T-Team Series–Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye)

[While painting this scene of a group of older men gathering to admire the glowing walls of Standley Chasm, I was reminded of the T-Team’s trek in 1977 with Mr. B. This wealthy man used to comfort and luxury, took on the challenges of roughing it camping with the T-Team. This stunning chasm is about 50km west of Alice Springs and is one of the first of many beautiful sites to visit in the MacDonnell Ranges.]

The T-Team With Mr B (26)

Mr. B slowed the Rover and eased it into a park joining the line of cars, land rovers, and buses awaiting their owners’ return. The T-Team piled out of the Rover and in single-file, followed Dad along the narrow track heading towards Standley Chasm. In the twists and turns of the trail that hugged the dry creek bed, I spotted ferns in the shadow of rock mounds the colour of yellow ochre, and ghost gums sprouting out of russet walls of stone. Hikers marched past us returning to the car park.

*[1. Photo: Path to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling © L.M. Kling 2013]

‘G’day,’ they said. ‘Well worth it.’

Dad checked his watch and quickened his pace.

I ran to catch Dad. ‘Have we missed out?’

‘We better hurry,’ Dad snapped.

A leisurely short stroll became a race to the finish as we struggled to keep up with Dad; scrambling over boulders on the track, squeezing past more tourists going to and from the chasm, Dad snapping and cracking the verbal whip, and Mr. B moaning and groaning that “it’s not for a sheep station”.

*[2. Photo: Ghost gum and ferns on way to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

The crowd thickened, stranding us in a jam of people, fat bottoms wobbling, parents hauling their whinging kids, and men clutching cameras to their eyes for the perfect shot. Dad checked his watch and then shifted the weight from one foot to the other.

‘Are we there yet?’ I asked.

Wrong question. Especially when asking a grumpy Dad.

‘Not yet!’ Dad barked.

‘I reckon we’re not far away,’ I said. ‘All the tourists have stopped. Must be some reason.’

Dad screwed up his nose. ‘I dunno, it doesn’t look right.’

‘Excuse me! Excuse me!’ Mr. B, one arm stretched out before him, parted the sea of people and strode through.

We followed in Mr. B’s wake and within twenty paces, there it glowed. Standley Chasm. Both walls in hues of gold to ochre. Dozens of people milled around its base.

*[3. Photo: No quite the right time but still awesome: Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad gazed at the chasm, and then squinted at the position of the sun. ‘It’s not there yet.’

‘How long?’ I wanted to know.

‘Not long, just wait.’ Dad paced towards a white gum that bowed before the grand wonder of the chasm.

‘Wait! I’ll take a photo of you,’ I said.

‘Do you have to?’

‘Why not?’

‘We might miss the walls turning red.’

‘They turn red that quickly?’

Dad leaned up against the tree. ‘I s’pose not.’

I dug out my instamatic camera and photographed my grumpy Dad.

*[4. Photo: While we wait, a grumpy Dad before the chasm © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Then we waited. The tourists snapped their shots and then filtered away.

‘When’s it going to turn red?’ I asked for the fourth time.

‘Be patient,’ Dad said.

‘This is boring,’ Matt mumbled.

‘Let’s see what’s the other side.’ Richard tapped Matt on the arm. The two lads scrambled over the rocks and I watched them hop from one boulder to the next over a small waterhole.

*[5. Photo: The rocks’ reflection, Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad paced from one wall to the next while Mr. B photographed Standley Chasm from every angle.

*[6. Photo: The ideal image; Standley Chasm © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

I watched mesmerized by the sunlight playing on the walls. They turned from a russet-brown on one side, gold on the other, to both glowing a bright orange. But by then, most of the tourists had left, thinking the Chasm had finished its performance for the day.

*[7. Photo: Well worth the wait; Standley Chasm, just perfect © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]
*[ 8. Painting: Dad’s Standley Chasm in watercolour © C.D. Trudinger circa 1959]

As the other wall turned in hue to sienna, Mr. B packed his camera in his leather case and stood back admiring the view.

‘Get some good shots?’ Dad asked.

‘I reckon I did.’ Mr. B patted his camera bag. ‘You know, once the crowds thinned out, I reckon I got some good ones.’

‘Ah, well, I’ve seen Standley Chasm put on a better show in the past.’ I think Dad was trying to justify not having a functional camera.

‘Well, I enjoyed it,’ I said. ‘This place is amazing!’

[9. Photo: Standley Chasm mid-afternoon; still the same perfect light 36 years later © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad patted me on the back. ‘Ah! Lee-Anne, you haven’t seen anything yet. Wait till you see Ormiston Gorge.’

‘By the way, where are tha boys?’ Mr. B asked.

‘Looks like we have to be patient and wait for them now.’

‘I hope your son doesn’t get ma boy lost.’

Dad laughed. ‘No worries. There they are, just the other side of the chasm.’ He waved at the boys.

Richard and Matt scrambled through the chasm to join the T-Team on the hike back to the Rover.

[10. Photo: Actual photo of men admiring StandleyChasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

Feature Painting: Men Admiring Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2018

***

Want more? More than before?

Binge on True Aussie Adventure with the T-Team in my book available on Amazon and in Kindle.

Click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Choice Bites–Minna

As I developed my characters from the War against Boris series, stories began to emerge. Here’s one of them.

THE CHOICE: MINNA

One of those summer days doused in grey…I ride my bike to the beach to collect shells. As I comb the surf-soaked sands, a man’s voice snaps me out of the zone.

‘Found anyone interesting?’

‘Nup, no bodies,’ I murmur.

‘That’s a shame, a nice looking lady like you.’’

I fix my sight on shards of shell and ignore him. Hate those pickup lines.

‘Oh, what’s your problem? I’m not going to bite.’

