'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane - The Wide Brown Land 4

The Pimple Grows - (what?!  You didn't read the first three?  Go back to Sunday!)

By the time we got to the Nullarbor Road House, we were  pretty much a travelling village.  Everyone knew everybody else, swapped seats regularly, found differences, found similarities and knew who was doing what.

Several of us turned out to be making an almost identical trip, in the 'backwards N' route from Perth, to Adelaide, to The Alice, over to Brisbane and down to Sydney.  With lots in between.  Bonding is important on journeys such as this.  No point in arguing the toss over whether white is just another shade of grey when the prospect of 'frying your eggs' from being stranded in the red centre of  "The Pimple" looms large.

Despite my long friendship with Aitch, we had rarely holidayed together and then only for a matter of days. These weeks might have tested us.   But between us we have always had sufficient space and a healthy dose of common-sense.  We were already pretty good at reading each other's signals and this trip only proved the worth of us.  I've said it before and will no doubt repeat it many times again, no matter how good one's family is, the sisters and brothers we make along life's paths are often much closer.

So it was that when I began to sing the praises of my new love for the wide brown land, (previously referred to as the pimple on the planet's backside), all I got was a look of mild disgust and a shrug of the shoulder.

No recriminations of hypocrisy or being a turncoat.  No pointing of fingers and saying 'I told you so.'  Just that side-ways, knowing look and a shrug.  Then back to sleep.  Aitch had the enviable ability to sleep whilst flying, even when it was along a corrugated track.  The Sceptical Tourist Fishy (STF) was far too 'pumped' by this time and sleep would have to wait.

The incident with the tail-plane - err sorry, the exhaust, had dug deep into the adventure genes lurking within and the STF was not about to miss a single second, if it could be avoided.

photos are from Google Images
The Nullarbor Road House was the next point of civilization after Kalgoorlie.   When the handful of shacks loomed on the forward horizon it seemed to take a million light years to reach it.  By this time too, the sea was being glimpsed.  It is at this point and along the coast for a short while to Head Of Bight, that tourists flock in their tens for whale watching.  We were told this repeatedly by Cap'n Brad, thereby having our expectations raised.  What we failed to understand (or were never told) was that the whales only obliged over two months of the year.

Not our two months as it happened. 

Never mind, the Road House at least reserves a space for road 'planes.  In case the desert fills up.  There is also a fibre-glass replica of the Southern Right Whale slap up against the petrol pump, so you can get that complete surf and turf experience.

Here, we had a full two hours to eat, refresh and even have a shower.  This was where we discovered the truth of the inland sea Cap'n Brad had been yarning on about.  The groundwater is salty.  Our skins almost 'fizzled' under that shower!  But gee it was good to get wet after nearly  36 hours.  Then came the next mini shock - tea was served one way and one way only.  In a mug, milked to within an ounce of being a cow and sugared to resemble the original cane.  The theory was that weary travellers required instant energy and protein and this was the closest to 'mainlining' the required nutrients.   Food, I recall, was of the grease, carbs and "you want tomato?!!" variety. Maybe it was eggs and bacon on a roll.  Maybe it wasn't.

Let's face it, if you are a hostelry with a character to maintain and with no competition within 'coo-ee' (that's at least half a continent away), you can pretty much make up the rules and no one's going to argue.

So it was we eventually had to bid farewell to 'mein hosts' and clamber back onto the travel craft of choice.

Now 'Len' took over as the 'captain' and Brad hunkered down in the back bunk.  We noted that the deceased tail-plane muffler pipe had been removed.  There were no obvious signs as to where.  Should I mention here that the land called OZ stops rather precipitously?  Great Brown Land meets Great Australian Bight.  Very little between. 

Just saying.

We are all seated comfortably and the engine roaring away when we realise that there is no movement.  For several minutes, Cap'n Len wrangles with the gear lever and whirls at the wheel.  Cap'n Brad had drawn in, as you do, with the nose up against the "Buses Only" sign.  Might as well prove it worth the raising.  Now Cap'n Len was left with the onerous task of reversing away.

"All out! " he yelled over the intercom.

We obliged, then he rounded up half a dozen of the heavier blokes and, pointing to the front end, yelled "PUSH!"

I glanced at Aitch.  She glanced back.  Oh we had to be part of this!  Several other passengers also didn't want to miss out.  This was ADVENTURE.  This was ESCAPADE.  This was EXCITEMENT.  This was CRAZY.  We all wanted a bit of it.  This was AUSTRALIA!!!  Oh I do wish we had thought to give our cameras to someone.  Aitch and STF pushing a gear-challenged bus with a dozen other passengers, wearing Chinese sunhats.

Apparently the reverse gear had dropped its notch and there was a question mark over the left-hand turning stability of the drive shaft.  Not enough to worry our Captain-driver-pilot lad though.  "She'll be right mates."

No worries then.  Next stop Adelaide.

Hah!  I warned you this was going to take a few posts!  In case of boredom setting in there will be a wee break tomorrow for the regular Menorise spot.  Back on Sunday with further mayhem.


  1. Oh yes, the endless optimism of the Aussies.
    Wonderful story, I'm having great fun reading it.
    Luv, K

  2. Boredom, no never. But LMAO. Laughing my ... Off. Might as well give you some of the new jargon out there. Agreed on the friends. Aitch needs to come back to the pimple Eh? Imagine me and her? Two cancerians with no taurian to keep us in line. Another Novel all together. Meet you same place tomorrow.

  3. That brings back memories, I remember the shower in Broken Hill many years ago, it was bore water and smelt worse than I did but I must say it was very refreshing much salt and minerals in it.
    Pushing the bus thats so funny but you never know what will happen in the outback.

  4. Hari OM
    Kay - Yup, she'll be apples! So glad you're enjoying the 'ride'.

    Mahal - aaaaarrrrghhhh! (To be absolutely accurate, Aitch is Gemini, but this cusp bizzo may allow forgiveness - I know she will - she's that sorta gal). Truly glad it got you "LYAO" - it would be a worry if the only one cackling round here was the writer 8*}

    Merle - yaaay the good ol' bore - wonderful to have at all! I know - only in OZ, I reckon, could one write a novel based entirely on actual events!!!! COL

  5. Dear Auntie Yam,

    Mum is rolling about on the floor holding her sides, and trying to catch her breath, what am I to do?

    She did say she dosen't remember all of this part of the story - most properly slept through most of it.

    But I love the bit where you say she just gave you a look of mild disgust and a shrug of the shoulder, I know those actions so well.

    I am learning so much about yours and mums youths, so entertaining.

    Did you hear one of the Edinburgh pandas may be expecting!!!

    Love Lady Vicki xxooxx

  6. Hari OM
    .....COL! It must be said, your Honourship, that your mother had no trubs at all sleeping through a fair bit of the Null-a-bore...err Nullarbor Plain ... on the (ahem) 'plane. Oh so it's not just me who got the 'witherer' then?!

    Panda pups? OOOhhh wonderful!! xx


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