FRIDAY 6 MAY PUNGALINA
Today was to be a big day – the arrival of our first consignment on the supply truck from Mt Isa.
O had received a phone call yesterday, to say that the truck would be terminating at Hells Gate Roadhouse, not continuing on through to Redbank Mine, closer to us. He left at 1am, to go collect our goods, and had some sleep in his swag, on the way.
In the absence of O, we had to be up at the house in time to do the mail plane meet and transfer the mail bags. John got chatting to the pilot, who was fairly new to this run and interested in the place. He was a bit ahead of schedule, so John took him for a quick drive down to show him the safari camp. One never knew what might lead to some extra business for the camp!
We were back at our camp, in the afternoon, when O arrived with all the stuff from the truck. He’d used a short cut track that came off the main driveway road, that he’d cleared a bit and smoothed out a few days ago.
O had some bad news: somehow my meat order of chops and chicken pieces had been loaded into the general cargo section of the truck, rather than the chiller part. After a couple of days of travel, in these temperatures, the goods were very “ripe”, so were discarded at Hells Gate. The trucking company would replace them, next load – in two or four weeks time – but there would not be the hoped-for variety in the diet, right now.
Other items were a bit hit and miss. What was meant to be a packet of cheescake mix was two frozen cheesecakes. No bread mix had been sent. 200 grams of walnuts had translated into a kilo of same. Two large tins of ham became two very small ones. Two dozen bottles of ginger beer had changed to Pasito – yuk, but not my problem, as O had wanted the ginger beer. Few of the garden seeds John had ordered actually came. Part of these variations may have been because the original order had been written for supply by Woolworths, but we’d missed the cut off time, so John had done it by phone to the wholesale company, who would not have had the same things that Woolworths stocked.
We also received a half box of mushrooms, that had not been ordered. That was a lot of mushrooms! These sorts of mix ups of orders were not unusual, and understandable on a route that had so much unloading and rearranging of the truck contents. Presumably, the mushroom box had simply been overlooked at somewhere like the Gregory or Burketown pubs.
With no fridge space for a carton of fungi, our meals over the next few days featured mushrooms, big time, including soup and stroganoff – even though these weren’t great in this weather! We asked O to every evening meal, to help use them up.
The alcohol supplies to keep the camp going for the next lots of guests also arrived, ordered by A from a hotel in Mt Isa. There were several slabs of pre-mixed cans of spirits: gin and tonic, rum and coke, whisky and dry; there were boxes of red and white wines – reasonable quality, and beer cans. O took all these up to the house, to store in the garage area of the big tin building, beside his living quarters.
I spent much of the rest of the day packing all my new supplies away in the kitchen tent.
It was clear that I was going to need more storage space in that tent, eventually.
O came to the camp with a new mesh wall he’d had made for the kitchen tent. It zipped onto the side that faced toward the dining tent. We helped him fit it. So now there would be three meshed sides and thus much better air flow for those working inside – principally me! Putting it on involved partial taking down of that side of the big tent. Then, the old canvas wall would simply swing up and make a verandah/awning – and shade that side of the kitchen tent. This shade and the extra air flow was good because the back of the fridge was up against that.
I had to rearrange some of the kitchen interior, but was satisfied with it after that. I could see that, along the one canvas wall, space could be made for some extra shelving, but was not quite sure where this would come from.