It seems so long ago now.
And yet, measured in the units of time – in the way we measure our journey between birth and death, it was not long ago at all.
Today we are in our small apartment in Rotterdam, one amongst many other identical apartments, each one four stories high. We´ve been here for a week, long enough to recover from the jet lag of the direct flight from Adelaide.
Two weeks ago, we were out there, in the rural areas of Victoria.
Getting up every day with no other object than to ride to another unknown destination, the reason for our existence: to be on our bikes, going somewhere, nowhere.
In one of the few areas of our planet which is not over-populated.
Deserted towns living on their memories, the shops boarded up, the streets empty…..
We often pull over to the side of the road and listen to the birds in the old gums and take in the scenery. Inevitably, the locals will stop and ask whether we are o.k., flat tyre? Not enough water? In this case, a farmer in a science fiction machine (used for spraying large tracts of land), left the field and drove down the road and pulled up next to us. A ladder automatically descended and a man wearing old clothes and a beanie wandered over (the machine left in the middle of the road).
The past still there to see, a silent witness to times gone by; an abandoned house and an old petrol station dating from well before the Second World War…..
A farmer and his sheep. We pulled over and he stopped:
‘Me and me wife once bought a couple of bikes. Put ’em on the back of our caravan. That was years ago. They’re still there, rusted on the ‘van. Never used ém’
‘Do you take your dogs with you when you go on holiday?’
‘Them? No mate, they’re farm dogs!’
In this modern era with huge computerised machines and global positioning systems, the simple farm dog remains an invaluable asset.