Wandering Wednesday–Camping Hazards near Mt. Liebig

[I have been preparing The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977 to be ready for publication soon. So, below is an extract from the T-Team’s adventure.

While three of the T-Team faced the perils of climbing Mt. Liebig, a drama of a different, yet equally challenging kind unfolded for Mr. B and his son, Matt as they stayed back at camp.

Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

Bull Meets Mr. B

Mr. B and his son, Matt napped under the shade of a bean tree. A southerly breeze ferried through the dry creek bed, spiriting away the father’s snorts. Matt tossed and turned on his inflatable mattress that was exhausted of air resulting from a small, elusive puncture. He imagined the three others of the T-Team, beating a path through the sweltering heat and stinging spinifex in their quest to the summit of Mt. Liebig. Matt chuckled to himself. “Suckers!”

[Photo 1: Mt Liebig at sunrise with bean tree © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

In a nearby tributary, a bull spied the T-Team’s father, son and daughter trekking in the distance, and stamped its massive hooves in the loose dry sand. Once the family had vanished, the bull trotted towards his stamping ground which possessed a gigantic bean tree as a feature in an otherwise dull bed of dust. His quest was to reclaim his territory that the humans had invaded.

“Matt, ma boy, do be careful. Don’t go too far from camp. A bull might get you.” Mr. B squinted in the direction of distant thumping, then rolled over and resumed snoring.

A monstrous brown hulk loomed through a cloud of dust.

[Photo 2: Resident cattle © L.M. Kling 2013]

Matt bolted upright “Dad! Dad! Th-there’s a big- ugly- brown – ugly- big – brown – ugly – b-b-bull!”

“Aw, Matt, stop kidding me.” Mr. B blinked and rubbed his eyes. “That’s enough of the jokes.” A short rumble from behind sent him scrambling to his feet. He flailed his arms while galloping. “Quick! Into the Rover. Now!”

“But Dad!” In the sweltering heat and moment, the boy froze, glued to his air mattress under the bean tree. Terrified, he witnessed his Dad bound over the dirt and fly into the empty Rover parking space and onto a thicket of spinifex. Matt winced. The massif of angry brown trod closer. It paused, pawing the ground, taunting its human prey.

[Photo 3: Cattle Yard © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

After rubbing his punctured behind, Mr. B scrambled for the tarpaulin and rummaged through the baggage. “Er, d-don’t worry Matt. I-I’ll charge this bull before it s-sh-shoots — er — us.”

“But, Dad, the bull doesn’t have a gun.”

“Well, neither do we, we’ll just have to be satisfied with this boomerang and spear, till I find the damn gun.”

The bull stalked, narrowing the gap. The son clambered up the tree and gasped as his father fought with a rucksack that had entangled his legs, while he waved the pathetic weapons above his head.

[Photo 4: Mr. B wishing his nemesis “subdu-a-bull” © S.O. Gross circa 1945]

“But Dad, they’re only souvenirs.”

“Why Matt, how can you say such a thing? Where do you think these genuine Australian artefacts are made?” With all his effort, Mr. B thrust the spear at the beast.

“Yes, Dad, sold in Australia, but made in China.” Matt watched as the menacing bulk of fury stomped the ground, dust billowing into a cloud around it. “Too bad the bull doesn’t know the difference.”

“Don’t be sarcastic at a time of crisis, son.” Mr. B flung the boomerang at the charging bull and ducked behind the tucker box. The projectile bounced off the bull’s hide, provoking it into a tumult of frenzy. Grunting like an eight-cylinder engine, he stormed towards its human attacker, screeching to a halt at the edge of the tarpaulin. As the bull glared down at him, Mr. B could smell its leathery breath.

[Photo 5: Meanwhile, Mt. Liebig in afternoon and more generous ghost gum © S.O. Gross circa 1946]

With a nervous smile fixed on his face, the father edged his way to the bean tree and climbed aboard. The bull stomped and snorted around the sacred bean tree while its victims trembled in the lofty branches amongst the beans.

From this vantage point, Mr. B spotted the rifle leaning up against the tucker box. Unfortunately, the bull sat between him in the tree and the tucker box.

Hours passed.

Father and son sat in the tree.

“Dad my bottom hurts,” Matt whined.

Mr. B sighed, “The others’ll be back soon. They have a rifle.”

“But Dad! I have to go!”

“Hold on,” Mr. B snapped.

The sun edged to the horizon.

Mr. B bit his lip wondering if he’d be stuck up this tree forever.

“Dad! I really have to!”

Mr. B turned to his son who was now rocking.

The distant hum rang through the golden landscape. Mr. B adjusted his grip on the branch.

The hum became louder. An engine.

The bull rose and sauntered out of the campsite, then disappeared into the bush.

“Just wait, Matt,” Mr. B said. He scrambled down the tree and grabbed the rifle.

Matt’s voice floated down. “Dad, it’s too late.”

As the sun disappeared below the horizon, the rest of the T-Team returned to find Mr. B clutching a rifle and pacing the clearing. Matt remained lodged high up in the bean tree.

“As you can see, while you’ve been climbing your mountain, we’ve had a not-so-welcome visitor,” Mr. B remarked.

[Photo 6: Mt. Liebig at sunset © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

“Somehow, I think the B-family will be taking a guided bus tour next time they go for a holiday,” I muttered to Rick.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2023

Feature Painting: Mt. Liebig in watercolour © L.M. Kling 2017

***

Dreaming of an Aussie Outback Adventure?