I glance at him—had to see what creep I’m dealing with. Pale, pock-marked face, thirties and just a little taller than me at 165cm. In a grubby white t-shirt and brown trousers. “Never trust a man who wears brown trousers,” my school friend Liesel always said.

‘Come on, dear, just a little conversation. Tell me, what do you want more than anything in the world.’

I shrug. ‘To leave me alone.’

‘Tell you what, you tell me and I’ll leave you alone. Deal?’

I push my bike faster trying to escape this man, but he follows me.

‘I promise, I’ll leave you alone—just tell me.’

Hopping on my bike I announce, ‘I don’t talk to strangers.’

‘I’m not going to hurt you. I bet, I bet you’re one of those girls who wants to get married, have a family. That’s what you want more than anything.’

‘If you say so, now leave me alone,’ I say and then speed from the creepy little man with his creepy questions.

‘Your desire will be arranged,’ he says as I splash my wheels through the water. He then shouts, ‘But, I might add, there will be a price.’

‘Sure, sour grapes,’ I mumble. Then pumping the pedals, I sail along the damp-packed sand where the waves meet the shore.

Then, near the ramp and having to cross sand too soft for bike wheels, I glance behind before alighting.

The man in brown trousers is gone…

A short story from another project relating to that alien cockroach, Boris, “Choice Bites© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016, updated 2022

Painting: Sellicks Beach—where Mission of the Unwilling begins © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015 [Mixed media]

***

Want More?

More than before?

Read more on the war against the fiend you love to hate; an overgrown alien cockroach, Boris.

Click on the links below:

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

T-Team Series–Walpa Gorge

The T-Team with Mr B (18)

Without a Certain Person

 [The last few weeks I have been revisiting our adventures with Mr. B. This time without a certain person, the T-Team explore Walpa Gorge…]

At the mouth of Walpa Gorge, Kata Tjuta, we dumped our baggage under a tree, and then advanced up and into the gorge. The heat and flies evaporated as the dank shadows of the gorge’s walls towered over us. I was sure the floor of this gully had never been touched by direct sunlight. We tramped up the narrow path, our voices echoed in the cold air, and our sight adjusted to the blue-grey shade between the boulders.

*[Photo 1: At the entrance to Walpa Gorge © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

We rested where the path vanished into a jumble of rounded rocks, large wrinkled marbles wedged in the narrowing crack of the gully. I gazed back over the plain. The red ochre cliffs of Walpa Gorge framed the pastel strips of pink, blue and lemon-yellow of the land. I snapped a shot.

‘Ah, don’t know if it’ll work out, dear. Too much contrast. You’ll either get the cliffs, or the plain, you won’t get both,’ Dad said.

He was right. When my photos were developed, I’d captured some of the colour on the Walpa Gorge walls, but the land below was invisible, all washed out. One has to be there, in the flesh, and see with one’s own eyes, the true beauty of The Olgas and Walpa Gorge.

*[Photo 2: Walls of Walpa © L.M. Kling 2013]

We negotiated the boulders lodged like marbles in this gully. We struggled up slippery slopes and strained up steep inclines. We paused part way up and admired grandeur of the gorge. The walls glowed a russet red and the golden plains shimmered in the bright midday sun.

‘Come on, not far to go now,’ Dad said. ‘We’ll have lunch when we get there.’

We struggled onwards and upwards. Lichen-covered boulders threatened to thwart our endeavours. But we worked together to over-come the conglomerate of obstacles to finally reach the top-end of the gorge.

[Photo 3: Boulders in the gorge © L.M. Kling 2013]

Over the lip, the view of Kata Tjuta reminded me of an alien landscape as if we’d been transported to another world. Massive boulders and bulbous granite mountains jutted up from the valley. I took photos, but my simple camera could not do justice in reflecting reality of what my eyes could see. We sat on the rocks, and with the breeze cooling our bodies, we savoured the view and a simple lunch of scroggin, a mix of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate.

*[Photo 4: Another alien landscape; view over Windy gorge © L.M. Kling 2013]

After taking several long gulps of water from his canteen, Dad rose, adjusted his pack and said, ‘Okay, time to get back. Mr B will be wondering where we’ve got to.’

Richard, Matt and I stood up and stretched. Then we followed Dad down the narrow, obstacle-ridden gorge.

‘Now, don’t go falling on your bottom, Lee-Anne,’ Dad said.

‘I won’t.’ I was sure I’d be fine; the hike down would surely be easier than hiking up. Not so. A muddy patch greased with moss, caught the heel of my boot. I skidded, slipped and thudded onto my rear.

‘I told you, be careful,’ Dad said.

I stood up and brushed the mud off my bottom. ‘I’m fine.’

Then I trailed after Richard and Matt. No need to have them giggling behind me. I thanked God for small mercies that Mr B wasn’t with us. Imagine what he’d say about my messy backside. I was amazed at how smoothly the whole venture up Walpa Gorge had gone.

*[Photo 5: View from Walpa back over the plain © L.M. Kling 2013]

When we caught up to Dad who was having a rest, Dad whispered to Richard and me, ‘Imagine what Mr B would’ve planned for this gorge.’

‘I’d hate to think,’ I said.

‘Probably some sort of café, I reckon,’ said Richard.

‘Hey, Richard,’ Matt called from a few metres up the side of Walpa’s wall, ‘let’s explore this cave.’ He scrambled up the knobbly side to the cave as if he were a spider.

Richard climbed up to join Matt. They perched at the mouth of the cave and I snapped a shot of them looking out.

‘What’s in there?’ I yelled.

‘Nothing much,’ Richard replied.

‘It’s just a cave,’ Matt said.

‘No art work? No carvings?’

‘Nup.’

‘Must be something,’ I muttered and began mounting the wall to the cave.

