I could tell we were closing in on the Pianoman’s old stomping ground because his hand gestures told me so.
As we left the traffic chaos of Sydney and started driving through Outback New South Wales, I noticed the Pianoman doing the finger point:
And then as we made our way into South Australia to start the long stretch up through the centre of the country he was doing the palm salute. Hand still firmly resting on steering wheel though:
And finally as we passed the sign welcoming us to The Northern Territory his gestures had well and truly morphed into the full hand wave. To every single car we passed. There may have been a little nod of the head as well.
So the Pianoman spent his High School years in Alice Springs and has nothing but fond memories of his time there. His parents are in education and live and work at an excellent school there. Since they usually visit us during their (many) school holidays we hadn’t actually been back there with all of the kids yet.
So, we decided to tie our Big Adventure in with a visit and Christmas with Granny & Pops.
Even better was that we arrived at their house just as all the school kids were leaving for the Christmas holiday. This meant we had the whole run of the school and all its air-conditioned facilities to ourselves - the pool, the gymnasium, the rock-climbing wall, and the library. It was quite the ‘resort’ after our dusty time on the road of the previous weeks. The grounds became a bike-riding paradise for the kids and they spent time patting the wallabies on the back porch, bike riding along the Todd River, lizard catching, rock collecting, swimming and flying model airplanes.
It was also perfect timing as far as the Whippet was concerned. He suddenly stopped chasing the wallabies, which prompted an urgent trip to the vet. His Royal Highness had cracked paws and I wanted to be sure we sorted it out before we got further into the trip. He was placed on bed rest for a week and was on a course of anti-inflammatories. It seems the 2 years in Sydney with our polished floorboards, manicured grass and smooth footpaths was too much of a contrast to the hot and rocky terrain of the desert. The Whippet needs to toughen up!
The Kids also got to see the cattle station where the Pianoman worked during his summers and camped in swags and rode motorbikes.
The Telegraph Station and the actual Alice Spring, upon which Alice Springs was founded, and where his great Uncle worked as one of the first telegraph operators at a time when there were only 8 white people in the town.
He also showed them the restaurant where he was stood up by Julia Roberts. He was booked to play the Piano for her but she cancelled last minute due to a scheduling clash. The kids have no idea who Julia Roberts is but can see he is still traumatised by the event so feign some empathy. He truly has never gotten over it.
|Christmas with my in-laws (mother-in-law who gets mistaken for my sister and father-in-law who gets mistaken for Malcome Blight :-)|
We left with memories of an excellent time with Granny & Pops, a clean Matilda van, rested parents and a recovered Whippet.
We also left with noticeably expanded waistline thanks to Granny’s Rocky Road, Melting Moments, Hedgehog slice and other delectable treats. I’m hoping I can sweat it out in the tropics.