Nature's Place

Gentleman Mechanic’s and Golden Boy


Even with the air conditioning on the car is hot here in Australia‘s summer. Especially after going for a walk in the bush. The power windows stopped working last week and I couldn’t find the fault myself. It is inconvenient and I do prefer to drive with the windows down. But I just have to accept what can’t be changed, for now.

Today the mechanics I have met since moving to N. E. NSW looked at it for me. It could have cost a lot but I can’t live without working windows in the car. Peter, one of the partners, spent ten minutes on it and it was working again. Mark, the origional owner of the business only charged me ten dollars. Isn’t that amazing? That’s a rhetorical question. It is amazing.

Mechanics are notorious for taking advantage of the lack of mechanical know – how of the man on the street but these guys are the best. Good old fashioned service without the rush, and pleasantly communicative. And honest, they do what needs to be done and you pay an honest rate for it.

If you are ever in this neck of the woods and need a mechanic you will find them just outside the village of Burringbar, north of Byron on the old Highway One to Murwillumbah. Murnane is the name and you’ll find them in the phone book, or if you’re in the area just ask someone.

It’s good to be treated right and I thought I’d pass it on. I have met other gentleman mechanics but not since I started writing this blog and this blog is about my experience here and now.

After I left Murnane’s, with my windows working, I went to the Mooball N. P. for a walk. More like a climb really, it’s very steep hill country. But it is relatively unknown and there’s a certain freedom in being alone in a place few people go to. I enjoy it.

I drove around a bend and saw a Goanna run for the trees in the distance, about a hundred metres. You have to keep an eye out for the creatures if you want to see them in the wild. I saw where it went and made a mental note and stopped about where it ran from the road. I got out of the car and there it was, a small Goanna, about two and a half foot long from nose to tail tip.

I got the camera out and got a couple snaps of this shy creature as it peered from around the trunk of the tree it was climbing to escape from me. A slender quiet thing flicking its tongue to see what I taste like. It may know me a little if ever we meet again, and maybe won’t run away so quickly. It didn’t run too far until I moved around the tree for a better shot. It might have felt I was trying to flank it. And I was but only to take its picture, but it didn’t know that. ( P1000611(1).jpg )

I went for a walk then and came across a few small creatures. A few spiders in their webs and a few grasshoppers. Magnificent creatures in themselves the way they are structured for what they do. And they are designed to survive. The magnificent webs of silver and golden thread that house and feed the spider. And the powerful legs and secondary wings that enable the grasshopper to get away, some of them have suits of thorn so if any frog got one in its mouth it would soon spit it out.

It was nice and quiet on the trails in this place. Nothing to name or think about except nature. But most of the time just seeing what is there, the leaves of a myriad different plants and fallen things. And smelling the air, and feeling the cool breeze up in the hills. That’s nice.

On the way home I stopped at an old spot of mine on the top of a hill that was probably the site of a house before it became a national park. I have stopped here many times and got a few good pix but today was special.

I was in a hollow looking where some old palm trees had been dumped a long time ago. It’s an area that I visit since I found some beautiful yellow fungus there before I had the new camera. The old one couldn’t focus on it. I have also seen a big hornet scouting the place at another time, moving slowly and deliberately from place to place looking for I don’t know what. Food, shelter, nest site. The same things people look for I reckon.

Today I met Golden Boy and he posed for me for a long time, and I thanked him for that. It is a privilege to get close to the wild creatures and I was grateful for it. This fellow was magnificent, a streamlined body with four wings and the muscle to control them that gave him exquisite control in flight. An efficient hunting machine that told its predators ‘I don’t taste good’ with its yellow and black colouring. ( P1000660.jpg + P1000624.jpg)

He had such control in flight he could take his prey on the wing. I saw him take a small insect from the air with ease, as if harvesting what is naturally and rightfully his. He is a predator after all. Cruising his territory with an air of invincibility. Poised to respond to the slightest significant signal.

Such beauty of form and function was unsurpassed in my view today. You should see that head swivel on its ‘neck’ and focus and lock when something I can’t see attracts his attention. It’s robotic. Simply a beautiful, deliberate, instinctively intelligent hunting machine.

Sylvan of this hollow in the top of a mountain. A privilege to meet.




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