FRIDAY 22 APRIL PUNGALINA
Today was the weekly mail plane day. A heavy canvas bag hung on a hook in O’s kitchen area. We put outgoing mail in that. On Friday mornings, it was fastened up with a large, attached strap and buckle, ready to go. The plane came from the SE direction, because the Redbank Mine was the stop before ours. Stops before that included Walhallow, Kiana, and Calvert Hills Stations. By the time he reached us, he would have flown some 600kms already, from Tennant Creek, and the day before come from Alice Springs, completing a mail run from there to Tennant Creek. Tomorrow, he would return to Alice Springs.
It was a humid, grey day, with big storm cloud build up. O was not sure that the plane would get here, due to the threatening storms. I wasn’t sure how waterproof the guest tents were, so hoped there would not be a deluge. In the event, the rain squalls that did come were not too heavy and did not last long and the really heavy clouds moved on elsewhere. The guest tent interiors stayed dry! Some rain came into the kitchen tent through the meshed sides – but those sides were free of anything that would cause problems if wet. Likewise the dining tent.
It was with considerable relief today that we heard the approach noise of the small, single engined plane, and went out to the house end of the airstrip to meet it with the mailbag.
The pilot said the flight had been a bit rough, in parts. I suspected that was an understatement. He unloaded our incoming mailbag, and a couple of small boxes of things for O. BUT – major concern on my part – no box of greengroceries! My first thought was that it had been offloaded at one of the other stops by mistake, but the pilot was adamant that it had not been on the plane. Wasn’t his problem, and off he went.
Back at the house, O emptied the mail bag and I retrieved my Weekend Australian paper, delivered by the newsagent to the Post Office, for the mail bag. At least, that system was working!
We were expecting the first lot of camp guests next Tuesday, for three nights. I really needed supplies of fruit and vegies. O waffled on a bit, but the gist of it was – after a phone call to the Tennant Creek supermarket – he stuffed up the faxed order by putting it in the machine the wrong way round. All they had received was a blank! Might have been a wizard in the bush but he was not comfortable, at all, with technology.
Great! I had initially, just after we arrived and I found out about this booking, hoped for supplies via the fortnightly truck from Mt Isa, but O had said that the dates for this would not fit, as the first truck through would not happen yet. Later, I was to find out that he had the truck dates wrong!
There was some discussion about the fact that I could not provide decent meals for guests, with just some potatoes, pumpkin and a few very wilted and limited remnants of what we’d bought from Adels. It was far too soon, of course, for the vegie garden to be cropping anything, although there were a couple of ripe paw paws in O’s garden.
O finally agreed that we could put in a greengrocery order to the Mt Isa supplier, to be sent up from there on next Wednesday’s mail plane, which came only as close as Hells Gate Roadhouse. O would fly his light Jabiru plane there, and pick them up. It was going to be a costly exercise – and inconvenient for him – but he might learn to be more careful!
John made the point that both of us were able to work the fax machine, and could do the transmitting of orders. He also tried to – fairly gently – urge that the computer be set up and made operational, to help with the ordering processes as most places take email orders. I pointed out that I would need to use a computer to research and order stuff needed to set up the camp properly. I also thought, but did not say, that it would be best if we sighted – directly – communications from A re bookings, rather than have that information conveyed second hand. O – sort of – conceded that this would happen soon.
The rest of the day was spent working on detailing the camp for the coming guests. And re-working the meals I had planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, to allow for the paucity of green matter!
The clouds of the day made for an interesting sunset.