A weekend off

It’s been non-stop school visits for the last week, from Eden to Gippsland to Melbourne. I’ve managed to cop a cold, which I can’t shift by gargling brandy. So long as I don’t lose my voice or develop an unstoppable cough. Between school visits I’ve been zooming round bookshops as fast as I can.

Friday was a real pain in the bum. After a school visit in Hawthorn, I parked at Tooronga station, and took the train in to the city bookshops. Coming back, there was an announcement – ‘due to a level crossing accident, buses will replace trains between Burnley and Darling’. So we all got out, all headed to the wrong street on the wrong side of the station because no one was giving directions. Then, when we moved across to the right side, there were no buses … And there kept on being no buses for an hour. An hour, for crying out loud!

Meanwhile, more and more trains were terminating and distorting their passengers. When a single bus turned up – one bus for a couple of hundred people! – it stopped in the wrong place so that only those who’d arrived in the last train or two got on. Another ten-fifteen minutes wait, and the announcement came that the train on platform four would take us on – they’d cleared the track.

It was well after nine when I reached Apollo Bay, found the unmarked car park and squelched through rain and mud to my motel. Today was much better – I slept in, did nothing much at all for a couple of hours, then drove to the Twelve Apostles – or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as the service station lady has renamed them, since several have collapsed into the sea. But they’re still very very impressive.


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