‘Careful,’ Dad warned.

The boys edged out of the cave and made their way down back to us on the valley floor.

I continued climbing.

‘You too, Lee-Anne,’ Dad said.

‘Oh, alright!’ I sighed and ambled down to Dad at the base of the gully.

We walked a little further down. I spotted a cave some way up the wall but not as far up as Matt and Richard’s cave. Dad had marched far ahead, so this was my opportunity. Thrusting my camera into Richard’s hands, I crawled up to the cave. The conglomeration of stones melted together allowed me to grasp each foothold and handhold as if the climb were made for me. I then squeezed into the cavity shaped like a slot in a letter box.

*[Photo 6: The Cave © R.M Trudinger 1977]

I examined this small cavity. Richard was right. The recess offered nothing in the way of adventure or excitement. Just another hole in Walpa’s wall. I looked down and spotted a boulder of similar size and shape to the cave. I called out to Richard. ‘Hey, look, there’s the rock that popped out of the cave.’

‘What?’ Richard raised the camera and then clicked one shot. ‘I reckon I got a good one,’ he said. The shot he took featured my legs. My lily-white legs.

With our triumphant return, we entered our base for the day and milled around there. Dad raised his eyes and gazed around the landscape. ‘Hmm, I wonder where Mr B got to?’

Richard shrugged. ‘Beats me.’

‘Ah, well, let’s do some painting, then,’ Dad said.

Dad and Matt set up an impromptu outdoor studio and began painting while waiting for Mr B’s inevitable return. Dad arranged his water-colour paints, secured his paper to a board using masking tape, and then, contemplating the view, the new paper and paints, he folded his hands on his tummy, bowed his head and was soon snoring the flies away from his lips.

 *[Photo 7: Dreaming Mr B’s dream of the future: Wide Road to Walpa © L.M. Kling 2013]

Matt held up his paint brush. ‘What do I do?’

‘I’ll help,’ I said. I picked out a thicker brush, and then most of my afternoon was spent helping Matt paint.

Mr B strolled down the track. He tip-toed up to Dad, head still bent in the art of sleeping.

‘Boo!’ Mr B said.

Dad woke with a start. ‘Who? What? Oh, it’s you.’

‘I found the perfect campsite,’ Mr B announced. ‘No problems with neighbours with this one.’

‘Did you get the flour?’ Dad asked.

Mr B raised his eyes to the sky. ‘Who do you think I am?’

‘Did you?’

‘Of course, ol’ chap. But I dare say, I expect something extraordinary with that flour I went the extra miles, on top of all the travelling I did to find us a better site. Understand?’

‘You haven’t tasted my damper,’ Dad said. ‘And besides, we’ll be feasting on the Bread of Life.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Devotion,’ I piped up. ‘God’s Word.’

‘It is Sunday, after all,’ Dad said.

*[Photo 8: Kata Tjuta sunset © C.D. Trudinger) 1981]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated with photos 2018

*Feature Photo: Water at Walpa © L. M. Kling 2013

***

Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click on the link to my book in Amazon and Kindle:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

T-Team Series–Introducing the Olgas

[The last few weeks I have been revisiting our Central Australian adventures with Mr. B. This time the relationship between my father and Mr. B turns frosty…]

T-Team with Mr. B (17)

In a Hurry

The next morning Dad woke us stumping around the campsite. Mr. B sat up in his sleeping bag. He ground his teeth and glared at him. ‘What’s all this noise about? I just got to sleep after an awful night.’

‘Ah, well, we better get a move on,’ Dad replied while gathering up the cooking utensils and tossing them in the tucker box.

‘I’ll drive us to the Olgas,’ Mr. B snapped.

‘Are you sure that’s a good idea, if you’re tired and had no sleep?’ Dad asked as he chucked a bag of peanuts in the back of the Rover.

‘I’ll be fine.’ Mr. B dismissed Dad with a flick of his wrist. ‘You go and enjoy yourselves.’

Dad sucked the icy air between the gap in his front teeth. ‘Very well, then.’

*[Photo 1: Key to Trekking success; packed up and ready to go © C.D. Trudinger 1992]

After a quick breakfast of sloppy porridge, Mr. B eased his weary body into the driver’s seat and Dad climbed into the passenger seat at the front. Us young ones scrounged for what was left of sitting space in the back cabin.

As the Rover’s engine chugged under Mr. B’s control, Dad said, ‘I’ll show you the way to Walpa Gorge. Then you can take the Rover to find, er, um, another camping spot. Oh, er and don’t forget the flour.’

Mr. B grunted, pressed his foot down on the accelerator and scooted over the road edge, rapping the wheels as they met the gravel on the graded road. Dad stiffened and clutched the dashboard while Mr. B raced along the dirt highway and grinned. In the back cabin, we bounced as the Rover hit each corrugation with speed.

 ‘Careful!’ Dad cried through the judder.

‘You need to tackle those humps by going fast,’ Mr. B assured him. ‘The ride is better if you go fast over the bumps. Didn’t you say that?’

‘Er, I’m not sure, about that.’

‘Believe me, I know. I’ve had plenty of experience, ol’ man. I know what I’m doing.’

‘It is a hire vehicle, though. We want to return it to the company in one piece.’

I reckon I saw the dollar signs and calculations going off in a bubble above Mr. B’s head. His jaw tightened, and he slowed down the vehicle and muttered, ‘Fine then.’

Glimpses of the boulders of Kata Tjuta (the Olga’s), flirted with the dunes. Tantalised by these clumps of rocks that appeared as if some giant alien force had dumped them in the middle of Australia, I leaned forward and peered through the gap between the front seat to gaze through the windscreen.