Click the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

To download your Amazon Kindle copy of the story…

And escape in time and space to the Centre of Australia 1981…

Catch a Ride for Free–The Hitch-hiker

The Hitch-hiker, Free…

[An excerpt…]

More silence as the Kombi trundled along Main North Road. Was this the trend for the road trip? Long awkward silences. Two brothers sitting side by side, itching to punch each other. Liesel itched to lay hands on Fox who squashed himself against the car door. And Minna opposite Günter, tried not to make too many calf-eyes at him, as well as trying her best to not nibble her nails. Was this what grown-up young people do for fun? Where was the excitement? The pillow fights? The Coca-Cola? Things go better with Coke, so the commercials say. And things in this mobile can did require better going.

A man dressed in brown walked on the roadside. He hunched over and stuck out his thumb.

Fox slowed down the van. ‘Oh, a hitch-hiker. Why don’t we pick him up?’

‘Are you crazy? No way!’ Liesel batted his arm.

Fox eased the Kombi to a stop. ‘He looks like he needs a lift. What the heck.’

‘What’re you doing?’ Liesel raised her tone.

But Fox continued to pull over to the side of the road.

***

Read the whole story.

For a free Kindle download,

Click on the link:

The Hitch-hiker.

Free until Sunday, January 15 2023

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015; post updated 2023

Wandering Wednesday–Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges

T-Team: Young and Restless in Brachina Gorge

It could’ve been Good Friday; most probably was. One thing was for certain, it was the Easter long weekend, when throngs of city folk in South Australia head for the outback to camp. My brother and I joined our youth group friends on a camping trip to Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges. Ah, those were the days!

[Photo 1: Road to Brachina © L.M. Kling 1983]

Another thing was for sure. We had reached Brachina Gorge after a long day of driving and everyone was, let’s just say, less than civil with each other. At least no kangaroos had been slaughtered by car, no copious amounts of beer had been drunk in the car, and thus no unfortunate accidents causing us to escape the car had happened either. Not like some Easter in the future when the T-Team explored Chambers Gorge.

[Photo 2: Approaching Brachina Gorge © L.M. Kling circa 1983]

So, late Good Friday afternoon, we stopped in Brachina Gorge just before the track became too suspension-crunching rough.

B Calm sautéed his dehydrated rice on his personal gas cooker. He wasn’t grumpy.

I peered at the sizzling stubs of rice and deliciously smelling onion. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

‘Cooking,’ B Calm replied.

‘Looks good.’ I mused how B Calm could settle down and cook his dinner. The rest of the crew bumbled about the narrow sandy rise above the riverbed, searching for a decent-sized patch to plant their tents.

[Photo 3: In search of a tent site in Brachina Gorge © L.M. Kling 1983]

Storm bowled past B Calm. ‘This place is rubbish! Can’t we move on?’

B Calm ignored Storm and continued frying. The cliffs of the gorge shimmered salmon-pink in the late afternoon sun.

[Photo 4: Brachina Cliffs late afternoon © L.M. Kling 1983]

Storm paced in front of B Calm. He moaned, ‘There’s nowhere to put a tent up! Who chose this place?’

The culprit, my brother, also ignored this feedback. He hovered over the rock pool, searching for his tucker tonight. Yabbies.

[Photo 5: Tributary Creek in Brachina © L.M. Kling 1999

]

‘Any luck?’ B Calm called.

‘Nup,’ Rick replied. ‘But I just caught a tadpole.’ He then tipped back his head, opened wide his mouth and popped the tadpole in.

[Photo 6: Rock Pools in Brachina where yabbies and tadpoles thrive © L.M. Kling 1999]

‘Ew! Yuk!’ the girls, Summer and Autumn screamed. ‘That’s disgusting!’

Triv sniggered.

After a gulp, Rick shuddered. ‘A bit too salty.’

Storm stumbled past. ‘This place stinks!’

‘Find us a better place then,’ Rick replied.

[Photo 7: In search of Camping Paradise © L.M. Kling 1983]

Storm stomped down the road that led further into the gorge and disappeared around the bend. The sun, by this time had slunk below the horizon to light up other parts of the Earth. Twilight lingered, dusting wisps of cloud in shades of crimson.

[Photo 8: Sundown in Brachina © L.M. Kling 1999]

B Calm glanced in the direction of Storm’s venture. ‘He’ll be back.’

Sure enough, as the twisted bushes on the neighbouring ridge turned to ink against the fading sunset, Storm returned. ‘Still reckon this place is a dump,’ he muttered.

[Photo 9: Silhouettes of sunset in Brachina © L.M. Kling 1999]

For the rest of us, the ancient mystery of the Brachina cliffs had convinced us to stay put. Tents lined the banks of the creek. And our small group of friends gathered around the roaring fire, sausages sizzling in frypans and billies boiling for a cup of tea. Brachina, and the campsite Rick had chosen, was more than good enough for us.

[Photo 10: Campfire of content © L.M. Kling 1983]

‘Maybe we’ll move on in the morning,’ Rick promised; more to allay any remaining discontent, than a firm promise.

[Photo 11: Ancient mystery of Brachina Gorge © L.M. Kling 1999]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2020; update 2023

Feature Photo: Sunset on Brachina © L.M. Kling 1999

***

Join the ride with The Hitch-hiker for free…

From today January 11 until Sunday January 15, 2023.

