DD’s sister did the most remarkable thing earlier this year: she decided to work as a school teacher in Wilcannia.
It has been quite the trip, in all senses of the word. Wilcannia provides many challenges – drought, dust storms, kangaroos, social inequality and distance to name a few.
She also turned 50 earlier this month and had a bucket list wish for dinner by the ocean before December ran out, ahead of a proper family celebration in January.
However, Wilcannia’s distance meant that her dinner needed to wait until the school year finally ended and she started the long trip back to her home on the North Coast.
So DD and I jumped in the car yesterday afternoon and headed north to raise a glass with her.
I’m not surprised she chose Merewether Surfhouse as our destination – the view is pretty damn amazing, enhanced last night by billowing storm clouds, sunset colours and lightning flashes.
I was a bit worried about those sly weather gods as the rain pelted down on Wednesday night, but then Thursday dawned sunny and sultry.
Pity it didn’t stay that way … the most intense storm blew up out of nowhere and stalked us from Hornsby up the freeway.
We somehow dodged the hail, but not the traffic jams, marvelling at the golf balls of ice lining the freeway as we crawled past all the cars pulled over with smashed windscreens.
The eldest also sent a snap of the snowstorm-like conditions at Central Station.
I’m also dazzled by the baseball sized hailstone in the pic above, photographed at Camden ..: and the flower shaped ones below …
The rain poured down as we dashed into the restaurant and some pretty impressive lightning flashed on the horizon.
Our gift to DD’s sister was an underwater camera to match the one we took to Lady Elliot Island, as she’s coincidentally heading there for a few days in January for a bit of 50th birthday fun.
She was thrilled at the prospect of some fishy photography.
Our brief few hours together yielded some fascinating conversation – for example, I had no idea Wilcannia was home to lots of historic sandstone buildings, due to having once been a major inland port.
And I was awed by her tales of outback school life, with its amazingly dedicated teachers.
After finishing a delicious steak and nibbling at a cheese plate, we hit the wet road again for the trek back to Sydney.
I was totally knackered, as I’m still operating on Queensland’s weird anti-daylight savings time.
Just another half day’s work today before Christmas break begins …
Hope you have some downtime in your future too.
What’s your bucket list wish?