Another day in Birdsville…..but freedom and escape is nigh! Andy and Rudi have made it onto the Birdsville Track, arriving at Mungerannie yesterday. Hopfully onto Birdsville today with food supplies and news from the outside world!
In the meantime I popped over to the B’ville school again yesterday and checked on the ‘homework’ I’d set for the kids. After a little coaxing Henry,Alicia,Shazzaray,Kiara and Brendon were able to identify all 10 deserts we are to traverse on our travels. The remaining student, Coen, was missing, only to be seen brazenly playing on the street in front of the pub, in defiance of the school authorities……Michael stood at the school gate fuming…but what could he do about such blatant truancy?
Birdsville is getting ready for the funeral for Nana Crombie, a 93 year old local from the local Wangkangurru clan. Michael Castrisos, the headmaster, advised me that she was the last of the indigenous people who came out of the desert to embrace western life. She was also an important repository of local indigenous culture. There were hoards of kids in town yesterday from outlying towns in preparation for the funeral, to be held next Friday. Yesterday, with all the kids running amok thru downtown B’ville was a very noisy day indeed! Paul and I, seeking solace from the noisy madness, walked to the local cemetary, to find some peace. The sad and tired little cemetary, located on the road to Big Red, told some interesting stories via some surprisingly well maintained headstones. And some effort had been made to plant treees and bouganvillia to beautify the place.
Finished the day yesterday with another pleasant dinner with Cheryl, who has been so kind to us since Lyn and Kenny left for Darwin. Tony and I are still camped in their house and we remain hugely grateful for their hospitality since we were left stranded without our truck. Outback hospitality has been overwhelming, with Bronwyn & Peter from the roadhouse, Dave from the Information Centre, Dusty from the Bakery, John the bush poet and his delightful wife, Joy, Clayton & Lou from Pandi Pandi Station, Michael, the headmaster (still grappling with the ‘new-fangled technology’- the internet!!) and of course, Lyn & Kenny and Cheryl, all being so kind and supportive.
Michael kindly loaned me is book ‘Birdsville – My year in the back of Beyond’ by Evan McHugh; very worthwhile reading for anone contemplating a trip to this wonderful outback town, brimming with warm-hearted characters……
This afternoon, when the truck returns, we plan to load it up for the desert crossing. Fingers crossed there is no more rain today or overnight.