Journal: 063

As I reported, I did one trip Perth-Melbourne in January, getting home in time to summarize another successful AWW ‘Gen’ Week. Victoria had had one case of Covid in December so it was back to iso for me, then Perth had a case too, and iso became a city-wide 5 day lockdown. The main effect as far as I was concerned was no library, no new audiobooks.

Rather than head straight back out, I waited for a road train load of hay up north but a cyclone put the kybosh on that – and now it seems the North West Coastal Hwy has been cut near Carnarvon – so I ended up accepting a load to Melbourne which turned out to be marginally overwidth. And that in turn meant I could only take one trailer (so less money coming home!).

It’s a while since I’ve done an Oversize – maybe one for Sam & Dragan a few years ago, and two or three others 20 years before that, also for Sam & Dragan. I had the right permits but had to check on nighttime travel which surprisingly turned out to be legal in all states (well anyway, I didn’t get pulled over, which is much the same thing). This morning I unloaded in Geelong (75 km SW of Melbourne) and now I sit at my usual western suburban BP truckstop waiting for Homer to come up with a load home. He asked me a couple of hours ago how much weight I could carry and the answer can’t have been satisfactory as I haven’t heard back from him [I’m loading steel, 7.30 tonight [When I rolled up it wasn’t ready so now I’m loading 9.00 AM tomorrow. That’s trucking.]].

The other half of ‘oversize’ is my bloody weight. Melanie/GTL is doing her best to educate me about fat-shaming and owning my body, and yes I’m old and sedentary, but another eight kgs over Xmas really is too much. The Age says I don’t need to walk 10,000 steps a day, that was just an advertising slogan for some device or other, but I do need to walk 7,500.

With all 3 trailers my truck is 35 m long, say 40 paces, and 3 paces wide: 100 paces total if I circulate staying 2 or 3 paces out. I walk around the truck every two hours, 7 or 8 times a day, to check the load and the tyres (and to get some of the stiffness out of my legs): 750 paces a day. To get to 7,500 I can either stop every 12 minutes or I can do 10 tours per stop. I wonder if it will make a difference.

My time home this time was just under 2 weeks. I normally review any hard copy books that I read, in fact I’m usually desperate to finish them so I have something to review. But having nothing but time on my hands in this last round of iso/lockdown I read a couple of books that I let go through to the keeper.

First up (and not finished yet) was Hoffman’s Mr Flea following Johnathon’s posting of an excerpt but still not knowing really what to expect. E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776 – 1822) was “a German Romantic author of fantasy and Gothic horror” (wiki) and one of the early fathers of science fiction, not to mention the Hoffman of Tales of Hoffman and author of the stories on which Coppélia, my favourite ballet – if I may have a favourite after not going for 40 years – is based. These are all thing I didn’t know. Johnathon, you may have inspired me to a whole Hoffman post, though not of Mr Flea, that’s your job.

That was my early morning read; researching and writing up the next episode of Such is Life (scheduled for Thurs), and a couple of posts before it, occupied my days; and that left evenings. I have an endless supply to choose from but decided on Angela Thirkell’s August Folly (1936) which I had told Liz Dexter I would read “soon”. And now I have. Thirkell of course is thoroughly English, as English as Evie Wyld for instance, and August Folly is a very gentle village romance. I thought it a bit laboured at the beginning but soon sank pleasurably into the criss-crossing web of relationships between the Tebbens with two marriagable children, the Palmers with none and the Deans with too many to count, a college Dean down from Oxford (on whom Mrs Tebben had once been keen) and a curate and the rector and his daughters and all the quaint villagers who ran the local train and the shops and supplied the servants and the farm hands. And don’t forget the snarky conversations between the donkey and the cat at the end of each day.

