Newsletter January 2020
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020
Hoping you have all enjoyed your Christmas and are now putting those New Year Resolutions into action.
Remember the resolution I told you all about? I am to learn what volunteers we have in my area and how they spread their love; their impact on the community. Well, I consulted Mr. Google and discovered over 1500 volunteer groups on 80 pages in Queensland. Searching through that lot ain’t going to happen. It will be New Year 2030 before I could get through all those. I filtered the search to the local area and was informed there were 49 volunteer groups BUT I know they were missing some e.g. I did not see Meals on Wheels in there, nor RSL, Apex and Lions. What about all the church charity groups and their volunteers.
Anyway, whatever, I am feeling happy now. I know that, as a whole, we do not quantify love in dollars, it would seem. My faith in human nature is restored.
How pleasing to hear the Christmas rain provided relief to some of the bushfire ravaged areas. Water in dams is a sight to please the eyes. I tried very hard not to be insanely jealous when I peered at the 4ml in the bottom of my rain gauge and the unchanged puddle down at the pump.
No doubt our turn will come.
Spare a thought for the people in other areas who are still doing it tough with the bushfires.
Current Weather and Tides
For those who have been asking for a release date of “Shadows on the Goldfield Track” which is the sequel to “Shadow of the Northern Orchid”: You will be pleased to know a final decision has been made as to a picture for the cover of the book. After the upload to the printer and conversion to epub format, it should be ready for release in mid-February. I will keep you informed.
It was heart-warming to greet all those readers and writers who attended the book talk I held at the Gympie Library in December. I wish to sincerely thank the staff of the Gympie Library for their welcome and the morning tea.
The Hervey Bay Library staff welcomed me the following day and provided a delightful morning tea. To those who attended, I enjoyed the day and I hope I have encouraged you to read and write more yourselves.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
Second Instalment of four: The following is a piece I wrote in 2017. It was published in a booklet by our local library.
By Elizabeth Rimmington
All looked to be at peace on the road from Gympie to Maryborough. The sun glistened upon the moisture caught on the leaves of the forest trees following the recent brief cloudburst. Cockatoos rose into the air, screeched then settled again in the she-oak trees. Lorikeets squabbled amongst the banksia flowers. A busy willy-wagtail admonished all others to strive harder in their chores. The sound of running water over a bed of rocks in the creek nearby completed the orchestra. On either side of the road, winding its way from the jump-up at the creek bed, the scrub grew thick with vines threading between the tall trees.
Only an observant spectator might notice the unusual black patches seen through the gaps of the banksia foliage under the huge grey gum, twenty yards from the creek. The occasional swishing of a long tail or the tossing of a head and mane chasing flies may have caught the attention of an interested eye. Max sat on his haunches with his back against the tree trunk. Impatient fingers tore at green leaves that ended in a heap between his knees. How much longer was he to wait for this damned coach. Jack said it should pass through here about three o’clock but the sun told him it was now closer to four. Hopefully, Jack had not dozed off at his observation post in the cedar tree on the other side of the creek.
If it wasn’t for the gold, sovereigns and banknotes the coach was supposed to be carrying, Max might have considered giving the day’s planned exploit away. What would his dad have said to that? Pale eyes closed. He sighed. It was just then, the familiar whistle drifted across from the other side of the creek. He jumped up brushing the dirt from the seat of his worn trousers. Speaking softly, he approached the dark horse. The bridle jingled and leathers creaked as he swung up into the seat. His clicking tongue guided the horse closer to the road while still remaining within the camouflage of the forest. His heart beat faster when his ears caught the sound of coach wheels. A gravelly voice called to the lead horses as they approached the descent into the creek bed.
“Steady, Bess. Steady, Ginger.”
His breath caught in his throat as Max prepared to hold up his first coach. Calloused fingers flexed several times. He struggled to regulate his breathing. What would his dad have said if he panicked like a baby? Couldn’t take the strap to him now, at least. Not from six feet under the loam at the bottom of the hill near their hideout.
“Pull, Bess. Pull, Ginger.” The gravelly voice again. The coach creaked and groaned its way up the bank of the stream.
Max walked his horse out into the middle of the track. He felt the sweat trickling down his spine.
“Bail up! Drop your guns! Hands in the air!” Max shouted and waved his pistol towards the coach. Behind his bandana, Max endeavoured to make his voice sound as if it came from someone older than his fourteen years.
On the seat of the coach, the driver hauled on the reins. The guard looked as if he might ignore the warning. His hand tightened on the grip of his rifle. He moved as if to rise but changed his mind when the sound of a gunshot behind him coincided with a splinter of timber exploding out of the side of his seat. He dropped the weapon. It crashed to the footplate then bounced into the dirt below. Dust rose up from the track.
Hidden under the neckerchief, Jack, an older version of his brother Max, laughed as he ambled his horse around the coach. On the way past, he peered through the windows to ensure there were no passengers inside.
“You were told.” Without any sympathy, he informed the men on the front of the coach. “Someone could get hurt like that.” Under the hat, his eyes glittered above the dirty mask. “Now, do what the fella said. If you’ve got any other guns this might be a good time to drop them too; before you reach for the sky.” Both men sat on the driver’s seat of the coach with their hands held high in the air.
Jack waved his pistol directly at the driver. “You, climb down and load the gold into these here bags.”
Max dragged the flour-sacks from his saddlebag. He threw them towards the driver now standing beside the coach. The sudden movement of the thrown bag flying past the head of Max’s horse caused the animal to shy and give a few pig-roots. Being the son of a horse-breaker cum bush-ranger Max had little trouble bringing his animal under control. He had the animal settled in a matter of seconds.
It was during those few seconds that the guard chose to grab the hidden pistol under his seat. The barrel pointed at the lad’s chest.
To Be Continued.