Saturday, December 9, 2023

Travelling Incrementally - Great Reward for Little Effort Edition

 I normally lead a quiet solitary life without too much in the way of human interaction except for that imposed on me by my employment which has already proved disinclined to take my personal preferences into account.  I was relaxing at home (almost certainly not during working hours) when to my surprise I received a video call from my Blue Mountains correspondent.

I mustered up my best "I'm pleased to see you smile."

"Hello my dear, how are you?"

"Oh for gods sake put some clothes on," she replied.

A few minutes later we resumed our conversation.  After the usual pleasantries and threats of legal action she got down to the purpose of her call.

"I've been reading your blog,"  I didn't bother to hide my astonishment, "and you seem to make a big deal out of walking through the bush and boasting about how many kilometres you achieve."

"Is there something wrong with that?"

"Have you ever considered visiting?  Up here you can see amazing scenery for little more effort than simply walking down to the end of the road."

I pointed out that doing that would involve making my way up to the Blue Mountains, interacting with other humans and generally going to more effort than I would consider worth while.  She pressed her point, extolling the beauty of her home, the presence of handy antique shops and insisting that I would enjoy such a trip.  Finally she tossed in the fact that her son would be cooking roast pork for dinner.  I started to get a little suspicious, almost nobody is that eager to see me. 

"What's going on?" I demanded.

She looked a little uncomfortable.

"All right, I'm getting a bit worried about you.  You never seem to go anywhere and every time I see you there seem to be more plush toys crowded around the computer.  I'm a little concerned that you're becoming isolated."

"Don't listen to her," whispered the psychedelic coloured shark that had turned up from somewhere.

"We're all you need," hissed the platypus.

"She's the enemy," rasped the puffin who was busy cooking up a spoon full of drain cleaner.

Despite these words of concern from my nearest and dearest I did promise to drop in on my correspondent the first chance I got.  Knowing me rather well she nailed me down to an actual date and somewhat to my surprise I found myself heading for Wentworth Falls one rainy Saturday.  It rained and when it wasn't raining it was raining.  Sometimes the rain stopped so that it could catch its breath and rain harder.  One of my correspondent's more proactive neighbours was guiding two of every animal he could find into an ark.

With rain hammering down outside I caught up with my correspondent and her husband and the three of us compared notes to see who was ahead in our traditional game of "what life threatening medical condition is that?"  My correspondent's husband is currently leading and while I had a strong year last year I have since lapsed into something almost akin to healthiness.

Of course it couldn't all be rain and diseases.  At one point my correspondent just had to flaunt her latest grandchild at me.  I was informed that he was named after a rare earth mineral and was invited to admire exactly how perfect he was in every possible respect.  This I did with great enthusiasm (it was evening, pissing down with rain and I had no way of getting home) which led to said infant being presented to me to hold.  I held the baby the same way I hold anything precious and breakable that doesn't belong to me.  That is far too tightly and with a look of agonised paranoia on my face.  I've probably scarred the poor child for years.  Fortunately it was removed from my fevered grasp before long term physical damage was inflicted.

After a nights sleep interrupted only by the discovery that I had somehow managed to lock a cat into the bedroom with me I emerged bleary eyed and disheveled (which is exactly how I went to bed so don't tell me sleep is good for you) to discover that my correspondent actually intended to make good on the fat juicy promises that had brought me up here in the first place.  The weather had obviously joined her conspiracy and presented blue skies and a scorching sun to compensate for the near biblical deluge of the previous day.

The promise had been for views without much in the way of physical effort.  Given the combined level of health and fitness of the three of us "physical effort" was a relative term.  The physical effort of getting out of bed is enough for me to need a little lie down to recover.  Since she was hellbent on redeeming her promise and since I have a weak and biddable personality we piled into their car and drove to a carpark, not a good start but said car park clung to the side of the national park and a path snaked into the bush.  

We paused to allow young people in inappropriate clothes to take a video recording of their excursion into the untamed wilderness and then set off down the path.  Our journey was slow due to the fact that one of our number was almost crippled (oddly, not me) but we limped, hobbled and shambled through the sunlit bush enjoying the scenery and listening to the shrill calls of other tourists doing the same thing.  It has to be admitted that this was hardly a plunge into the unknown.  In fact it was a plunge into the very well known.  My companions pointed out other paths we could take if we wanted to engage in any actual effort but by mutual agreement effort was relegated to some unspecified point in the future.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, Queen Victoria lookout.  In fairness she had a lot to look out on.  Photos were taken as evidenced below.

Since you've ploughed through this entire blog entry you deserve a few photos

With Queen Victoria lookout photographed from every angle that didn't involve dangling over the edge we turned around and made our way back.  Since our journey was now uphill our progress made our approach look quite speedy by comparison.  Still the slow pace enabled me to encounter the Clare McIntyre memorial fungus preening itself for the cameras.  I pandered to its exhibitionist tendencies while my companions hobbled slowly onwards.

The Clare McIntyre memorial fungus

Some time later we arrived gasping at the car park have walked a grand total of about one and a half kilometres although that did include the diversion into the obligatory cafe for a cup of coffee.  It was a pleasant trip but I had to get home, god knows what my plush toys had got up to in my absence.  The last time I left for more than twenty four hours the puffin had swapped my television for a four pack of spray and wipe.

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