*[Photo 2: First glimpses of the Olgas © L.M. Kling 2013]

 ‘Dad,’ I asked, ‘How did the Olgas form?’

‘The Olgas are made of conglomerate rocks,’ Dad said. ‘They are different from the singular formation of Ayers Rock.’

‘Were they from outer space?’

‘No, more likely that in ages past, an inland sea helped form the various types of rocks to fuse together. You can actually find seashells and seashell fossils in the rocks in Central Australia.’

‘You’re an expert, are you?’ Mr. B chimed in.

‘I’m not sure about The Olgas, but, um I’ve found shells in the dry bed of the Finke River, when I was here in the 1950’s,’ Dad explained. ‘I’ve done some reading. And well, you can see it, the way the land and the mountains are. Had to be an inland sea.’

Mr. B rolled his eyes. ‘If you say so.’

Dad pointed at a wooden signpost. ‘Walpa Gorge. Turn down here.’

*[Photo 3: Walpa Gorge to the right © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

The Rover lumbered down the narrow track until we reached a clearing. To our right, a river gum towered above us.

 ‘This’ll do,’ Dad said. ‘Nice place to set up our paints when we’re finished hiking, I reckon.’

The russet boulders that had looked like folds of skin from the highway, now appeared split into a gully begging to be explored.

‘How far are we from the gorge?’ I asked.

‘Oh, about half a mile,’ Dad replied.

‘I’ll leave you then,’ Mr. B said. He marched back to the Rover, jumped in and rapping the wheels again, sped down the track. We watched while the plume of dust Mr. B had left behind settled down to the red earth.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: T-Team Next Gen at Walpa Gorge entrance © L.M. Kling 2013

***

Want More?

More than Before?

Go on an adventure with the T-Team…

Click on the link below and travel in time and space…

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

100-Word Challenge–Bathsheba

 

[Driving around Adelaide these days, I see many classic cars. Brings back memories of our family cars from my childhood…]

Bathsheba

After 50 years, I have discovered the significance of our Holden FC’s name.

My dad was called David. In the Bible, there’s a King David who has an illicit affair with a woman he spies in a bath on a roof top. Her name, Bathsheba. Bath-she-ba; an apt name considering
the circumstances of their meeting.

Did Mum think that when Dad bought this car, this silver-pointed beauty was his “mistress’?

Similarities: Both Davids were master of their realms. Both Bathshebas, not new, used, yet beautiful. And both Bathshebas became parked in their David’s palace, in a harem, their love
shared.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Bathsheba in our Backyard © L.M. Kling nee Trudinger) 1969

 

 

***

Catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and the mischief
and mayhem he generates. Click on the links below…

 

The Lost World of the Wends

 

 

Discover how it all started…

The Hitch-hiker

And how it continued in…

Mission of the Unwilling

EPSON scanner image

Tuesdays with Carol–Tulips

Of Impressionists and Tulips

With Covid still hanging around Carol’s place and wearing out its welcome, I have drawn on a past Tuesday with Carol.

A few weeks ago, I revisited the tulip field muse. Carol and I like the Impressionists style. We had lots of fun playing with the blend of colours and keeping our paintings loose.

My past efforts painting these tulips at the Canberra Floriade, in watercolour and acrylic, have been less than impressive. Those paintings have ended up filed away in the drawer of no return or cut up and pieces used for cards.

But I’m happy with this piece. The difference, a bit of artistic license by putting a windmill in the picture and less tulips. It’s all to do with composition.

On a different note, but related, a couple of friends and I have been working on a community project—a publishing collective. We have called this endeavour, Indie Scriptorium. If you would like to find out more, check out our newly formed website and our first post by clicking here.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Painting: Tulip field, Canberra Floriade © L.M. Kling 2022

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Bonfire on the Beach (2)

Bonfire on the Beach

Part 2

[Tuesdays with Carol is on hold as a certain virus has accosted a close family member and so, we are in isolation. By the way, Carol, when I informed her, was most thankful her godson (my son), needed my assistance as mum’s taxi for some shopping last Thursday. If he hadn’t, I would’ve visited her that Thursday afternoon potentially putting her at risk.

Anyway, here’s the conclusion of Bonfire on the Beach where the murder mystery begins…]

Hit and Run

With a hip flask between best friends, Fifi and Lillie slipped away, gliding along the shore and up the ramp to the road. Kangaroo-skin blanket wrapped around them, the girls perched on a seat overlooking the miniature party scene. The orange glow of the revived bonfire danced in the cove below them. While they gossiped, topic of conversation focussing on Wally, the crisp air carried the beat of The Doors and Sven’s Ford Falcon XB rumbling up the ramp.

Lillie rubbed notches in the seat. Four lines scratched into the backrest. ‘What does this mean?’

‘Some local stud’s score, I reckon.’ Fifi traced the lines. ‘Fox’s probably.’

‘Not much of a stud, then,’ Lillie scoffed, ‘Geoffrey Fox must’ve had more than four conquests. Surely.’

A roar ripped through their conversation.

‘Excellent! A drag race!’ Fifi said and tore the blanket from Lillie.

Fifi waddled to the empty patch of bitumen.

Shivering, Lillie followed and peered down the peninsula. As the headlights approached, a dull thud and a torso, arms and legs flying, altered their curiosity. One headlight wobbled; its radiance extinguished.

Fifi tottered towards the action. ‘What was that?’

‘Probably just a roo.’

‘And what roo has two legs and arms? I definitely saw two legs and arms. I’m going to have look.’

The girlfriends reached the spot. Motorbike shattered on the pavement. Body tangled around a pole, eyes glassy, staring into eternity.

Lillie’s gaze fixated on the human wreckage; mutilation mingled with man’s frailty into her memory.

Fifi dragged Lillie down the ramp. ‘Come, we can’t just stand here. We better tell the others, someone.’

