Catching up

We are staying in the council caravan park on the river in Horsham, something we do very rarely.

This time last year we'd be under water.

This time last year we’d be under water.

The last caravan park we stayed at was Charleville back in Oct.  The benefits of having water on tap and electricity is being able to wash EVERYTHING and have the air conditioner on, at 38 deg and 45 knot winds is was a welcome relief. The washing was drying instantly in this weather and so when the house work was done it was off to visit Aunty Lorna, Dad’s sister.

Lorna Cowan Dad's younger sister.

Lorna Cowan Dad’s younger sister.

Aunty Lorna moved from Rainbow about 8 months after Uncle Charlie’s death 5 years ago. With most of her children and grandchildren here it was easier for everyone. She misses her garden and her tank water. Her skin isn’t the same washing in “this garbage water with all the chemicals” and she misses a descent cup of tea made from rain water. At 92 she is in amazing health. She is getting around with the help of a walker… just to steady her. I think it’s more likely been given to her  to slow her down!

She was up out of her lounge chair to greet us, doesn’t want one of those seats that helps you out like Dad had, as she believes it makes you lazy. “Use it or lose it!” Again she jumps up to show us the photos of her family on the wall. Aunty Lorna’s mind is still as sharp as ever and she had no problems answering my questions regarding Mum and Dad.

Andrew and Gayle

Andrew and Gayle.

We had been invited out to Gayle, my cousin, and Andrews place for dinner that night. I had been looking forward to seeing their place as Mum, Dad and Nola had often commented on how lovely it was and of Andrew’s shed that held every man’s dream of tools and toys.

Gayle and Andrew's home.

Gayle and Andrew’s home.

 

The side view. Agapanthus are out everywhere down here and make a wonderful colour scheme.

The side view. Agapanthus are out everywhere down here and make a wonderful colour scheme.

Andrew took us on a tour of the property, 17 acres. Two years ago bush fires had raced through the area and as Andrew and Gayle where away at the time only Byron, their son, saved not only their house and sheds but went on to save the neighbours property. Andrew never has trees close to the house so Byron just flooded the sprinkler system around the house and then went to neighbours houses, to literally pull out trees that were close to their homes by wrapping a chain around the trunks and then pulling them out with the ute. His mates arrived to help and informed Andrew that Byron just didn’t stop. He would go under trees that were on fire to wrap the chain around. They said the ute’s front wheels were lifting a metre off the ground, but apart from their closest neighbour’s place most homes were saved. Andrew and Gayle lost fences and their row of pine trees.

Fire damaged pine trees.

Fire damaged pine trees.

Bryon is now very conscious of fire safety and when the full fire ban comes into force (which is now) the water pump is mechanical checked and the trolley is left in the yard for easy access.

The water pump in the back yard.

The water pump in the back yard.

Andrew never stops and after work he comes home to his passion of building, repairing and making machinery work better. He has metal cutting and bending machines, welders and a whole lot more. He has an engineer’s mind and is constantly trying to improve machinery. He has successfully  designed work that companies have thought impossible.

A metal cutter

A metal cutter

 

Metal bender is probably not the correct term but you get what I mean.

Metal bender is probably not the correct term but you get what I mean.

Gayle had brought Aunty Lorna to join us for dinner, so it was a lively time catching up. Andrew told a story of Dad taking him to Ern’s place for the usual Wednesday night billiards. But he said “What happened at billiards, stayed at billiards” Yes…we can imagine. While Gayle took Aunty Lorna back to the nursing home Andrew showed us around their home. We were still on the tour when Gayle arrived back half and hour later. Time gets away when you are chatting. Then at 9pm a friend of theirs arrived. I love the familiarity… “Saw the lights on”, he said as he switched on the jug. David McGennisken of ‘Manooka’ at Wonwondah, south of Horsham is a grain and cereal farmer. David was a school friend of Andrew’s.

Between these two men, both “out of the box” thinkers, Chris had a ball. He was fascinated by how they ran their businesses. David was asking about our van and it’s weight and when we told him we had not had it weight yet he offered his own weight bridge at the farm. He uses the weigh bridge to maximise his haulage. He will transport many “Double D’s” a day of grain in harvest time, if you go light it’s a waste and will cut into your profit’s, if you go over, the transport dept will fine you. You walk a fine line.

I finally dragged Chris away at 11pm after a wonderful day.