Baffling state of affairs in flood aftermath
"OH HON, I'm so sorry!"
The voice down the phone sounded genuinely upset for me.
"We got hit by the January floods, we're still not open."
I didn't know what to say. This is a lady I've never met before.
Nearly three months on from a devastating natural disaster, she still hasn't got her livelihood back on track. And she is apologising to me.
Two more phone calls, two more rounds of "so sorry".
Our last-minute plan for a cheeky night in Baffle Creek suddenly seemed less likely. We hit the road anyway.
We had good reason. The resilient residents of Baffle Creek were holding a Flood Recovery Party. It promised bands, a barbecue and beer - I've driven two hours for less.
But more than that, it was an excuse to actually see the Baffle Creek beyond the headlines.
Hit hard yet again, the tiny hamlet was cut off for days following the January floods.
It was a repeat of 2010/2011, which saw up to 700mm of water rush through homes and businesses.
The waterside Baffle Creek Tavern copped it bad both times.
And I must admit, I'm always interested in taverns.
The Tavern was putting on the recovery party.
I'd misread the flyer, and me and the fella turned up at the Tavern.
It wasn't hard to find - there's a billboard at the last turn-off to Baffle. But pulling up after sunset, it was deserted.
Forget about a party - the place hadn't even re-opened since January.
Luckily, stopping and asking delivers quick results in Baffle Creek.
Back on track, we found the party - on a pitch-black sporting field, adorned with tents, jumping castles, and a truck.
The band was playing off the back.
We got our free sausage, and bought up big on beer and raffle tickets. More folks made apologies that we hadn't found somewhere to stay.
But while Baffle Creek's big on offering sympathy, they're not looking for any.
The tiny community is too busy making plans, for how they'll get back on their feet.
They just can't understand why governments can't keep up.
Four months of asking when their tourist drawcard Rules Beach will open have got them nowhere.
Baffle Creek doesn't need anyone to say sorry - they just want some straight answers.