On August 8th, Matthew and I loaded up our things and headed into Darwin City where we picked up our old friend, Maggie. She had stayed an extra week in Bali while Matthew and I worked with Ewan on the farm. We were only apart for ten days but after reuniting, you would have thought it was much longer.
Maggie was excited to see us. We were excited to see Maggie. The hour-long car ride back to Noonamah was never once silent. We took turns filling each other in on what had happened and what we had missed. We swapped stories and jokes until we arrived at the long creepy driveway where I was told to go. I called our new host, Allen, and made sure we were at the right house. Sure enough, he came outside to great us and show us to our rooms. It was already nine thirty so we all went straight to bed. Well, actually Maggie and I stayed up talking till midnight because we had to catch up on everything!
The next morning we were acquainted with our host over morning tea. Right off the bat I knew I was going to like it at Allan and Leonie's. Though I wouldn't get to spend much time with Leonie, I felt as though I had an inside peak into her life by talking with Allan.
Allan was wonderful. He was a comfortable man of sixty-seven. Originally from Zimbabwe, Africa, it seems as he came to visit an old girlfriend in Australia and instead met Leonie and fell into a life here. Together they have spent many wonderful years building the home around them. He a soil erosion tester and she a writer and a homemaker. Together they spent their days building dwellings and furniture, working on odds and ends projects like making bird feeders, welding and weaving.
One by one, throughout the day, he would happen upon one of her published works. He'd show me the book and then hours later come up with another one. Still, he was a kind man and very fond of a good chat. Just as at Ewan's, we had tea twice a day plus breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here we worked less than at Ewan's. We were required only four hours of work to earn our keep. This was quite easy for all three of us.
I was so excited to meet Leonie. She was a published author and I could tell by walking around her house that she was a fascinating woman. We didn't meet Leonie for a few days because she was doing a writer's residency at the Botanical Gardens in Darwin. She had to stay for two weeks for the sake of a paycheck, but more importantly, for her sanity. She had to do what all great artists must do, and that is to overcome the creative block.