Fox reclined by the fire hypnotised by the flames.

Jimmy, through a mouthful of crisps, said, ‘A good thing that Wally wasn’t there otherwise he would be raving about the grisly details till morning.’

‘It was Wally,’ Lillie said and wiped her dripping nose.

‘Oh,’ Jimmy said and popped a large curly crisp into his mouth and munched.

Unimpressed Fifi yanked at Lillie’s arm. ‘Come on, Lillie. We better see what we can do for the poor bloke.’

A group of pensioners hovered over the blood-stained sheet. Leaning up against the warped pole, a man with black rimmed glasses and bulging nose wagged his head. ‘There was nothing we could do.’

Wrapped in a lavender quilted dressing gown, a woman, hair in rollers, gawked. ‘Poor fellow. What a waste!’

Blood splatters glinted in the streetlight. Acid brewed in Lillie’s stomach. She held her throat and gulped. ‘I don’t feel so well. Let’s go back down.’

‘If you insist.’ Fifi trailed after her friend, hanging back, stopping as the ambulance arrived, watching as it ferried the latest statistic towards the red glow of Adelaide.

Back at the bonfire, Lillie nestled up to Geoffrey Fox. She didn’t want to be alone.

Later, Fox’s Kombi became the couple’s refuge and passion Lillie’s comfort.

Morning: sea watery blue, translucent. Sven emerged from his Falcon. He leant against the bonnet and nursed a jagged dent in the fender. Lillie watched banter between Sven and Jimmy through her flickering sleep-salted eyes.

‘Guess what!’ Jimmy’s mouth frothed with stale left-over beer.

‘What?’ Sven did not look up but continued to stroke and inspect a cracked headlight.

‘Some hoon killed Wally up there.’

Sven shrugged and then adjusted a pair of chipped Polaroid sunglasses on his fine pointed nose.

Crawling out of the Kombi, Lillie hobbled over to the Falcon. ‘Hey, just wait a minute. What’s Wals – How come you’re wearing Wally’s shades, Sven?’

Sven surveyed the placid blue sea. ‘Dunno, they were there, I s’pose.’ He rubbed the damage to his bonnet, frowning as flecks of red paint floated in the breeze. ‘‘Sides he wrecked mine!’

‘And your car? How did you get that dent?’

‘I dunno. Can’t help it if that stupid fatso gets in the way.’ Sven wiped his faded jeans, blotched greasy and brown, purging his hands of sand. ‘It’s what I do to people like Wally and dirty old men.’

‘What do you mean?’ Lille caught her breath and stepped back. ‘Have you done this before?’

‘Ha! Ha! Fooled you!’ Sven tossed his head back and laughed. ‘Geez, sis, you’re so gullible.’

Her brother then climbed into his Ford, spun the wheels, and flew over the firm damp shore, shrinking into the distance, towards Aldinga beach, then returning.

Lillie kicked sand into the ashes. ‘I feel sick. What are we going to do?’

Fifi squirmed in her sleeping bag. ‘Huh? What do you mean?’

‘Last night. Wally. You know.’

Poking her head from the hood, Fifi faced Lillie and narrowed her eyes. ‘Last night? Nothing happened, okay? Nothing happened. We were at Dee’s party – If anyone asks. Okay?” She turned her head to the others and enunciated each syllable. ‘Isn’t that right.’

Jimmy charged his stubby and nodded.

Fox poked his head out the Kombi’s open window. ‘Yep, Dee’s.’

‘But – but…Dee’s my worst enemy. No one will believe that I would’ve been at Dee’s,’ Lillie said and heaped more sand on the coals. ‘We can’t just – they’ll know. And the old people…up there…they saw us.’

‘Look, Lillie,’ Sven said, ‘the police are up there right now investigating. No one has come down to interview us. So, leave it alone.’

‘Look, Lillie, I’ll figure something out. Okay? Anyway, we didn’t see anything. It’s not our problem.’ Fifi scrambled from her bag and smoothed sand with her foot over the campsite. ‘Now, we better disappear.’

Sven dusted his hands of sand. ‘Best we don’t get involved.’

In silent haste, the group joined Fifi’s efforts to erase all evidence of their existence there.

As the golden orb of sun peeped over the barren slopes, the red Ford Falcon and orange Kombi made a slow procession, tyres treading with respect over the shards of glass, then pelting on the highway North to the city.

A young traffic constable Dan Hooper admired the sleek red Ford Falcon as he made his way down Main South Road towards the fatal accident scene from the previous night. Reminded him of the Mad Max film he had watched on a video player at Dee’s party the previous night.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Fire © L.M. Kling 2008

***

Free till Thursday April 21

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Sunday Story–Sowing and Reaping

Revenge is best served with a side-salad of Schadenfreude

I have been doing some “housekeeping”, on the computer, that is, searching for files, and sorting them. I came across this tale from my high school days. Wish it were true, but more likely it’s wishful thinking from an over-active imagination.

However, as is the case with so many authors’ works, the following is based on real events, but the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Sowing and Reaping

She perched on the kerb waiting. The minutes stretched, ticking into what seemed to her, an eternity. Cars whizzed past. With each car that emerged around the corner, the hope—her mum’s car. That battered blue FJ Holden, had suffered many knocks in its fifteen years of life. Like me, same age and having suffered hard knocks, she thought. But cars with anonymous drivers passed by and so did her hope…until she just sat…waiting…expectations drained…waiting.

A mixture of gloom and uneasiness had shadowed her all day. Ever since the first period, home class, when Dee, yes, that’s right, Dee, her arch enemy, had sidled up to her and hissed, ‘He’s mine, Lillie. He’s mine. He never liked you. He likes me.’

