Yes, even though it's autumn and the rains should have finished over Easter, it's STILL the wet tropics. Raining on and off. Drizzly bits, then sunshine, then heavy downpours. The air is damp, but not that summery-humid-claustrophobic-wet, just damp. You know the towel's-never-dry type damp.
So, why am I here? To see Miss Betty of course. Since our move to the harbour city, it's not so easy to visit Miss Betty in Far North Queensland. But more importantly, it's one of those rare occasions when my two siblings and I are in the same place at the same time. And that's important for Miss Betty too. On good days, she knows we're there. On other days, we watch her doze, and giggle when she snores. Childlike, happy, innocent, calm.
Sibling Number 1, my brother, is a twitcher. Has been for decades. Carries the binoculars, camera, notebook, iPod with bird identifying App: card-carrying-twitcher.
So together we venture to Cattana Wetlands, close to my older-and-wiser-sister's house. It's quiet and peaceful and, at points, in the densely forested areas, infested with the most ferocious mossies on the planet. But we bat them away and head to more open land to spot birds around the ponds.
Spoonbills, my favourites. I love their to and fro dance as they sieve the muddy waters for food.
And egrets, graceful and elegant.
And Willy Wagtails. Sweet and nimble twitterers who dart from here to there catching minute insects.
And Rainbow Bee Eaters with the delicate tails and swooping flight.
The trees are filled with birds a-plenty, like this family of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins.
A Darter guards its nest.
Green Pygmy-Geese feed amongst the water lilies.
One lonely Jacana, Lotus bird, a dainty leaf wanderer, forages amongst the most amazing flowers. But he's too far away to capture. Who doesn't love lotus flowers and water lilies? Who wouldn't want to spend their days tripping across leaves amongst such heavenly blooms?
Bird watching with an expert: the best experience.
And as we leave, this little fellow bids us farewell.
Sibling Number 2, my older-and-wiser-sister, is a mother, Grand-mother and addicted to sewing, like me. Together we work to make block out curtains for her daughter's bedroom. Stitching calico and block out fabric to bring peace to the daytime sleep of the shift working paramedic son-in-law. Family sewing projects.
While doing the final iron for the curtains, I find an ironing board in desperate need of an update and, hence, I sew one of my signature ironing board covers.
There's also a crochet project to complete. Granny squares, made by Miss Betty in her last days of crocheting and others made by the Grand-mother on the paternal side, melded together into a blanket filled with memories and love. My sister has done the majority of the work joining the squares together and I add an Aunty's hot pink edge to bring the project to an end.
That night the rain persists and the daughter, her husband, sons and their cat fight over ownership rights of the cozy blanket. Even in the wet tropics there is the odd time for snuggly blankets.
In my sister's house, there's a dog to be spoilt.
And flowers, and mulberries, and Cairns Bird Wing butterfly caterpillars.
And lots of family, where lunches turn into tomato sauce faces and lemon rind smiles.
Eventually, I have to fly south
over that wonderful Great barrier Reef
to the beginnings of winter,
I love the wet tropics.
What about you?
I love the wet tropics.
What about you?
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