We went to the post office and picked up some mail that Alex had sent on. Went to the pub and read it and went round to the pool for a swim. Bought groceries. Cooked up a meal of chilli mince with peas and rice.
The following is a letter I wrote home to my brother from Young. Although dated 2/10/88, the letter was in fact written on 02/11/88.
CHERRY HILL FARM
Gidday! How are you mate!! We hope your flight home was successful and you didn’t get too pissed. It was bloody good to see you in Brisbane and to actually spend more than about 2 hours with you. That must be the longest time we’ve had together for years!! Sorry we weren’t visible when walked out to the plane but we were standing up the other end by the 747. I set my flash gun off a couple of times but you didn’t seem to see it. I have to confess that I was more than a bit sad to see you go as it really brought home the fact that we probably aren’t going to see any of the “folks back home” for a long time unless you get your shit together and come to England next year. HINT HINT!!
Well, anyway, after we got back to Wardell Street that night, we packed up all our gear and next morning at 5:00, we hit the road. Got the feeling that Alex and Peter were glad to see us go, but they weren’t half as glad as we were to get the fuck out of there! We drove up to Rockhampton that day with the only mishap being a broken fan belt that took us about 20 minutes to fix with our meagre tool kit. We spent the night in Rockhampton at the YHA, then next morning we got a bus to the coast and a boat to Keppel Island. We spent 2 days and it was really neet, lazing on OUR beach, sailing OUR catamaran, hooning OUR jet-bike and generally “living the biro equivalent of the good life”!
When we got back to Rockhampton we spent another 4 days there in our tent in a motor camp that had a pool so we could keep reasonably cool. Then we packed up and headed inland for the Carnarvon Gorge National Park which is about 400 miles inland from Rockhampton. We stayed a night in the town of Emerald then next morning we left early to beat the heat. We were about 15 k’s from the last town before the park when the engine started to rattle, then died. We flagged down a couple of guys in a Toyota and they towed us into the town which was called Rolleston and, man, it was hicksville!! Two garages, a pub, a shop & a few run-down houses. The mechanic at the garage diagnosed broken timing gear & would cost $180-00 to fix. So, we hitched a ride 71km back to the last town we had come through which had an ANZ bank, in a road train. That was fun as it was a huge truck, a White, and the truckie was a hard man. We got the cash then hitched back, in 38°, in another truck (only an Isuzu this time) paid for the car – fuckin’ rip-off, the parts cost $54-00 & the rest was for five hours labour to do a 3 hour job. Oh well! We were mobile again and we drove the remaining 97km into the park over terrible roads & we were both covered in red dust by the time we finally got there. To add a bit of local interest to the park, there was a bush fire raging about 10km from the camping ground (!) but no-one seemed too worried so we weren’t either even though bits of ash were constantly falling on us!! We spent 4 nights there and we camped next to an English couple who had ridden motor-bikes from England to Australia. They were really nice & had a wealth of interesting stories about their travels and we got their address for when we are in England.
After we left Carnarvon, we went back to Emerald for a night then drove to Evora, Hunter’s place, last Saturday. The last 100km of the trip into Evora was over red, sandy roads & red dust got into everything even though we had all the windows up. We spend all of last week there sweltering in 40° heat.
On the Sunday we went & played tennis at the Yalleroi Tennis Club courts. This was very silly!! The courts are out in the middle of nowhere, 50 miles from Blackall, the surface of the courts is made of crushed ant-hills and the “pavillion” is a roof and a floor! It was disgustingly hot & everyone plays with great gusto even though we got the feeling that a lot of them don’t want to but just do it cos it is the thing to do! Crazy!! While we were at Evora, we went to see the Stockman’s Hall of Fame at Longreach, about 200km from Evora. It was good but not not great, just a museum of farming stuff and full of “The Great Australian” sort of thing.
While we were there at Evora I also got a huge boil on my jaw & had to go to the doctor to get it squeezed out. He pumped it full of local anesthetic but fuck it hurt when he was squeezing out the egg-cup full of pus & blood that was in it!! I was a bit unsteady for an hour or so after that!!
We left Evora at 6:00 on Sunday morning and drove through appalling heat to Cunnamulla in Sth. Queensland which is a shanty town!! We found a reasonable (if you call ants, water that comes out of the cold tap at 90° and smells like Rotorua, stale food in the fridge and a mattress that was like sleeping on the ground, reasonable!!) motel for night then next day we drove down to Dubbo, N.S.W. Stayed in the camping ground there, then drove down here to Young yesterday. We got a bit of a fright when we got to the camp where the cherry pickers stay – 10 or 15 tents full of blacks which we thought were abos!! But they turned out to be Fijians and they are really nice and really friendly. They pitched out tent for us & carried all our gear over for us & they all smile their toothless smiles & say “hello” when they see us. It si a bit strange being the only whites amongst 20 black people who jabber away all the time but it will be quite fun!
Well Joe, I guess that is the storey so far so here is Linda to say a few words to finish with…
Hi Joe, how in the hell are you bud? I don’t know what i am sposed to write as Ferg has filled you in on everything. I can tell you that it is very hot here and we should be in a pool writing this! We are heading into Young soon to do some xmas shopping and post our mail…we are taking some black-boys too, fun, fun. Then maybe a swim too, YAY… Say “Gudday” to wee Hamish from us next time you see the wee man! Better leave some room for Fergarse to sign off… take care and don’t behave…
Love from Linda.
Our address for the next month (the address you are going to write to) is,
C/- POST OFFICE, YOUNG, N.S.W. after that we will be at Farquhar’s. OK. Well, time for me to sign off now so be good and write soon.