South of the Australian city of Adelaide is located on a large, green peninsula that on the map looks like the Foot of Italy’s flat footed little brother. There is no heel or arch for that matter, but the map does look like a toddler is trying to kick a hot water bottle. The hot water bottle shaped island is officially known as Kangaroo Island, but to locals, it’s always referred to as Hot Water Bottle Island.
Adelaide is the capital of the driest state in Australia. Any South Australian school kid can parrot off this fact. Adelaide is also said to be half an hour behind the rest of Australia and fifteen years behind in everything else.
What they don’t tell you is that is southern peninsula has double the amount of rain than the rest of the state.
It was raining outside as Kate McTavish, Rainbow’s grandmother, sat at her laptop computer at the kitchen table, looking worried.
“Raining again, isn’t it Ferdy,” she said to the black cat sitting in front of a her open fire. “Nothing new for Yourponga.”
Kate McTavish lived in the country town of Yourponga. A little place with a funny name. Everybody knows this. Nobody bothers to change it, just like Hot Water Bottle Island.
Strangely, Yourponga is the wettest place in this dry state, a green haven in a virtual desert, not that anybody would know it. Yourponga is one of those places that time left behind. A bit like Adelaide, but worse. Yourponga is on the road that goes down to the ferry that gets you to the hot water bottle shaped island.
There are may adjectives that can describe Yourponga but not many of them are grand. Pretty and quaint are about the best of them. “Blink and you miss it,” “Can we get petrol here?”, “Where’s the next pub?” are other things often said as people pass the fifty kilometre speed limit sign into the town. The petrol station closed down years ago, the next pub is in the next town, Trevor, the next slightly bigger town on Hot Water Bottle Island Road.
It’s also near towns called Corkaralunga, Stinkarilyra, Vinkapilla, Parajilarah, Stonininkarunga.
The locals like that there are towns with funnier names around the place.
Yourponga has a small primary school, a post office, a general store, what’s left of a yogurt factory, a football club and a mechanic. High school students normally take the bus to the high school in Trevor if they don’t go to boarding school in Adelaide. If you wanted anything slightly more exotic, like dukkah or avocados, you’d have to go into Trevor. If you wanted to get in something mainstream, then you’d have to go into the Adelaide.
Kate McTavish liked this about Yourponga. She liked her little backwards town. She liked that her 1980 Volkswagen kombi van looks like its fitted in since it was new. She loves that her vegetable garden is well watered all year round by the rain. She loved that she knew everybody in town. And she loved it even more that nobody really knows her. Hippy Kate is what the town of Yourponga call Kate.
Kate McTavish knows she isn’t really a hippy.
She also knows that people only see what they need to see.
What Kate McTavish, Rainbow’s grandmother, doesn’t tell people is that she is an Adelaide native. She says this gives her the right to be contrary, but the people of Yourponga don’t need to know that. She also says that as she moved to such a ludicrously named and this gave her more of a right to misbehave. “You try coming from Yourponga? You need to be a bit odd to live up to the name. It annoys the Adelaide wowsers no end.” she says with a wry smile.
Kate McTavish, Rainbow’s grandmother is an old ratbag. And a worried old ratbag at that.
“What are we going to do with this girl, Ferdy?” She continued at the cat, “I have only met the girl three times. Once when she was born – she came out blue, then went a bit yellow then she pinked up quite nicely – that’s how she got the name Rainbow.”
Ferdy, lifted one eye at Kate then fell back into a deep sleep.
“Oh, don’t listen to my you cantankerous cat. I’m scared. What am I going to do with this child? When I sent the email to Jenni saying I’d take her in I wasn’t expecting her to accept. I thought they’d ship the poor mite back to boarding school in Melbourne.”
Kate closed the lid on her laptop and sat staring at it’s black cover. Only time would tell how things would transpire.
Image courtesy of freeimages.com.