[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… and now, that our journey is nearing its end, how did I cope? And more importantly, how did Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?]
Revenge of the Meat Pie
[An episode in the prequel to my first travel memoir, Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]
Mr. B was not in a good mood as we headed for Kingoonya. He moaned, ‘Hurry! No more stops.’ Then he groaned, ‘Oooh, I’m feeling a bit seedy, you know.’
Dad frowned and glanced in his side mirror. ‘O-oh.’
He slowed the Rover to a stop by the side of the road. He climbed down and, hands in pockets, paced to the trailer. Mr. B clutching his stomach, joined him.
Dad ran his hand over the back of the trailer. ‘The trailer’s welding has cracked open.’
‘Oooh,’ Mr. B moaned as if in pain.
At that moment, I couldn’t resist thinking that Mr. B and Dr. Smith from “Lost in Space” had characteristics and mannerisms in common.
‘We’ll need to tie the trailer to the top of the Land Rover,’ Dad said.
‘Oooh, how are we to do that?’ Mr. B groaned. His face had taken on a pale shade of green.
Dad scanned the T-Team and announced, ‘We need help.’
Just then, two cars came by and the people helped us load the trailer onto the Rover. I reckon Dad had sent up a prayer.
As Dad secured the ropes holding the trailer to the Rover’s roof, Mr. B rushed into the driver’s seat. All these incidental delays had made Mr. B doubly desperate.
Dad leaned through the driver’s window. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’
‘I can see that.’
‘Look, mate, I have places to be and things to do,’ Mr. B sniffed, ‘I suggest, we drive all the way to Adelaide, no stops, except for petrol and a feed.’
‘Oh, very well,’ Dad replied, his shoulders hunched over, and he sauntered around to the passenger’s seat. ‘I’ll take over when you need a break.’
With resolve, Mr. B pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor and sped along the highway. But his plans were again thwarted in Kingoonya when we discovered yet another flat tyre.
Soon, but not soon enough for one member of our party, we were on the road again. We drove all through the night, skipping tea because a certain individual whose surname begins with B, had a queasy tummy. I even managed to sleep because we were on bitumen. In the sleepy hours shortly before dawn, though, I was rudely woken, as that someone, not mentioning any names, vomited on the side of the road.
[Photo 6, 7 & 8: Places to visit near Port Augusta but, with Mr. B’s timeline, seen at other times.]
After that unfortunate episode, we passed through Port Augusta reaching the outskirts of Adelaide about 7.15am. The inevitable was prolonged a little while longer, as we dropped the B’s home. Mr. B made a beeline for bed. As he passed a baffled Mrs. B, he muttered, ‘Had a rogue pastry.’
As we walked back to the Rover, I whispered to Rick, ‘I don’t think Mr. B will be going places and seeing people for a few days, at least.’
Dad drove us down Main South Road and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I gazed at all those the monotonous rows of houses shrouded in grey mist and knew that I was home. Our journey to Central Australia had ended the same as it had begun; dull and rainy. But it was good to see Mum again.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: Sea Birds of Port Germein © L.M. Kling 2013
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And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…