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A lovely day

Mount Vernon-Camp — 2000-10-04

The sun kisses us into life at 8 a.m. I slept wonderfully and deeply. Swinging my legs out of bed wanting to go to the toilet my feet refused to work at first. Pain is running through my body reminding me of the marches during the last days, weeks and months. It comes right again after some steps. I wash my face, brush my teeth and together with Tanja move to the kitchen. Everybody is assembled. There are corn flakes with milk, toast, butter, jam, tea and coffee on offer. I am just pouring myself a cup of coffee when one of the farm dogs bites into my foot. Startled I jump up, surprised not to feel any pain. Bert looks questioningly at me, ”He simply bit me” I say pointing towards the dog who is still laying unconcerned on the kitchen floor. ”Be glad he has no teeth anymore” laughs Bert heartily and it takes only a few seconds before tears of laughter are running down my cheeks too. After the short incident we have quite an animated chat and again I tell some stories about our journeys. Then Tanja titles 12 slide films while I copy 4 video films and title them too. Because of the heat we want to send the filming material to Germany as quickly as possible. Lorraine will take this on and give the parcel to the postman who comes around here once a week from the town of Meekatherra, 300 kilometers away. Despite the work and our exhaustion it is a lovely day . We eat from morning through to the evening. After lunch, during the afternoon there is coffee and cake and for the evening meal there is roast. Lorraine and Brian are making it easy for us to accept their hospitality. “It is a pleasant change for us too, to have you with us. Have no inhibitions. Eat what and as much as you want. Waste no thoughts about the days you spend here. Stay as long as you like” they keep on repeating until we completely feel at home.

Late in the afternoon Lorraine drives us out to the 25 kilometer distant Branco Camp where our camels are being kept. We give them two bales of hay and treat Goola´s hip. Large smoke clouds are towering on the horizon reminding us of the bush fire at Turee Creek. I give them a worried look hoping that Brian was right and that it would most probably be extinct by the time we arrive. In the evening Brian tells us about the terrific flood which surprised them a few years ago.”In one day 2000 cattle were drowned by the water. In the shortest time creeks developed into torrential rivers seizing everything in their way. All the windmills were destroyed. All fences, roads, landing strips simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Our total infrastructure died in one night. I tell you I just wanted to give up and leave this piece of ground since Lorraine’s and my life achievements had vanished. The question was then where to go? We lived one day after the other in chaos until our will to carry on and build up again became stronger and stronger. I always thought that the great drought, 10 years ago, was the worst that can happen, but such a catastrophic flood is far worse” Brian finishes his tale.

Many people ask us again and again why we choose such a hard life. And now to want to cross Australia on foot. The farmers in the Outback in particular admire our venture. I say it is us who admire the farmers out here who often fight against, and defy, natural forces. Life out here is a real challenge and really an adventure. It is hard but beautiful at the same time. Especially never boring. It is pure. At natures pulse each farmer living in this remote area removed from any civilization, knows the meaning of being alive. With every new contact to the few people being at home here in the bush our respect for them grows and Tania and I would like to, here and now, say thank you with all our heart to these wonderful people for their help.

Day: 146

Max. daytime temperature:
38°C, more than 58°C in the sun

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