Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Driving down the coast we drove STRAIGHT PAST the Big Banana. On arriving in Sydney, I watched the Getway ‘Summer Special’ and learned that they have a GIANT INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE, an ICERINK (honestly!) and CHOC COATED BANANAS. So pissed off right now that mum didn’t take me inside. I also learnt that you can do extreme canoe racing in Margret River, and I NEVER got to do that while I was there, so I’m obviously hanging out with the wrong kinds of people. Last time I was there, all we did was drink and play Kings Cup, go to the beach and do the mandatory visit to the Margret River Chocolate Factory with four of my good mates.. wait, now that I write it down it was actually pretty awesome… not quite so bitter anymore about missing out on the extreme canoe racing now.

To tell the truth, I’m writing this email a bit backwards aren’t I. I mean, I should really start back up where I left off last time in the apartment in Southport and yes, for those who are curious, I did go out on the balcony. I’m just such a daredevil.

Well, upon leaving Southport, we sadly parted ways with Esther and Stephanie – only after Stephanie and I thrashed our mums in a Swiss card game (basically the reverse of Hearts, where you pair up and want to get as many points as possible) – Boo Yeah. From Southport we drove directly to Maids Creek, an area about 70km South-West of Tenterfield (the birth town of the nation apparently – for your next trivia night) to stay with some old friends of ours, Sandor and Louise.

I lived with these two wonderful people out on Kachana Station (our cattle station in the East Kimberley) after they moved up from the Nimbin area and I was an annoying little %&$# called ‘teenager’. Let me tell you, there is nothing better for a rebellious catholic girl than spending a few years living in the bush with two hippies and their four kids. While there I helped build the kitchen and living area, the school house and ‘sink and shower area’. Sandor and Louise had their own ‘bedroom’, but all us kids slept in these massive tents.

We would do distance education in the morning, with half an hour of actual conversation with our teacher in Derby over the two-way radio. In the afternoon we would collect building materials such as ironwood or gravel to continue our building projects, or we would need to fence off areas for the cattle and the horses. Probably the favourite parts of the day were the meals, which Louise would cook over an open fire, fuelled by wood we collected daily, and food that was either grown in the garden, shot by Sandor or flown in by a light aircraft. If you ever need a good recipe for King Brown snake, look me up – we had one season were we had to shoot about six King Browns in the space of a month because they came into the camp area. I have about a gazillion other stories about that time, but I just wanted to emphasise how important these people are in my life, and, as they read this email too, give a big thank-you to them for enriching my life forever.

They now own a farm where they have a large garden, about 150 goats, some sheep and a handful of cattle. While we were there we helped castrate the little goats (my brothers will laugh at that sentence) and tag them for easy identification. According to Sandor, you can easily tell which ones are male or female because the males squeal more, he he. The castrating is done to control the genetics of the herd, and so that they are more delicious when you eat them later. Leaving the balls on will give a ‘wild’ flavour that is very distinctive, and the meat will usually be more tough and lean as the males fight with each other and try to impress the girls.