Recent audiobooks 

Lee Child (M, Eng), Persuader (2003) – Crime
Becky Chambers (F, USA), The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (2014) – SF
Sarah Fine (F, USA), Uncanny (2017) – YA/SF
Stuart Palmer (M, USA), Murder on the Blackboard (1932) – Crime
Caeli Wolfson Widger (F, USA), Mother of Invention (2018) – SF
Graeme Macrae Burnet (M, Sco), The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau (2014) – Crime
Alexander McCall Smith (M, Sco), The Department of Sensitive Crimes (2019) – pseudo Swedish Crime (Yes, I’m embarrassed I picked it up. DNF)
Julia Thomas (F, Eng), Penhale Wood (2017) – Crime (Detective fiction set in Truro, Wales. The female lead leaves her Australian husband and children behind in Sydney to persuade the police to investigate the death a year previously of her daughter, and the disappearance of the children’s nanny. Sorry Karen, I should have reviewed it but I had too much else on.)

Currently reading

Trent Dalton (M, Aust/Qld), Boy Swallows Universe
Elizabeth Tan (F, Aust/WA), Smart Ovens for Lonely People
Joseph Furphy (M, Aust/Vic), Such is Life
Sayaka Murata (F, Jap), Earthlings
Octavia Butler (F, USA), Parable of the Talents
Angela Thirkell (F, Eng), August Folly
ETA Hoffman (M, Ger), Mr Flea
Helen Garner (F, Aust/Vic), Cosmo Cosmolino

21 thoughts on “Oversize

  1. LOL Bill, at least the scenery will change when you do your tours. I remember that on the long sea voyages I undertook as a child, we all did tours of the ship, and the only variation you could do was to go clockwise instead of the other way round.


    • It is similar to walking round a ship isn’t it, except I’m not killing time, rather the reverse. And as for views, roadsides don’t change much more than the sea does, unvarying gravel, scrub and discarded paper and plastic. (I’m a clockwise person – down the driver’s side and up the passenger side).

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve been a devoted step-counter for almost 10 years. It seems a bit mad when I write that… anyway, I don’t get too hung up on the numbers but it is useful for getting a general sense of my day and how I’m feeling. Invariably, if I’m feeling sluggish, it’s a low-step day, and the device is a little reminder to go out and get some fresh air.

    Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am NOT going to wear a tracker on my wrist. Milly and her sister do, one to rather more effect than the other. But walking AND swimming! Next you’ll say you cycle to the pool. I was making a calculation – I hadn’t even thought of it before I wrote it – rather than a resolution, but I must walk more. And in fact the bigger problem is at home where I often don’t move from my desk.


  3. That idea of 10,000 steps being the recommended level of activity is indeed nonsense. It was dreamed up by someone in a marketing department of a company making pedometers. Not based on any medical evidence whatsoever.

    Truro the last time I looked a map is in Cornwall but sadly not in Wales!!


  4. FitBit is the watch device you are thinking of that keeps track of your steps. If you sit for too long, it vibrates and shames you, which, wow technology. The person who decided on 10,000 steps is probably dating the person who came up with 8 glasses of water per day, who is probably the child of the individual who decided to put cranberries in all the other juices.

    I think that if you don’t feel good being sedentary for so long, you should move around. If you’re constantly weighing yourself and making judgments about your health, that’s what I’m against. A lot of fat people love to move. I’ve seen them do bodybuilding, ballet (yes, en pointe), yoga, swimming — all sorts of activity! Sounds to me like you have a movement complaint that you’re calling a weight complaint. Maybe?

    Your personality shines through in this post and makes my heart happy. From the comment about not getting pulled over being the same thing as legal load to wondering how much something can be your favorite if you haven’t seen it in 40 years. You’re a treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d forgotten about 8 glasses of water a day. I carry lots of water with me – 20 or 30 litres drinkable plus another 40 for washing and for the engine – but if it’s not hot I drink very little.
      You’re quite right, I have a movement problem and I think that if I’m not proactive, one day I won’t be able to.
      Now you’re making me blush.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like how Melanie has framed that weight issue. I’m not overweight, but I have a bit of a movement problem too as I spend way too much time sitting. I’m not prepared to wear something on my wrist to count my steps. But, I think that as we get older it is important to move. The best way to do it is to work it into your day, preferably as part of something else rather than as a separate task to do because the latter is easy too give up. My friends laugh at me because I don’t have a laundry basket to take clothes to the line, but just do multiple trips carrying wet clothes! (Of course, most of the time, I’m lazy and just use the clothes horse on the verandah, these days!)

