There I was sitting at the table doing some work.
It was early, about 6:00am, and as I looked out the window to take in the peaceful Dumaresq Dam morning my eyes fell on a new arrival parked under the trees. After a double take at the familiar white Ford Maverick Ute with the Trayon camper on the back, I realised with a surge of excitement that it was my beloved brother, Barry.
He’d arrived late last night after travelling many kilometres down some obscure dirt road in the Border Ranges only to find that the road was closed, forcing him to retrace his journey back to the New England highway.
I knew Barry was asleep as the Trayon was closed up but I couldn’t stop eagerly peering over in its direction every few seconds to see if there was a sign of life.
Sure enough at about 8:00am Barry emerged and I excitedly ran over to greet him.
It was so good to see him!
He was by himself as Christine was required to work at the hospital and was unable to take time off.
After a coffee and a long chat we set up the Trayon in a brilliant spot only a couple of metres from the bank of the lake and erected the annexe which was the first time Barry had tried this. The annexe gives a great new dimension to camping in the Trayon as it has large fully screened windows and doors as well as a fully enclosed floor. I couldn’t help thinking what a difference the annex would be for Christine, as like Kerrie and I, she dislikes bugs and beetles invading her living space.
We had the pleasure of Barry’s company for three whole days adding a wonderful bonus to the stay at Dumaresq Dam which we’ve loved so much.
Barry, as is normal for him, was constantly on the go and we fished, swam in the lake, walked, talked and dined together.
Together we erected the Trayon’s huge extra annex, also a first for Barry. This gives a large living area that could easily incorporate a toilet and shower cubicle but lacked window space. I’d be surprised if Barry uses it much but with a few minor modifications it could further enhance life in the Trayon.
The lake around Dumaresq dam has attracted many local day trippers over the Christmas holidays and many of these have canoes. Barry has a Kayak and the large array of different Kayaks and canoes being used on the lake caused him to think about how he could carry his on the Trayon. We designed a low cost, simple but very effective fold out rack that could accommodate the Kayak over top of the Trayon when travelling and be swung out to the side.
When Barry and I are together there never seems to be a shortage of laughter. He provides most of it with his wonderful sense of humour and his ability to laugh at himself and at the myriad of tangles he gets himself into. I personally think it’s because he does so much with his time and tries so many new things that he’s able to provide so many interestingly funny situations.
A fishing excursion on the second day of Barry’s stay provided plenty of these as setting off, rod and tackle in hand; we decide to try our luck close to the dam wall. Barry’s first cast, naturally, landed on the wrong side of the dam wall with his carefully selected lure firmly hooked into a shrub many metres from the nearest water source.
The magnificent ridiculousness of the situation made me crack into peels of laughter. Here’s a huge lake, presumably full of Redfin and Trout, nobody fishing for miles around and Baz with his line travelling in the diametrically opposite direction embedded in thick bush. It seemed like even the abundant bird life took momentary interlude from its busy morning activities to watch this hilarious spectacle of Baz wading through the bush, regaled in fishing gear attempting to unhook the lure from the branch of a bush in the opposite direction to the water.
We decide to walk the beautiful track across the creek and over to the other side of the lake.
The sun was just starting to highlight the trees on the surrounding hilltops giving them a splash of golden colour while causing the mist still hovering on the lake surface to slowly dissipate. It was a typical, peaceful Dumaresq Dam morning, one that made a person rejoice in just being alive and here.
We could see the little community of Grey Nomads and holiday makers over the lake, most still asleep, with Barry’s Trayon looking neat and tidy perched on the edge.
Finding a rocky outcrop on the shore we again cast into the lake and this time Baz successfully found water the first couple of times!
It was on about the third cast that the lure again found its way into foliage this time in a clump of reeds.
Determined not to lose his lure, Barry ventured out into the precariously swampy reeds beyond the safe and dry footholds of the bank. To me it was the birth pangs of yet another of Barry’s mishaps.
When finally making the only scant foothold near the firmly stuck lure, all that could be seen for the next 10 minutes was Barry’s posterior as, head down almost into the water, he desperately tried to retrieve the $5.00 lure. I could hear the muffled mutterings and the occasional obscenity as he talked to himself; the words emanating from his mouth which was by now positioned about a millimetre above the lake surface.
Just as the lure looked like it would part with the reed, accompanied by Barry’s triumphant shout, the line snapped and the lure sank to a spot far under the water where even the devastation of the loss could not induce him to further retrieval efforts.
A few muttered curses pre-empted the precarious return journey to dry land. I really couldn’t see how he was going to avoid a full on headfirst dive straight into the drink so I rolled the movie camera almost willing him to slip which miraculously he didn’t. He made it back to dry land lamenting the loss of the lure.
Later on after returning from the fruitless fishing excursion and consuming a lovely hot breakfast the loss of the lure was too much for Baz. He returned to the scene again, this time diving down into the murky depths of the lake to feel around the bottom for the lure.
In spite of his fear that a newly acquired slash in his leg and the resulting blood flow would attract some huge and hideous lake dwelling eel, he dove into the depths until, unbelievably, he found the $5.00 lure.
He was like a conquering hero returning from a triumphant foreign campaign as, adorned with Lake Weed, bleeding and resembling a drowned rat, he proudly displayed the retrieved lure with a smile as big as the Dumaresq Lake itself.
Spending the next couple of days with Barry was enjoyable as he met our neighbours and new found friends of the little Nomad community, fitting in perfectly as if he’d always been there. He would read in the quite peacefulness of the Trayon annexe while ovelooking the beautiful lakescape and then practice his drumming progressions on his soundless practice drum pad. We swam in the cool fresh water of the lake during the warm sunny days, walked, talked and dined together.
As he packed up the Trayon ready to leave for the trip home I couldn’t help but feel sadness knowing that a void would be left by his parting.