This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2005 Travels July 3

SUNDAY 3 JULY     PUNGALINA

Our day off.

We slept in. Pottered about our camp for a while.

Took a packed lunch and drove out towards the wetlands – Lake Crocodylus.

On the way, stopped and had an explore at an area beside the track that looked like a sinkhole – quite a large depression in the land. Later, O said it was not really a sinkhole.

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Sinkhole-like depression by the track

It was pleasant enough, wandering around in the bush.

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Turkey bush

At Crocodylus, the mud around the edges had dried up enough that we were able to take out one of the two man canoes, kept out there. We attempted a bird survey, results to go off to Birds Australia. It was hard to even begin to count all the ducks and other waterbirds, though. There were so many. We could not get very close before they took off in groups, flying. But there was one hell of a lot of them perched in the dead trees, particularly across the far side.

The paddling on the lake was easy and really enjoyable. The only down side was getting in and out of the canoe and getting muddy feet doing so – like well up the ankles!

We decided to try to drive back the long way – via the Jabiru wetlands track, but a little way along it, realized it was still too wet to be passable, so turned around – before we got bogged! Backtracked the way we had come.

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Some track clearing

I read for what was left of the afternoon. John spent time on his computer.

O flew out this morning to go to Brisbane to visit his lady friend.

 

 

 


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2005 Travels July 2

SATURDAY 2 JULY     PUNGALINA

More of the usual routines.

I had the tent beds all made up again, so the tents were ready for the next guests, apart from the last minute finishing touches.

Back in April, O had brought back with him, square rubber “jigsaw” mats, that I’d pieced together to use on the floors of the showers. Preferable underfoot, to mesh and corrugated iron. They had been really good to have, but after last week, they really needed a more thorough scrub than there had been time for while we had guests. Today, I did that with a stiff scrubbing brush and Ajax liquid, and they were back in pristine condition.

It was a pleasant break, not having to clean the amenities every day!

Now that we had time again to have our late afternoon happy hour, in our clearing, I was noticing that the sunsets had become absolutely brilliant. Although we talked about it, we did not have the energy to make the sunset trip to the Escarpment, as guests did. John did not fancy the drive back across the river in the dark, either!

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With the guest flurry over, we did not see so much of O, for socializing. He had A to cook his meals at the house, so there was no point in asking him down to us for tea. And he had A and W for company, when he wanted same – and probably when he didn’t, too! They spent much of the time in the house with him and only went out to their camper trailer to sleep. A had brought her sewing machine and set it up in the house, so she had patchworking to occupy her in the evenings. I rather envied her that occupation – quilting was something I really wanted to try, but it was not a craft that fitted – literally – into a small caravan.


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2005 Travels July 1

FRIDAY 1 JULY     PUNGALINA

Mail plane day. I went up and collected the grocery delivery, sorted same and took the things that were my order back to camp. Also received another box of library books – excellent.

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Inside the main house. The chest freezer was for ding meat.

O arrived back around lunchtime with the truck order. That was a major job to sort out and check off, and sort into what was for the camp and me, and what was for the house. Some things had not come – presumably unavailable – bananas, mandarins, celery, honeydew melon from the greengrocers. The four 4litre bottles of kerosene I’d ordered for the flares, had turned into four 1 litre bottles. That would not last long! The six cans of chick peas were also missing from the wholesaler order. The massive Woolworths order was filled well – they do a good job. However, it seemed that all the chiller items had been missed – or not offloaded from the truck: lamb chops, butter, chicken breast fillets, sausages, a couple of whole chickens that A had wanted to roast. Those were the things that could provide us with some dietary variation from beef, so this was a disappointment all round. Also missing were the six loaves of sliced toasting bread A had wanted. It was like some perishables had been left for last minute filling into the order – and then forgotten. We did not receive the invoices – they went straight to A – so I could not check if we had been charged for any of these things.

So, at least, my supplies were replenished ready for future guests. Although, it had to be said, bookings were not too abundant, right now.

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Wattle in bloom

Dealing with all that took up a goodly part of the day for me, by the time things were transported to camp, and put away.

John had patched up things as best he could, in the vegie patch. And, later in the day, O strengthened the fences.

The two rows of little paw paw trees were growing quite well. Both John and I had put a lot of time into making sure they were well watered, likewise the various patches of pumpkins and melons that were on mounds around the general garden area. I also had a sprinkler on the lime and lemon trees, regularly.

The foot traffic of the last week or so around the kitchen tent and campfire area had worn down the grass in places, and it would need sustained watering to bring it back to sound condition.

 


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2005 Travels June 30

THURSDAY 30 JUNE     PUNGALINA

John was upset when he went up to water the vegie garden this morning, to find that some feral cows had managed to break down the outer fence around the house block, at a point by the river side, come up to the back of the vegie garden, get their necks over the inner fence far enough to demolish most of the almost-ripe corn crop. He had lovingly nurtured that – had hoped to have it ready for the large group visit, but it wasn’t quite. He was really cross.

