Mission of Mr. B’s Return
[The T-Team with Mr B — Dad’s friend Mr. Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?]
My last morning curled up in my sleeping bag. Warm and snug. It’d taken me all night in this freezing desert to warm up. The Milky way spilt its starry millions over the pale sky that in the east, had started to glow a watery aqua. The silence of the dawn—except for my Dad’s rhythmic buzz of snoring.
Then. Thump! Thump! Thump!
I bolted upright.
Dad scrambled out of his cocoon like a scalded cat. ‘What’s that?’
He waved a torch in every direction.
I scanned the campsite. The boys remained inert lumps in their sleeping bags. ‘It’s not a bull, is it?’
‘I hope not.’
‘Dad, I’m scared.’
Thump! Thump! Closer, closer.
A tee-tree bush rustled. I sucked in my breath and held it.
Dad swung the light in the direction of the shrub. Mr. B staggered into Dad’s spotlight. He groaned, ‘Well, don’t just stand there. We must get going. I want us to get home—fast.’
So, at Mr. B’s urging, we gulped breakfast, piled our camp into the Rover and wheels rapping on dirt and stone, Mr. B sped us down Stuart Highway. We had been so hasty, in fact, that many things were left undone, like the back door. We had driven some distance when we had to stop and secure it. As we were slowing down to take the back door to task, we heard a hissing sound.
‘O-oh!’ Dad peered at the offending tyre spread flat on the sand. ‘We have a flat tyre.’
After replacing the tyre, with the spare, we continued our journey to Mt. Willoughby where we bought food and Dad fixed the puncture. We then soldiered onwards; our next stop Coober Pedy.
‘Dad,’ I clasped my hands together and begged, ‘Can we stop and look at the opal mines?’
‘I want to see the underground church,’ Rick said.
Dad shifted his bottom weight in the driver’s seat. ‘Er…um.’
Mr. B narrowed his eyes at Dad. ‘We have a schedule to keep, don’t we?’
‘We did lose all that time with the puncture, you know. And we want to get to Adelaide, don’t we?’
Dad glared back at Mr. B. ‘No, I reckon we’ll have a break at Coober Pedy.’
Mr. B snapped, ‘A short break.’
In Coober Pedy, we investigated an underground mine that was open for tourists, and studied some stones laced with opal which they had found.
Mr. B harped, ‘We haven’t got all day.’
As we drove down the main road of the mining town, I pointed. ‘There’s your church, Rick.’ I pleaded with Dad to stop so that we could see what an underground church was like.
Mr. B grumbled, ‘Not again!’ as Dad pulled up by the structure that jutted from a sandstone mound. On closer inspection we found it was made of rounded stones.
Rick and I leapt from the Rover and raced over to the church. Wind whipped through our hair while we read the sign. The church was closed.
More grumbling and bitter comments from Mr. B when I insisted on checking out the lookout over Coober Pedy. Rick, Mr. B and Matt remained in the Rover while I braved the almost gale-force winds to have my photo taken overlooking Coober Pedy. Talk about a bad-hair day!
[To be continued…]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: Stony Desert by Stuart Highway © L.M. Kling 2013
Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?
And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…