It rained again during the night. M was oblivious, getting his first proper sleep in an age. We’d put our old mattress and our new mattress on top of each other and kind of sank down into a sponge cake of foam. It sounds bad, but it was bliss.
When we woke up it looked like some large animal had made it’s home on top of our tarpaulin, which dipped down ominiously in the middle. This was due to about ten litres of rain water.
Lovely M, renewed by his sleep, phone, chair and beer medication, made me scrambled eggs on olive and thyme bread and a big cup of Earl Grey tea. I’m really starting to get the hang of this holiday thing!
We wandered into town. I had possibly the best banana smoothie ever. The cafe sold my fave nougat (albeit at the inflated price of $2.90 a piece). M had his obligatory coffee. I gave I a call and we discussed the pros and cons of going camping together over the dreaded Easter break. I found out that J wanted to spend a few days in Bellingen, which was fine by me, because I was keen to go and investigate the area. We decided that after a few nights there, we’d head for the coast. I left poor I to do some ringing around to see what, if anything, was available.
M and I went to the video shop which has internet access, ten cents a minute. This played havoc with my mathematical brain, which does not perform under pressure. While I can sit here now and logically figure in about two seconds that 15 minutes will equal $1.50 – I had to ask the guy, with M staring incredulously at me, how much 15 minutes would cost. Sigh. Maybe I should just return to blonde. Small C did comment the other night that she liked my old blonde hair, although ‘red is nice too’. Such tact from a five year old.
Checked email. Deleted a bazillion mailing list posts, stared in horrified fascination at my bank balance and searched for somewhere to live. An email from L, Keeper of the Cats, reassured me that their sleeping quarters have successfully withstood rain. The cats are, not surprisingly, bored. Saf is apparently plotting ways to get more food, as I told L exactly how much to feed him and no more. It is VERY good for him to have left our old house, where there was food on tap. L wrote that Mow, being his inscrutable furry self, was possibly planning ways to bust out of his cage. He’s probably planning to half suffocate Saf by lying him and then miaowing plaintively until M notices Saf’s limp, fat form and runs to him, flinging the door aside, which is when Mow will bound to freedom. Well, that’s one scenario.
M headed for the beach, I wandered the op-shops. I bought a copy of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down for a dollar. M saw people catching blackfish. You use weed as bait to catch blackfish – the weed is sort of plaited on to the hook. I can’t say that the name ‘blackfish’ actually conjures up a vision of a tasty looking fish, but apparently they are very good to eat.
We jumped aboard Oomoo with the new motor. I had made sandwiches and had forgone a thermos of tea for a few stubbies of Coopers. We motored down the Brunswick River all the way to Mullumbimby. The river is sublimely beautiful, lined with different kinds of eucalypts. There were fish jumping a foot out of the water for the first 20 or 30 minutes of our trip, but they became less as the water turned more fresh than salty.
We were divebombed by dragonflies and I scanned all the trees with M’s new binoculars, trying to find koalas. I saw a huge – seriously huge – hawk sort of bird, who was very imposing. When he took off from his branch, his wingspan was wider than the boat.
We took one wrong turn, and continued on for about 15 minutes, before concluding that we didn’t know where the hell we were. Consoled by sandwiches, we motored back and took the other turn off to the right. There was an occasional cow, who looked like they had stumbled into paradise, and once we saw a tiny electric blue bird zipping along the bank.
It was odd. We had expected that Mullumbimby would have some sort of area in town that would have a focus on the river. A cafe, somewhere to tie up the boat – maybe a small tasteful brass band that would herald our arrival. Nope. There were a few houses here and that obviously had fantastic river views, but the only ‘interface’ we found between the town and the river was a small muddy ramp kind of thing near a park with a playground and picnic table. So that’s where we pulled up, M opened us a stubby each and I again dispensed with my dignity and wee-ed into a bucket, as there were no public toilets in the park. I may have mentioned it before – that being a girl onboard a boat is basically an invitation to discard any kind of propriety you may have had. We were just not designed in a way that makes it possible for us to whip something out and wee with it over the side. There have been five different girls who have had to use my girl-wee-er on the trimaran, and they know exactly what I’m talking about. But I seem to have got off the track.
It began to get a little bit nippy, and we hadn’t brought jumpers. Beer, yes. Warm clothes? No. We saw a catamaran that M thought was a Warrum, but was a Tiki, pulled up to the bank. God knows how it had got there as it had two beautiful wooden masts that wouldn’t have fitted under the bridges – but maybe they had a way of getting them down.
The river was full of debris because of the huge amount of rain over the last day or two. M navigated excellently amongst large logs and lengthy stray pieces of bamboo. I rescued a baseball. Considering the amount of people around this area, the river seemed to be relatively unspoilt – and we only went past about three or four other boats.
We made it back just on sunset. Such is the wonder of our campsite, that we could pull Oomoo up the sandy bank of the river and on to the grass and chain him to a tree. He’s about six metres from camp and perfectly visible. It’s very sad that we have to move campsites on Saturday morning. Sob.
Went to the pub for an average and inoffensive dinner. Called J and I to confirm plans for Easter travel. M stayed up and did his best with our remaining stubbies of Coopers and I went to bed and read my new book.