It is surprising to see the difference that one hundred and seventy kilometres travel can make. I have just spent two days in Albany, on a Disaster Management refresher course. Disaster is never too far away here. The current drought has left the Katanning area tinder dry and ready to burn. Ironically, the very little early morning drizzle we had around 6 am on Thursday morning as I was driving south, though not enough to even dampen the ground for more than a few moments, was quite enough to start three fires. Cindy the regional DFSA co-ordinator was on the course with me, but spent most of the first morning on the phone dealing with the problem.
Light rain starts fires here because the power poles, tinder dry and covered with dust, can start shorting as soon as a little moisture hits them. The electrical sparks ignite the timber of the pole which will burn lustily. This is known as a pole fire and is a very common phenomenon. Should a few sparks or a burning piece of cross-bar drop to the grass below, there is a bushfire blazing in no time.
The first thing that struck me once I was well south of Mt Barker and driving into the outskirts of Albany, was how much cooler was the air and how very much greener the landscape. Once I arrived, for the first time in months I was able to walk on a living, green, beautifully kept lawn. Such a pleasure.
I had an appointment early Thursday evening with the kidney specialist from whom I learned that the latest tests show no further deterioration in my nephritic functions. No improvement either, however, so he has changed my prescriptionto stronger doses. Another $110 down. It was helpful that the Shire had sent me to Albany this particular day. Saved me the fuel cost and wear and tear on my own vehicle at least.
I stayed at the Albany Gardens Holiday Park, which has some nice clean and comfortable little studio chalets for around a hundred dollars a night if one books far enough ahead.
I stayed in the one marked X.
In the triangular enclosure behind my cabin was a small menagerie of chickens, ducks, an emu, and a mob of tame kangaroos. I had a takeaway Chinese meal for dinner on Thursday night, and kept some left over mee goreng for breakfast. In the morning I did not feel like eating it so I took it out for the chickens. To my surprise the kangaroos really liked it and tucked in heartily. Who knew kangaroos were Pastafarian?
The emu wanders around making a sub-woofer boom now and then that is one of the oddest bird-calls I have heard. While waiting for the Chinese food to be prepared, I wandered across the road to a “Gourmet” shop. I hoped I might find some more truffle mustard. They had none. I bought a100 ml bottle of truffle oil instead, made by the Wine and Truffle company in Manjimup. I know just what I want to try it with first…