Available in Amazon on Kindle.

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More Holiday Reading–Free, Free, Free

Thumm Christmas (part 2)

The Ants Pants of Christmas

When the backyard was clear of interfering adults, Wally’s harassment of the girls, particularly Minna, intensified. It began with vicious name calling, progressed to pinching and poking, and then escalated into soda warfare. Wally collected an arsenal of soda bottles which had come courtesy of Dad’s Christmas present soda machine, and after shaking vigorously, he assaulted the girls with the sticky fluid that spewed forth. No matter where Minna and Holly ran to escape, there lurked Wally, and the spray of soda. Not even freshly laid eggs from the hen house collected by Holly, and catapulted so accurately at Wally, deterred him from his soda campaign. It only stopped when the soda ran out. Grandma was not amused. ‘Them was good eggs,’ she lamented. She didn’t care about the soda.

Then came the stoning with pebbles from Grandma’s driveway. Wally rounded up the troops, all male, and barely pubescent. They scraped up the gravel by the tee-shirt full and set about pelting their female victims with the stones. The war of the Thumms had commenced; boys against girls. Holly and Minna cowered behind the corrugated iron bins and used the lids as shields. Grandma’s garbage was no match for gravel.

As the girls weathered another stone shower in the warmth of the Christmas Day twilight, Holly looked over at Minna. ‘Are you thinking what I am thinking?’ Holly had an uncanny knack for reading thoughts, especially Minna’s.

‘Yep, I think you are, Holly,’ Minna replied, smirking.

‘Well, then, what are we waiting for. Let’s dack him!’

‘Good thinking, Holly. There’s just the technical details to work out. Right?’ Minna ducked as a hail of pellets descended on them. ‘So how?’

‘Well, we could…’ Holly was full of brilliant ideas, but had trouble executing them.

‘I know, John, I’ll get my brother, John on our side. He’s an expert at dacking.’

‘Yes!’

Moving together, Holly and Minna held onto bin lids and side-stepped across the lawn to where John was fielding in another eternal game of French cricket. A spray of stones followed. Annoyed John hollered at the culprit, Wally, ‘Hey! Would you cut it out!’

‘Do you want revenge, John?’ Minna asked.

‘I’m playing cricket.’ John snapped.

Holly batted the tennis ball with her shield. ‘Won’t take long.’

‘Hey, I could have caught that.’ John sniffed and rubbed a pimple on the side of his nose.

‘See that over-sized baby, over there. That excuse of a boy called Wally?’ Minna pointed towards Wally as he gathered up more of the driveway in his tee-shirt. ‘Doesn’t he remind you of your worst enemy? Here’s your chance. You could dack him for us.’

‘Dack him yourself! I’m playing cricket.’ John replied while Holly batted another ball away with her shield. ‘Hey stop doing that!’

‘Only when you’ve dacked the Wally,’ Holly said. ‘I mean, look what he’s done to the drive way! And think about when you next mow Grandma’s lawn.’

John rolled his eyes. ‘Alright! But you owe me, cousin!’

Minna spotted Wally, again lurking, this time in the shadows, by the side of the house. She whispered to her big brother, ‘He’s just behind you, John.’

As Wally raised his hand to hurl stones on their unprotected bodies, John swung around and with one graceful and swift movement, drew Wally’s trousers, ants pants underpants revealed. Simultaneously in that split second, a flash lit up and interrupted the cricket match.

‘Yes! Good one!’ Minna congratulated John on his skill.

‘Thanks boys, that will make an excellent photo.’ Aunt Sophie announced, oblivious to the R-rated nature of her snap.

‘Yes!’ Holly sang. ‘Revenge is sweet!’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018; updated 2023

Feature Photo: Christmas in Australia means cricket and beach © L.M. Kling 2007

***

Treat Yourself to Sci-fi Adventure this Holiday Season

Want more? More than before? Don’t just listen to the rumours of the war on Boris, read it for yourself. Find out how and why this war began.

Check out my novels on Amazon and in Kindle. Click on the links below:

The Lost World of the Wends—Free on Kindle until tomorrow January 3, 2023.

***

Discover how this War against Boris all began in

Mission of the Unwilling (2nd edition)

The Hitch-hiker

A New Year’s Gift–The Lost World of the Wends

Roast Cockroach

[An extract from my novel, in the War Against Boris series: The Lost World of the Wends]

The seven sat around the dining table in silence. The roast steamed in the centre. Candles either side guarded the meal. Thunder rumbled over the hills and mountains. Lightning flashed.

Boris nursed his ray-gun hand and then he placed it beside his knife; a reminder in case any member of the group chose not to cooperate, Joseph assumed.

‘Oh, I’m going to enjoy this,’ Boris purred. ‘Thank you, Herr and Frau Biar, for inviting me. I do apologise for not being at the service this morning. I had a little business to take care of.’ With an evil twinkle in his eye, he glanced at Amie. ‘How was the service?’

Amie gulped.

‘Boring,’ Friedrich said in a sing-song voice.

Frau Biar and Herr Biar tightened their mouths. They frowned at Friedrich and shook their heads.

Wilma piped up. ‘Joseph and Amie are in love.’

‘I know,’ Boris looked at Herr Biar. ‘Well, aren’t you going to do the honours? Cut up the chicken. I’m sure you’re all dying for the roast.’

A black bug crawled out of the chook’s orifice. Everyone watched as it meandered across the tablecloth.

Boris drummed the table. ‘Come on! I’m hungry!’

