Busy at work, busy on the weekends. I am behind in my blog, as Dad has just reminded me. I have been planning in my head some of the thoughts I would share, and some of the insights I have gained, but I have not been able to formulate in the way I wanted them to be read. In the meantime I have a news update for you.
It is pretty mundane here most of the time. The biggest crisis I have to face is placating someone whose rubbish bin was missed, or trying to get some dozy old food premises operator to wear his hair covering. I spend a lot of time inspecting old brick churches (we have about 25) and community halls (about the same) to make sure the congregation or community can safely escape in the rather unlikely event of conflagration. I also had a lot of fun GPS mapping our landfill and refuse site, and writing its operational plan. The Shire has just booted the contractor who ran it (badly) and taken over operation itself.
So far I have not made any friends here, of the sort to invite home for a cuppa, or to be invited in return. I tried a few times. I even hung out in the pubs for a few nights, but the sort of people I met there were not the kind I would invite home anyway. Even three bottles of Strongbow original cider didn’t make them any more interesting or attractive.
I had a friend of a friend stay with me for a few weeks, sleeping on my couch. It was quite good to have company. I had never met Tim before, but we got on well. I enjoyed having someone to talk to. Tim has done a lot of interesting things in some very interesting places. I thought I had, but his stories beat mine.
We have been out exploring a lot. We did Wave Rock one weekend, The Stirlings and Albany the next, and last weekend we took a trip to Bunbury.
Tim has been looking for work in Perth and around the Great Southern, but has not had a very positive response so far. So, on Friday afternoon I drove him to Kalgoorlie, where he hopes to get a job in or around the mining industry. It certainly looks as if he will. They have lots of vacancies there for everything from miners to drivers and service industry positions. The catch in Kalgoorlie is that unless they are seeking some very specialised role they only recruit among people who are locally resident. So you have to be there to get a job. Tim went to stay with Craig, a friend of his who services mine safety systems. Craig lives in a wee cabin in a camping ground until his new house is built. In less than a year he has made enough to buy a property and build on it. Meanwhile he is in this tiny and rather expensive cabin with a bed and a couch, and no spare floor space even for a swag, so on Friday night I slept in my car. On Saturday morning we had a really good breakfast at a local café/brasserie, then a quick look around Kalgoorlie before I set off on the 655k drive home. The actual distance is a bit less than that – closer to 590k I think – but I took a couple of detours and alternative routes just for the hell of it. Even with stopping for coffee, or to take photos, and a 30 minute nap at starting site of the rabbit proof fence, I was home in under 8 hours. The petrol warning light came on just 15 k from the Shire boundary and I made it home without needing the spare 5 litres I carried in the boot. So now I know the range of the car, cruising Aussie highways on cruise control; about 650K plus or minus. Not bad.
It was quite strange to be back in an empty house, after sharing it for almost a month. I felt a little lost at first, but busied myself on Sunday with laundry, ironing, vacuuming and tidying up, restoring the house to the way it was before the lounge was converted to a spare bedroom. I even made some bread.
On Tuesday morning before 0600 I must drive to Perth, this time in the Shire car rather than my own Toyota Camry, though if the weather was warmer I would consider taking the bike. I have not ridden it for a while, apart from a quick jaunt to Kojonup and back (80k round trip) on the Sunday before last. I am attending a workshop on food safety run by the WA Dept of Health. Rather ironic in a sense, I used to run such courses.
This morning we had a frost! To hear the locals you would think it was the end of the world.
And that is the news…