Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but a gloomy, windy, rainy Monday is a good enough reason to stay indoors. These occasional enforced ‘days off’ are quite welcome, to be honest.
Our damp, little red friend came by for breakfast, so we had a little chat about Brexit, Trump and The Carpenters’ back catalogue.
We passed the time by reading, writing, watching TV and looking out of different windows hoping for an improvement in the weather. There’s a Kind of Hush all over the house so we put some music on. Ironically, no Carpenters.
Later in the afternoon, we did venture out briefly, for a walk around Tidal River. We even walked along the river bed itself, there not being much water in it at this time: the tide was out.
In fact, the tide was a long way out, it would have been a major expedition to even get ankle deep.
Liesel suggested a selfie and like the Superstar she is, she posed for quite a few attempts.
Yes, we are dressed up for Antarctic conditions, but it wasn’t quite that bad. 11° here, 11° in London and 11° in Anchorage right now. However, it’s Winter here and it’s meant to be Summer at home. We’ve only just begun walking through the campsite when Liesel spotted a wombat crossing the path.
I hope we didn’t spook him too much as we approached. The pincer movement was accidental, really, I just wanted a shot of the wombat with Liesel, or vice versa. And here he is about to leap out and surprise her as she is on the phone, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, I think, or maybe messaging a friend.
The wind and rain had caused some damage, at least one tree had fallen down.
We enjoyed watching a wombat going about his business. He half-heartedly dug a hole, not as efficiently as a rabbit would.
After a bit of a stretch and a bit of a yawn, revealing some pretty lethal teeth, he made our day by producing several green cubes.
Yes, they are famous for their cubic poo, although Liesel was disappointed by the lack of sharp edges.
We saw some more birds on the way back, and a couple more wombats, including this one playing Solitaire in the flower bed.
From Tidal River, you can see the 558-metre high Mount Oberon, with phone masts and transmitters perched on the top.
We walked up the path all the way to the summit, a nice, long, steady climb. There wasn’t much to see on the way up, just a glimpse of a view through the trees now and then.
Then, as we approached the top, the trees opened out more, revealing a blue sky at first and then a magnificent vista. Yes, it was a bit of a slog, but well worth the effort.
Sometimes on this long trip of ours, I’ve wished to be on my bike rather than walking. I used to sing to my velocipede, I won’t last a day without you, yet somehow I’ve managed 10 months without a single pedal stroke. (Exercise bikes in gyms don’t count.) Today’s uphill tramp would have been tough on a bike, the gradient wasn’t too steep, but it was relentless.
The only vehicle on the track was a tanker that had just delivered fuel to the antennae at the top: no electric supply here. On the other hand, what a great 4G signal!
After climbing several steps, we reached the summit. From the bare, bald rocks, we looked down on what could have been a model village Tidal River next to Norman Beach and Norman Bay.
We’re on the Top of the World looking down on creation, with a 360° view.
Yes, of course I tried a panorama shot but it didn’t really work, just too much contrast between north and south, between Sun and shade.
I know I’m retired from the mail delivery service, but I can sense a few of the more cynical readers saying, Please, Mr Postman, prove that you actually reached the summit. OK then, I will.
After a bit of rest at the top, the return walk was a little easier. The 2 hour walk actually took us 2 hours and 14 minutes, including a couple of breaks to catch breath and to remove small stones from shoes. Yes, I must walk funny to attract so much grit, but Liesel walks a different funny, splashing muddy water up the back of her calves even when there are no puddles.
I left Liesel in Cambridge while I went for a solo tramp towards Mount Bishop. At a mere 319m altitude, I couldn’t be bothered. Well, I could, but the walking distance involved would have seen me descending at sunset, and I didn’t want to be out alone in the dark. Instead I did the delightfully named Lilly Pilly Circuit Walk and the Lilly Pilly Gully Boardwalk. I saw just two other people on the circuit, a few small birds fleetingly, but no other animals. Mainly trees, ferns, fungi.
This path was also well-maintained, albeit with a few modern obstructions, more recently fallen trees.
I stood by this little waterfall and stream for a while to see if there were any fish climbing up the rock or any crayfish climbing up the trees.
Are you mad, I hear the more cynical reader suggesting? Possibly, but this is Australia, the animals aren’t normal. Lilly Pilly burrowing crayfish climb trees. And Climbing Galaxias nip up waterfalls and sheer rock faces like Edmund Hillary on speed.
We’ve seen plenty of evidence of bush fires, whether controlled or accidental, and there was one here 10 years ago. The place was devastated, but it’s all part of the cycle, and these pictures show the difference between then and now.
I arrived back at the Unit just on sunset.
There are now two crimson rosellas pacing up and down, waiting for a hand-out. (They Long to be) Close to You, Liesel, I gently crooned.
We slept, we ate breakfast, we packed, we departed. We have a Ticket to ride back home soon, but we’ll be busy for a couple of days in Melbourne. Or as the recently reformed Spice Girls might call it, Melb. We said Goodbye to love, well, goodbye to Wilson’s Prom, and as we left, we saw six, yes six emus in total: four in a field and two crossing the road. The funniest thing was seeing two people peering into bushes, apparently oblivious to the emus not that far behind them.
A few days ago, we passed by a place called Bumbo, and the 12-year old me wanted to live there. Today, we saw a sign for Poowong. One day, I want to move there instead!
It didn’t feel like rain today, but there was total cloud cover. The scenery was captivating, as we retraced part of the route we’d followed from Walhalla.
There are a lot of cattle in NSW and Victoria, big black bulls, white and brown cows, signs telling us they might be crossing the road. We’ve seen lorries taking herds of them to their final holiday destination. But we’re very disappointed with how few sheep there are, though. Not even José Merino sheep, brought over to play football a couple of centuries ago, unless I’ve misremembered my Geography lessons. For all we know, they’re hiding up in the trees, dislodging the drop bears.
Tooradin appeared at exactly the right time. There’s an honesty box for the car park fees which we didn’t raid, honestly.
A short while later, Langwarrin’s big silver gnome cheered us on.
Before dropping the car off, we made a detour to Liesel’s favourite place in the whole wide world. A little bit of America in Australia.
We bought a couple of things to take home and had a greasy cheesy piece of pizza for lunch. Better than a slap round the face with a wet fish, I suppose. This branch of CostCo even sells caskets, or coffins, which we both found dead funny.
We traversed this bridge twice today. Once in the car, then again on the Skybus from the airport to Southern Cross Station.
When we dropped the car off, the attendant seemingly was not interested in the intermittent beeping from the car, warning of open doors when they’re all slammed closed. And then on the inevitable online follow-up survey, there was nowhere to make such a comment. Oh well, so much for seeking to improve the customers’ experience.
We deposited our new, super-heavy case at the airport until we leave this wonderful country in three days’ time.
It’s a short walk from Southern Cross to our new b&b apartment on the 9th floor.
Why does this door remind me of a Beatles song? Because it’s the One after 909.
It’s also a short walk from our b&b to the nearest laundrette. While Liesel watched the washing go round and round, I went out to buy us some drinks. I have a pocket full of loose change to dispose of. Why? We’d been saving $1 and $2 coins for the laundromat. But in this one, here, today, The Lonely Sock, you pay electronically, with a card. 50% impressed and 50% peeved at lugging all that weighty coinage around for so long!