My world walk blog Australia 40 Nov 21,2017
A further couple of easy walking days took me to the outskirts of a sizeable city called Toowoomba where I planned to take a summer break from Australia. Weather-wise, it seemed that I had made a good decision, for the days were beginning to heat up in southern Queensland state. I had been walking on parallel roads at a distance of approximately 100 kilometres from the coast. Friends had also told me that it was a fortunate decision, for much of the Pacific coast had experienced a substantial amount of rain storms and hail the slow of eggs. A month previously Brisbane suffered a months rainfall in just 48 hours. Somehow, as on my world run I just seem to be lucky at avoiding the worst weather extremes, long may that continue
Near Toowoomba I was met on the road by Paddy, Patrick Farrelly of the Irish Support Group. He had offered to commute me to Brisbane, almost a hundred kilometres away. Before I loaded Karma into Paddy's minibus I took some photos and referenced my paused location in my log book, for this is the exact spot that I will return to in late February after I walk New Zealand.
To date I have walked 18,485 kilometres for 498 road days since leaving Ireland on February 27th 2016.
Paddy, like most other Irish people that I have met in the country has been living here for most of his life. A lover of the arts and cultural heritage he is a noted stage actor and even obtained me a ticket for an entertaining show that very evening called The Lonesome West. One thing I miss on this walk is theatre, and also live music. So, I thoroughly enjoyed Martin McDonagh's 'brutal and savagely funny' comedy.
Arriving in Brisbane and before he drove to my hosts house we stopped off at the Irish Support Group. There, we met a friendly woman called Sarah who is the manager of a neighbouring charity group called Rosie's - 'Friends on the street' being the groups motto. Herself, and some volunteers pay regular visits to offer donated food and make friendship calls to homeless people and also to others who are down on their luck.
So, it was a mad dash to get to Sally's house that night and I had to gobble down a steak dinner She is a wonderful kind person who gave me the run of her luxury house for five nights and four rest days. Originally from County Donegal in Ireland she had just retired from her job as a hospital manager only two days previously. So hospitable is she that a former guest gave her a joke sign calling her house 'Hotel Carpenter.'
Then, I dashed off to the theatre with another great servant and former president of the Irish Support Group, a man called Des and his wife Bernadette.
When the show was over I got to meet one of the leading actors, a Dubliner with a great personality, called Derek Draper. I really enjoyed the night. Next day, a couple of radio interviews including one in in Sydney and the other in a Brisbane studio with Deagláin Hosey.
Thanks to Des's son Emmet who was my chauffeur that day and later fixed some bugs in my phone settings. The following night I was invited over to Des and Bernadette's house for a barbecue and great chat with his family and some friends. On the way in I stepped on a treadmill and had a flashback in time when I used to run on one seriously! Des spoke about how he came over from Ireland and at first worked as a high school teacher. After a while he quit and with a couple of friends opened three discos. That was in the 1980's and disco dancing was booming. People were inspired by John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever and then Staying Alive; so he opened up a shop selling amplifiers and other music equipment. Unfortunately, that business went belly-up and he reinvented himself as a relator after taking a real estate course. Later, when he knew what to look out for he started to buy up houses and land and went onto build about a thousand houses by the time he retired.
Before I fly to New Zealand (Dec.3) I am making a stop in Sydney to do some talks and also I am excited about being invited to attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser Christmas Ball. I fly to Sydney tomorrow, 22nd November. The last picture is the location near Toowoomba city where I took my Australian summer break. I will return there in about three months time. I will continue walking north from here towards Rockhampton, Mt Isa and Darwin