Herr Biar sighed. He sharpened his knife and sliced off some chicken breast.

‘No! No! A proper cut! Cut the chicken open!’ Boris rose and stood over Herr Biar.

Herr Biar jabbed the knife in the centre and flayed the roast.

Cockroaches teamed from the cavity and over the plates, cutlery and vegetables.

Joseph flicked them as they sauntered over his plate. Amie shook them off her dress.

‘Come on! Cut the meat up Biar!’ Boris raised his voice. ‘We want to eat.’

Herr Biar served portions onto the plates. Boris helped. He scooped up the black stuffing and slopped a spoonful on every plate. The stuffing reeked of a rancid stench that filled the room.

‘Now, the vegetables,’ Boris said. ‘Frau serve the vegetables. We must have our vegetables.’

Frau Biar lifted with fork and knife, the roast potatoes garnished with cockroach entrails and plopped them on the plates. Then she added the steamed peas and carrots mixed with bugs.

Six stunned people studied their portions of festering food, not daring to touch it. Boris presided over the group. He grinned from ear to ear, imitating the Cheshire cat from “Alice in Wonderland”, as he poured lumpy gravy over the chicken on each plate.

‘Go on, eat up,’ he urged. ‘Oh, and by the way, Amie and Joseph, I have your families—just where I want them.’

Joseph tracked a couple of roaches tumbling in the gravy.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

     Feature Photo: A good spread © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955

***

A Gift for the New Year…

Travel to The Lost World of the Wends

For Free

From today December 30, 2022 until January 3, 2023

Click on the link to my new novel,

The Lost World of the Wends

Tis the Season–Hurry Last Few Hours

Christmas, Thumm-style Down Under

[A Christmas special as a spin-off from my novels The Hitch-hiker and

Mission of the Unwilling.]

Christmas was encumbered with a monumental family gathering. Every family member imaginable plus a few ring-ins congregated at Grandma Thumm’s for the occasion. What was a logistical nightmare for Minna’s parents, aunts and uncles, was joy for Minna as her favourite cousin Holly visited from Switzerland. But she cringed on spotting Wally. (Grandma had felt sorry for his mum and her older teen charges Wally and Monica). That sense of pity didn’t extend to Minna as that dreaded ring-in, and one time school bully, scowled at Minna. Monica had escaped the Thumm Christmas. Home with a migraine. So, without Monica to protect her, Minna avoided Wally, and concentrated her attention on Holly.

Aunt Sophie, Holly’s mother, rounded the Thumm troops for the traditional family photo in the back garden in front of the grapevine. 

The camera got Minna thinking. I wonder…She became quiet and gazed up at the cobalt cloudless sky.

‘Is something wrong?’ Holly snapped her out of sky-gazing, then chuckled. ‘Oh, I know! You’re thinking of some boy.’

‘No!’ Minna shouted. ‘Not boys!’

‘Dinner time!’ Mum called. She rang the bell.

Like lemmings the Thumm clan trooped into Grandma’s kitchen.

As the elders settled around the antique 100-year-old oak table, with a spread of roast turkey, silver and the best china on white linen, Aunt Sophie beckoned to John, Minna’s older brother, ‘You can sit with us, dear, I want to hear all about that telescope you are making.’

Minna sighed, and followed the kids to the “kindertisch” on the back verandah. ‘My luck I’ll end up next to Wally’, she muttered to Holly as they heaped their plates full of the crispiest baked potatoes in the southern hemisphere.

Minna’s words came a reality as she perched on a foldable deck chair at the “kindertisch”. The only seat available for Wally, was next the hers. When he approached the table, paper plate laden into a V-shape from piles of poultry and potato, all the other kids had closed the ranks with their chairs, ensuring no Wally-sized gap existed. Minna, who had been busy discussing the method of making crunchy potato with Holly, had failed to register the Wally-approach. Too late, Wally squeezed his frame between her and Holly. Minna cringed. She would have preferred two Grandmas with wings on either side of her than to be seated next to him.

Wally spoiled what would have been a most pleasant Christmas dinner. As he hoed into his potato salad and smacked his lips together, Minna remarked, ‘You know, you remind me of Gomer Pyle! Where’re you from? Cornball Mississippi South?’

‘Shut up buck tooth Loch Ness Monster!’ Wally replied spraying a mouthful of spud over her plate.

‘Oh! Yuk! Creep germs!’ Minna cried. With that, she tipped the tainted contents over his lap.

‘I’ll get Boris onto you. Or better still, his cockroaches. Ha-ha.’

‘Whoever Boris is. Anyway, you’re one big cockroach.’

‘You dog!’ Wally scraped up a wad of potato and flicked it in her face.

‘How dare you contaminate me!’ She knocked her cola over his trousers. ‘Oops! Looks like someone’s had an accident. Ha! Ha! Wally’s peed himself!’

All the cousins laughed.

‘You cow!’ Wally squealed. His voice cracked and squeaked as if he were a pig.

‘Come, come! What’s going on?’ Grandma poked her head out the back door.

Wally pointed at Minna. ‘The dog did it!’

‘Now, now, that’s not a nice thing to say about your cousin.’ Grandma chided. ‘Dear me, what happened to your pants, Wally?’

‘It was an accident.’ Minna chortled. ‘Wasn’t it, Holly?’

Holly nodded and giggled into her napkin. She had no time for the loathsome Wally either. ‘Yeah, Gran, he had an accident, he peed himself.’ She guffawed.