Dee slithered into her seat; pink lips pursed in a smile. She flicked her brown mane, and then glancing at Lillie, she smirked and then rubbed her hands together. ‘Mine!’ she mimed. ‘All mine.’

Lillie imagined Dee at that moment morphing from the budding model she was, into a female form of Gollum, bent on possessing the ring offered by her latest conquest—Danny. Why else was Dee gloating?

Lillie’s heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach. A drop of rain plopped on the pavement and sizzled. Lillie sighed. She’d seen him—Danny—that morning. Lofty, blonde hair tousled, framing his high cheek-bones, strong jaw and his face all tanned. But Danny hadn’t seen her. He never saw her.

On the way back from chapel, Danny had been walking behind her and she’d worried about her uniform. Was her dress hitched up in her regulation stockings? Autumn and the school demanded girls wear the winter uniform with the awful scratchy woollen skirt. The month of May in Australia, that day, hot and all steamed up, clouds billowing with purple bellies, threatening a storm, but not before all the students at College were fried having to wear their blazers as well as their uniforms woven in wool. The principal threatened suspension if they shed any part of their school attire.

Plop! Another drop. A rumble of thunder.

During the day, her usual foes added to her discomfort. She was already hot, sweaty, and itchy, and then they had to weigh in. On the way to English class, Dee and her clutch of fiends attacked from behind. They threw verbal abuse; the usual “stones” of “loser”, “dog” and “no one wants you, Lil”.

Lillie fixed her eyes ahead even as the heat rose to her cheeks. She trod up the stairs to Dee chanting, ‘Poor Lil, poor Lil, what a dill.’

As Lillie turned the corner of the stairs, she glanced down. Danny leaned against the rail. Dee slid up to him and pointed. ‘Hey look! She’s got a hole in her stocking. Poor Lil, poor Lil. Too poor to buy new stockings, Lil.’

Dee laughed and her gang joined in.

Lillie turned and continued plodding up the stairs.

‘Charge!’ Dee yelled.

At her command, Lillie quickened her pace. She knew what was coming. The thudding, the cries and the horde as her foes surged upon her. They crowded in and jostled her. Big beefy Twisty jammed her into the lockers and then bumbled down the corridor.

As Lillie straightened herself, Dee strode up to her and poked her. ‘He’s mine, understand?’ She then waved her hand in front of her nose. ‘Phew! You stink! B.O.!’

Danny lingered an arm’s length from Dee, and as she minced into English class, she blew him a kiss. Lillie’s stomach churned, and with her gaze riveted to the floor, she followed Dee into class. Her scalp prickled with the sense that the eyes of every class member had set upon her. Her orthodontic braces took on astronomical proportions and her pig-tails drooped like greasy strips of seaweed.

Then Scripture class. Just her luck! Lillie picked Dee’s name out of the Encouragement Box. So she had to find a verse from the Bible to encourage Dee. Dee? What sort of blessing could Lillie bestow on her worst enemy? The girl who had everything—popularity, beauty and a boyfriend.

Lillie opened up her Bible and picked out the first verse that caught her attention. She wrote down the verse from Galatians 6:7: “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” She plopped the note for Dee back into the box. From what she could tell, Dee seemed happy with her note, if not mildly miffed by the message.

After school, as she sat on the kerb waiting, Lillie reflected on the verse she received. Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” She nodded and mused, That’d be right, Dee had me. Still, it does say I’m blessed.

A flash of lightning. A crack of thunder. Fat dollops of rain splatted on the footpath. Lillie sighed and muttered, ‘I’ll just have to risk getting laughed at. My mum’s car. What a relic! How embarrassing!’

She shrugged her bag full of books over her shoulder and sauntered to the shelter of the chapel. Rain pelted down on her and she sought refuge in an alcove hidden behind a diosma bush. There, she drew her knees up to her chin and sniffed. The rain and then the tears had melted her mascara. Her vision blurred. She drew a soggy tissue from her blazer pocket and wiped her eyes.

The downpour stopped. Fellow students emerged from shelter and straggled along the road to the carpark where their cars or parents in their shining white Commodores awaited them.

Lillie examined her calloused knees that had broken through the holes in her stockings. When would mum be able to afford new stockings? Dad and mum barely scraped together the school fees. ‘We go without for your education,’ mum says. Lillie had begun to understand how that worked in a posh school like this one. No friends, no choice but to study and get good grades.

A car screeched. Lillie looked up. She saw them. Dee and Danny. They held hands. Dee nestled into Danny’s side as he held an umbrella over her, even though the sun now shone casting an eerie golden glow over the gum trees and oval. Lillie winced.

The couple perched on the chain fence where they swung back and forth and whispered into each other’s ears. Lillie parted the diosma bush. She watched and cursed them as wrapped in each other’s arms they consumed each other’s lips.

‘Ugh! How could they? In public!’ Lillie muttered. ‘I hope the principal catches them and puts them on detention.’

Lillie heard a familiar roar. She stepped from the bush and strode towards the carpark.

The FJ Holden raced up the driveway, it’s wheels crushing the carpark’s gravel in its rush to meet Lillie. Dee and Danny remained oblivious in their passion on the chain fence.

Mum’s car cut through a large puddle. Water flew high in the air and then dumped on the couple.

Dee shrieked. They stood like two drenched rats, their legs and arms spread in their sodden clothes.

Now Dee really does look like Gollum, Lillie thought. Her nemesis’ mascara streamed down her face and made her eyes look like a panda’s and her hair was pasted on her head.

The couple glared at the FJ Holden as it screeched to a stop in front of Lillie. She smirked as she jerked open the white door of the mostly blue car and then scrambled in.

‘How was your day, dear?’ Mum asked.

‘You’re late,’ Lillie snapped.

