A Bedtime Story for Leaflets
by John Atkinson
Once upon a time there were three Electrical Engineers. Their names were Airdrie-Fairdrie, Bobbsie-Wobbsie, and Eenie-Weenie, and they were all ex-Presidents of the famous Sydney University Bushwalking Club.
Airdrie-Fairdrie was an Ergonomist. Her colleagues called her Annie Dribble. She was the first Ergonomist to discover that chairs are supposed to have five legs. The Government sent her to Canada flying Business Class to tell all the other Ergonomists about it and to build up her T.O.P. She went walking at Lake Louise.
Bobbsie-Wobbsie was a Boffin. He worked for the CSIRO, and his friends called him Boffin Bob. They used call him Burlington Bertie, but that was before he went O.S. He was the most widely travelled of the three Electrical Engineers – in fact, he became known as a Frequent Flyer. In 1988 he went to Aconcagua. In 1989 he went to the Ruwenzori. In 1990 he went to Mount McKinley. Then he came home via Jotunheimen, Himachal Pradesh, and Kakadu.
Eenie-Weenie was an advocate of Free Enterprise. His competitors called him Nipper, he was so quick. He worked for various HiTech Companies, where he invented exceedingly Clever devices for jamming Dave’s radio. This pleased all the other Bushwalkers no end. However, the HiTech Companies kept going bankrupt and forgetting to pay him. He spent his spare time carving letters of the alphabet on banana skins. But he never quite caught up with Ashley in terms of D.O.S.
One day, just after the Annual Queen’s Birthday Skitouring Fiasco (which was even more of a Fiasco than usual, since it was completely rained out), Bobbsie-Wobbsie winged back from a brief visit to the U. S. of A. He wanted to go Bushwalking. So he rang up Airdrie-Fairdrie and Eenie-Weenie.
“Where do you want to go Bushwalking?” said Airdrie-Fairdrie and Eenie-Weenie.
“I remember in the Good Old Days when I used to go Bushwalking with Norm,” said Bobbsie-Wobbsie. “There was a hill called Glen Trig out past Newnes. Why don’t we go there?”
“Oh, goodie!” said Airdrie-Fairdrie.
“Been there. Done that,” said Eenie-Weenie. He went into the next room and spent the weekend playing with McGus’s computer. Some say he went to Randy Wix with Noballs on the Saturday night. In any case, he doesn’t come into this story any more.
At Strathfield on Friday night the Bhagwan decided to change the petrol filter so that the car could go up hills. He got Bobbsie-Wobbsie to hold the pipe from the petrol tank, and he got Airdrie-Fairdrie to hold the pipe from the engine. But Airdrie-Fairdrie didn’t hold her pipe tight enough, and petrol spurted out all over Bobbsie-Wobbsie. How they laughed! Airdrie-Fairdrie said she was sorry, she didn’t know that petrol would come out if she didn’t hold her pipe really tight.
They had to push the car to start it because the battery wasn’t working. First they drove to Blaxland to see if Bobbsie-Wobbsie’s sister had popped yet. But Bobbsie-Wobbsie’s sister wasn’t home. Then they drove to Hazelbrook, where Susie-Floosie was writing a big book about what happens when cars get hit by possums. Susie-Floosie stopped writing her big book and gave them cups of tea. She even let Bobbsie-Wobbsie use her shower to wash off the petrol. After that, they drove to Newnes and camped near the top of the hill because the battery wasn’t working.
The next morning Bobbsie-Wobbsie got up first and lit a fire in the middle of the road. He made a cup of tea for Airdrie-Fairdrie. Then Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie put on their packs and walked down to the main campground. They saw a couple of girls looking at the Big Map and told them how to get to the Glow-Worm Tunnel. They saw a lot of people sitting on folding chairs beside their wankmobiles. They had big jackets on and were sitting in front of a big fire looking really cold. Bobbsie-Wobbsie wondered if he should have brought his jumper. They crossed the Wolgan River on a big log so as not to get their Volleys wet and set off down the road.
