In April 1989 we were travelling from Perth to Melbourne by car. It is more than two thousand kilometres across a vast open desert in the outback. There is little human habitation along this road, whose side is marked by relics of travellers who did not reach their destination. After several hours, we stopped in a small town called Ceduna for lunch.
The lady managing the cafe put down her knitting and made us steak sandwiches. She told us of the very difficult situation she found herself in. She was unable to work on her farm as it had not rained for five years, so that now the soil was blowing away. But, she said, if it would just rain a little she would be out in the back planting some seeds for a new crop. To make matters worse, she told us that she had an opal mine in the north that could not be worked, as it had been flooded out by rain! A shame, we agreed, and really felt for her, out there in the baking hot dry land.
The conversation shifted to other topics and we eventually paid for our meal and got up to leave. We opened the front door to find it was absolutely pouring with rain.