Batchelor NT (2)

Journal: 046


Last night’s tea. I actually don’t eat much in the evenings except when I’m out, so the pizza -roasted root veg – and the pinot grigio were mostly for today.

I’ve just finished speaking to the local police and I’m not allowed to move, “where you start your isolation is where you finish your isolation”, so I’m here, at this very pleasant motel in Batchelor, for another week.

The good news is Lou is on his twelfth day and is showing no symptoms. He says you can look up each individual flight and check whether any one on board has tested positive, and to date no one on his flight in has.

I keep an eye on, Ok, I follow obsessively, the website which lists trucking jobs and there doesn’t seem to have been much fall off in work. Though there also seems to be very little work out of Darwin. There was one beaut load came up on the first day, Mt Isa to Perth. I put in a high price, but without success. Since then, nothing. I’m staying up here because Psyche wants family on hand when she has an op later in the month. Once she’s ok I’ll grab a part load and head for parts east, west or south. Though I hope I’ll be back.

This week I have been eating mostly what I had in the truck fridge and tuckerbox, porridge for breakfast, salad, egg, tuna for lunch. Now I’m down to rice crackers and cheese, I’ll either have to eat room service or get Psyche to ferry down supplies: fruit, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, brown bread. It’s only 100 km. I asked the police could I take the truck for a (short) run, particularly for the sake of the battery, but no, that’s banned too. This afternoon or tomorrow I’ll fire it up and let it run for a while where it stands like Ferdinand the bull, smelling the flowers.

You saw that I finished and posted a review of Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out. I saw in an earlier post that I was going to listen to her Night and Day, but if I did it didn’t stick. Now I’m reading a Kenyan book Lou brought me, Wizard of the Crow by Ngúgí Wa Thiong’o, 750 pages and fascinating. A review will follow.

The lethargy brought on by the shock of the Covid-19 crisis seems to have passed and I’m reading and writing as I usually do in the gaps between jobs. I do a little bit of exercise and walk for half an hour in what is basically a park around the motel, or along the road, though even towards dusk the weather up here is still hot and humid. I should read Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip next but instead I have already downloaded the three novels of Willa Cather’s Pioneer trilogy and plan to read the first two in preparation for Liz Dexter’s readalong of My Antonia.

Three bloggers seem actually to have been fired up by the crisis to the extent of writing daily posts for our amusement and edification:

Mairi Neil, Up the Creek with a Pen …, Mairi up till recently was taking creative writing classes and now she is giving what are effectively free workshops (with astonishingly long posts!). This, I think, is Day 1: Ease the Anxiety and Boredom of Isolation or Insulation with Creative Writing (here).

Pam, Travellin’ Penguin is writing 30 Days hath April’s Books (here); and

Karen, BookerTalk, is writing about the process of blogging in Blogging from A – Z (here)

That’s it from me today. I don’t often write short posts, but I have books to read, nowhere to go, no one to see (and wine to drink). I’ll let you know when I’m bored enough to turn on the tele (hint: not in this lifetime).

26 thoughts on “Batchelor NT (2)

  1. Well done, Bill, for the shout out about Mairi’s lessons. She is one of my dearest friends, but she’s also a fine teacher. (I speak with authority, I’ve done workshops with her).
    Are you isolated because of border controls or because you might have symptoms? I can’t keep up with the rules here, never mind in other states as well.


    • No symptoms thank goodness. It’s because I crossed the border AND I want to be here as a visitor rather than a truck driver. Milly says that when (if) I go back to Perth it will be illegal to visit her, let alone take her out to dinner. Psyche on the other hand is going out for drinks tonight and says it’s ok as long as there are fewer than ten (hard to stop drinking in the NT!).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow those restrictions are quite severe. Bizarre to learn that one state makes it illegal to visit one person while another says it’s ok to have a night out with with a group.


      • That’s so strange to read of what is illegal and isn’t. Right now in the U.S. we’re basically saying, “Please stay home, mmmkay.” The say we’re not “supposed” to be on the roads, but you can be; they’re not pulling anyone over. I live in such a clown country.


      • I’m afraid I agree about ‘clown country’. Sorry! Trump might just have been a not very good president like Bush jr, but he has turned out to be both incompetent and criminal, and the GOP – a disaster anyway since the Tea Party took over – and Fox ‘news’ are tying themselves in knots supporting him.

        What’s your state governor like? That seems to make a difference (here to, though they’re all on the same path in Oz). Psyche wants to bring me supplies for the coming week but I’ll be surprised if they let her through the roadblocks – which were already in place a week ago – to radically reduce intrastate movement.

        Some things will be seen in retrospect as an over-reaction and making citizens prove they have a lawful excuse to be outside their homes might be the biggest. The idiots who congregate at beaches and parties unless specifically forbidden make it hard for all of us.


  2. Thank you Bill and Lisa for the plug. And a special Thank You Bill and all the other drivers helping to deliver goods and cope with various border controls and risks associated during these unprecedented times. Writing and reading will help keep me sane and may just help others 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for mentioning my posts. It always surprises me when new people visit. I have signed up to follow mairineilcreative writer as that sounds right up my alley. I have decided to pick three new blogs to follow as I have so much more time to read things. And I need some new blood to inspire me along with my regular blogging friends I enjoy so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! You seemed to be a regular commenter on most of the dozen or so lit.blogs that I follow, so it was logical to follow you too. And you’ll find Mairi just a little bit different. On her blog anyway she’s more a writer than a reader.


      • Yes, that’s fine. I enjoy following creative writers. I think many readers dabble a bit with writing bits and pieces themselves. I always joke I wouldn’t like to be a famous writer as the launching of books everywhere would get me down. Book signings must become terribly boring. 🤣🤣🤣


      • I agree with you entirely about book promotion, but I’m friends with Michelle Scott Tucker who wrote Elizabeth Macarthur and book talks are her favourite thing. Takes all types!


