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A Bunch of Battlers

“Heymate”theboywhispered“who’sthatprettylittlesheila
overthere?Theoneyoucameinwith”
“That’snotaprettylittlesheila”Billywaspuzzled“That’smy
sister!”hejumpedbackintothewaterTheboyleaptupanddid
a running dive into the deep end - looking sideways at Robyn as
he did so.
It was late morning when they left the pool and munching
sandwiches cycled along the main street.
“Haveagoodtrip”Brianwavedfromthedoorofthestore
“Thanks”Robynreplied“andthanksagainforthehorseride”
The boys waved and called out their greetings too.
The road ahead beckoned and the blacktop rolled beneath the
wheels as the three children swung into an easy pedaling rhythm.
By late afternoon they had left Manangatang about forty five
kilometres behind them. Pete was consulting the map as he
pedalled. “We’reclosetotheMurrayRiverhere– see, it bends
in near the road. So if we take the next track we see going
towardsthetreesoverthereweshouldstriketheriver”
“Willthepelicanslivethere?”Billy’shopefulvoicesoundedabit
cross because he was hot and hungry.
“Maybethisispretty closetotheirlake”Robynsoothedhim
“Butwecangotheretomorrow- I reckon we all deserve a swim
now, and a big tea. You can try out your boat again, how bout it?
Thinkyoucanwaitforthepelicans?”
“Sure”Billywaseasilyplacated“Isthatthewaytotheriver?”as
he spotted a narrow track, a path made by animals on their way
to water.
“That’lldo!”Peteduckedhisheadtomissalowbranchasheled
the way along the sandy path that went to the river.
Robyn soon had food cooking in a camp oven on the coals and
the billy sat steaming beside the fire while he boys played in the
water.
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