Flooding rain has dictated the weather for months in these parts and in much of Queensland. Longreach has had its share. I left a decidedly wet Brisbane on 24.3.22 in the hope of seeing blue sky and sun in the mid-west, but terrified of driving back to the mountain on my return at rush hour, in the forecast persistent rain. We arrived in Longreach early, and I had to wait for Nicole to pick me up. Thursday is usually a busy day for Simon with Council meetings. Nicole had to return to work. She has just taken up her position as General Manager of Aussie Outback Tours, a thriving Longreach-based tourism business, and I was left alone for the afternoon with Pepper, which delighted us both. We were confined to barracks next day. I didn’t venture out because I didn’t have a key. The weather was uncomfortably hot. In the evening we dined at Longreach’s much-improved premier restaurant. Nicole joined Simon and me from a reception honouring Daniel Geschwind, retiring after twenty-two years as chief executive of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council. He is a hero of mine because he has brought his Swiss grounding in tourism excellence to the great benefit of Queensland’s vital tourism industry. Imagine my pleasure, when the man himself entered the restaurant a while later and was shown to the table next to us. He greeted Nicole and introductions duly followed, which gave me the opportunity of thanking him for his outstanding service to the State. This both surprised and pleased him.

This trip we stayed in town and spent more time in the house.  We spoke about the Birdsville trip, for which Nicole, who is extremely well-connected, had already booked our accommodation. There were fewer kites in the sky and I didn’t see a little kingfisher. Otherwise, the sparrows, apostle birds, yellow-throated miners and the peaceful, diamond and crested doves flocked to the feeder and bath in the back yard. Like last year, there were no brolgas walking past the house, but I noticed some near open ground in the distance. Fortunately, the flies were less of a nuisance than last year. We went for a long walk with Pepper, past the Qantas Founders Museum. On Sunday afternoon we had a thunderstorm and a heavy burst of rain. We wanted to have dinner at the Wellshot Hotel in Ilfracombe some 26 km down the road, for old time’s sake, but the skies to the South were leaden and we decided to stay in town, where it was no longer raining, rather than risk flooded creeks. We had a decent meal at one of Longreach’s pubs. On the morning of my return I picked up a Sunday Mail which I buy for the week’s tv programmes, before Simon and I had lunch at the Founders Museum café. The return flight was uneventful. Clouds built up as we crossed the Great Dividing Range and we landed in heavy rain. Fortunately, my fears about driving home in the wet proved groundless, as there were no traffic jams and no accidents, the other hazard associated with wet roads.