As the FJ Holden with Lillie and her mum merged with the crowd of cars on the main road, Lillie glanced back and smiled. Revenge is best served cold…and wet.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Painting: Vine Light Before Strom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Out of Time (14.4)

Fast Forward

Part 4

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it.

This episode, (14.4) around the time-honoured tradition of the Aussie barbeque Gunter learns of a change of plan and having to travel with people he doesn’t particularly like…]

BBQ time with Mrs. C

Out in the backyard Mrs. C tended the sizzling Bratwurst sausages. She wore a smug expression, as well as her pink floral apron. To Gunter’s mind, except for extra lines on her face, and her leaner build, she reminded him of one of the women folk in the Schwabian village he had come from. He mused whether she was some sort of Melbourne descendant of such a woman.

‘Ah, there you are! I was wondering where you got to.’ Mrs. C wiped her hands on her apron. ‘I hope you haven’t been gallivanting around town with some girl. You know I don’t like it when you do that.’

‘No, Mrs. C.’

Gunter loped up to Mrs. C and gave her a hug and then kissed her on the cheek. ‘You are the only one for me, Mrs. C.’

‘Flattery will get you nowhere.’

‘Mmm, the wursts look delicious; just like the ones we have in Bavaria.’ Gunter reached for one dark golden sausage. ‘I just can’t resist.’

Mrs. C slapped his hand. ‘Not until you wash your hands and set the table.’

Wilhelm strode out from the back verandah with the tossed green salad. As Mrs. C stared at him, her eyes narrowed, Gunter gestured and said, ‘Oh, Mrs. C this is my um, friend, from Tasmania, Wilhelm Thumm.’

Mrs. C placed her hands on her hips. ‘Oh, so this is who you’ve been gallivanting around town with. Hmmm?’

‘Yes, Mrs. C.’ Gunter grinned. ‘I’ve been showing him this fair city before he heads off to Canberra, was it?’

‘Adelaide, actually,’ Wilhelm cleared his throat. ‘Change of plans, mate. I thought we might take the Great Ocean Road, I mean coast and all that. Sailing in my sailboat, the fair ship, Minna, I mean. We could stay in Port Fairy along the way.’

‘We?’

Wilhelm nodded. ‘Oh, didn’t I make that clear? You’re coming with us. Boss’s orders. Anyway, you’ll enjoy the company; your dear mutti, my son Johnny and my wife…’

‘What? But I…’

‘Not negotiable, Gunter.’

‘Not going to happen, M-mate. Your wife, Frieda and I do not get along.’ Gunter shoved his hands in his trouser pockets and marched into the kitchen. There between the bright yellow painted cupboards, he paced. ‘No, I have to stay here. Letitia, she’s…’

‘Aber, mein Gans, Boris is there.’ His mother stood by the lace-topped table. ‘We need you in Adelaide where Boris is.’

‘No!’ Gunter raced out of the kitchen, pushing his mutti aside in his escape to the outdoors. Reaching the barbeque, he picked off a sausage and bit into it.

His mother followed, rubbing her shoulder. ‘Sorry about Gunter, Ethel. He just has these urges to eat Bratwurst sausages. It’s like he hasn’t had a decent fatty meal in centuries.’

‘No worries, Ella, dear. So glad you brought the sausages. Such a lovely idea.’

Gunter glanced from Mrs. C to his mutti.

Mrs. C dipped her head and then raised it. ‘Oh, Gunter, didn’t you know; your mother and I have been friends for, what, centuries. Haven’t we dear?’

Wilhelm glanced at his watch and then looked with raised eyebrows at Mrs. C.

‘What’s happening? Are we waiting?’ Mrs. C asked.

Wilhelm checked his Rolex watch. ‘Just a few more minutes. Maybe she’ll come to her senses and join us.’

Gunter snorted. ‘I do not think so. She will not come while I am here.’

‘Oh, Gans, do not be so hard on yourself. Why would Frieda miss meeting her mother after so many years?’ his mama said.

‘Frieda…that woman, hates me. Is not that obvious?’

‘But why?’ Mrs. C asked. ‘She hardly knows you.’

‘She knows that I worked for Boris; she blames me for all that has happened to her.’

‘How can she, son?’ his mutti said. ‘You weren’t there when she was kidnapped.’

Gunter wiped his face, with eyes glazed and red he looked at his mother. ‘But I was. Boris…he made me…and she remembers. I am sure.’ He breathed out, and trembling, looked away. ‘It is not just what happened to Letitia.’

‘Oh, Gans, do not let that cockroach spoil our sausages.’ His mother stood up. ‘Come, let us eat, drink and enjoy what Mrs. C has prepared. We will put a plate aside for Frieda when she returns to join us.’

Once Mutti had served the rest of the family in a more civilized fashion, and their host had given thanks to God for the meal, the four sat at the timber outdoor setting and ate their Bratwurst, bread and salad with a glass of Claret from the Barossa Valley.

‘We will be going to Adelaide,’ his mother said. ‘And we will be getting those precious boys back to their mother and at the right time. No matter what it takes, we will do this.’

‘I thought the IGSF were going to do that,’ Gunter said.

‘Pff! The IGSF, they are hopeless,’ his mother said.

‘Wouldn’t know how to organize a chicken meat raffle,’ Mrs. C added.

Mutti placed her hand on Gunter’s. ‘We will give the whole plan an element of surprise.’

‘Like you will put a bomb under the kidnappers, Mutti?’

‘Better than that.’ Mrs. C leaned back in her deck chair. ‘We have some resources. Let’s just say, from a recent war or two.’

Gunter sucked air between his teeth. ‘I’m not sure about this.’

‘It’ll be fine, you’ll see,’ Wilhelm said. ‘I dare say, we’ll fill in a few gaps. We’ll make sure the job gets done. Right, ladies?’

