‘Never a dull moment’ seems an apt way to start this entry. As is unfortunately becoming the norm rather than the exception, I am again writing after a fortnight of adventures. I feel as though I am neglecting those that follow our trials and tribulations. This is not so I assure you. I do have you all in mind as we go about our day to day humps and bumps, constantly reflecting on how to best convey the travel-adventure novel our life has seemingly become.
If this entry were a chapter in that novel, again it would read like none before.
So I shall begin from the beginning and go until I come to the end…then stop.
Again I am simplifying things when I say a lot has happened in the past fortnight. It began when the opportunity arose to accompany the Barkly U15 AFL representative side up to Darwin for a state selection and development camp. I departed Canteen Creek on a Wednesday afternoon and drove the two boys from our school to Tennant Creek where we would meet another boy from the school and stay the night in a youth hostel. Things started brilliantly, the place was over booked, they forgot we were coming and a long story short I slept the night in the back of the troopie. Bring on Thursday morning, with a 12 hour drive up the Stuart on the back of an uncomfortable 4 hours sleep…..what did I sign up for? As is the norm up here, setting a drop off point for 12 indigenous boys for a footy trip they were all looking forward to is…. well pointless. Departure at 6:30am, became departure around 7:00…..7:15…..erghhhh…..what do you mean he’s not here?….we should try where?…7:45….last two….’YES’ the camp is today, we told you yesterday, you have to be kidding your not packed!?…….8:35 leaving Tennant Creek.
Finally with the boys on the bus, myself and the organiser and team coach Wayne Green on board the beginning of the 12 hour drive began. We passed through Elliot, Daly Waters, Katherine, Adelaide River and other little assorted towns. Eventually almost 12hours to the minute after we departed, we arrived at our lodgings (Kormilda College) in Darwin.
Day 2 of the trip and it was down to business for the boys, up at the crack of dawn for a feed, everyone was excited. A quick bus trip to Palmerston and the boys were eager, we were the first ones there at 7:45, a whole oval to ourselves as the temperature already crept past 25 degrees. The day was packed with game play, as the boys sweated and cramped under the humid darwin heat. Against the best in the state our Indigenous lads took it right up with the best of them and after the first day, selectors were keenly watching a handful of our boys.
After the day had finished at 3pm, we headed to one of Darwins two ‘free’ public water parks for a bit of recovery. Then back to camp to the pool, that evening we took the boys hopping to the main plaza in Darwin.
Day 3 I awoke at 5am and as I started opening the place up noticed signs that during the night, some shenanigans had taken place. Never trust a dorm full of teenage boys, or as it turns out, never trust the dorm next door full of teenage girls. Turns out we had a few visitors that night, who scaled the building walls to the second story balcony, then jimmied open a door to come and mingle with the lads. A stern word or two over breakfast didn’t seem to deter the boys too much as we headed to our second day of trials. Again the competition was fierce and again our boys shone. The afternoon we spent poolside, and then in the evening we went to TIO stadium to watch Port Adelaide loose to a spirited Bulldogs outfit. I had never been to the ground before, and it was a great throw back to the older days of footy, at smaller grounds with the crowds on the hill.
Day 4 was all about selections and recovery, starting with a beach session, then big breakfast. In all we had 5 selected for the squad from our contingent of 13, fantastic news for the region. Afterward we went to another water park, then relaxed by the pool in the afternoon mentally preparing for our long drive home the next day.
I arrived back in Canteen Creek around noon on the following Tuesday, and with the two boys we were greeted like returning heroes from some epic quest. Not so much me, but the boys were. Still it was nice to feel missed.
Lots to report on here so lets fire through it all.
Our school has been given the green light to retain Willi for another term on the basis that we can maintain a high level of senior students weekly. We have three lovely ladies joining us at the school at the moment on their pre-service rounds from Sydney University (I believe you need to enunciate it through the nose, as to ensure the status). In all seriousness, Phillipa, Tamika and Hannah are fantastic and extremely competent teachers in their own right. They are here for three weeks to learn from the best, and boy oh boy have they come to the right place. Hannah is sharpening her skills with Rob in the Primary class, while Tamika and Pip are in charge of all things P.E and the planning of our upcoming athletics day, I have no doubt it will be a hit.
Numbers are up again, as we have enforced a no school – no play policy with the footy team, so surprise surprise back come the senior boys.
Bigger, faster, stronger is par for the course at the moment when it comes to puppy news. As of last night we have had our first reportable incident. A scuffle broke out at around 5:45pm, where it is believed Lexi Carlyle physically assaulted, her sibling Brutus Carlyle causing minor facial injuries. It is then alleged that Brutus retaliated and inflicted a 2cm wound to the face of his sister. It appears the argument was sparked by a quarrel over who would fetch a tennis ball. Veterinary psychologists later confirmed that an onset of hormonal dominant behavior may have played a factor.
In all seriousness they are both fine, but have busted each other open. Best of friends five minutes later, a normal brother sister relationship.
End of week 8 has come around very quickly and it has been busy. Following a visit from 3 very important education professionals this week, 3 provisional teachers have passed an end of semester assessment (very happy about this). Following this we have all started the drawn out process of report writing. Heated debates about marking, using an A – E grading system, has occurred many a time this week. The reality that our kids are marked against mainstream results in a lot of D and Es.
Thoughts are very much turning to the holidays and organising to catch up with everyone and some wedding planning thrown in for good measure. A month of holidays is exactly what we need at the moment!