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A few days "Up North"
We've just had a lovely few days on the Atherton Tableland. It's always a nostalgic journey for me, but this time was especially so, making time to spend with real country rellies that I haven't seen for years.
We were welcomed with wonderful old-fashioned morning teas of scones and home-made jam, little tartlets with lemon butter fillings, and old fashioned chocolate cake. I just had to close my eyes and I was back in my Great Aunt's kitchen with the wood stove and all the Aunts and Granny sitting around having afternoon tea before the preparations for a family dinner had to start. The property was pioneered by my Great-grand parents, and I am proud to be a North-Queenslander descended from them, and the old-fashioned practices and values still carried on.
It wasn't long enough, but we had to get back home. Next time I'll have to take up some of my cooking in return, and stay with them for a whole day and do some more catching up.
Travelling through Ingham and Innisfail, the smell of the sugar cane crushing season was all around us, bringing more memories back. The flowering cane shimmering in the breeze and smoke coming from the chimney stacks of the mills was a sight from my childhood, as well. Unfortunately there were many signs of the passage of cyclones, such as a wrecked Sugar Mill that is not going to be rebuilt, and fields that have gone to wild grass because there has been only 18 months since they were flattened, and a farmer can only repair one field at a time.
We were pleased to see so much road works going on, proving that at least a few election promises were being kept, ie, trying to "flood-proof" our NQ roads. They'll never completely succeed, but a nice try, fellas! Some parts will at least be a lot safer. Though the devastation caused by this activity to a special place called the Murray Flats caused us huge disappointment. The Murray Flats was a piece of wild swampy land between two streams that flooded every wet season. It had a lovely marshy kind of forest, with pools that lasted all year through, for the wildlife. It has all gone now. Been drained and planted with sugar cane. The new road through there is very nice, but it's hard to even tell where our landmark used to be. Those cane fields will still flood every year, though, because the land is very low, and there will be a scream for compensation because their crop is ruined. How silly!
I've promised myself that we'll go back in a couple of months. Fate will decide that for us, but I cherish the time spent with family and memories.