Journal: 010, Day by Day

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At the moment I seem to be doing one round trip a fortnight and I wanted/want to give you an idea of what that is like, day by day. I started making notes but a) diaries are boring, just lists of stuff done; b) after a few days the word count was out of control; and c) I could call it minimalism (see GTL here) but that still wouldn’t make it either interesting or good writing.

So I’ll attempt to both condense and provide a (minimal) narrative arc, a tiny amount of character development and zero dialogue.

Starting at the end of the previous trip: It’s Tuesday arvo June 5. I pull into the depot, wash my truck, go home in the ute, clean up, switch on the desktop pc (which I prefer over my laptop and phone) and later in the evening, pick up Milly from a meeting nearby and run her home. Difficult teenage granddaughter is watching tv/dogsitting. Milly makes us a scratch tea. I go home.

Milly works one week in the city, one week out on a mine. Getting up, having breakfast in time for a bus ride out from the camp and a 6am start means she’s definitely early to bed/early to rise. Most times I visit I’m hanging round for a chat and a third glass of wine and she’s pushing me out the door at 8.30.

Next couple of days I’m mostly on the computer, but on Weds Gee wants me to pick up a second hand double bed. In the rain. I buy a tarp from Bunnings, deliver the bed, get a light tea – fetta salad and pancakes. Read miss 6 and master 8 Ahn Do’s Weirdo. Thurs I meet Milly in town, take the ute, street parking is ridiculously easy for a ‘major’ city, and we have Japanese for a change – I’m still not sure what Ramen is but it had meat in it so I had spring rolls, whole small crabs and sweet potato chips.

Finally, Friday I get a load – so that’s my social life done for the fortnight. Or should be, in fact the load is to Bendigo where mum is visiting B3, so I road train to Echuca (which involves veering all over southern NSW (map)), break up, bring one trailer in, have a pub dinner with mum, B3, sister in law and cousin Kay, go back to Echuca for second trailer etc etc. Next day, unload, park one empty trailer at my nephew’s, run the other to Melbourne. Find a truck stop in the western suburbs. Taxi into Footscray to meet Lou, wander the streets until we finally choose a Vietnamese restaurant, cafe really, but it has a licence and I get to have a drink. Ok, so that’s really the end of my social life (for this 14 days) – well unless I run into old Tom or Dave, but I’m spared.

As is always the way with Dragan’s “you’ll be loading straight home” I don’t. My road train load turns out to be six tonnes. I stick it up the front. At the end of the next day I get a large van for the back half of the trailer. Then hurry, hurry “we have freight for the other trailer in Sydney”. On the freeway back to Bendigo to reunite my trailers, in bumper to bumper nighttime traffic way out into the country – MST’s daily commute, I don’t know how she stands it – B3 who has run our mother back home (Blackburn, Melb) calls to say he’s just behind me. We pull into a truckstop, the coffee franchise is closed and there’s no way I’m drinking McCoffee so we have a chat, I don’t have time to follow him home for tea and a shower, and that’s really the end of my social life for the fortnight. I roadtrain to Hay, leave the loaded trailer at the Caltex, push on to Sydney and put on half a load of steel in the evening and after inevitable delays waiting for something better to turn up the next morning (Sat), put 3 cars up top as pictured above and head for Perth.

Is that the end of it? No it’s not. Another driver has been stuck two days in Goulburn having problems – in his head mostly. His load is now late and he doesn’t look like moving. We swap trailers, I have a smooth run home, the last I see of him he’s at Hay hooking up. At Port Augusta I hear he’s managed to take the wrong road and his lights aren’t working. His name’s Ewan, but I don’t think we’ll see him again.

I get home, ie back to Perth, drop the trailers at Tolls (a parcel express company, once Australia’s largest, now owned by the Japanese Post Office). It’s Tuesday, I go round to Milly’s, make some soup, pick her up from Spanish class.

