I'm writing this in an internet cafe in the main street of Herberton - FNQ.
FNQ was the abbreviation used by my wife to address her mail home forty years ago, when as a young student teacher she was living in Brisbane.
This part of the world has an irresistible pull for both of us. In her case because she was brought up here - together with her ten siblings, in mine because I'm also a child of North Queensland, and I lived most of my early live north of the tropic.
Our journey north in June was once a family ritual. In part - to escape the winter in the south-east corner - in part to link up with family again. My wife calls it her annual "sister hit". She has, after all, six sisters.
It hasn't disappointed. Driving north and feeling the ever-intensifying sunshine through the windscreen - smelling the cane fields - the bagasse - and tuning in to the NQ accent (the interrogative "hey" at the end of each sentence) - all these things are a tonic for the soul.
Meeting up with some old cronies in Townsville and cleaning up a threesome of good reds was also enjoyable. This meeting culminated in a job offer. It will be interesting to see whether it holds now that we've all sobered up.
Unfortunately, we'll just be getting accustomed to the laid-back sanity that holds in this part of the world, and we'll have to head south again.
Maybe our dream of a northern retreat isn't such a bad idea. We wouldn't need much - a block and a shed initially. We could live up here from May until October.