Who would of thought that so much could happen in Birdsville in one week.
On Monday I finally got to meet Walter Leven who I have previously written about and who is part way through his 6000km cycling journey around outback Australia. It was a hoot to get to meet him as he is also raising money for the RFDS and did so after hearing about my journey. After taking some photos outside the famous Birdsville Hotel and handing over a donation from the Birdsville community, we mosied inside to the warm atmosphere and hot tea to talk fundraising. His journey has so far taken him over 1200km and he is now on his way to Mt. Isa, along with a lady who has joined him. You can see more about his trip by clicking here.
The RFDS then brought in Merv Hughes (classic aussie cricket hero) to talk about Men’s Health and from all accounts he was a roaring success. The RFDS not only provide us with a general clinic once a fortnight as well as our emergency retrieval service, they also bring in specialists and guests who cover issues that could easily be forgotten about in places like rural Australia. They connect us with the medical services provided for metropolitan areas, and ensure we aren’t forgotten when it comes to important health matters.
Later in the week Dick and Pip Smith popped in to say g’day and being great supporters of The Long Walk Home I had to grab a photo with the lovely people. We were lucky enough to get a jar of Dick Smith Food’s new Ozemite and from personal experience I can say it is quite delicious. We also got a taste of some of the Australian made jams which are absolutely divine, and made for a tasty smoko when combined with the freshly baked scones…yum! Dick also surprised some travellers when he approached them in the caravan park and asked if they had any Dick Smith products with them. To his amazement they did, and for supporting Aussie made food he handed over $500. A good incentive to spend the extra 30 cents it costs to buy Aussie made food.
So after such a big week surely it would be time to settle back and enjoy the tranquility of Birdsville right? Not quite apparently. Next the weather gods decided to throw a spanner in the works and sent down more than an inch of rain which has left travellers stranded, roads closed, and our supply truck bogged 400km away. Not to mention I wasn’t able to head into the desert for my training this weekend! There are however worse places to be stranded, the roads are probably better off not being driven on when wet anyway, plenty of tinned food in the town, and enough bitumen and gravel roads around town for me to make alternative training arrangements. An upside of the rain is that if you are planning a trip out here in the next few months, you are in for an absolute treat when the wildflowers come out in their millions. It will be a spectacle that only nature can produce and luckily I will be right in the middle of it!
Also turning up this week was goat man Owen Davies, who has just finished an 8 week journey on foot from Camooweal in far north-west Queensland all the way down the Georgina river system to Birdsville. He gave me a few good tips and some encouragement that I’ll be ready to turn around and walk back again by the end.
It appeared though that the week still wasn’t over and I was certainly in for a surprise when I arrived at the Birdsville Hotel for the Friday night chook raffle. Filled with more locals than visitors I was overwhelmed that people continued to support the RFDS with their wallets, and we raised more than $500 in less than half an hour. A special thanks must go to Webb Helicopters for donating a scenic flight for auction, and Kay Fomiatti for donating a gorgeous beanie and scarf for the raffle. To the wonderful friends, family and visitors of Birdsville I say a huge THANK YOU!
You’d think that would do it for the week right? Wrong.
Before the week could be over Saturday had to happen. So far today I have managed to take a short 17km stroll out of town making up for the desert which I can not get to, do my community duty and drive the ambulance to pick up the RFDS crew from the airport who have just been to retrieve a patient (albiet this was my first time doing so and although my instructions were clear they seemed to get a little hazy with all the mud around), I also got to eat some delicious OBE Beef and follow it up with 2 weis bars and a cup of tea. The day was made even better however, when I learnt that a lovely local had decided to auction off another local last night, who proceeded to end up with his hat in a strategically placed position to make up for his lack of clothing in other areas. Let’s just say someone got their kit off in the name of a good cause. Now just to find some photographic evidence…
Also during the week we had a Qantas plane drop in that was on charter, and considering Birdsville was just on the front of the QANTAS magazine we thought it was a great opportunity for a photo. I also had a surprise visitor who happened to be the same person who originally asked me what my dream job would be and kicked off this whole walk idea, as well as receiving a few lovely letters in the mail from people I don’t know who wrote to wish me all the best. So for a post that was supposed to be short and sweet I bid you a farwell from a wet Birdsville with a temperamental sun shining in my window, having decided it would like to make an appearance for a few minutes. I apolgise for the disjointed nature of this post and hope you could navigate it well enough to make it to here 🙂