TITLE: Home Away From Home
Breakfast was being served at 6.30am so I was up early to shower. So was another Lawn Hill resident, a frog. He was perched on the shower door and didn’t seem all that keen to leave. I showered without taking my eyes off him for fear if he jumped on me I would wake up anyone who wasn’t already up. Best behaved frog ever, he didn’t budge. I emerged feeling very grateful and got dressed for the day.
Fred and Jason were yet to have any close encounters and couldn’t quite understand why I was having all the ‘luck.’ Neither could I. Regina had an online class at 9.30 so I went along to observe. It was great to see. She has her own desk and laptop set up in a quiet corner of the school house. Headphones on and reading material close at hand Regina interacts with her teacher and her classmates from other remote cattle stations. She is even able to see the other children’s work on the screen once it is submitted, such an important element when you’re not in a classroom environment. I thought I’d slip away unnoticed so I wasn’t cause for any distraction but she caught me. “Where are you going?” She asked.
“I’m going to leave you to it, I’ll see you at lunch time, you’re doing a great job!” I said.
At 10am we set ourselves up out on the cliff top to catch the weekly mail delivery. Every Thursday the mail comes in by light aircraft, this we did not want to miss. With the runway off to the right were in a prime location to film. The plane flew in over the run way and off into the distance to turn. Flying low overhead it came in for landing, what a sight! Belinda went down to the runway in the buggy to collect the mail making my daily trudge to the mail box back home seem rather mundane.
Adels Grove was only a 30 minute drive away so we left the station to head there for a look. Jason and Fred swam at their own risk and used the tree rope to swing out over the water. There clearly wasn’t anything lurking beneath the surface at this time while they were offering themselves up as bait.
Back at Lawn Hill Station is was time for lunch, Jason was given directions to a creek nearby where he might find a crocodile so he and Fred got ready to head out. Four year old Jack decided he’d like to go too, with his cowboy boots and hat he was all set to go. Little Jack was a wealth of information and his sense of direction – enviable! The three boys set off in a cloud of dust at which point I wandered around the back to the clifftop and raised my arms above my head stretching while breathing in the fresh air and taking in the surroundings. Lack of both sleep and no time alone was catching up with me and I was looking forward to having some time as well as a much needed power nap.
As I walked around the front to my room I saw Jason’s car pull up, they’d only been gone twenty minutes! Jack jumped out of the back and came over as they took off again. “Did you change your mind Jack?” I asked. He had his head down but was nodding. I figured I’d find out more when they got back. Lux pulled up in the landcruiser and wandered over to where I was seated outside the office on the verandah.
“How are you?” He asked. “You’re looking a little washed out.”
“I’m great Lux, just tired but so pleased to be here.”
“Would you like to go down to the creek to practice a couple of water crossings before you have to do your first tomorrow?” He asked.
“I’d love to!” I replied. I knew doing this would give me the knowledge and confidence to do it on my own. Lux has a knack for reading people and I have no doubt he knew it was just what I needed.
We took my car and the lesson began, four crossings later I felt great, I was even looking forward to the next day’s crossing further up the river and grateful for the opportunity to learn from someone who understood my apprehension.
Back on the hill I went to my room thinking I might just shut my eyes for ten minutes. I woke up and hour later when Fred came by with Regina and Jack calling my name. The sun was beginning to set so we all met once more at the back of the house to watch for the last time at Lawn Hill, enjoy a beer and the wonderful company.
Talking about family Lux was saying his parents were in their 70s. “That’s not old!” I said.
“Bloody oath it’s not.” Said Mr Hall who was entering his ninety first year. We all laughed heartily, packed up and made our way inside for dinner.
Seated at the table Fred asked, “So tell me, what’s your secret for being so good looking and full of life at ninety years of age?”
“My wife looked after me well for sixty years.” He said.
“And you had four daughters.” Said Belinda.
“Oh, you think that helped do you?” Mr Hall said with a grin.
I headed off to my room at a reasonable time, and then back over to borrow Fred and Jason’s bathroom. A big (well bigger than the one in the shower the day before) green frog had take up residence in my toilet and I thought I’d let him be.
TIP: Jason told me later about his afternoon; He and Fred had missed a turn to the right believing they were following the directions Belinda had given them. Jack was sitting in the back and said, “You should have turned Jason.”
Moments later Jack said quietly, “I need to see my Mum.” The poor little man! He must have wondered where they were taking him! Lesson; never underestimate a four year old’s sense of direction on a cattle station, it’s second to none.
TRACK: Xavier Rudd – Let Me Be