Such is Life is a cheeky title to choose, but I feel very Tom Collins, having loaded the wagons with fencing wire and dragged them north to a station in the furthest backblocks – of the Northern Territory in my case rather than the Riverina in Tom’s – taking two and a half hours to cover the last 70 km of dirt tracks in. Arriving just on sunset I got a very Tom Collins reception too, being told to make myself comfortable in the amenities of the workmen’s quarters, dongas on stilts in the approved outback fashion, though I didn’t feel the need to water the cattle at the owner’s expense, nor, not being as gregarious as Tom, rather the opposite, did I spend much time yarning with the workmen coming in from the surrounding paddocks.
And ‘paddocks’ is the key word here. Nearly all stations in the NT are pastoral leases, cattle grazing in the scrub, the only ‘improvements’ yards and bores, but this lease has been approved for cropping. Around 3,000 hectares cleared, the scrub bulldozed into long rows and burned
Probably, it will prove initially viable, but soon the bores will be run down, the poor soils depleted of their last remaining nutrients, distance from market will be a killer and here as elsewhere through the NT, Queensland and NSW, the scrub will return.
I unloaded in the morning (Tues) and came on to Darwin where as soon as I have finished posting this I will catch up with Psyche. And maybe Lou, who left a cryptic comment elsewhere that he might be in Darwin Thurs.
How long since I last posted a journal? A month maybe. Early in September Milly was staying with Gee and the grandkids in their idyllic new home between the bush and the Southern Ocean. I ran down on the Saturday, stayed overnight, and brought Milly home. By Monday, Milly reported she had ‘the flu’. On Tuesday, I had an excellent long lunch with the Gums just off the plane for a flying visit to the west. Thursday I loaded for the Goldfields. Woke Friday feeling crook, but a RAT was negative. Got to my destination mine 300 km north of Kalgoorlie in the afternoon. Another negative RAT but my temperature was over 38 and I was not allowed in. Did a PCR, also negative. Unloaded in a parking bay 100m from my destination but not ‘inside’ the mine and went home to spend a few days in bed. Just a common cold, thankyou grandkids (the babies had very runny noses).
Luckily, I didn’t pass it on to the Gums and they were able to visit Neil@Kallaroo, an old friend of the Gumses. But sadly I wasn’t fit to have dinner with them in Freo before they flew home.
All this not working means I haven’t yet listened to my next North America Project read, Son of a Trickster. Listened to a couple of ‘re-reads’ instead, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and Pink Mountain on Locust Island which I was surprised and happy to see on audiobook at my local library. Also an ok Isabelle Allende (it was a long trip!) and now I have on a book about live-in carers, which might be germane as Psyche has one coming, The Leftovers by Cassandra Parkin.
Liz Dexter asked me which McMurtry I listened to last month. It was Sin Killer, a sort of Western farce about an English lord and his family – daughters, wife, mistress – venturing up the barely navigable reaches of the Missouri. But so many of you like Lonesome Dove that I’ll give it a try sooner rather than later.
A truck pic to end with, at the beginning of the track into the station. Not showing the innumerable gates, so you will have to imagine them.
And the new trailer? you ask. It’s in the home paddock, unused, eating its head off on insurance payments. Its day will come.
Natalie Hynes (F, Eng), A Thousand Ships (2020) – The siege of Troy from the POV of women
Jamie Marina Lau (F, Aus/Vic), Pink Mountain on Locust Island (2018)
Ellie Eaton (F, Eng), The Divines (2021)
Henning Mantell (M, Swe), Sidetracked (1995) – Crime
Isabelle Allende (F, Chile), Daughter of Fortune (1999) – Hist.Fic
Cassandra Parkin (F, Eng), The Leftovers (2022)
W Green (M, Aus/NSW), The Interim Anxieties & other poems (2022) – Poetry
Alan Wearne (M, Aus/WA), Near Believing (2022) – Poetry
George Saunders (M, USA), A Swim in the Pond in the Rain (2021) – NF/Short Stories
Kylie Tenant (F, Aus/NSW), Ma Jones and the Little White Cannibals (1967) – Short Stories
Haruki Murakami (M, Jap), First Person Singular (2021) – Short Stories
AWWC Sept. 2022
|Fri 02||Stories FTA||E H D, The Aboriginal Mother (poem)|
|Wed 07||Elizabeth Lhuede||Gender Unknown: the case of R McKay Tully|
|Fri 09||Stories FTA||R McKay Tully, The Power of a Child (short story)|
|Wed 14||Jessica White||Rosa Praed, Sister Sorrow (review)|
|Fri 16||Stories FTA||Rosa Praed, The Sea-birds’ Message (short story)|
|Wed 21||Bill Holloway||Ernestine Hill, The Great Australian Loneliness (review)|
|Fri 23||Stories FTA||Ernestine Hill, “The Strange Case of Mrs Widgety” (nonfiction extract)|
|Wed 28||Whispering Gums||Capel Boake|
|Fri 30||Stories FTA||Capel Boake, The Room Next Door (short story)|