Iso again

Journal: 070

Iso again reminds me of Alone again, naturally. It’s certainly how I feel. Our incompetent federal government, with its incompetent international traveller quarantine and incompetent vaccination rollout and incompetent stewardship of the aged and disabled has allowed the latest, almost instantly transmissable strain of Covid-19 out into the general populace and so Victoria is locked down, heading into its second week as I write, WA has reinstated its ‘hard border’ and I in Melbourne loading, am heading back into mandatory isolation.

At least as an essential worker I can keep moving. And I will. I should be in Perth on Monday, unloaded Tues, second vaccination Weds, loaded Thurs, Fri and on my way back east over the weekend. Customers have not only contacted me with freight but one has organised to pay me in advance. How good is trucking!

Interestingly, it’s been a while since I had my brain probed with a nasal swab. The seven day test rule for truckies seems to have fallen into abeyance. Last year South Australia maintained testing stations at truck stops. But the one I used, at Port Augusta, has been closed these past two or three trips. I wonder if they’ll open it again with so much Covid on their border. Otherwise, I expect I’ll be tested within 48 hours of crossing into WA – Sun night if I’m making good time, more likely Monday.

Can you tell I have time on my hands and an itch to write? Posting just once a week seems wrong somehow, though it seems to be enough to keep my readership up. But as it turns out I’ve had nearly two days off in Melbourne since finishing unloading. Yesterday I wrote up Vida which I listened to on the way over (to be posted Sunday). Today’s Weds and I’ll post this, such as it is, while the ink’s hot.

I thought about writing up an episode in my life – I still owe Melanie an ‘I ran way to the circus’ story – but that seems to be something I would rather not just dash off. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing my autobiography, not as a book but as a series of posts over a number of years. How would I start? Brian Matthews writes that he thought about (and rejected) a conventional opening for Louisa – “she was born on such and such a date at …, add incidental detail for colour”. I could say “I was born in the bush hospital at Daylesford [70 years ago], weighing 8lb 10oz, after a farmer took mum in in his car from the little one teacher school at Leonard’s Hill, dad following later on his motorbike.” A few more sentences to dispose of my childhood and we could get on to the interesting stuff. I’ve no intention of competing with Sartre’s Words. I’m more Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or Catcher in the Rye if I was good enough.

No one will ever be Joyce but if I were a writer I wouldn’t mind being Salinger or maybe DH Lawrence – yes I know, I’m Tiny Tim to their Placido Domingo.

The clock on the right of the screen says 10:58. That’s WA time, so it’s really 1pm and I’m due at the steel warehouse to load at 3.00. I have this constant backwards and forwards in my head between local and WA time because, by law, we have to keep our logbooks in home state time to stop us cheating when we cross the border. I normally drive from 5am to 10pm. The other day I leapt out of bed at 5.45 (on my phone) only to realise, after I started the engine, that I was in South Australia and so couldn’t move on for another 45 minutes.

I haven’t had time to list my audiobooks. But I’m currently listening to Herman Koch’s The Ditch (so-so) and reading Carmel Bird’s The Bluebird Cafe (whimsical).

Looking for a photo to illustrate this post I saw I had a sequence from my last trip – loading steel; tarped; some cars on top; hooked up as road train (on the cliffs overlooking the Bight).

I don’t usually have anything else under my tarps, but that trip I was carrying a drill press, ‘protected’ by shrink-wrap which quickly goes all Priscilla Queen of the Desert if you don’t cover it up.

As I said, Vida next, then, if I get them written, another installment of Such is Life, and a review of Butter Honey Pig Bread. Where will I find the time? And more books being if not read then listened to all the time. Maybe, by the end of next trip, a spell of iso will be looking more attractive.

42 thoughts on “Iso again

  1. I always enjoy your posts from the road Bill. Sorry they are back to including quarantine.

    I have no words about this lockdown. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m anxious. And I’m really disappointed that my scheduled trip to WA will most probably have to be canned – again!

    Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A fatal disease you might catch from passing strangers, or via a breath of wind from one open door to the next, is terrifying indeed. Last year I felt quite secure in Melbourne in my solitariness, but this time … especially eating, showering in truckstops.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, well, I’m peeved because my little weekend away in Beechworth had to be cancelled. It’s nothing in the great scheme of things, people have had to cancel weddings and funerals and major birthday celebrations and so on, but it would have been nice.
    I do not understand why the borders are open enough to allow the movement of thousands of people in and out, so that we are then subjected to emotional; blackmail from ‘stranded Australians’ who chose to leave the country in the middle of a pandemic and have now come back bringing infection with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Governments cut corners and the people suffer. WA has thousands of spare dongas that might have been made into quarantine camps in a matter of weeks, but we persevere with unsuitable hotels.
      I feel for first generation migrants, not so much for highly paid cricketers, who understandably have family commitments overseas.


