp sites – Judy Nunn’s “Floodtide” which is set in WA in the late 70’s early 80’s, “Fraud” by Anita Brookner one of my favourite writers and “Proof” by Dick Francis one of my Dad’s favourite writers which I didn’t think I’d like because they have a racing background but that particular one also has a wine background. My two favourites reads from the books I brought with me have been “Sapiens; A Brief History of Mankind” recommended by Markus and “Captain Cook” by Peter Fitzsimmons, the latter I haven’t been able to put down. Leigh Sales book “Any Ordinary Day” came in at a close third.
We’ve had our trials and tribulations with both the car and the van. We got stuck in Cairns for a month, after having been towed there from Georgetown, waiting for parts to come out from Germany for the Toureg. We then had to hotfoot it over the top of Australia (7,000 k’s in 10 days) due to the extreme heat – over 41 degrees. Such a shame as we both love the “red dirt” part of Australia and had hoped to do the Gibb River Road again. Then the tyre on the van shredded a couple of 100 k’s out of Exmouth. Fortunately, a young bloke stopped and helped Markus change the tyre.
Once we turned the corner and got down to one of our favourite camp spots Barn Hill Station, the weather became more reasonable. We loved it again at Kalbarri but unfortunately were too late for the wildflowers. Markus fell in love with Geraldton, especially a top floor unit overlooking the harbour until he heard about the Strata Levies, but the wind drove me berserk. I couldn’t keep my hat on and when I took it off my fine hair stood on end. It looked like a hairstyle I had in my late twenties when I had a very adventurous gay hairdresser. Not such a good look for a 70 year old.
We both loved Mandurah and I really like Margaret River and if we were younger we’d probably move over here. Markus loves the lack of humidity, they’ve just introduced euthanasia in WA which might prove handy in the future, the natural wonders here are just fabulous, there’s only 2,500,000 people in the whole of western Australia which is a third of Australia in size, the people are more laid back, no traffic even in Perth, the roads are excellent and there’s lots of very clean public toilets where ever you go.
I wish you a very happy Christmas and the best year ever in 2020, the start of a new decade.
A little brown field mouse raced across the back of my chair last night
I got such a surprise I screamed out loud in fright
Markus said it was all in my mind
That it was a moth or a cockroach or something of that kind
It was definitely a mouse I saw I insisted
Not a figment of my imagination – it really existed
He must have hitched a ride from Woomeral Station Retreat
Somehow stowed himself away in our van – no mean feat.
It was a decision that little brown field mouse will regret without doubt
Markus was hot on his trail, although that little fellow gave him the run about
That little critter led him a merry dance up and down the camper van
Before disappearing behind the toilet pan
We don’t really know where he went but as there was no smell the next day
He obviously didn’t get caught in the vent
And fortunately managed to get away
I wonder what that little brown field mouse will do in Kilbarri.?