Before long, Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie got to a creek that led up towards Glen Trig. They took off their Volleys so they wouldn’t get wet and waded back across the river. Then they put their Volleys back on and climbed up beside the creek.
The first branch of the creek they went up led to a big waterfall. Bobbsie-Wobbsie remembered it from one of his trips with Norm. Bobbsie-Wobbsie and Airdrie-Fairdrie left their packs in the bed of the creek and went up to look at the big waterfall. Coming back from the waterfall, there was a place where Bobbsie-Wobbsie jumped down a long long way on to a little tiny rock. Airdrie-Fairdrie looked at the little tiny rock for a long time. Then she decided to try a less elegant method of getting down. It worked all right, and she didn’t even suffer from nipple-rash.
When they got back to their packs, Bobbsie-Wobbsie thought they might be able to get out of the creek from the other side. But there was a big cliff there.They sidled round below it into the other branch of the creek. It was a nice creek, but as they went along it became more and more Canyoniferous. Airdie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie began to wonder if they’d ever find a way out.
Before long, Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie came to a place where the creek divided into two branches. On one side, there was a sandbank with trees growing out of it, which seemed a fine place to sit down. On the other side, the cliff overhung a long way. The name of this place was Wombat Hollow. There were no wombats there actually, but that’s just because wombats don’t like to abseil. They keep getting their fur caught in the carabiner.
The branch of the creek on the right was extremely Canyoniferous. In fact it was a small Canyon. Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie took off their packs and went to explore the small Canyon. After a while they came to a littledrop. The walls were slippery, but they were just the right distance apart for Airdrie-Fairdrie to get her legs across, so she chimneyed straight up. But a little way further on there was a bigger drop. Bobbsie-Wobbsie climbed up part way. Then he decided that it was the end of the interesting part of the Canyon. So they went back to Wombat Hollow for lunch.
After several cups of tea, Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie put on their packs and set off up the main branch of the creek. There was no water in the creek. It was full of sand instead. The walls closed in closer and closer. Soon the Canyoniferous creek had become a real Canyon.
Suddenly a small black Wallaby came scurrying down the Canyon, jumping from one side to the other. She almost jumped right on top of Airdrie-Fairdrie, giving her quite a fright.
“Does this Canyon go?” said Bobbsie-Wobbsie to the Wallaby. “Did you come in at the other end?”
“Can’t stop to talk,” said the Wallaby. “Can’t you see I’m in a hurry?” And with that she continued on down the Canyon, hopping faster than ever.
“I wonder where she came from?” said Airdrie-Fairdrie. “Let’s go and find out!”
Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie kept on walking up the Canyon. The walls closed in closer and closer, and soon they met overhead. It became dark, and there were Glow-worms. But Airdrie-Fairdrie remembered that she had a torch in her pack. She took it out and gave it to Bobbsie-Wobbsie, who put it in his mouth. He shone the torch on the wall, and they saw that there was a brass plate there. “The Amazing Wallaby Tunnel,” it read.
“That must be the name of this Canyon,” said Airdrie-Fairdrie.
“Then Dave can’t know about this Canyon,” said Bobbsie-Wobbsie. “If he’d been here, it’d be called Hannibal the Cannibal Gonna Eat Your Face Canyon.”
Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie kept on walking up the Amazing Wallaby Tunnel. After a while, the sand in the bottom became covered with water. Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie took off their packs and left them behind so they wouldn’t get wet. The water got deeper and deeper. The first time it came up over their heads, the walls were close enough together so they could bridge over it. But then they got to a big long deep pool. Bobbsie-Wobbsie thought he could see a waterfall at the other end of the pool. There was no sign of any light at the end of the Tunnel.
“We’ll have to come back after the Ski Season with ropes to slide down, and with dolphins to light the way,” said Bobbsie-Wobbsie. “Then we’ll see if we can get in from the other end.”
