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A reunion with an old mate

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Tuesday morning we took a walk around Kyogle, taking in the atmosphere and “getting to know” the town a little.

It’s a pleasant, friendly town bustling with activity and we decided we liked it. We picked up a few groceries before heading up the mountain to Wadeville to see where Geoff lived.

He had an appointment in Casino so we wouldn’t be seeing him till the afternoon but we were keen to see the area that had been such a strong attraction to him for years finally causing him to pack up and move there about 6 months ago.

Geoff always said that it was partly this blog that inspired him to finally take the plunge and make the move to the place he has dreamed about for so long. I remember him saying to me once in a phone conversation that he was, “Glad someone was living the dream”. He said reading the blog made him feel like it was possible to turn ones back on the everyday grind of life and follow a dream and that if we could do it so could he.

Geoff has always had the ability to make me feel worthwhile and has never stopped encouraging and motivating me.

Driving up the mountain road to Wadeville and looking out over the magnificent ranges with their deep, natural bush valleys made me nod my head silently, fully understanding why my friend had been so attracted to this place for the 30 years that I’ve known him.

After Geoff’s return from Casino we made our way to his place down a steep, narrow dirt road lined with large trees and abundant bamboo clusters.

As we reached the end of the track it suddenly opened out onto the most incredible scene.

The house was surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs and in three directions the magnificent mountains formed a breathtaking panorama as the mountain mist drifted down to the valley far below gently encircling the huge trees. The sun shone down the valley picking up and enhancing the sight of the mist against the thousands of shades of green.

As Geoff run out to meet us I first noticed the “Geoff phenomenon” which has always puzzled me – THE BLOKE JUST DOESN’T AGE. He looks the same as 20 years ago! It’s like he’s been embalmed while alive, perfectly preserved for all time. Super fit, slim and glowing with health, I felt like an old man in his presence.

Geoff’s house has floor to ceiling windows through which you can gaze out over the surrounding ranges and the valleys for miles around. It is superbly quite with only the rustling wind and the bellbirds which actually contributes to the stillness.

The view from Geoff's lounge room

The view from Geoff’s lounge room

It was a pleasure catching up with this old friend.

Women say men don’t talk much but this is completely untrue where Geoff and I are concerned. There’s always plenty to discuss and I well remember when our conversations would last throughout the night.

We took Geoff’s car and spent the remainder of the afternoon sightseeing.

We went the hanging rock falls not far from Geoff’s house and then down to Nimbin, where the hippie and dropout population is pretty much the same as its been for years, and then on to Lismore, about 40 minutes away. It really is a pretty part of the world.

The Hanging Rock falls

The Hanging Rock falls

Nimbin

Nimbin

We headed back into Kyogle late in the afternoon and chatted to our neighbours before cooking a delicious meal of braised lamb cutlets in homemade BBQ sauce in the camp oven.

That thing has been a great addition to the Aussie Wide. We have it set up so it’s easily accessed from the front boot and we can fry, braise, stew, bake and boil in it.

We use it on a little $10.00 portable gas stove the lid of which acts as a wind break. If we need to brown anything inside such as roast potatoes we have a container of BBQ brickettes in the Ute, some fire starters and a jam tin with holes around the bottom. I just use a fire starter to heat about 8 of the brickettes and place them on the lid of the camp oven when they’re red hot. This browns everything perfectly.

We also have a trivet in the bottom of the oven to keep the food from sticking to the bottom and we use a spring form baking tray for breads, quiches and pies. It all works well.

Camp oven with trivet and baking dish

Camp oven with trivet and baking dish

We have a full oven in the van which also works very well, but the camp oven is quite unique and I enjoy cooking in it.

After a delicious meal and a bit of television we had a wonderful sleep in this peaceful, quiet and cool place.

We decided to stay a third night at the Kyogle showgrounds as we just enjoyed the peaceful friendliness of the place.

We arranged for Geoff to come for lunch today and again we had the pleasure of his company for the day. I miss talking to him about the “deeper things of life” such as the spiritual, the natural and the geopolitical. It was utterly stimulating and enjoyable.

He expressed an interest in travelling the same as us and I really hope he does and that we’ll meet up somewhere on the road and pick up where we left off.

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