17-18 April 2002
We spent yesterday at Cate’s house in Bellingen (or just outside Bellingen to be accurate). This was a chance to catch up on some badly needed sleep, and also to catch up on improvements that Cate has made to her house. She works on her house as if it were a piece of her art. It’s truly beautiful. She has an amazing lifestyle too, pacing her days in an easy rhythm, accommodating many guests passing through.
Cate’s room at the front of the house is now a bright studio. A level area has been carved out of the garden at the back of the house for a fire and some seating. I think this plan was hatched during a previous visit of ours many years ago. The space under the house has been transformed into a pottery studio. She lives in the house with David. This seems to be an amicable arrangement. I’m not sure to what degree it remains a romantic liaison.
I spent most of yesterday pottering with our camping equipment, fitting a gas fuse and testing the connections to the gas cylinder. Everything seems to be working okay, but only time will tell.
This morning, Susan, Ruby, Clare, Cate and I went for a walk around the property. We called in on Brian and Eva and then took a look around Colin and Wendy’s house. Unfortunately they were not home. Then we went to Josh’s grave up on the hill. I felt the same dreadful wave of grief wash over me that I felt at Josh’s funeral. It was all I could do to stop myself wailing hopelessly in front of the kids. I’m not sure what makes me saddest, the empathy for Cate’s loss, or the sadness over the loss of possibilities that is Josh’s life beyond the age of 10 (probably both). The effect is overwhelming.
Clare got a leech on her foot while we were out walking, but she knew exactly what to do, and killed the wretch efficiently with salt. I had one on my leg and never noticed it until it fell off and Clare trod on it. I was wondering what this huge pool of dark red blood was doing on Cate’s veranda, and then I tweaked.
On the way out of Bellingen we bought some pies and stopped at the veggie barn for supplies. We are now 721 km from home, at a place called Minnie Water in a national park south of Grafton. We arrive late and had to set up camp right on dark, which was not an easy task considering our lack of experience. Luckily for us, David and Cate, who have come camping with us, cooked a lovely meal while we set up. Clare is excited to be spotting owls and bats in the trees. I think she will take to camping like a duck to water.
As I write the ocean is pounding on the shore behind me. Susan is scribbling away on the other side of the table and the mozzies are biting me something fierce.
This trip is shaping up well.