Sunday, 25 March 2012

Forster to Port Macquarie

Passed happy clappy Christians rejoicing outside before leaving Forster, then rejoined the highway. It wasn't too bad today, being Sunday, and there was a ten foot shoulder. Stopped at two oases; the first was a huge McDonald's, full of the horizontally challenged, ordering their mid-morning Big Macs. In the queue a voice behind growled, "Do you always push in mate?" I turned to see a big, bearded bear of a man.

Me : "No, I was in front of this lady" (who had sidled up alongside me)
He : "Trust me to open my big mouth."

He was a teddy bear. (Question : are Teddies true bears?) The second oasis was a cafe/gallery in a barn, again in the middle of nowhere. Here genteel old ladies sat in the garden drinking tea, while listening to a pair of damsels plucking out soft Medieval ditties on lutes (not actually from the Medieval era). No one was looking at the art, which was truly dreadful. No, I tell a lie, Brian Sewell was having an apoplectic fit in the corner. It was as if the artists had been trying to create the worst possible combination of subject matter, colour and form, as some sort of Heston Blumenthal inspired experiment.

At another stop, pieces of chicken and cucumber, dropped from a sandwich were soon recoloured black, as hundreds of ants swarmed over them. Human beings may well run the big stuff on the planet, but the zillions of ants control the little things. In other nature news, I saw a three to four inch spider on its nest with stripey legs and an abdomen like a mushroom. Next to it, and about a hundredth of its weight, there was this black spider that I assumed to be its (her) mate. Size clearly doesn't matter with this species. Then there were these mercury dots with legs that were presumably the offspring. Also, there was a neat line of 'parcelled up' flies. Maybe this was a spider grocery. In the groove today, whizzing along at 15-20 mph. Leaving the highway for the coast road at Kew, I saw camels in a field and then a dingo running across the road.

A quarter of a mile from my host's house in Port Macquarrie, a short-lived downpour had me scurrying under a palm tree. Veteran Couchsurfer Chris (he's had nearly 500 guests in the last six years) lives in a stunning wooden retreat, with different levels and a high, sloping ceiling. What's even more stunning is the rainforest backdrop. Here he regularly sees koalas, possums, and a two metre goanna (lizard) is a regular visitor on his deck, where it nicks the cat food. To make it up to the lovely black Bonny, I gave her access to my lap, which she purringly resided as we sat on the deck, sipping beer, as huge, black cockroaches scuttled by. Dinner was unbelievably tasty - and I helped by chopping veg and herbs (all from the garden) including chillies. I foolishly rubbed my eye afterwards... Combined with chicken, Chris cooked up a sizzling Vietnamese curry in his wok. What a fascinating guy. Originally from Bristol, he met some Ozzies there and came out to visit them. That was '74 and he has lived here ever since, working on a prawn trawler, farming in the bush and now, working for the Waterboard. Brown as a nut and skinny as a rake, he seems to derive the most pleasure from travelling and meeting other travellers.


  1. Thanks for the birthday greetings. Sounds like you're having a great time, it was foggy and about 4C on my bike commute this morning (just in case that makes you feel EVEN better)!

  2. I did some googling....spidey is a....

    about midway down the page......thankfully not poisonous! Absorbing good read the last few days.

  3. Golden Orb Weaver no less. I heard it was 18 degrees in Glasgow yesterday!

  4. We are having a total heatwave - 20 odd degrees today! There aren't any leaves on the trees yet and it's roasting!

  5. Hope it gets colder soon ;-)