She and he...

February 12, 2017  •  2 Comments

And so it all begins.....

It is Sunday February 12th, 2017, at 8:00 in the evening, and I am in Newcastle with my nephew Sam.  He is my sister Kim's second eldest boy and we are on a two month sojourn together around the country of Australia to explore whatever comes our way.  I will continue on myself for another month after Sam leaves to secure some work.  The van I had originally rented for us both was older than it appeared on the internet and I immediately encountered a number of problems with not only the vehicle itself but the company that rented it to me.  The first van they supplied me with was not particularly road worthy and leaked raw gasoline from somewhere in the engine compartment shortly after I drove it off the lot.  I took it back to the rental property right away and the polite but daft agent there said:  "Ah, no worries!  Just pull on the gas cap from time to time to release the vacuum in the fuel system and she'll be right mate".  That was not a particularly comforting or actually viable solution.  After that magic fix I had only driven another ten miles away from the lot and gas was once again pouring onto the road from somewhere in the engine compartment.  Having worked thirty years in the fire service and fought countless vehicle fires I decided that I did not want to be on the local six o'clock news that night so I took the heap back to their lot once again and pointed out the cascading fuel from the van.  I guess they didn't want their entire camper van lot to go up in flames so they quickly acquiesced to my demand for a different vehicle and removed the leaking junker from their yard and supplied me with a newer year of the same model.  Super.  Only on our first out day with said newer vehicle Sam went to open the back camper door and the handle broke off in his hand.  Now we have to crawl through the little space behind the seats in the drivers cabin so we can access the back of the vehicle and open the camper door from the inside.  Sigh.  I'm done with wasting time with this company so we both just decided to continue on northward from Sydney...and...here we are in Newcastle.  Sam had already in arrived in Australia a week before me and had immediately signed up to a surf course to meet girls...or actually surf...depending on how well you know him and what he can convince you of.  There seems to be a nice girl from San Fransisco and another from Nova Scotia that he's told me he's already met.  Ah to be 25 years old, 6'4" inches tall and buff.  I got to this beautiful country on February 9th having traveled for the better part of a day and a half from Toronto through Vancouver and on to Sydney.  The wondrous thing about my flight was traveling business class for the first time in my life.  Since I had just retired I decided to treat myself and used up a pile of my saved Aeroplan points to secure myself one of those little berths in the front of the aircraft that I've always walked past to my usual seat near the toilet in the rear of the plane.  In business class they give you a little "pod" (that's the word I'll use), wherein as soon as you sit down, there's a few nice goodie bags to greet you containing very useful things like comfy slippers, eye shades, ear plugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, cologne, etc..etc. and you've no sooner plopped your butt into the seat and the flight attendant comes by to ask you if there's anything you'd like.  Ok.  I can handle this.  The padded seat reclines to a full flat bed position (very nice for a fifteen hour flight) and you get a real pillow, a full thick blanket and the personal T.V. screen that looked like a forty inch 4K screen to me for how amazing was.  I was in heaven.  I swear the flight attendant came by every 20 minutes to check up on me and ask if there was anything else I needed (except for when I was sleeping very comfortably and soundly of course).  The bar was open all flight for quality single malt, fine red or whatever else I fancied from chocolates to fruit trays, and the regular meal service was to die for.  Let's just say that after those two flights I won't be traveling in the back section of any aircraft anymore.  So...here Sam and I are in Newcastle.  The sweetest thing about this particular evening so far has been the duck...or ducks as I should say.  We are in a camper van park and there has been a female duck close to our van for most of the evening.  She has only one fully functioning leg and a small stump of the other leg.  I watched her at length tonight.  She is a fully mature bird and seems to have learned to get by without her other appendage. She "walks" by hopping along and swinging the tiny stump of her missing leg.  Sad to watch.  She didn't move about much tonight but did not seem to be overly inconvenienced by her condition either.  The most beautiful thing about her situation was what I saw in her mate. Her drake was never more than twenty feet from her side the entire evening.  He never flew away once.  It didn't matter to him that nature or circumstance had "crippled" his mates condition.  He was there for her, by her side, and he never left her once.  As much as this simple photograph of two ducks (that I've been frustratingly trying to upload all evening) is, by itself, nothing much of a photographic image, I find the story behind it to be lovely because of the beauty in nature that it portrays.


Comments

dianne guay(non-registered)
Hi Steve

Hope all is well.

The story of the ducks is sweet!
Nature is truly amazing.

Glad you got the van and gasoline sorted out.....scary!

Looking to see photos too.

Have fun!
Dianne
Jer(non-registered)
Just don't throw fireworks from the moving van.
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