Image result for blood tony birch

Blood (2011) was Tony Birch’s debut novel, after two short story collections, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin. Why, I don’t know as it’s a bog standard YA melodrama, two brave kids – a teenage boy caring for his younger sister, indifferent mother, evil adults, set in various locations in Victoria and South Australia with some dodgy geography, particularly along the Western Highway connecting Adelaide and Melbourne, and a token cave with Aboriginal paintings with a roadside sign (no doubt saying name carvers and spray painters this way) referencing the token aboriginality of the teenage boy. Lots of you liked Birch’s second, Ghost River (2015), so I approached this one hopefully thinking I might review it. But no. Admittedly it wasn’t helped by the flat delivery in a regional English accent of the old, male reader for the Queensland Narrating Service.

Recent audiobooks

Erle Stanley Gardner (M, USA), The Case of the Fabulous Fake (1969)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (M, Eng), The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard (1894)
Dick Francis (M, Eng), Under Orders (2005)
Robert Galbraith (F, Eng), Career of Evil (2015)
Tony Birch (M, Vic/Aust), Blood (2011)
Lisa Genova (F, USA), Every Note Played (2018)

Currently reading

Ruby Langford Ginibi, Don’t Take Your Love to Town

 

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25 thoughts on “Journal: 010, Day by Day

    • You probably pass more vehicles between Kew and Doncaster than I do crossing the Nullarbor. I keep planning to describe where I am and then getting sidetracked. BTW do you swim at Doncaster? I was a member of the Dolphins for years.

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      • Probably! I spend a lot of time sitting in traffic, not covering many kms at all!

        I swim at Balwyn – it’s a fantastic outdoor, heated 50m pool. I used to swim at Hawthorn but since their renovation (and the pool is good) I haven’t really been back – the space feels crowded compared to Balwyn.

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      • I’ve done a lot of interclub swims but can’t place Balwyn. I’ll give it a try next time I stay at mum’s. My ‘home’ pool is Nunawading where I’ve swum and trained off and on since 1966 when it was outdoor/unheated. Swam there again in the 90s (under Leigh Nugent to namedrop) But it’s crowded, hot and stuffy these days.

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  1. Yup, I agree that Ghost River is better than Blood, but I think it was worth reading Blood all the same.
    oops, have to go now, we’ve got our own bit of traversing the country to do, two flights home to Melbourne from Norfolk:)
    Take care, Lisa

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  2. It’s interesting to me that there’s some reliance on family to meet you or let you leave a trailer. It’s nice that you can see them when you’re on the road. Is your mom still up and around quite a bit? And…… What happened to Ewan’s head? 😐

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    • If there’s family around, I’ll visit them. Mum’s well thankyou, perfectly independent, she could catch the train but B3 likes driving. Funnily enough I ran into Ewan again today, in Brisbane. We set off together and he broke down again, something minor, and refused to go on. What’s in Ewan’s head is tiredness and anger probably, same as every truckie.

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  3. There were a lot of ‘ends’ to your social life for the fortnight! I love your trucking stories! Ramen is a type of noodle for Japanese soup i believe (as opposed to udon noodles) you can get veg and seafood options.

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  4. Oh dear, catching up after a tumultuous couple of weeks in more ways than one. I’ve barely read any blogs – but got stuck into my Lisa backlog yesterday and turned my head to you today.

    I loved this post but you did make me laugh re not knowing how MST stands her commute. I don’t know how YOU stand lumbering that big lump around the country, battling traffic and difficult turns, etc etc. I think you are both daft, and am happy in my lovely short commute bush capital.

    I do like that you hang around Milly’s hoping for a third glass of wine.

    Ramen, as you may know by now is Japanese wheat noodles in broth, with various flavorous. Don’t do them myself because I don’t do wheat. Suprprisingly Japan is tricky for wheat free people because all their noodles have wheat, unlike Vietnam, Malaysia etc who do have rice noodles.

    Anyhow, great post as always.

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    • Like all people who work with their hands I get satisfaction from doing a job well, and that definitely includes getting multiple trailers around corners. Through heavy traffic, not so much!

      I avoid wheat, rather than am intolerant, so I must keep that in mind. I am coming to the opinion that glysophate tolerant wheat is responsible for many ‘new’ diseases.

      I hope you get to my All that Swagger post (sorry, I know I shouldn’t put that on you) I would like to know if you have any opinion/knowledge about the location of Franklin family properties.

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