Posts Tagged ‘Brisbane International’

On the Road again: Sunday 14th-Tuesday 16th Feb

February 16, 2010

 – or at least, up in the air.  On Sunday I arrived in Brisbane – with the usual sense of the crazy awfulness of those last ten hours of flying, and the usual frantic self-questioning:  Why on earth do I do this?  Wouldn’t I rather be dead?  After all that sleep deprivation one is in no situation even to attempt to answer this kind of question and I suppose I am fortunate to have reached a level of experience where I more or less dimly know that.  From the plane and then on the ground the country is looking so amazingly green and lush; the waterholes look full, the trees are confident in their pride of leaf.  It all looks its true  bestself after so many years of drought and struggle – as if the imagined ideal form of Queensland vegetation made manifest.  Not incarnated, I guess, but in-leaf-ated

And so from the airport once gloriously titled ‘Eagle Farm’ but now the meaninglessly pedestrian ‘Brisbane Airport’, I got myself onto a local train that trundled out to Helensvale.  An hour and a half, much of it in the company of a pair of desperately dim and attention-seeking louts.  They were grubby, repetitious, obscene, and eventually faintly disturbing.   I practised the policy of ignoring them until they went away: it took a while.  Aren’t such people usually sleeping it off on a Sunday morning?  These were making the lovely morning hideous in so many ways, not least the sense that this was all the life they had, and their capacity to do anything with it seemed so desperately limited.

On to Mum’s at the coast: such joy to see Ross and Dad at Helensvale station, and such anxiety that I might not stay sufficiently compos mentis to make the day with Mum worthwhile.  And it all worked out.  At least this time I was sufficiently battered pale and sleepless for her to believe it was me. [Last year I turned up in good clothes and makeup – trying to look my best – and she could hardly credit it.  Muttered about ‘the Englishwoman’ to Ross in the kitchen and speculated on her motives for visiting. ‘I think she’s looking for a family.’ I ought to know better than to let it rock me as it did.] In the evening a return (too late for the ferry) to Moggill, and Ross’s flash new house, and his fun swimming pool.  Just the thing in this heat. (32 degrees on Monday). Varnee served wholemeal pasta and a great veggie sauce .  I spent the evening with my head falling off intermittently and by nine I gave up and went to bed.

Monday and a long, deep sleep.  Wonderful. A pottering day, visiting the shops twice with Dad, making a massive salad for lunch.  In the evening there were All of us: Dad, Ross, Varnee, Dave, Maddy, Vidya and even Evie – all here for the evening meal of chicken and salad, and wine. Lovely to see everyone.  And the evening closed late, with a big thunderstorm and family catch-up chat.

Tuesday. I woke in the dawn and raised the blind to see an an animal – a big hare – on the opposite pavement.  He (he?) stopped and looked around – cautious but confident.  I suppose he had heard the rattle of the blind.  Long hind legs, small ears tupped with black, above a white strip, but basically a fulvous pale fawn, yellow-brown colour.  A Kipling colour, and a perfect match with the footpath.  Perhaps half a minute passed while I watched him, and then he moved on – not exactly hopping but stretching and closing those long hind legs – a gentle scissor movement a little faster than a walk.  (What do they call that scissoring lower leg? – it’s not exactly a shin -).  With a calm purposeful dog trot he followed the curve of the footpath along into Nook Place.   I’ve always known that the early settlers idiotically introduced rabbits to Australia, but even so I was surprised to see it.   I can still see him clearly  in my mind’s eye.

This is not my hare – but it’s the nearest image I could find:…/Brown_Hare.jpg 

In the afternoon Dad and I drove to College’s Crossing – along the Mt Crosby road and up the Brisbane River a little way.  It hit me between the eyes and in the chest – I had been here before, but probably forty five years ago.  Behind the extensive greensward and the bridge, the carparks and the picnic tables I could just see the lineaments of the old bend and the shallow river crossing where I memorised  ‘All the world’s a stage . . ‘ one bored, hot Sunday afternoon, while my brothers swam.   Now there is a little cafe with old school staff.  Nice, direct women from Ipswich.  They make a good burger and excellent coffee, which they carry out to you, precariously, without a tray.  There is a kookaburra who runs a protection racket: the women throw him bits of meat (which he kills efficiently with a sharp sideways shake).  Otherwise, we are told, he swoops the customers fearlessly to steal food, even from their hands and mouths. I think those thin, sharp, practical women rather like him.

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