So here we are again, two weeks have evaporated into the ether and I finally find some time to sit down with a still water (I miss my scotch) and put pen to paper….metaphorically of course. To say not much has happened is always a bit of an oxymoron out here, as relatively not much does happen it seems. Yet we are becoming somewhat immune to the never-ending surprises that life out here has to offer.
Before i dive into work and rest, I will give an update on play. Since we last spoke it was a very special day that passed. It was a date where in 2005 – A grenade thrown by some guy lands about 20 meters from George Doubleya Bush, but it malfunctions and does not detonate……errr…..phew? This date was also the day of birth for Fred Astaire and Bono, and the day of death for King Louis XV of France. Yeah I know pretty full day, but amazingly there was also space for my birthday on that day May 10th.
In a nut shell, was a great day had everyone around to watch the cats beat the bombers in the clash of the two undefeated sides. A few new friends from our neighboring school Eppinarra drove over, and it was bbq and soft drinks all round. So yeah, I’m 31 now, getting married in January…… cue the song ‘It was a very good year’ by the chairman of the board himself and I can feel myself reminiscing about all those ‘what if’ moments that have passed me by……. What if I had of not stuck that piece of Lego up my nose when i was 4, would i have won the Nobel or the Pulitzer?
Well what we foresaw, naively mind you, as a one off situation at the end of last term has become a semi permanent situation. The community as it stands would have half the occupants it did up until Easter. Our school numbers have been cut in half, on a good day that is. We have gone from being well understaffed to embarrassingly overstaffed. Willi Suluma who has entered the fray for second term has only heard stories of the mythical full classrooms. As far as he is concerned, a middle years class of six, and a senior class of 5 is par for the course. It seems almost a distant memory when I would strain my voice, patience, love for teaching and sanity in a class of twenty six senior students. This used to be backed up by a class of twenty three middle years kids, now the classes, depending on the day, can or have to be combined. Meanwhile I am burrowed away teaching the year twelve boys, that due to the fact they are in the towns footy side, now seem to have three day school weeks returning on a Wednesday.
This brings me to one of the main sticking points, the footy. The team plays three and a half hours away in Tennant Creek, of which, most only have money for fuel one way. For most reading this, that itself would be enough to say i cant go, but it works a little differently out here. With no part time jobs to miss, no real fostered sense of importance in education and a semi nomadic extended family in every local town….. Hey, why not!
So that is the situation at the moment, school has been quiet, and those that are here are learning well, and getting a lot of attention from the teachers. To be honest, it is a near stress free workplace at the moment. Our programing has been handed in for the term, reports are about to start, but with little to nothing to report on for half the kids, it will be a…..light reporting load.
As promised a few weeks a go, I have uploaded a few photos of our little horses. The dogs are great and are learning quickly. The now walk brilliantly, and the only area that still lets them down is when they first see you…..with the jumping and the licking, and the jumping and the claws and the jumping. BUT, inroads are being made, some new techniques and rewards seem to be turning the tide. But they are growing fast, they have new beds and new rugs for the nights which are getting a little cold. Brutus almost likes bath time, and is still the best at giving cuddles. They will be coming back with us in the four week break at the end of June, so look out everyone that has not met them yet.
Where to start….lets go back to…..
Tennant Creek Visit with Emily H
The weekend we headed into Tennant was well worth it and a great excuse to leave the family and have a girls day out. Before I left, I was told where the spare tyre was and how to get it out from under the ute, if I needed to (those that believe in fate, remember this) Got into Tennant and enjoyed a lovely lunch and then headed in to watch the footy. It was great to see that basically all of community had made the trip in to town to watch the footy.
Walking around the ground trying to spot familiar faces was a challenge until Em and I hear “Emily! Emily! Where’s Lachlan?” Yes that’s right, all the kids wanted to know where Lachlan was. Having explained where Lachlan was a few times, we finally stumbled across the Canteen Creek Blues and Storm cheer squad. I have heard some great cheering (and swearing) at football matches (namely L and D Carlyle) but I have to admit, when the women in community disagree with a call or observe rough play, they let you know about it. It was great to be a part of the atmosphere of local footy. Unfortunately our 2 teams didn’t quite match those of the town teams, but they gave it a fair go.
Starting the 3 hour trip back to community, I asked Em to grab the car manual out of the glovebox, having noticed 2 warning lights on the dash. I pulled over the to side of the road and Em let me know that if both warning lights were on, there was a serious problem and I needed to contact my dealer. Great. So the phone call goes out to Lachlan. No clues. Mitsubishi dealer, not sure what that means. David Carlyle, just drive it home as long as it’s not oil, temperature or water, you’ll be fine.
So Em and I drove it back, traveling at 130/hour and then along the Kurundi track at 80km/hr. Made it home safe and sound.
The next morning, Lachlan notices a flat tyre on the back of the ute. Stunned and unable to explain where it happened, we changed the tyre. Stuck in the middle of bush with no spare…. not ideal.
Weekend in Alice Springs
Following 2 weeks of wondering when we would have time to get to Alice and the logistics of traveling safely without a spare, leaving the 2 pups for the first time, we made the 6 hour trip down the highway. A big thanks has to go to Jonty and Shireen our friends from Eppinarra for letting us borrow their spare in case we ran into trouble.
So our Saturday was spent organising the car tyre’s, dog beds and finding some time to relax.
A lovely weekend was spent in Alice playing pool, singing along with terrible kareoke and having a few drinks with meals. A break in the middle of term is exactly what the staff at Canteen Creek needed!
So with 6 new tyre’s, plus Jonty’s spare loaded in the tray, the trip back to community began. Detailing even part of the 6 hour drive is boring and not worth it, until we hit community. Stopping first at Ben and Suse’s house, I jump out of the car and go to grab and box of groceries and notice a very distinct hissing sound coming from one of the brand new tyre’s. Yes, that’s right. In the last 20m of our journey home, something sharp was waiting for me. Soldier down! Literally. Following a few expletives we headed around the corner to our 2 puppies. They had been busy in our front yard. As Uncle Rob had told us, they destroyed a small frangipani tree that was growing. thinking we could salvage it, we inspected the damage. They had torn it in half. Puppies 1 Plant 0.
Well from the middle of nowhere, that is Canteen Creek we look forward to updating you all again soon. Be sure to stay in contact as it could be this week I go crazy out here….watch you back Lachlan.