“Maybe Jodie Jodie Jodie, the well known Canyon Bunny, will come hip-hopping along to help us,” said Airdie-Fairdrie.
“Or maybe the Good Fairy Fiona will come flying by with her magic wand to show us the way,” said Bobbsie-Wobbsie. And they both turned round and went back to their packs.
That’s all there is about the Amazing Wallaby Tunnel in this story. After that, the Bushwalk became rather nondescript, just like any other Bushwalk, so if any of you little Leaflets want to go to sleep now you won’t miss too much. When Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie got back to Wombat Hollow, they turned left and climbed up a tree-pass out of the creek. They didn’t turn right and climb up the side where the cliff overhung a long way. Glen Trig wasn’t on that side, so that was just as well they didn’t go that way. Then they walked up the ridge towards Glen Trig. They saw lots of Pagodas and other interesting things. They were just the sort of things you always see if you go Bushwalking in that area.
Bobbsie-Wobbsie hadn’t seen any water since they left the creek. Also, there were lots of big clouds in the sky, and they hadn’t brought a tent fly. Bobbsie-Wobbsie became a tiny bit worried.
“Let’s go down to a creek and find a Camp Cave,” he said.
So Bobbsie-Wobbsie and Airdrie-Fairdrie walked round the side of the ridge, through lots of horrible Scratchy Scrub, and after a while they came to a creek. They could see a Camp Cave on the other side, but there was a little cliff between them and the creek. They followed the top of the little cliff along, through more Scratchy Scrub, and soon they found a way down through the little cliff. They got to the Camp Cave just as it was getting dark, so that was lucky, wasn’t it?
(As it turned out, there were big pools of water on the top of Glen Trig. And all the big clouds went home to bed as soon as it got dark. So Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie could have had a High Camp after all. But I think Airdrie-Fairdrie would have had even more trouble finding a nice soft sleeping spot on the top of Glen Trig than she did in the Camp Cave.)
Bobbsie-Wobbsie went for a walk in the dark to get some water. So that he wouldn’t be scared of the bunyips, he put a magic pretzel on his head. It was the Bhagwan’s pretzel; that was why it was magic. Meanwhile, Airdrie-Fairdrie collected wood for the fire. Then Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie sat around the fire drinking cups of tea, rubbishing Dave, and complaining about the lack of Snow. It was a typical Northern Blueys Winter Trip. After a while they went to bed.
Next morning Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie got up and had a cup of tea. Then they put on their packs and went up to Glen Trig. It was a fine viewpoint, just like Bobbsie-Wobbsie remembered. You could almost see the Snow, if there’d been any Snow.
After lying on the top of Glen Trig for a while, Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie went down the other side of Glen Trig and walked west to the Pipeline Pass. It took a long time because they kept coming to places where they couldn’t get down. When this happened, they had to go back and go down another way. But they found lots of nice Rocks to climb on, and quite a bit of Scratchy Scrub to push through.
By the time Airdrie-Fairdrie and Bobbsie-Wobbsie arrived at the Pipeline Pass, it was afternoon tea time. So they sat down and ate some lollies. No one wanted to eat the green ones, but Airdrie-Fairdrie insisted that they each have one green one.
Bobbsie-Wobbsie thought that going down the track would be boring. “Let’s go down Petrie Gully,” he said. So they went over to Petrie Gully. Pretty soon they came to a place where it was quite steep. So Bobbsie-Wobbsie decided to go back to the Pipeline Pass and go down the track.
When they got back to the car it was dark. The battery was working again, which just goes to show how useful Electrical Engineers are on Bushwalking Trips. First they drove to Lithgow for some Grease. Then they drove to Bobbsie-Wobbsie’s place. They looked at Bobbsie-Wobbsie’s picture books for an hour or two, while Bobbsie-Wobbsie made them cups of tea. Then Airdrie-Fairdrie went back to Eenie-Weenie.
“Been there. Done that,” said Eenie-Weenie. But he hadn’t known about the Amazing Wallaby Tunnel, had he, little Leaflets?