‘What? Minna threw the drink on me!’ Wally yelped. He brushed the stain with his holly decorated napkin.

‘Now, now, Wally, calm down!’ Grandma reasoned. She waddled her wide-girth body to the table and put an arm around Wally’s shoulder. ‘You must treat girls with respect. You don’t go calling them names like that. Now you say, “Sorry”.’

Wally scowled and muttered, ‘Sorry!’

Satisfied, Grandma went back to her job of hosting the adults who were by this time popping bon-bons and laughing out loud at the lame jokes discovered inside them.

Holly and Minna tittered as they observed Wally move away and seat his slimy self all alone at an extra tiny card table. The paper hat sat crookedly on his greasy scalp.

Minna giggled and said, ‘Hey, Holly, with that salad bowl hair cut and pasty complexion, he looks like the dork from Oz.’

‘Shut up!’ Wally menaced as the girls continued to snigger. He hurled the bone at them. The girls dodged the missile and it landed with a plop in dried up plant pot.

‘Oooh!’ Holly jibed. ‘Respect the ladies, didn’t you hear what Grandma said?’

‘You’re no ladies,’ Wally mumbled.

His mother poked her nose out the window. ‘Wally?’

‘Nothing,’ her son muttered, and with head down, he played with a chicken wing on his plate.

 […to be continued]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018

Feature Photo: Christmas Table © L.M. Kling 2006 

***

Treat Yourself to a space adventure this Holiday season

Want more? More than before? Don’t just listen to the rumours of the war on Boris, read it for yourself. Find out how and why this war began.

Check out my novels on Amazon and in Kindle. Click on the links below:

Mission of the Unwilling—Free for the next few hours.

***

Or check out Holly’s adventures in

The Hitch-hiker 

Mission For Free–A New Beginning

A New Beginning

Where to start? That is the question and challenge for every author as they embark on writing that “Great (insert your country of choice) novel”.

For years my first novel, Mission of the Unwilling has languished on the virtual shelves of Amazon mostly unread, unloved. Why?

So, I asked the team at Indie Scriptorium to have a look at the story and give feedback. Elsie commented that some scenes were too confronting and caused her to have nightmares. Boris can have that effect.

Mary apologized and said that I needed to rewrite the first chapter as there wasn’t enough information to keep the reader engaged.

So, for me, the work began…and a new chapter, a new beginning evolved. Oh, and some of the more “silencey of the lambs” bits were toned down. It worried me that Boris might be giving my readers nightmares.

Anyway, it will cost you nothing to download a copy of Mission of the Unwilling (second edition). It’s free on Kindle from today (23 December) until Tuesday 27 December.

[Extract from Mission of the Unwilling (2nd Ed)

PREAMBLE

ABDUCTED…ALMOST

October 1986

Minna: reflections from her diary

One Friday night in late autumn, I ventured up the dimly lit path of the university grounds to North Terrace and waited to cross at the lights. The air, although well into spring, October, in fact, still had a bite in it. Not that the chill deterred me from wearing a cotton plaid mini dress that I had discovered in my mother’s wardrobe. I often dipped into her 1960’s collection of fashion icons, especially when she’s away on one of her frequent business trips. I like the 1960’s. Although I’ve flirted with the buffed up and permed hair of current fashion, I’ve reverted to my natural long straight blonde locks. Günter likes my hair “natural” as he puts it.

I glanced at my watch. 6:00pm. The car traffic was at its peak, but the university student mass had begun to peter out. I smiled. That’ll be me, next year.

As it’s Friday night shopping, I anticipated the shops in Rundle Mall to be open. A chance to scout around the city’s dress and record shops before heading home and then off to a night at the movies with my friends from youth group, Monica and Liesel.

I sighed. The only problem with movies is that we can never decide what to see. As almost graduating high school students, Liesel and I would be hankering for a racy adventure or science fiction and Monica, who’s four years older than us, would be the ultimate wet blanket wanting to see only soppy love stories.

To my right, a voice with a distinct German accent, ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’

Ah! Günter, I thought. Voice doesn’t sound familiar, though. Not Günter’s warm deep voice.

I turned abruptly intending to give my standard closed response, of a sharp “No!” However, on closer inspection, this owner of the lame line appeared familiar. But who? Dressed for power. Styled in an Italian-made dark business suit, up and coming, right and ready for money-making, and to impress the ladies in town. The finely cut features of his face and neatly cut ash-blonde hair made him an ideal candidate for a fashion magazine or David Jones catalogue. I gathered the impression that this familiar man was trying to be the world’s most eligible bachelor. However, despite all the familiarity and fine appearance, something about him was not right. I was suspicious. But not so suspicious to be unfriendly to him.

‘Now isn’t it amazing that we should meet, on a day, in a place at such a time as this,’ the model man said.

‘Perhaps,’ I replied whilst staring straight ahead. The pedestrian lights turned to “walk” and we strode over North Terrace to Pulteney Street.

‘We must have coffee and catch up. Why, I haven’t seen you since, um, since um…’

Instead of saying, “No, I have to go,” like a lamb to the slaughter, I meekly followed him down below street level into a nearby wine bar. The atmosphere was neat, clean, and the lighting dim. Although near Rundle Mall, I sensed a seedy darkness, as if downtown Hindley Street.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Sellicks Beach © L.M. Kling 2017

***

Continue to feast on this story over the Christmas season.

