Caravanning and RVing in Australia


Chapter 14
Murphy heads Outback

You may remember the trip to Darwin I told you about earlier. Well, I decided to do the same trip again years later on my own ­ at least I thought I was one my own but as usual Murphy came with me.

I was using the Hillman Hunter at the time and slept in the back on a rubber air-bed. In Darwin I looked up Richard Creswick ­ an old friend from Mornington Apex days many years earlier, Richard was at this time a journalist with the ABC and invited me down to spend the evening at their bush block at Howard Springs. Richard and his wife were building a home on ten acres of jungle but in the meantime were living in a caravan and large shed while the house was being built. We had a lovely evening reminiscing over past times and catching up with all that had happened in between and then I retired to my bed in the Hillman parked in their driveway.

Next morning Richard came and enquired, "Did you have a good night?" "A good night?" I replied, "Let me tell you about it." "First of all the heat and humidity plus the rubber of the air-bed made me sweat and toss and turn. Then the blister on my foot, from walking around Tennant Creek the day before in sandals without socks, burst and the pain was intense. I had the sloping rear hatch open for a bit of air but then it started to pour with rain and I had to close it. I finally fell into an exhausted sleep but then your bloody cat came exploring along the roof of the car and when it reached the hatch slipped down it with an almighty yowl. No Richard ­ - I didn't have a good night!"

Despite old Murph it was a great trip and he behaved reasonably well. Camped one night in the bush on the way to Cape Crawford in the NT he played a little trick but it wasn't serious and I just laughed. I was using the bladders of wine casks to carry water ­ they are ideal for this and fit into odd corners of the car. I was frying a huge steak I'd bought at the butcher shop in Katherine and held the bladder up to put water into the saucepan for a cup of coffee but Murph loosened the tap so that it came off and flooded the frying pan ­ and steak ­ with cold water.

In Brisbane I stayed with our friends, Don and Anne Dunstan, and they took me water skiing. I had never skied before and Murphy made sure I didn't ski this day either. Although I persevered for ages all I succeeded in doing was ingest great quantities of what passes for water in the Brisbane River and strain every muscle plus a few I didn't know I had. Don further humiliated me by coming back down the river showing his prowess by standing on his head facing backwards on a boogie board!

Our son Chris used to travel up to Melbourne each day to work and usually came with me. He had been overseas and on the way to Melbourne on his first morning back at work I remarked about some changes to the road system in the City. "New since you've been here," I stated. "Why is it?" he asked indignantly. "It just is," I replied. This went on for a little while until we worked out that what he had heard was "Nuisance you being here." Apparently he had thought ­ "What's got into the old man? I've only been back one day and he's going crook about something." Murphy's good at mucking up communications.


Chapter 15