Both women exchanged glances, smiled, and nodded.

‘After all,’ Wilhelm chuckled, ‘that’s why we needed your brother Johann’s hard-earned cash.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature photo: Real Aussie men do the BBQ © L.M. Kling 2015

***

In the mid-nineteenth Century a village of the Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

An over-sized alien cockroach named Boris planned to enslave them.

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

T-Team Series–Palm Valley

The T-Team with Mr B

Lost in Palm Valley

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

The T-Team with Mr B — In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope? And would my brother survive?]

Our truck lumbered over the designated four-wheel drive track-come-dry Finke Riverbed to Palm Valley.

[Photo 1: Dry river of the Finke © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Dad turned to Mr. B and chuckled. ‘How would you like to sleep on this riverbed?’

Mr. B pouted, folded his arms and looked out the window.

We continued to bump over the rocks and sand where two-wheel drive vehicles fear to tread. Dad recalled his days travelling by donkey along this same track when he explored Palm Valley with his Arunda students.

*[Photo 2: Those were the days when only donkeys trekked the path to Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

‘O-oh!’ Dad uttered as the Rover’s underside scraped over some boulders. When our vehicle continued to move, though slowly, we all sighed with relief.

‘O-oh!’ Dad gritted his teeth and sucked air through the gaps in them. The Rover jolted to a stop. The engine screamed. The body rocked. The wheels spun. ‘O-oh! I think we’re bogged.’

Mr. B groaned, ‘I hope that doesn’t mean we’re sleeping on this god-forsaken creek tonight.’

‘Okay—oh, better put it into four-wheel drive. Now, for one more try.’

Dad readjusted the grip of his fingers on the steering-wheel and pressed his foot on the accelerator. The Rover leapt out of the bog-hole.

‘Good thing you remembered that the Land Rover has four-wheel drive,’ Mr. B muttered.

We crawled along the creek bed for a few more minutes, until confronted with formidable boulders where we were forced to stop. Dad reckoned we were a mile or two from the valley, so we had to hike the rest of the way.

Rick raced ahead. As was his habit, he lost us.

*[Photo 3: Palm Valley with me © C.D. Trudinger 1977 (taken with my instamatic camera)]

We entered the land that time had misplaced, forgotten and then found preserved in this valley. Lofty palms swayed in the breeze. Fronds of green glittered in the sun while their shadows formed graceful shapes on the iron-red cliffs. Here a cycad, spouting from the rocks, there a ghost gum jutting from those same deep red walls. This sanctuary for ancient prehistoric palms, which had existed there since the dawn of time, distracted us from my errant brother. We trundled over the stone smoothed by the running of water several millennia ago, admired the mirror reflections in the remaining pools, and breathed in the tranquility.

*[Photo 4: Mirror reflection © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Then, as if the ancient palm spell was broken, a frown descended on Dad’s face. He stood up, tapped his pockets checking to feel if his keys and small change still existed, and then marched down the valley. When he’d disappeared into a gathering of palms, I asked Mr. B, ‘What’s my dad doing?’

‘I think he’s looking for your brother,’ Mr. B replied. ‘He seems to have a habit of getting lost.’

Matt, Mr. B’s son sniggered.

[Photo 5: Wiggly Palm © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Still in the zone of swoon, I sat beside the billabong in the shade of the palm trees and changed my film. Then I stretched, and leaving Mr. B and Matt to their rest, I ambled along the stone-paved bed looking for Dad. Again, time lost relevance in the beauty and wonder of the palms: tall skinny ones, wiggly ones, short ones, clustered ones and alone ones.

[Photo 6: Pa peaceful amongst the palms © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

I found Dad, but there was no sign of my brother. The sun had edged over the western walls of the valley casting a golden-orange glow over the opposing cliffs.

Dad huffed and puffed. ‘It’s getting late. I s’pose Rick has gone back to the Rover.’

‘Better head back, then,’ I said.

On the way, we collected Mr. B and son. They had not seen my AWOL brother either.

*[Photo 7: Sunset on the cliffs of Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

We waited back at the car for Rick. Dad’s concern turned to annoyance, then frustration. Dad had plans for a picnic, but as the sun sank lower, his well laid plans were becoming remote. Dad paced the sand, hands on hips, and muttering discontentedly. Trust my brother to spoil a perfect place and time for a picnic tea. The idea of proceeding with the picnic without Rick did not occur to Dad. I guess the thought that some peril had befallen him had sabotaged any appetite. Dad nervously tapped his right pocket; at least his keys hadn’t gone AWOL.

Every few minutes Dad paused in his pacing. ‘Ah—well!’ he’d say. Then sucking the warm air between his gritted teeth, he’d resume pacing.

An hour passed as we watched Dad track back and forth across the clearing.

*[Photo 8: Memories of a ghost gum © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

‘I swear you’ve made a groove there in the sand,’ Mr. B said.

Dad halted and narrowed his eyes at Mr. B.

I peered at the sand, straining my vision to pick out the path Dad had created.

A branch cracked. Footsteps, thudded. Distant. Then closer…louder.

Dad turned. All of us in the clearing froze and we fixed our gaze on the path leading to Palm Valley. The prodigal son stumbled into the clearing.

[Photo 9: Waiting for the prodigal son—view amongst the palms © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Contrary to the parable, Dad snapped, ‘We were going to have a picnic tea. But it is 5 o’clock, now. We have to get going!’

So, with less than an hour before darkness descended, we navigated the bumpy Finke River ride, and Dad’s grumpy mood, back to Hermannsburg.

After tea, Dad recovered from the grumps as we played cardgames; first “Pig”, followed by “Switch”.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2021

Feature Photo: Palm Valley © C.D. Trudinger 1981

***

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

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