        Enjoyed the rest of this post too, including the little dig about Wyld!


      • I am stiffening up really quickly – well it feels quick, I was a masters swimmer only four years ago. I have complicated reasons for not swimming any more, and I’m not riding my bike more than a few times a year (I’m more and more surprised that I can still get on it), my washing goes from the machine to the dryer directly above it, so that leaves deliberately going outside and walking, something I have never done in my whole life.

        Have I said the MF judges really annoy me, and not just about Evie Wyld, whose Australian geography is nearly as bad as Jane Harper’s. I read your (WG’s) old review of Peter Temple’s Truth, and I like Temple. I suspect the judges thought he deserved an MF and gave it for the wrong book. That’s an interesting argument for another space that crime writers are taking over the ‘real people’ space being vacated by Lit.Fic. writers.


    • I was really getting into it, but I left it at home, so I’ll have to pick it up again at the weekend. I can’t say you ‘should’ write a post (although I think I might have) but you are our go-to guy for obscure Europeans.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I could say I’m used to it, but the truth is I’m sick of it. Because I chose Xmas to be crook I’ve still only spent a few minutes with all bar my oldest grandchild in the 10 months since this started.


  5. I’m lucky if I do 8000 steps. Happy enough with 5500. I do like to walk though but if I carry my camera the walk isn’t very fast. Are you familiar with the Borrow Box app? I have it on my phone and connect it to bluetooth speaker. All audio books linked to the state library. I can’t believe how many ebooks in audio format they have but don’t know if they have lots of older (dead) authors.


    • The nice ladies at a couple of libraries have suggested Borrow Box, but I have the same problem as with Audible, I can’t play them through the truck speakers. I’m using headphones this trip but I don’t like them – they’re hot in this weather and shut out too much noise. So I might try bluetooth speakers. As for steps, it was 40+ degrees in central SA today and I was spending as little time outside my airconditioned cab as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am really bad at moving on the days I don’t run, which sounds a bit weird as I’m such a committed runner. But there we go. I have put on a bit of weight and am trying not to be overweight and/or run down in case I get Covid, quite a powerful incentive. Well, I have stopped buying biscuits, anyway. Yay Thirkell, so very English in that book being read somewhere so very different. I have three to go set in WW2 then I’m stopping as she gets more and more peculiar and less and less funny.


    • Re biscuits – which I don’t buy but sometimes my daughter or my ex-wife or my mother make me some – I got so sure that nothing I did was making a difference that I started buying beer (instead of wine) when I’m home and pastries whenever I’m paying for my fuel. And I’m pretty sure that is making a difference. Yet giving them up probably won’t.
      I still have half a shelf of Viragos, so maybe The Little Ottleys next (You’d be surprised how English parts of Australia are, and more particularly, once were).


  7. i eat more treats than I should (speaking in terms of sugar consumption, not weight) but I have taken to keeping them in another room so that, if I want more than one, I have to walk to the next room. It’s not a deterrent because it turns out that I will happily walk over there and back many, many, MANY times. But at least I have to move my body to fetch them. As for walking, I’ve walked every morning for about seven years now (I stopped for one season and a whole crop of minor health issues reared up, so I readopted, and everything soon improved, which was enough science to make me stick with it) and now it feels strange to skip a morning. I’ve tried trackers and not tracking and both have their advantages. But I really like your idea of adding laps during your travels; that sounds like the kind of habit that you could make stick. Also, random note, there is a Truro in Nova Scotia too.


    • I saw Truro on a map the other day, it’s way out the end of whatever that promontory is called and a long way from Wales. I go through Truro South Australia quite often, it’s on the main road north-east of Adelaide, part of the convoluted road train route from Melbourne to Perth.
      I walk to the fridge far too often. I thought I was safe with fresh food but apparently grapes and watermelons and plums and orange juice are all fattening. I may as well stick to beer except it puts me to sleep.
      But I am walking more, and now it’s autumn I WILL get on my bike.


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