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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There and back

The old CAMRY - 385,000km on the clock and still going strong! - had no trouble climbing the Clyde Mountain before arriving at its first pit-stop, the Royal Mail Hotel at Braidwood. Then on to Bungendore for a coffee and a browse through a bookshop (see previous post "Books, books, glorious books").

In Canberra we went straight to the Australian National Library to search through old copies of the PACIFIC ISLANDS MONTHLY for a classified advertisement I had placed in it in 1969 - well, at least I thought that's what I had done but I couldn't find the ad. We settled into our room at the Canberra South Motor Park, had a dinner at PJ's Steakhouse and then, keeping warm at the fireplace in the Park's own tavern, we met the locals. Such as Lorna and her 80-year old partner George, an ex-boxer who can still dance like a butterfly but has lost most of his sting. They've both lived in their big motorhome in the park for the past 28 years! Not that they've come far either: Lorna was born just 25 km down the highway at Bungendore! Their road to Ithaca has not been a long one, and neither full of adventure nor full of discovery!

Admission to hospital would be around 6.30 next morning, so we set the alarm clock for 5 o'clock and went to bed. I finally dropped off to sleep in spite of the road traffic outside and aircraft noise overhead, only to be frantically shaken awake by Padma who called, "Wake up! Wake up! We're late! It's already after 6 o'clock!" I jumped into my pants, threw everything in the boot of the car, started the car .. and looked at the clock on the dash: it was half-an-hour after midnight! "Padma, when the big hand is on the six and the small hand is..." I've since ordered for her the book "Telling Time."

By about 11 o'clock the next morning I was back out of hospital and on the road again. We stopped at the Lake George Hotel at Bungendore for lunch when suddenly all my lights went out! It must've been the after-affect of the anaesthetic that made me collapse face-down into my chicken-and-corn soup. I returned to the Land of the Living just in time to prevent Sarah, the very helpful lady behind the bar, from calling an ambulance. Another 80 km and we were safely back at "Riverbend" where I took my first dose of pain-killers to give me a good night's sleep.