Peter at the Sunset Top Caravan Park in Mount Isa was more than happy to offer us a powered site for our stay, having reworked our itinerary so that we could meet with the Rotary Club of Mount Isa. When we arrived, Peter knew exactly who we were, and told us that he’d set aside a shady spot to keep the kids cool. A large site, near the amenities block, camp kitchen and pool, it was ideal for the entire family! Once we were set up, Peter came over and we had a quick chat. The first of a few actually! He’s a great bloke to talk with, and we really loved seeing him come over for a quick chin wag when he had a few minutes spare. He took over the park in May, and has been busy since day one. In fact, three of the four nights that we were there, all the powered sites were booked out. It was not lost on us that Peter donated the site for our visit at the busiest time of the year in Queensland.
It was a busy admin time at the Isa. It takes a long time to try and plan each stage of the trip – accommodation (if any), schools/community group meetings if possible, media interviews, as well as the mundane but essential things like supermarket/BP locations, and keeping the kids busy with their reading and maths school work online. Oh, and laundry, did I mention the laundry for five people???
Admin aside, we had some other commitments in Mount Isa. Paul really wanted to have the Cub Camper serviced before we head north, and Miners Mate Mechanical offered to do this for us. Repacked bearings, replaced seals, grease points attended to, and a once over of the underbody = clean bill of health and the all clear to head towards the Cape! How fabulous that Laurence and his team put their hand up to help us continue to spread the word about suicide prevention and mental health!
Out last day in Mount Isa was a busy one. We went into the studio at ABC Radio North Western Queensland to record an interview with Zara. Later that afternoon a reporter from the North West Star newspaper came to the caravan park to interview us. These should be on our Facebook page if you are following our page.
Then it was time to get ready for our penultimate engagement – meeting with the Rotary Club of Mount Isa. Getting the kids clean and dirt free was a carefully timed affair, but we arrived on time at the Irish Club. The kids haven’t had to dress up for a while, so they really enjoyed the whole evening.
What an evening. We were welcomed like family, not just guests, and it made being able to address the club easier. Whilst we are more than happy to talk with people about our journey, from Paul’s diagnosis to where we are now, there is still much pain and emotion in processing what we have been through, and how our lives have changed. Kirstine struggles to keep the tears at bay when she talks about how close she came to losing Paul. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s part of who we are. We don’t mind sharing to those who will listen – for themselves, their families, and their community.
Our eldest daughter won a raffle, and the prize couldn’t have been more suitable – a unicorn moneybox with a glittering pink horn! Some notes and coins found their way into the money box as part of the proceedings, and we gratefully accepted this in addition to the good company, delicious meal, and opportunity to share our story.
President Michelle, however, had another gift for us. Having asked what we needed, and knowing that our last laptop, so crucial to documenting our journey, is now suffering some bugs, Michelle and the Rotary Club presented us with a cheque for $500 to contribute towards a replacement. She had intended on buying one for us, but ran out of time. The kids squealed with excitement, and we felt tears rising again at this latest show of generosity from the Mount Isa community.
How we would have loved to have stayed and enjoyed the fellowship of this wonderful club! Our children, albeit so happily entertained by the very kind and mature son of a Rotary member, were nearly asleep on their feet, though they protested otherwise!
Mount Isa, we are trying to give to communities, but you have given us so much in our short stay. We are moved, and so very happy that we came to visit you!