G'day. I thought this might be the simplest way to share some of our journey with our much loved friends and family down South (and East), oh, and way up North somewhere in Guyana. After having only three weeks notice, we packed up our lives and kids and took off back to the Simpson Desert. Our journey began by flying out of beautiful Tasy last Wednesday. Three long flights later we landed in the land of rum and sugar cane, Bundaberg. The kids did as well as could be expected, I only nearly cried once. Luckily at this time I checked my voice mail only to get a much needed pep talk from lovely Bec which got me through the last few hours. To cut a long story short, four and a half days of travel later, soaking in dinosaur footprints, a very anglocised Stockmans Hall of Fame, endless train carriages of coal and not enough vodka later, we found ourselves again on the desert roads. As the size of peoples hats increased, so did the horizon. Layers felt like they were dropping away as we left the last town, Boulia. I felt a huge sense of homecoming but also one of dread. My head said stay and my heart said pack up your family and get the hell out of here as fast as you can... We persevered. Brolgas and bustards were plentiful, as were big roos, emus and the ubiquitous black kites, soaring in great numbers overhead as if they were Australias answer to the vulture. Close to three hours out from town we finally entered Cravens Peak. The floods had come earlier in the year, and the cattle had been off for 4 or 5 years. The land was gleaming. Spinifex seed heads rose in proud stacks to the endless blue skies. Wildlife was abundant and the last of the flowers splashed purple yellow and white against not red sand but green vegetation!. Pulling into the homestead, I could hardly look, but besides the rat plague it was in good order. (The Boulia shop trapped 80 in 2 nights in a 44 gallon drum. They kept the lights on low so you wouldn't see the chewed food packaging! The house was comfy enough, everything we really needed, the kids so happy to be somewhere they could make their home for a bit. Al turned the generator on (the RAPS solar system is out of order), and everything worked. A mad unpack turned into a grateful vodka and tears and tantrums turned to laughter (and that was just me!) A few thoughts did go through my head...'a simple life, this is what I was striving for in Tasy, no waste, nothing unnecessary, our family living simply, cleanly, happily. I could do this for longer, get a goat, some chooks...' but then came 'what the hell am I doing here again? How did this happen?'
The following day I threw some vegie seeds around (can't help myself...), and we took off for a few hours to check out a minute fraction of the property. Managing 1 million acres will take a bit of time. The kids screams of excitement rang out across the dunes and swailes as we roared over the dune crests. Zavier was only happy when he was driving! The spinifex was as tall as the car roof in places. This was a degraded red dust cattle paddock the last time we were here. The lanscape was stunning. Words would struggle to capture the freedom and joy we felt there. Coolibahs gleamed white in graceful arches, black shouldered kites danced overhead, and 'look kids at this Crotalaria flower, I wish I could send some of the bulging seedheads back to Paulette...draw a picture in the sand, feel it sift away the long journey between your toes....'
The reality check came the next day, I spent the arvo scrubbing rat piss and crap off the floors of the house, after the rains come the rodents, and the snakes..... Zavier had a bad allergic reaction to yoghurt, thank god I remembered the antihistimine. We are a long way from help...wheres doctor Dave?