I got back from a brief stay with Simon and Nicole (my son and daughter-in-law) in Longreach late yesterday. I missed the drenching this part of the world received from ex tropical cyclone Debbie. Alas, so did Longreach which needs the rain, whereas south east Queensland doesn’t. A friend who lives near my place recorded 345 mm of rain over two days. I fell in love with Pepper, a four month old cattle dog puppy who is the latest addition to the household. Numerous birds visit the garden, including a Little Kingfisher which I had seen last year.

On the second evening we had a convivial dinner at a noted outback pub and pulled off the road to drink in the night sky in all its glory, aided by a uniformly flat horizon and the absence of any moonlight. Shadowy kangaroos, illuminated by the headlights, lined both sides of the road home.

Next day we drove to a town in the neighbouring shire with a pub and perhaps three dozen dwellings, seeing some emus as well as cattle and sheep along the way, also visiting an abandoned sheep station which has been made into a national park. On my last full day we were invited to visit Camoola, the family property of Simon and Nicole’s best friend, Ann-Marie. She took us on a tour of the land which has an austere beauty with wooded areas, expansive open ranges and even a line of low hills on which a communications tower is located. On the way there we saw a bustard and on the way back, a brolga.

My return flight was delayed by six hours because the plane from Brisbane was grounded at Blackall and a replacement had to be flown in from Moranbah, a mining town. At least the delay meant I avoided peak hour traffic between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.