A treat for all my friends and followers.

Download for free (from December 23-27) from Kindle

Click here on Mission of the Unwilling (second edition).

On a Mission–Refined and Revamped MOU2

There’s this WP prompt here to list my top 5 grocery items. So, here’s mine: Sour dough bread, milk, super berry juice, crackers, and chocolate. No need to buy meat, we buy it bulk, and have it delivered straight from the farm. And vegetables we grow in our garden. Eggs come from a friend who has chooks.

Now, when I’m not shopping for bread and milk, I’ve been working on the second edition of my first novel, Mission of the Unwilling.

If you are tired of the mundane and are wanting space adventure, and the mischief and mayhem that alien cockroach Boris creates…

A Taste from Mission of the Unwilling (2nd Edition)

Avoiding Monica’s Playroom, (I thought Maggie might be lurking there), I headed for the Driver room. Would Günter zap back to a Grey and be piloting there? Or would just his apes be in the Driver room? I approached the junction where the right passage led to that room of monitors and Günter. I sensed someone sliding along the wall behind me and looked back.

A lump lodged in my throat. Not the Grey Nurse again!

‘Where is he?’ She tugged at my collar choking me. ‘You go to him—get him. I want him.’ Does she ever give up?

‘If you’re that desperate, find him yourself.’ I veered the other way, ducked around the next corner, and lost her.

I headed for the Engine room. I had to see John and talk to him about all my troubles. And warn him Boris might be back. What I liked about John was he didn’t talk much; he just sat there and listened.

I entered the maze of towering machines, pumps, and raw veins of bound wires. Anxious, at every sound of a swish behind me, I checked my back. Every wheeze, and I slammed myself up against the closest engine cowling, flattening myself for cover. I reached John’s small office and lurched through the entrance.

Hands gripped around my eyes. Darkness, even darker.

‘We must leave here,’ a deep voice said. ‘Now.’

‘Why?’

‘It is not safe; there has been an accident.’

‘Günter, is that you?’

He pushed me, guiding me. Something oily underfoot made me slip. He held me. Then carried me out.

In the light of the corridor, I blinked. Günter appeared pale. His forehead was covered in beads of perspiration. And as he held me, he trembled.

My shoe stuck to the floor. I lifted my foot. On the tiles, a bloodstained shoe print.

‘W-what’s going on?’ I asked.

‘I-it is J-John…’ Günter rasped. ‘I-didn’t want you…to see…’

‘John? Is he…no, not John…he can’t be…’ I moved to enter the engineering room.

‘No danger.’ Günter pulled me back. ‘He is…he is gone.’

Günter cradled me in his arms as we both wept.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Mission of the Unwilling cover © L.M. Kling 2022 (UFO © Liz Maxted)

***

Continue to feast on this story over the Christmas season.

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Story Behind the Art–Cockling at Goolwa

[After a three-year hiatus between exhibitions, Marion Art Group will hold an exhibition at Brighton central shopping Centre (Brighton Road, South Brighton) from October 17-30, 2022.  One of my artworks to be displayed, Cockling at Goolwa in Pastel revisits the K-Team’s journey down “memory” highway, 100-kilometres south of Adelaide to Goolwa Beach on the far-flung edges of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Remembering our time with friends 20-years ago searching for cockle shells in the sand.]

Cockling at Goolwa

A picture, they say, tells a thousand words. So, what is Cockling at Goolwa’s story? How can the simple heel-toe dance of “cocklers” (people who dig for cockle shells), their feet sinking in soggy sand of the in-coming tide, in the flux of early summer warmth, on a remote beach south of Adelaide tell us? What story worth a thousand words? What was it about this scene that attracted me to capture it? First in photo and then several years later, on canvas in acrylic, and recently in pastel.

*[Photo 1: Cockling at Goolwa © L.M. Kling 2002]

I think the water reflecting the sky, all silver, the people on the wet sand, a mirror, swaying and twisting for cockles captured my attention. I’d been there, on the glassy surface, watching for bubbles, grinding my heel into the bog, feeling for the sharp edges of shell and plucking out the cockles that snapped shut when exposed to air.

*[Photo 2: Dad Digging for the cockle © L.M. Kling 2002]

I was there, but then I watched. Mothers, fathers, and children lost in the moment of twisting and hunting and collecting cockles.

*[Photo 3: Lost in the moment © L.M. Kling 2002]

‘What will you do with all those cockles?’ I asked.

‘They’re for fishing,’ one of our friends said. ‘Bait for fish.’

‘Hopefully, we’ll catch a few fish and have them for dinner tonight,’ another said.

I imagined fish, fresh from the sea, thrown on the barbeque and the cockle bait inside them buried once again in our stomachs. We continued digging for cockles…family and friends, one with the ancient, outside time—nothing else matters but the cockles.

*[Photo 4: Goolwa beach Lost in time © L.M. Kling 2002

]

Goolwa, if I remember, has mounds of spent shells in the sand hills, monuments to generations upon generations of Indigenous Australians, their open-air kitchens and meals. Did they perform the same ritual, on the same patch of wet sand, delving for cockles to fry on their fires? A quick perusal of Google reveals they used nets to collect cockles and catch fish. They then cooked the cockles on a campfire.

*[Photo 5: Goolwa beach sunset © L.M. Kling 2002]

We are here, they are gone, but their spirit of history lingers, reminding us, though we seem different, we are the same. We are digging, dancing and delving for our dinner. We are still, in the moment, alone in our thoughts in a forgotten corner of the world, unknown by the world, yet one with this country’s past. And God knows each one of us—each part of us, even the unknown parts of ourselves and our secrets.