  4. Glad you’re OK! And hooray re Antonia. I’m going to start her on 13 April, hope that will give you time to get the others read, but there’s no rush or deadline, at all!


  5. Thanks so much for the mention – very kind of you.

    I’m going to be extremely interested to see your comments/review of the wa Thiong’o. I read a book by him several years ago and was blown away by it. Always meant to read more but never got around to it.

    Lucky that the motel you landed in is pleasant though it must be strange for someone so used to being on the move is now ordered to be stationary. At least yiu have a good supply of wine even of the food is running low.


    • Very embarrassing in light of your Comments post, but your two comments on this post went straight to Spam and I’ve only just found them. I don’t know what you did wrong! But anyway, I’m always happy to link to other bloggers, it’s not a race!, and I’m finding your series both helpful and thought-provoking.

      I’m pretty good at stationary. Gives me time for reading and blogging. I’m up to page 700 and something of Wizard of the Crow and should have a review out tomorrow (Mon). I can get salads from room service, or pizza, so my only worry really is fruit and tomorrow I’ll ask reception if they can get me a bag of oranges.


  6. Living the Bachelor life in Batchelor? 🙂 (this one was easy, sorry)

    Thanks for the update and take care of yourself in these weird times.

    I’ve just finished A Humble Entreprise by Ada Cambridge and it was a sweet distracting book.


    • I’ve been living a bachelor life for a while now. I was going to respond living a hermit life, but I don’t really feel that cut off. People are writing, messaging, phoning pretty often. I occasionally speak to motel employees, although they’re meant to keep their distance. I miss my grandchildren jumping on me, but then that’s always true.

      You’re ahead of me with Ada Cambridge. If you write a review I’ll be able to add it to the Gen 1 page (though I must say it’s very relaxing to read a book and not have to review it).


  7. That pizza looks so good! And looking forward to your review of Wizard of the Crow as it is a book I’ve often picked up in bookstores but put down again as I haven’t been sure whether I wanted to commit myself to 700 odd pages. Glad to hear the lethargy has passed. I’m completely knackered… working from home means there’s little separation between work and home life, so it’s easy to stay tied to the computer longer than I should. Am lucky not to have been stood down or asked to reduce my hours. My counterparts in other car dealerships have been put on three-day weeks but my bosses want me working FT. TBH, I’ve never been busier doing Covid-19 comms and putting together digital campaigns on a drastically reduced budget. Not sure whether it’s sustainable… can only wait and see. Stay safe & keep on reading! (I can’t say keep on trucking for obvious reasons 😂)


    • The pizza wasn’t really what I ordered – potato is not my favourite topping – but it kept me going for a couple of days. I’ll definitely review Wizard of the Crow. I’m enjoying it a lot and am having no trouble with its length (at p.504 this morning) but beyond ‘I liked this book’ I’m struggling with what to say.

      I’m glad that lethargy has passed. And I get the impression most other bloggers are getting on with life again too, however changed. Lucky you to be in a new job and able to continue full time. And lucky me to have the option of driving all over the place once I have Psyche settled. So I will be truckin’ again in a few weeks though maybe not home to WA if the border closures get any ‘harder’.


  8. It has taken me 2 weeks but I also feel like I’m finding a new normal routine with reading and blogging. Daylight savings finishing in NSW last weekend, actually makes it easier. Early evening is one of my favourite times to read and/or blog, but in summer this corresponds with dinner time.

    I also started back at work this week – just a few half days in the office to catch up on paperwork – & already I miss the lazy, unstructured days of the first week!

    I had hoped that truck drivers would be exempt from the 2 week isolation rules between states, but I see that you are visiting not working as such, which obviously changed the rules. I hope Psyche turned up safe & sound & managed a food drop to you.

    Take care 🙂


    • I’m at Psyche’s now. Darwin cafes and bars are shut down but still a lot of house to house visiting going on. There’ll be a panic if it gets loose here. But yes she brought a whole heap of food to the motel, fruit and antipasto is what I remember, and a couple of loaves of dark rye.

      There don’t seem to be too many restrictions on truck drivers so hopefully I’ll be on my way Mon week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh dear, how did I miss this one? Oh, I know, my brother was here and we were deep into setting up a new care package for my parents. That seems to be working OK, and my brother has returned to Hobart when he has just started his second week of quarantine (in Wrest Point Casino of all places.) I must say I feel we are sitting on a tinderbox and it could all turn to custard in the bat of an eyelid. But, so far so good, and it is a glorious time in Canberra.

    I love your description of your truck standing “like Ferdinand the bull, smelling the flowers”, and I like the image of an anarchist checking with the police regarding what he can and can’t do!


    • Sue, I hope your parents are doing ok, must be pretty close to senior Gum’s 90th. I got back to Perth last night, a month to the hour since I left. I voluntarily started self isolation in Batchelor because I didn’t want to risk my daughter not getting her op.
      (which went well) As a truckie I could have ignored isolation or done it at her place, but once I started, the police took over and insisted on 14 days without moving.
      Ferdinand the bull who smelled the flowers was a kid’s book I still have.


      • Hi Bill, thanks – as well as can be expected. I think you meant 100th? Yes, it’s just under 4 weeks away now.

        Glad your daughter’s op went well, and also that you are back home. Hope you continue to get work.

        BTW We had the Ferdinand the Bull story on a little single/ep record in the early-mid 1960s. It was delightful – an early audiobook I suppose! I guess it was bought for my brother who was born in the late 50s.


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