Excuses! Excuses!

Of course, I did try to get some writing done this week.

I started early on Tuesday morning, turned on my computer - at least that's what I intended - only to discover the power was off. Won't be long I said and started scribbling a few notes. Well nothing had returned a couple of hours later. And then the phone rang! Bad news. My sister-in-law somewhat distraught, sobbing into the phone that my brother was really sick and might even die and wanted to see me. Soon. Like NOW! That was all very well and I needed to go but he lives in South Australia. So the rest of the day was absorbed booking an airfare for Wednesday. Expensive at short notice, of course, but direct to Adelaide. And packing a bag for a few days - or longer, perhaps.

The flight on Wednesday morning arrived in Adelaide about
1 pm. But Pete doesn't live in Adelaide. He's in Port Augusta another 300 km north. Well actually he's not even in Port Augusta, he lives outback near Quorn another 30 odd km. Next task: car hire, luckily from the airport. By the time I got to Pete's place it was 6pm, time for dinner.
"He's hanging on," said a tearful Sally. "He'll be pleased you've come."

Next day, Thursday, Pete was barely conscious. Sally said, "Look Col hope you don't mind but we're going to need a priest quite soon and his wife says he's out of town and she can't raise him but thinks he's in Hawker doing his pastoral duties. Would you mind going up and tracking him down. Oh and if it's not too much trouble we need some shopping as you come back." She gave me a list.

So I got into the car again and set off for Hawker about 60 km to the north. It should not have taken long but things happen don't they? About ten km along the track, a bushy part of the Flinders Ranges, a huge roo comes bolting out of the scrub, no stopping, straight into the car. Panic! Emergency braking. Bang! I slithered off the track and into the bushes. Have you ever been hit by a kangaroo? The damage was significant: smashed front wing and wheel looking very dodgy. I stood disconsolately by the side of the road. No one in sight and not for another hour. The lift into Hawker was a slow truck ride. So by lunch time I started the search for the vicar and eventually found him. He was staying overnight but would give me a lift back on Friday. I booked into the hotel.

I woke early on Friday to the smell of smoke. From the window I could see that a bush fire was circling the area. The few locals were already organising hoses and pumps. The pub was in imminent danger.
I had to help. That's a long story in itself but it took us all day to save the pub and the houses nearby. I was pretty whacked by sunset as we watched smoke still drifting in the distance. Another night in the pub.

On Saturday, discovered the vicar had left on Friday evening so I hitched a ride back to Quorn arriving mid-morning. A tearful Sally met me at the door. Pete had died on Friday afternoon and she'd arranged the funeral for two p.m. The vicar was back in town but couldn't do it on Monday. So you know what I was doing on Saturday afternoon. It was all very sad and I felt I hadn't been there when I wanted to be.

Come Sunday morning I had to ring the car hire firm and explain why I'd left their damaged vehicle on the side of a country road 350 km from where I'd hired it. I decided it would be safer and quicker to take a bus back to Adelaide. Needless to say I missed the only direct flight to Hobart and had to go via Melbourne arriving in time for the last Virgin flight which got in last evening at 9.15. So by the time I got home tired, sad and a bit dishevelled it was working towards 11 pm.

I still haven't done any writing but I've got enough ideas for a raft of short stories.