Tuesday 13th December, Gayndah and Mundubbera, Central Burnett, Queensland, Australia
This is the house my father was born in, almost eighty-six years ago.
He had five brothers and a sister, so the area around Gayndah and Mundubbera was fairly littered with Savages. When I was living in Australia, I would usually make a pilgrimage to my Dad's hometown at least every year or two. This time, it had been five years. Most of my old Uncles and Aunts have passed away now, and there's fewer and fewer relatives to visit each time. But Aunty Una keeps on ticking, and we dropped in on her in Mundubbera.
My late Uncle Reg and Aunty Una took over the family farm
from my grandparents several decades ago, and since Uncle Reg died, the property has been passed down to their daughter Bronwyn and her husband Jesse.
Jesse if fiercely proud of the work he has done to the farm over the last few years,
clearing scrub, planting grass, and improving the watering system. The area has had a bumper season this year, with regular rainfall, and locals are saying they haven't seen the place so green for thirty years or more. Certainly my childhood memories are of the place as a dustbowl, with the sunbleached skulls of cattle dotting the red paddocks here and there like something out of a Clint Eastwood western. My Dad and Uncle Reg would have loved to see it so lush.
Jesse took Maria and I for a tour of much of the farm on the back of his four wheel drive pickup truck,
just like I used to ride on the back of Uncle Reg's truck as we'd feed hay to the cattle. But this time I didn't have to be pitchforking hay off the side of the truck, I just had to hold on tight and try to get some good photos. Rather than overload this page with photos, I've placed a selection of my favourites on a page titled Rosevale
, the name of the Savage family's old farm.
Back in Mundubbera, we took an hour out of our busy social schedule
to check our emails at the local library. That was where I received the bad news that the Spanish cookbook Maria and I have worked so hard to produce will not be available before Christmas as I had promised my readers. This really knocked the wind out of my sails, as I like to think of myself as a man of my word, and I know for a fact that many of the orders I have received are intended to be wrapped as Christmas gifts for loved ones.
Then last night,
we stayed with Aunty Una in Mundubbera, and visited my cousin Denise for dinner. My other cousin Allison came over, and Denise's husband Ray put on a great Aussie barbecue. Maria and I ate until we could hardly move!
It was a lovely day for driving today
, fine and sunny but not too hot. We drove back to Brisbane and dropped our rental car back to Ace Car Rentals
. No problems there. Within minutes, we were in a taxi. Now, as I'm writing this journal, Maria and I are sitting at the Brisbane Domestic Airport. In a few hours, we will be in....
I had never been driven in the back of a pick up truck. It was fantastic though a bit scary at some points when I thought we were not gonna make it and would have an accident. But Jesse did a great job and drove us around the farm and the mountains safely. So we were back "home" alive and kicking on time for a lovely dinner.
And I have also attended my first BBQ of the season. Of course, my favourite part of the BBQ was when desserts kept coming one after the other. Luckily enough I had kept some space empty in my stomach to try them all. I think I will have to go shopping before leaving Australia if I still want to have something to wear that fits me.