      • I think I misunderstood. I thought the Australians who couldn’t get back in were folks who happened to be out of country when everything shut down. I didn’t realize it was people who chose to left and now want back in and are mad.


      • I’m a first generation migrant myself. I never saw my grandparents or any other relations ever again because the cost of travel by sea or by plane was out of the question. Even phone calls were prohibitively expensive in those days.
        And I am quite, 100% sure, that if we had had an option that carried the risk of bringing infection into either country, that we would not have taken it. In a pandemic, the consequences of sentimental actions can be catastrophic.
        You do realise that some of these ‘stranded children’ now twanging our heartstrings were sent to India to get ‘a better education’ than they can get here in Australia? I’ve taught kids as young as six who were sent back to India by themselves because their parents did not like the informality of Australian education. Their parents stayed here to make money and to get Australian citizenship as insurance in case war with Pakistan erupted. To say that I was shocked when this was explained to me by the parents is an understatement.


  3. There seems no end to this blasted virus. We’re opening up here in the UK – Wales is doing much better than England in number of cases and % of population vaccinated. But we’d be in an even better state if the uk government hadn’t waited 5 days before closing the border to travellers from India, hence spreading that variant rapidly.

    I hope you do write more of your life story – it sounds a dramatic start to your life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pardon my ignorance, but do you have a regional government in Wales? The “Indian” variant is proving to be very communicable which is a worry and I only go into shared spaces maybe once a day. I’ll write some more, in fact I’d write incessantly if it didn’t impinge on the people around me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As you quarantine I’m ready for the life story. I’d read your posts if you only wrote once a month or two. I won’t mention the S M person who thinks he is organised to run the country. A big drop kick. All the best from Tassie. 🐧🌷

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I will add to the chorus of love for your journal posts. I love the insights into trucking life (love the image of your truck doing a priscilla queen of the desert), your passion for politics & books and the glimpses of your childhood. When I saw there was one waiting tonight, I grabbed a glass of wine and settled in for the yarn – thanks!
    And I’m popping Laura in the post for you tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes rub it in. A glass of wine is just a distant memory until I get home. But I’m glad readers enjoy my journals, astonished really, but quite happy to keep going. Thank you for your lovely comments, and your book.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. If I learned anything from Lantana Lane, which I am currently reading again, this time aloud to Nick, is that when you’re not sure what to do, or you’re feeling whimsical, it’s a great time to buy a pineapple farm. Perhaps that has your name written all over it.

    One of the nice things about a blog is you don’t even have to write in order. You can describe a scene or important moment or memory from your life, rather than the David Copperfield “I was born. I grew up.” Although, your dad coming in behind on a motorbike does sound rather exciting.

    I hope isolation treats you well. You’ve been so busy lately that I had to imagine isolation might be welcome, but I forgot that it depends on where you are required to isolate. So many little things I forget. If you were with Milly, or nearby, that would be lovely, but now you’re staying where? In your truck?


    • Mum went with the farmer because she didn’t fit on the motorbike any more. I always assumed dad followed later because he was finishing up at work. I’ll have to ask mum if the school kids got a day off. B2 was born at a hospital 60 km from another one teacher school, though at least we had a car then, a 1931 Chevrolet, so the same might have applied.


    • GTL, I’m running an Eleanor Dark Fortnight to coincide with her birth and death dates later this year (26 August 1901 – 11 September 1985). It would be lovely if you could share your review of Lantana Lane when I have the pages set up to do it.


  7. If I keep moving I’ll spend about 12 days a fortnight in the truck. My concern with airborne infection is the amount of time I spend at and inside my Melbourne truckstop.
    I’ve told Milly not to visit me when I’m in Perth in case I carry it home with me.


  8. I’ve finally caught up with this post – I’ve had a busy week – and by the time I’ve read all the comments, I’ve forgotten what I want to comment on, but I’ll start by saying that the comment that most mirrors what I would say is Brona’s.

    I’m also glad to see that you’re reading Carmel Bird. Whimsical (though often with bite) is a good description of her writing.

    Now, is there anything else to say that Brona or the others haven’t said?

    I’m sorry to hear that Lisa has had to cancel a Beechworth trip, and that Kate thinks she’ll have to miss a Perth trip again. We are still crossing everything that we’ll be able to get to Melbourne in 12 days for grandson’s 3rd birthday but who knows. (We missed his second of course.)

    We are three weeks away from our second jab, and can’t wait – even though the effectiveness is not great. (We did check the effectiveness of the flu vaccines however, and they tend to be less than AZ’s so if it at least keeps us from getting the disease badly that’s a start.) I do feel for Victoria given this virus came out of SA quarantine. It must feel awfully unfair. However, I was surprised to hear how much vaccination hesitancy there had been in Victoria given their history, so it is great to see that this outbreak has turned that around. It just shows how easily we are all spooked into action, rather than thinking rationally? I must say that I had to take myself in hand to get the vaccination because I felt a little spooked, but my rational brain won and I did get it as soon as it was possible!


