Torrens River

Monday 9 October 2017

On Monday morning we rose early with Ruby and drove to a local supermarket for picnic supplies. We continued on to the ABC where Ruby works and went inside with her to check out the office of Behind the News and meet some of the staff of this iconic Australian children’s television program. The office is housed in an austere modernist building with views of the Adelaide Hills. Here we farewelled our beloved daughter.

Susie and I drove back to Brompton in the pink Toyota called Floyd. We had some breakfast, packed our bags, cleaned up the living areas and then drove towards the city centre. We found some precious free parking on war Memorial Drive and went for a walk along the banks of the river Torrens which skirts the city of Adelaide.

At midday we stopped for a light picnic lunch on a grassy verge near a footbridge to the university. This was exactly the same spot where we had sat with Jane Thorn when we arrived in Adelaide 15 years previously on our trip around Australia. I took a photograph of Susie with the footbridge in the background, just like the one in the blog post for 2002.

During lunch we watched a couple of elderly Chinese men land a large carp with a rod and reel. When the fish escaped the net and started flipping itself across the grass back towards the river, I thought about Ruby’s sensitivity to human mistreatment of other animals, and the environmental problem of exotic species. One of the fishermen scooped the struggling swimmer into a plastic bag just before it arrived at the gates of freedom.

81. Torrens sign
Intimations that all is not well between species on the River Torrens

Susie snoozed in the sun on the picnic rug as life on the river went on in a long file of joggers, walkers and lunchers (both solitary and sociable), cyclists, university students with stylish backpacks, elderly primmies with high-tech strollers, hipsters sipping takeaway coffees, a sight-seeing ferry called Popeye III, seagulls, and gaggles of ducks, drakes and ducklings.

After the gentle siesta we walked through Adelaide University to Rundle Mall in search of a haircut for Susie, but none could be found at short notice. So we settled for a coffee and a cold drink and, at length, walked back along the river to where the car was parked.

We drove back to Ruby and Rob’s place and caught a taxi to the airport at 3:30 p.m. There was a delay boarding Tigerair flight 642 to Sydney. The reason became apparent when paramedics rolled a gurney up the ramp to the boarding lounge. The passenger looked sick but she was conscious, surrounded by rescuers, heading for the gates of freedom, not yet ready to be tied in a plastic bag and tossed into the rubbish bin.




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