Greetings and salutations friends, Romans and fans. Sorry it has taken so long to write this post, but as you can appreciate, it takes a long time to peck out the letters one-by-one using your beak. Further delays were experienced when Jane’s computer decided to delete everything …. well all the important bits at least, like my almost-finished post. Ah, technology! Where would we be without you? [Ed: living foot-loose and fancy-free on the road, not stressing about the fact that the blog is months behind, or that various drafts of press releases and articles have disappeared into the ether. That's where!]
From Alice Springs, we drove across to Townsville and commenced the final leg of our journey to Melbourne. Under the care of Disco-Daddy-O (AKA Poppy, Janey’s father), we made good progress down the coast, stopping occasionally to do a spot of fishing and to make sure Poppy didn’t miss any of the motorcar races – yawn!
One of the highlights of this section of the journey was Poppy’s frozen food labelling techniques… three nights of bolognese sauce instead of the touted curry, beef stirfry, and sweet and sour. Bolognese actually goes quite well with rice, surprisingly enough. Jane took it all in good stead, as food, any food, is always welcome to the cyclist.
Poppy was pretty keen to catch the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous horse race, so we stopped early on the day and Poppy set about getting the satellite TV organised. After much muttering and tuneless whistling, along with wandering around with the satellite dish to find the signal, we missed the race by about an hour.
On a more sombre note, I discovered an alarming trend along the roads of Australia. It seems that Lollypop Ladies (or People if you insist on being PC) are being murdered! Every few kilometres along the highway would yield yet another sombre outline where those noblest of safety officers had fallen. I, Tarquin Chicken, demand the government take action on what is most obviously the work of a heinous serial murderer. A thorough investigation is warranted, along with a Royal Commission into the obvious malfeasance and abrogation of duty displayed by the police force.
The trip down the coast has been spectacular. As far as coastlines go, the eastern coast of Australia is stunning. Everyone seems to think so, especially over the summer holidays, when hundreds of thousands of folks flock to the beach. It made finding a campsite hard on occasion, but we did meet some really nice people along the way. A big shout-out to all those who enjoyed squeezing my tummy and making me squeak! And an especially big THANK YOU to those who lent a hand in times of strife – shelter from pouring rain, friendship and accommodation from strangers, the loan of a luxurious pillow, and not least of all to those who provided sustenance to the “motor” of our outfit, the Intrepid Janey. The names are to numerous to mention, but here are a few happy snaps of some of the fab folks who have leant a hand along the way.
[Ed: there were many, many, many more people who assisted in ways both large and small that I don't have happy snaps of. Honestly, a trip like this is not possible without the kindness of strangers and friends alike. I humbly thank all of you, and want you to know that the success of my adventure has been made possible because of your generosity.]
Australia has a serious number of “Big Things”, I wanted to dedicate the last few thousand kilometres of our tour to seeing them all, but Jane said “piss off” and would only snap token pics of me in front of the ones that we had to ride past:
I cannot finish this post without mentioning the massive changes that have taken place in my life over the last few weeks. It was over the Christmas break, that I met the love of my life: Miss Patsy. She’s a stunner. Pink polkadot bikini and all. Jane met Patsy at the Clarkson’s Christmas Gala and thought we’d make a decent match, boy was she right. My heart is full to bursting and Patsy is my first thought at dawn and my last thought before I take roost for the night. I am lost to love.We are now at Jervis Bay with approximately 1,000km left to ride before we finally make it to Jane’s home town, Melbourne. If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, we will be having a little soiree at Federation Square on Sunday 23 February – time to be announced later, but likely early afternoon – to mark the end of the trip and to welcome Jane, Patsy and myself home at long last.
Very early in the piece, Jane got you all to vote on a theme song for her adventure – “Go your own way” by Fleetwood Mac was the eventual winner – but there is only so many times you can hear that first thing in the morning before you start going a little nutso. So, I penned an alternative theme song, which I’m sure you’ll all enjoy:
I’m Tarquin the Chinese Chicken
I’m not so “finger lickin’”
Some folks think I’m a duck,
But I don’t give a cluck
Cos it’s with Patsy I am smitten!
If you think this should be done as a cover by Pearl Jam, vote now, vote often!
Tarquin (the brains of the outfit)
I hope this post finds you close to reaching your goals and just generally pretty darn satisfied with your life, like me!
See you in Melbourne!