*[Photo 6: Divine painting of sky and sea © L.M. Kling 2002]

What if I shared a little secret—an artist’s secret? Okay, I’ll tell you. I painted this picture in less than two hours. Now, that I’ve told you, would the painting be worth less to you? Must time be equated with worth? Sometimes I do take hours upon hours, layers upon layers, and more hours planning to get the work right. But not Cockling at Goolwa.

*[Photo 7: The natural child © L.M. Kling 2002]

I love the beginning of a painting; laying the foundation, engaging my inner-natural child, the paint flowing from a thick brush on a damp canvas, colours blending, mixing as I go. One side of the brush crimson, the other blue and a dab of white. Sienna somewhere there in the foreground shadowing the sand. Mid-yellow added incrementally to shroud the distance in light grey for perspective. Then just a hint of heads of land jutting out halfway across the horizon with a suggestion of ultramarine in the grey. So simple, and sometimes, like with Cockling at Goolwa, the scene emerged before my eyes. In the world of artists, I believe the term “magic brush” or “magic hand” has been used. Um, trade secret, so don’t go spreading it around.

So, there you have it, in less than an hour, surf, sand, sky and tones in all the right places.

*[Photo 8: Boogie-board Surfing at Goolwa beach © L.M. Kling 2002]

Now for the people, the twisting, turning people, their feet in the boggy sand. How do I paint them? I had a break and drank a cup of tea. I remember not all the children hunted for cockles. Some kids body-surfed in the shallows, some played cricket and one little boy with a wish to be hunted, or to be warm, buried all his body except his head in the sand. I found him and he broke out of his sand-grave, the sand zombie.

*[Photo 9: Sand-zombie © L.M. Kling 2002]

‘Don’t go tracking your sandy footprints into the shack,’ I said.

He washed himself off in the surf, then sat wrapped in a towel and shivering in the sun while watching the cockle hunt.

All the while the “cocklers” cockled for cockle shells. Soon the boy joined the hunt for cockles.

Then when the paint was dry, I plotted the people in with pencil and then painted them in with a finer brush.

‘I like that painting,’ a fellow member of the art group said. ‘Don’t do another thing to it. Don’t even frame it. I’ll buy it as it is. How much do you want for it?’

Paint barely dry, I took the work home, signed it and then the next week at our Christmas lunch, I delivered Cockling at Goolwa to them. The buyer showed the work to others at their table and all admired it.

[Photo 10: Watching the cocklers © L.M. Kling 2002]
 

What made another person connect with Cockling at Goolwa? For this person, their son and family spent many summer holidays at Goolwa, doing just that, cockling. Time out, out of time, unwinding, relaxing, happy times, happy memories, captured on canvas…in less than two hours. And I must admit, the story is slightly less than one thousand words.

But, perhaps as you look at the copy of Cockling at Goolwa, you may have a story of your own about the painting. Maybe a painting’s story is not just one person’s story, but stories from many people, one thousand words, or more…

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; updated 2022

*Feature Painting: Cockling at Goolwa in Pastel © L.M. Kling 2022

***

Longing for more travel adventures?

Dreaming of exploring Australia?

Read the T-Team’s Aussie adventures, click on the link below:

Trekking the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Remembering Dad–Picnic at Brownhill Creek

[Remembering my Dad, 10 years since he passed from this world to be with his heavenly father. Wonderful loving father, beautiful memories, amazing adventures…]

Happy Hunting Ground

[Picnics on special days have been a “thing” for years. Not sure when this experience happened, but it was a picnic all the same.]

Dad leaned on his shovel and with a wrinkled handkerchief patted sweat from his head displacing the few strands of hair masquerading as a “comb-over”. Then with grunts sounding as if he were puffing billy, he attacked the garden bed. With each load of soil, he groaned, puffed and wheezed, demonstrating how hard he was working. A closed cardboard box sat near the cauliflower patch, a counterbalance to the growing pile of dirt the other side of the hole Dad created.

[Photo 1: Dad digging in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger 1977]

‘Daddy, what are you doing?’ I asked strolling across the lawn to Dad.

Dad grunted some more and then flung a heap of soil into the mound behind him.

‘Daddy, why are you digging this deep hole?’

Dad stopped digging. ‘Huh?’

‘Daddy, what’s this hole for?’

‘Never you mind, Lee-Anne.’ Dad must think at six years old, I’m too young to know.

‘But Daddy, I just want to know.’

Dad tapped the box with his boot. ‘I’m sending puss to her happy hunting ground.’

‘Wilma?’ I asked. ‘But Daddy, why are you digging a hole, Daddy? Are you digging your way to Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I had visions of my cat chasing mice in China.

Dad glanced at the box and cleared his throat. ‘Oh, er, no, not really. Just a bit of gardening, dear. Now, run along and get ready for the picnic.’

[Photo 2: Dad resting after his hard day at work in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Ah! A spring picnic at Brown Hill Creek. I loved picnics with Mummy, Daddy and Richard, my eleven year old brother. Brown Hill Creek in the Adelaide foothills had paths lined with eucalyptus trees, and a creek filled with yabbies and tadpoles for Richard and me to hunt. I imagined Brown Hill Creek as the perfect “happy hunting ground” for cats.

