Sunday, January 1, 2012

You can take the boy out of the country....

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.


  1. What a fantastic adventure! Hubby and I would love to travel to the NT one day. Your photos certainly feed that hunger. Had to laugh at your precious whippets paws, too cute, poor little thing.
    Rocky road, melting moments and hedgehog slice... it doesn't get any better :o)
    So glad to have discovered your blog through numerous other blogs I love, look forward to following along for the ride.

  2. So gorgeous to see you, Mel! Now I'm even more excited about finally meeting you ☺. And I'm so delighted to see gorgeous Julie is now following you - she's a treasure! J x

  3. I'm laughing at your husband's hand signals. My husband does that.... but in the Adelaide Hills (20 minutes from home)!!! LOL.

    Aw, your poor whippet. What a boo boo photo.

  4. A great start to 2011 :) Happy new year!!

  5. Mel, you have described my Muddy Hubby's hand gestures perftectly, except he does the opposite. The further away from from home we get the more pronounced his hand signals get as he gets annoyed that people don't wave back so he makes more of a point to try and draw attention.
    Love the photos and pleased the Whippet is recovered, he won't know himself once you settle in Tassie.

  6. I love those hand signals as well. Nothing says I'm not driving in Sydney any more than the finger/palm/whole hand salute to other cars.
    Happy travels Mel, (and glad the whippet is recovered!)

  7. Oh Alice Springs, it's so unique. Oh than damn Julia Roberts, so sad. I actually think she's too much "Julia Roberts" that she can't play any role anymore. Hey she had twins, we'll have to forgive her for that right??!!
    How much fun is the outback, that red dirt will be with you for years!! Bless your puppy, look at those paws. Sydney, yes, makes you a bit soft, so glad my 4 were born in the NT, barefoot, swimming, climbing, they are true Territorians.
    Happy travels back home & my husband does the hand signals too. First time i drove (a tiny leg, he hates my driving) Sydney to Darwin in 1998 he kept saying "signal the truck drivers" & i had no idea what the hell he meant. How could they see my little hands waving at them?? He's not a country boy but a soldier, they do good friendly PR. Love Posie

  8. Happy New Year Mel! May everything you hope for in 2012 come your way ... follow that dream :D

    PS Do you have paw wax for the whippet, it would probably help x

  9. Ah ladies, what would I do without my Whippet as comic relief in my life. I promise he is 100% recovered. Don't pay any attention to his sad face, he looks like that even when he's happy :-) Annie you are a pearl of wisdom and I will definitely look into some paw wax for the farm. And Happy New Year to you all too!

  10. I love everything about this!
    You're having the adventure of a lifetime.

  11. Dear Mel, I was searching the web for some images of drivers waving...and I came across your pics of the pianoman. Would it be OK if I used them in a community magazine to go with a story about living in the country and the various waves locals give to each other? The magazine is Mountain Monthly and is based in Kinglake in victoria. I hope you say yes!