    • i’m sure I’ve said already I’m glad readers enjoy my journals. It feels like cheating to write without reading first. I booked my second jab (of AZ) a week or so early to fit in with work. It may decrease its effectiveness a little, but worth doing I think, then a third jab next year to make sure.

      I don’t think Victorians are upset with SA so much as with the federal government for not taking international traveller quarantine seriously.

      Hard to plan interstate travel. I feel for Kate especially, missing out on Ningaloo two years in a row. Mum’s 90th next year, in Bendigo probably, so fingers crossed that everyone can attend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not cheating at all Bill. Your blog is all about what you want to write, and clearly your readers want to read.

        Fingers crossed for your Mum’s celebration.

        I think we’ll be having COVID jabs for years!


  9. I’m running behind with my blog reading (and have review lag, argh) and welcomed seeing an update in my Feedly reader (and truck pictures, hooray!). Hope it’s not all too anxiety inducing and anywhere you have to spend indoors can be with doors and windows open and plenty of air. We’ve taken the opportunity to see a few dear people (safely and carefuly) with the thought hanging heavy that it might be a while again.


    • Truckstops are all glass that doesn’t open and recirculated air, petrie dishes really. No masks while eating, so more risk, particularly in the city as mobs of people come in and out for snacks and fuel. Actual trucking is pretty well risk free – isolation as I drive and loading/unloading outside or in great windy warehouses. Anyway, I tested negative and as I hadn’t been ordered to isolate went round to Milly’s for a drink. But you raise the question, and I know others struggle with it too, notably Melanie/GTL, and that is what precautions should you take irrespective of what your government mandates.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bill I may not often comment but I love catching up with your blog, and wanted to let you know your latest news and comments regularly get passed on at the local, large conservatorium of music which I regularly attend in this beautiful NSW regional city. The musicians here are intrigued by the book-reviewing truckie I tell them about and they do ask about you (we chat a lot as we make music together). So you see mate, your fame spreads! (A lot of the muso’s here are keen readers).

    And a PS: I am embarrassed I never got that review of Cynthia Nolan’s A Bride for St Thomas done for you (life got hectic). Would you still like one, albeit belatedly – it is quite a rare book and I’d be happy to do it if it’s still wanted!

    Have just watched The Insiders on the ABC and am still chortling at the comments about the vaccine roll out! Sorry to hear you’re headed for iso again! Cheers mate!


    • That’s fun, to be talked about! I had an idea you are from Bathurst but now I think about it it may be Lithgow, Anyway, west of the mountains, where trucks don’t go – with multiple trailers at least. I have a professor brother in law up there and visit him and his professor wife sometimes, park my truck sans trailers in the street before their Victorian townhouse where you may see it one day, It occurred to me when I read your Comment a day or two ago on the road, that you and your friends might be interested in Annabella Boswell’s Journal which I reviewed during AWW Gen 1 Week

      Annabella Boswell’s Journal

      I would love you to review A Bride for St Thomas and I will run it as soon as I get it.


      • Thanks so much Bill, I will get that review done for you and forward it on. You’re correct, I am in Bathurst! That book you recommend looks interesting, my music teacher lives at Wallerawang and I drive through there regularly. I also, would you believe, used to live in the Lake Innes area around Port Macquarie, so I’m definitely going to have to read Annabella Boswell’s diary! What a coincidence! I hope the library here will hold it, I’ll check.

        And yes, you see how your fame spreads, now my music loving friends enquire after what you’re up to on your travels! One of them thought there had been a documentary about you on the ABC sometime but I can’t see anything about it? You would make an interesting story! Cheers mate!


  11. You might not believe this, because you’re so frustrated, but in Canada people are *envious* of your lockdown and policy responsiveness. *crying, laughing emoji* We’ve been out of lockdown for only a few months, spotty bits, since March 2020…the provincial government here having been a big fan of the 45th American president and having adopted similar Covid policies (i.e. pretend it’s not as bad as scientists and health care workers are saying, talk about the economy like it’s not important to have people surviving so that they can spend their money). It’s been so poorly handled at the provincial level, even though elements of the national and municipal response have tried to counter that, that it seems endless. However, looking around the globe, this is not the worst situation to be in either.


    • Our Prime Minister panders to the same base as the Former Guy. Luckily our state Premiers, left and right, all run competent administrations and have largely saved us from the pandemic, despite the “stay open”, “stay open”s from the Federal government, now of course denied. I agree with the strict ‘hard [state] borders’ policy of my own state government, I just whinge about its application to me. I know we Australians have had it relatively easy, but I’m grateful all the same that Milly recognised early that a year of solitary could not be good for me and went out of her way to make sure I was visited, at the appropriate distance, at least once each time I was home.


  12. Re displaying links … no it didn’t. And a couple of recent ones of Lisa’s displayed across my sidebar because whatever algorithm they have implemented doesn’t work with my old theme. It’s really irritating. I must Google whether you can stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

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