After our little tour of Rainbow, my Headmaster pulled up in front of a small unpainted cement sheeting clad cottage, which boasted a dry overgrown front yard, and a fence that protected little, as it was mostly tilted or half attached to its railings, but it was home. And my home at that!
As we entered the house through the back door, my two new housemates were there to meet me. Maaike was an Australian from Geelong, and had Dutch heritage, and Ruth (or Strewth Ruth, as I would dob her soon), was a quiet Australian girl from inner city Melbourne. Maaike would be teaching Geography and associated subjects, and Ruth would be teaching German, which I found funny because I would be teaching English! After Ruth confused the students with one subject, I could continue the confusion with another one!
My bags were brought in, and dumped in my small bedroom (an after-thought really) which at one stage would have been the kitchen's pantry. The room had a bed, a window and a long narrow wall which housed a built in desk, and two narrow built in cupboards which were to serve as wardrobes, one on each side of the desk, which was attached to the wall under the one window.
There really was just enough room for me in that room at one time, so the others waited out in the walkway from the back door which also held a cement based water trough for holding laundry room water, although there wasn't a washing machine or any other laundry based equipment. After a few steps we then turned and entered the kitchen where my two housemates were busy making cups of tea and pouring a glass of water for me. As my headmaster chatted with Maaike and Ruth, and they all busied themselves in the kitchen I paused and looked around. The walls were clad in red glazed tiles, and there were overhead cupboards on the wall which ran between the kitchen and my bedroom. The bench tops were red Formica type tops, with black and white colours covering the rest of the kitchen. There was a wood-burning stove, which had been lit, even though it was February, and still warm outside, even though it was about 6:30 at night. I vaguely remember the wood burning stove was red also----there was a gas hotplate which sat on the bench top next to the wood burning stove, (similar to what I supposed a camp-site would have), and it was attached to a gas bottle. That would be my main source of cooking survival, as I knew nothing about wood burning stoves!
After a few minutes I gathered my bearings, and exclaimed:
"Well! We made it! What stretch of countryside we drove through, didn't we, Mr Barr!"
He smiled, and finishing his cup of tea, stated:, "Well, girls. I'll leave you now. Jan, the Mother's Club have prepared a casserole dinner for you for your first night. I think that is what I smell in the oven. Hope you girls have a good night, and enjoy yourselves, and we will see you three on Monday!"
It was Saturday night, and I smiled, thinking that I would have at least one day to get settled before starting on this adventure at the high school.
I replied, "It will be good to get settled, and to have a chance to look around before then. Thanks, Mr Barr for going to all the effort to pick me up and bring me here. It's like a good Omen isn't it? Like everything is for a purpose!"
Mr Barr smiled at me again, and Maaike sort of grunted and shook Mr Barr's hand, while Ruth quietly started to get some plates from the overhead cupboards in the kitchen. My new headmaster then left, and Maaike went to the oven and opened it, revealing the heat and steam which exploded into the kitchen.
Ruth was setting the plates on the little red topped table which was a permanent attachment to the kitchen bench under the overhead cupboards. The table was attached at a right angle to the cupboard, and jutted out into the kitchen just across from the stove. There were four red vinyl covered chairs on metal frames, which sat two on each side of this small table. Maaike put the casserole on the table, and poured cold water from the fridge, for us all. Ruth quietly sat down with her back to the window, and Maaike sat next to her. I sat across the table, facing the threadbare white lace curtains, and smiled.
The Mother's Club had also been responsible for picking a bouquet of flowers from one of their gardens and had put them in a vase on the desk in my new bedroom. I was home. My home. With the possibility of already having two new friends.
"This tastes great! What kind of meat is this?
"Lamb, probably forequarter", Maaike replied, as she went back to her plate.
"Well, this is the first time I've ever had lamb, so what a treat! I also like the gravy and the vegetables--really nice---I have so many adventures to tell you about some of the food I had in Melbourne! I loved it!"
Ruth paused eating and smiled at me, and Maaike sort of grunted again, while Ruth said quietly, "I'd like to hear them. I miss Melbourne, Rainbow is very small...."
""Well, we're here", Maaike replied. "For the next year--we'll get used to it."
I looked at the stove, and at the gas hot plate and wondered if there were any takeaway food stores in Rainbow, I didn't remember seeing any...I guess I would find out tomorrow as I began to discover my surroundings. I thought of Dorothy and Toto, as they landed in OZ, and I replied " Ruth, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"
Both Ruth and Maaike stopped eating, looked at me briefly, and probably made a mental note to selves--yep--a whole year of her!