So that’s it.
The weekend is over. George is back to packing tomatoes and Jaki and I are packing our bags.
Saturday morning we were up early and left the Alexandra. We went up to the local Mall and did some shopping to pass the time before collecting George from her Hostel and setting out for Bagara Beach. We cut right at Bagara and drove a little way to Kelly’s Beach which also has a salt water lagoon. This stays warm and doesn’t have any waves so is ideal for relaxing.
The girls spent a lot of time chatting both in the water and out. They had a whole 10 months of gossip to share.
We went into Bagara for lunch and sat on the porch of the Hotel where there was a nice breeze and we could see the beach and people watch.
Afterwards they went shopping and I sat in the shade of a tree reading.
We dropped George back at her hostel but before she left she gave Jaki a pile of dirty washing which she later washed in our new hotel laundry before ironing and returning the next day. In return Jaki gave her the shoes and cosmetics we’d carried all the way from the UK.
In summary, I was the taxi driver, bought lunch, bought new dress, shoes and nail varnish whilst Jaki did washing and ironing!
We checked in to the Burnett Riverside Motel ($150 per night) and Jaki got to work washing and ironing as most of our clothes by now needed attention. I wasn’t much help. I fell asleep on the bed and didn’t wake till 1800 when the noise from Wedding Guests outside our room started to grow louder.
We walked across the street looking for a take away and found a Chinese which basically gave you a choice of small medium or large container which you then fill with a selection from the Buffet. However, nothing had any taste and we weren’t sure what we were eating?
Returning to our room with a Chinese take away we put on the TV and watched New Tricks and White Chapel. All this way and we did the same as we do at home, what’s wrong with us?
Sunday morning we went out looking for breakfast and found a small festival in the park. They were celebrating Bundaberg’s 100 birthday and had a small stage a selection of stalls and a big wheel.
I tried a local dish ‘The Sizzler’ which is a sausage plonked on top a slice of white bread.
Jaki took one look at this and chose to have an ice cream.
We sat and watched some of the acts performing but it was a bit odd. The stage and the audience were miles apart as the crowd wanted to sit in the shade, it was about 37degree’s. This left the bands playing into a vacuum which must have been sole destroying. There was a marching drum band from the local school who marched around the middle of the arena but they were a bit out of step, tripped on the power cables on every circuit and one little fella seemed to be marching to the sound of a totally different drum.
Most of the audience were Mums and Dads and as soon as the drummers finished they all went home leaving the place deserted except for me and Jaki.
We set off to pick George up at 12 and collected some picnic stuff which we put in our new cool boxes which we purchased at a virtual shop. This isn’t ‘on line shopping’ this was ‘virtual shopping’ where the shop doesn’t actually exist. We were told to go to Big W and given directions. We were told we would then see the sign, which we did. Big W. But try as we might, we couldn’t find the shop to go with the sign. Not surprising really as it was in effect 2 blocks away,
Once we had our purchases we drove to Bundaberg Botanical Gardens where we found a bench in the shade and set out our picnic.
We saw the Giant Bats (locals call them ‘Flying Fox’) which roost in the trees and every time the narrow gauge steam train passed they flew into the air like a black puff of smoke from the trains chimney. There were plenty of Birds and a few lizards to keep us entertained whilst we ate.
Once finished we set off for ‘Elliot’s Head’s’ where we sat on the beach and watched the lightening in the fast approaching storm clouds.
At this point George asked if we could drop her ‘home’ as she was tired having been out till late 2 nights running.
Saying goodbye was far more difficult than I expected. There was a finality about it that I hadn’t faced before.
She would be coming home in June for Glastonbury (but wouldn’t be coming with us in the camper preferring to camp with her friends) and then she was considering coming back out to Australia again for another year.
Back at the Hotel I found it difficult to accept she was only a mile down the road, preferring to be in a Hostel with 93 other people, sharing a dorm that had no Aircon, just a fan and a broken TV set rather than with us. We spent a very difficult hour coming to terms with the future which looked much darker than I had expected.
As a back drop just like some old Hitchcock movie the storm broke, rain fell and thunder and lightning crashed and roared , accurately mirroring the mood.
Then the power went off and we were cast into total darkness. Irony?
After sitting for a while in the dark we noticed the restaurant had candles on the tables so we set off for the bar. Unfortunately we were told there was again a private function so we couldn’t go in. However they later relented and took us onto the porch over looking the river and gave us unlimited free wine which was left behind by a wine tasting group, and we shared this with an Australian lady who has three kids and was happy to tell us all about them.
We revelled in these tales of some one else children whilst coming to terms with the independence of our own.
At some point the lights came back on, as they always do.