When we arrived back in Halls my first stop was of course the Police station to let Nick know I’d returned safely and was being pursued by Jarrod and Gary who I had successfully pulled out of the Ponton River. I could easily have rung Nick as soon as either the satellite phone or the mobile got signal, I could even have radioed him given that he monitors the radio when he’s at the station, but I chose the personal approach, it’s just the kind of girl I am!
I did however radio Gary and Jarrod and tell them of my plans and was not entirely surprised when they followed me and parked out the front of the station. Because the boys chose to follow me into town rather than go on their own I happily allowed them to pay me from the cash point at the Halls pub rather than deplete their cash reserves, again just the kind of girl I am! However don’t think I’m silly, I had their credit card details and if they were dishonest enough to do a runner I would still have got my money. Because they weren’t dishonest I treated them with the respect they offered me.
Inside the station I introduced the boys to Nick and we had a short discussion about how they managed to get trapped on the rock and how the rescue went, for Nick’s benefit. Thankfully neither Gary or Jarrod were too embarrassed to admit they’d made an error in judgement, even if it was something a thousand other people would also have done, and while we talked they never got shirty or upset when we laughed. Nick asked the boys where headed at which point they showed him their itinerary and we gave them a few pointers for the roads and tracks they were planning to travel, as much as they were nice blokes I was hoping not to see them again.
When the boys disappeared over to the pub to get some cash for their rescue I remained at the station and talked to Nick, things obviously hadn’t changed much in the twenty four hours I was absent but it was still nice to catch up. When Nick offered to buy me lunch at the pub I could hardly say no, well I could have but I was always taught never to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when that gift horse was a good bloke like Nick.
When we walked into the pub Gary and Jarrod were sitting at the bar looking a bit sheepish.
“We were coming back! Honest! It was his idea we stop for a beer first.” Gary said pushing Jarrod under the fast moving bus before he had a chance to do the same.
“It’s ok I brought the law with me!” I joked.
As Nick stepped up to the bar and ordered two of the ‘usual’, two Dean’s Special parmas, Jarrod offered to buy us a drink.
“Three beers and,” he looked at Nick, “do you want an OJ or something since you’re on duty?”
Nick, Sandy, the barmaid, and myself laughed at the question. Nick nodded and several moments later four beers were placed on the bar.
Even before I took up the bar stool beside Jarrod, and Nick took up the stool beside me, Jarrod was pulling a small wad of cash out of his pocket. Jarrod began counting the fifty dollar notes and placing them on the bar as he did so. From the pile Jarrod left on the bar I removed four plastic notes, which I knew would cover my expenses for the previous twenty four hours and put them in my shirt pocket. As I buttoned up the pocket securing the cash I could see Jarrod and Gary looking at me wondering why I hadn’t taken the entire amount.
“There is a guy who will be walking into town later on this arvo, not only is he going to need a cold beer but he’ll be more than happy to take the rest of that.” I said as I nodded toward the extra cash sitting on the bar.
“Are you sure?” Gary asked. “I’m more than happy to donate to the guy as well as pay you, you deserve it.”
“The poor selfless bastard is walking around Australia in a Stormtropper suit for charity, him and his charity deserve it more than I need it, trust me!”
It didn’t take that long for our lunches to arrive and when Barry stepped up from behind the bar with our ‘usual’ I once again realised how much I like returning to town just for food. In case you are wondering or in case you’re ever visiting town and want a decent meal the Dean’s special parma is an invention of mine that has become a permanent feature on the menu at the pub. It’s a chicken breast covered in seasoned bread crumbs, like the Colonel’s secret eleven herbs and spices mine too remain a secret only known by myself and Barry. The chicken is then covered in a spicy barbecue sauce, a sweet chilli sauce, a fried egg, ham and melted cheese, none of that fancy stuff, supermarket cheddar only. You’re welcome for the taste sensation, but the trick is to make sure the egg is not over done and still runny when you cut into it, a trick not easily mastered when it has to be placed under the cheese before it’s melted.
Dammit, how did you do that? You came here to read about my rescue stories and the things I get up to in the Aussie outback and some how you are now getting cooking tips, and not just any cooking tips, the recipe for my secret chicken parma. Well do me a favour and don’t tell anyone, Barry still claims people come to Halls just for the parma and I wouldn’t him thinking the tourist numbers are down because I gave away my own recipe!
After lunch I headed home to do some paperwork, even though I’d given Gary and Jarrod such a big discount for their recovery and I’d be able to write some of it off as a donation I still had paperwork that needed to be done to keep the tax man happy. However my main reason for heading home was to get a little quiet time. I might have spent a few hours earlier in the day confined to the cabin of the Beast by myself but I wasn’t truly alone. At home Nick was about the only person to ever call in and short of packing up and heading into the bush home was the best alone time I was going to get.
I bid the boys farewell and told them I would return around dinner time to see the wandering Stormtropper. Nick the cheeky bastard asked me as I was walking towards the door if I needed an escort home in case I got lost, I decided to chalk it up as one I owed him instead of biting back and kept walking.
Previous Desert Rescue story here.