‘Is Brown Hill Creek Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I asked.

Mum, her mousy curls covered with a scarf, poked her head out the door and called from the porch, ‘Hurry up, David!’

[Photo 3: Mum hanging up the washing before we go out © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1971]

‘Yes, dear,’ Dad said and with huffing and puffing, dug with increased speed.

I jumped up and down and flapped my arms. ‘Hooray! We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground!’ Then I ran back to Mum standing in the back porch. ‘We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground.’

‘Yes, well, I suppose,’ Mum said her blue eyes averting mine.

***

All the way to Brown Hill Creek, I filled the stale air in Bathsheba, our Holden car with my constant babble. As the only blonde in the family, it was my calling to be the family entertainment.

[Photo 4: Bathsheba, our trusty Holden car in the background © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1969]

‘I bet Wilma loves it at Brown Hill Creek. There’s so many birds…Mummy, do all the cats go to our picnic park when they go to their happy hunting ground?’

‘Mmmm,’ Mum replied.

I took that response as a “yes”. ‘Mummy, why did Wilma go to her happy hunting ground? Why didn’t she want to stay with us?’

Mum sighed. ‘Wilma wanted to go. It was her time.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Are dogs there too?’

‘Wouldn’t be a happy hunting ground for cats, if dogs were there too,’ Dad said.

‘Maybe dogs go somewhere else.’ I tried to think where dogs would go. ‘Like where there’s more trees, I guess.’

Richard shook his square head topped with brown curls. ‘Why do you always talk so much, Lee-Anne?’

I shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Anyway,’ Richard said, ‘Wilma is—’

‘Shh!’ Mum glared at my brother and narrowed her eyes.

‘Gee, Brown Hill Creek must be full of cats,’ Richard muttered.

‘Oh, goody, when we get there, the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to find them all,’ I said.

Richard rolled his eyes and shook his head.

***

Clouds shrouded the sky casting Brown Hill Creek reserve in a pall of grey. Dad manoeuvred Bathsheba into the gravel carpark. Richard and I then scrambled out. While Richard checked the water-levels of the creek, I gazed up at the lofty branches of the gum trees. Was Wilma up there? The leaves rustled in the breeze.

Mum found an even patch of ground near the creek and spread the rug. Dad lugged the wicker basket loaded with cheese and gherkin sandwiches and a thermos.

‘Richard, would you help carry this?’ Dad asked as he held a bag containing a spare set of my clothes. A picnic was never complete unless I fell into the creek at least once.

I raced along the path and began calling, ‘Wilma! Wilma!’

As the distance between my family and me widened, Dad yelled, ‘Don’t go wandering off—we don’t want you getting lost—again.’

‘I’ll go with her,’ Mum said.

‘Wilma! Wilma!’ I sang.

Birds twittered in those lofty branches. I looked up and called, ‘Wilma! Wilma! Here puss, puss, puss!’

A kookaburra cackled.

[Photo 5: Kookaburra © L.M. Kling 2016]

Mum pointed up at a bunch of blue-green leaves high in a tree. ‘Hey, look!’

‘Wilma?’

‘No, look!’ Mum said, ‘A koala.’

‘What’s a koala doing here? I thought this was the cat’s happy hunting ground.’

[Painting: Koala and baby© L.M. Kling 2013]

Mum took a breath and began. ‘Wilma’s in a better place than this, she’s—’

‘Hiding?’ I peered in the scrub. I parted the stubbles of grass by the side of the path. I looked behind tree trunks and logs. ‘Wilma! Come Wilma!’

My brother strode up the path and stood next to Mum. ‘You have to tell her, Mum.’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘You won’t find Wilma here,’ Richard said.

‘Wilma’s gone dear,’ Mum said.

‘Dead, Lee-Anne,’ announced Richard.

‘No! Richard, you’re wrong. Dad said Wilma went to her “happy hunting ground”, I said straining my voice.

‘Richard’s right,’ Mum said. ‘Wilma’s happy hunting ground is in heaven, not Brown Hill Creek.’

***

We ate our cheese and gherkin sandwiches in silence. If I wasn’t talking our little family usually ate in silence. Mum sat me on her lap and wrapped her arms around me as I forced small bites of sandwich past the lump in my throat. I looked at the creek frothing and bubbling from good spring rains. The yabbies and tadpoles were safe from my jar and net that day. I was in no mood to hunt them. My spare set of clothes would stay a spare set for another picnic. I decided to break the silence.

[Photo 6 and feature: Happier times at Brownhill Creek © C.D. Trudinger 1964]

‘Will I never see Wilma again?’ I asked.

‘I’m afraid not,’ Mum said. ‘But you have Barney, Wilma’s brother, to be your special cat to look after.’

‘Why does Lee-Anne get a special cat?’ Richard asked.

‘Well, you’ve got Timothy, Wilma’s other brother, he’s your special cat,’ Mum replied.

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘So Wilma’s in her happy hunting ground in heaven,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ Dad said. ‘Wilma’s in heaven.’

[Photo 7: Wilma and Me © C.D. Trudinger 1968]

And I imagined Wilma stalking through a hole from our world and into the next; her happy hunting ground in heaven.

***

[Photo 8: Holly 2000-2016© L.M. Kling 2011]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

Feature Photo: Picnic at Brownhill Creek. Photo taken by David Trudinger 1964

***

Want more, but too impossible to travel down under?

Why not take a virtual journey with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click here on Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981…

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…