Things have been a little tense with my Blue Mountains correspondent ever since she let slip that she once had a house full of naked belly dancers and didn't invite me around. Honestly, I expect a little more from a life long friend than that. Eventually after repeated invitations I decided to visit so that I could express my displeasure to her face to face.
There were other reasons for my visit of course one of them being that her home is marginally more convenient to my parents place than my own which was useful as I was visiting them later the same weekend. She dangled the carrot of a lift to my parents place once she got tired of my company (expected duration time, thirty eight seconds) and until then we could go to antique bookstores and possibly do a little bushwalking.
"Belly dancers," I suggested hopefully but got a decided negative. I was starting to think the lack of an invitation might have been deliberate. Still bushwalking and antique bookstores were a drawcard although the bookstore wasn't really an antique, just rather old. On arrival I searched every nook and cranny of her house just in case there was a belly dancer lurking somewhere that she might have forgotten about (no I will not let it go) but I eventually had to settle for making conversation with her family. Her family has recently (about nine months ago) been added to with a grandchild and I spent a certain amount of time being ignored by this young lady while attempting to converse with those who, for want of a better term, I will deem adults.
The next day we set out on an expedition that combined the literary (if sixty year old Biggles books can be considered such) and the natural (if a walk down a firetrail can be considered such). Having exhausted the opportunities offered by the bookstore and having spent only slightly more money than I could afford I pestered my correspondent to go for a bushwalk. My correspondent mentioned the tear in her achilles tendon that caused this to be problematic. I rather snippily asked her if she tore it carrying a belly dancer out of sight before my arrival and she rolled her eyes and agreed to a small bushwalk although on her part it was more of a bush limp.
Given that the bookstore was in Lawson (one of a wide collection of unimaginatively named settlements in the Blue Mountains) we managed to find a bushwalk departing from that very location. Frederica Falls offered a destination for our stroll and stroll it was as we weren't moving very fast in deference to my correspondent's semi crippled status. The journey there although it only took about ten minutes was filled with drama as I had to keep getting out of the car and fetching the bits that fell off along the way. I think more of the car wound up on the back passenger seat than was actually in its designed location by the end.
Nevertheless we came to the end of the street where vehicle access was blocked by an unreasonable number of trees. Our walk could commence.
|The entrance to our walk. Definitely bush|
We set off at a pace that could be described as gentle if you were feeling generous and moved slowly down a reasonably well beaten path. There had been a map at the entrance and despite my repeated inability to read such things my correspondent seemed quite happy to strike out into the reasonably well known with me as a guide. I say guide, what I mean was I was walking first except on those occasions when the aging hairdresser with the torn achilles overtook me. Still the sedentary pace of our movement allowed me to take the occasional photograph like the one below.
|A tree that my correspondent seemed inordinately fond of|
As we walked my correspondent, who is rightly proud of her garden, pointed out various plants and trees to me, sometimes going so far as to use their scientific names. I mentally labelled them all as "greenery" and moved on. If you have ever wondered why generalisation and stereotyping are so popular its because it saves a heck of a lot of time. Although even I would pause occasionally if nature tried really hard.
|Nature trying quite hard|
As we left the noise of the highway behind us we were greeted by the noise of the bush instead. My correspondent drew my attention to one noise which she said was black cockatoos. Black cockatoos making a noise like that meant that there would be rain she announced sagely. The sky was a brilliant blue and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I smiled and nodded politely and we moved on, slowly.
After making our way through the bush we encountered a firetrail just as the map back at the start said we would. I chose to see this as a brilliant feat of navigation despite the fact that there was literally no other way we could go. It was at the firetrail that my correspondent called a halt. I could see why, the path we had been walking along was relatively level but the firetrail plunged downwards and was replete with loose rocks and scree (to the extent they aren't the same thing). Nothing less conducive to a dodgy achilles tendon could be imagined. I stared longingly at the firetrail until my correspondent buckled.
"Oh go on," she muttered. "I'll wait here," I set off, "but not for long."
With a deadline looming over me made all the more urgent by the fact that I wasn't quite sure what it was I hurried on. A quick encounter with the scree persuaded me to hasten somewhat more slowly as my correspondent probably couldn't carry my mangled body back to civilisation.
|The firetrail although in my experience fire doesn't need trails|
With an imaginary clock ticking away the moments until my correspondent abandoned me to my fate I plunged forward giving the surrounding bush only the most cursory of admiring glances. I wasn't sure if I would actually make it to the falls before I had to turn around but strangely I didn't find the tension dramatic or appealing. From time to time I would pause and take a photo of the bush. When that palled I took a photo of a rock.
|A rock and, to be fair, some bush|
I like taking photos of large vaguely menacing rocks. Ever since I read The Nargun and the Stars at an impressionable age I have the suspicion that large rocks are just waiting for me to turn my back before they pounce. I take the photos so that when my mangled body is discovered there will be a record of my killer. The rock completely failed to pounce on me as I went by but it would get another opportunity on its return trip.
Time was passing as time tends to do when nobody is watching it and I was starting to think I would have to turn back before my correspondent reported me as missing and plundered the possessions I had left at her house. The firetrail stretched before me and dropped even lower. I'll just go to the drop I decided because it would be heartbreaking to turn around and later find that that drop was the last step to your destination. Of course if you go on that drop is never the last step to your destination because when it comes down to it the world was largely created as a rather cruel practical joke.
So I went on and it turned out that that drop was the last step to my destination. My faith had been rewarded although in the background I could hear the being I had faith in growling menacingly for right now I headed on towards the waterfall. I couldn't really get close to the waterfall due to the danger of falling into the water myself but I did manage to take a photo of a modest stream of water flowing vertically in the direction of a pool. This being more or less the dictionary definition of a waterfall I announced mission accomplished and turned around.
|Frederica Falls, a modest and unassuming piece of scenery|
More alert to time than ever I hurried back up the firetrail, giving the Nargun a wide berth as I panted back to where I left my correspondent. In my mind I could actually hear the tearful speech she would make to the authorities to justify abandoning me to die in the wild. Gasping because the day was hot and fitness was a brief concept I flirted with twenty years ago before abandoning it forever I desperately made for the rendezvous before all hope was gone.
Which turned out to be pointless because my correspondent had spent all of the time I'd been away chasing pokemon and seemed vaguely annoyed that I had turned up at all. To be fair most of the people I know are more than vaguely annoyed when I turn up. Eventually I managed to persuade her to tear her gaze from the pokemon long enough to start walking back to the car although I did have to go and fetch her occasionally as she wandered off into the bush after this electronic beast or that.
My correspondent emerged briefly from her pokemon induced oblivion to insist that I photograph the below piece of bush. I believe she found it aesthetically pleasing or possibly there was a pokemon hiding under it.
|To be fair it is quite an aesthetically pleasing piece of bush|
All of the above only took a couple of hours and we emerged in time for lunch. On arrival at her home we found that the population had increased as her son's partner was having her birthday and entertaining a group of friends to lunch. Pleasantries were exchanged all round although I don't think a reason for my presence at her birthday lunch was ever given to the other guests. One of said guests was a rather cute gamer boy slightly more punk than steam who made me completely forget about belly dancers for all of thirty seconds.
After a fungus free bushwalk I was able to photograph the Clare McIntyre memorial fungus clinging to a stool on my correspondents deck (which is a fancy word for verandah I think).
|The surprisingly located Clare McIntyre memorial fungus|
After the efforts of the morning there was nothing to do except sit around and wait for somebody else to feed me. As evening came the heavens opened and rain poured down.
"Cockatoos," said my correspondent knowledgeably.
"Oh shut up," I replied.
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