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The corn has been growing really nicely, back in May

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What was left of the corn after the cow attack

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The inner fence that the raiding cattle reached over, or through. The gap at the corner is a squeeze gate – a person can squeeze through, but a cow can’t.

After his morning jobs, and trying to redeem the garden wreckage, John was mowing the camp lawns. It was amazing just how much the grass had grown while he was otherwise occupied.

I was working on the clean up in the kitchen tent.

O appeared and kind of hovered about for a while. Then he came and told me that he did not want to interrupt John, but that there had been a phone call from John’s daughter, S, to tell him that she’d given birth to another boy, on Monday. O then disappeared back to the house.

I went and told John, who was thrilled about his second grandson. He was not able to call S though, given that she was in Brussels and it would be too complicated to try that – and work out the costs – from here.

Days later, we heard from his other daughter, that she had phoned on the Tuesday and left a message about the new baby – one we never got. She said she had spoken to a man, but we never did find out if it was W or O who forgot to pass the message on. John was rather peeved about this.

O left in the night, to drive out to Redbank Mine to pick up our orders from the Mt Isa supply truck.

 

 

 


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2005 Travels June 29

WEDNESDAY 29 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Another day of work.

I shut down the dining tent. Took the tablecloths from there, and from the breakfast tables, for washing and when dry put them away in the plastic container in the kitchen tent, for next time.

Mopped the dining tent floor, stacked the chairs.

Started the kitchen clean – a few day’s work there to do it thoroughly. The stove and oven alone made a big cleaning job.

The corn that John had planted by our van was growing nicely. He did more work in the vegie patch today.

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Quite a contrast to when we first arrived here. Vegetation drying out. Access track widened and smoothed by our constant use.

It was noticeable how much the country was now drying out. Green weeds had died down. The grass was browning off. The “deciduous” trees were dropping a lot of leaves – evident from the big one by our van, and in the quantity of leaves appearing on the camp lawns.


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2005 Travels June 28

TUESDAY 28 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Back to work.

M got away early. We hoped she negotiated the driveway safely, and that the rest of her trip went smoothly. We wished she had a HF radio, so at least we could communicate that way.

I stripped the beds in the tents and took all the washing – sheets, pillow cases, towels, tea towels – up to the house to be done. There was a lot of it! A helped. While the guests had been in, she had done a great job of helping out.

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The main house. Troopy at left end, other end was kitchen, living and sleeping area. Wall of wood slices and mud. Washing machine on verandah.

When stripping the tents, I found that one of the guests – a lady journalist – had left a rather exotic looking night dress behind. We had guest details filed, so I was able to package up the item and put it in the bag for this week’s mail plane.

I faxed through the supermarket order for this week’s plane – a mix of things for A, the camp and for me. I needed soy milk for my breakfast cereal. Yet more flour for bread was needed – a total of 6kg.

The tent water jugs were cleaned up and put onto the “pantry” shelves, for next time.

I washed out the various fridges and did other tasks to get the kitchen back in order and in stand-down mode.

We did a stock take of the drinks remaining in the camp fridge, and up at the house.

John was able to get in some much needed weeding and care in the vegie garden.

Cane Toad Clearing seemed rather empty, without M’s rig set up there. At the same time, it was rather nice to just be the two of us there again, sitting out with the dings, enjoying our beers and sunset.

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The area where our friend had been camped

I was rather hopeful that my son and his little family would be able to visit us sometime in August. Before leaving home, we had discussed a possible trip with them – flying to Mt Isa, hiring a 4WD vehicle, and visiting Adels and here. We’d packed our big camping tent and associated gear, for just such an event.


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2005 Travels June 27

MONDAY 27 JUNE     PUNGALINA

Our second day off – to make up for the one we missed last week.

A leisurely start to the day – suddenly, we appreciate these anew!

There were all the usual chores to be done – like vegie garden watering. While that was happening, M pruned the citrus trees in O’s yard. He had wanted that done, but wasn’t sure of the best way to do so. M had the knowledge.

Then we packed some snorkelling gear from the camp and drove to Bubbling Sands.

Snorkelling in the pools there was a brilliant experience. The water was a pleasant temperature and totally clear. Mostly, the range was from waist to chest deep on us – they were much deeper than they appeared.

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The pale green foreground vegetation was actually growing under half a metre of water

Using the snorkel masks allowed us to see an incredible underwater world, close up. I wished, so much, that I had an underwater camera. There was lush growth around the edges of the pools. One could see, close-up, the water bubbling up from the sandy bottoms of the pools. Where these little springs bubbled away, there was no plant growth.

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No vegetation on the bottom of the pool, where water was bubbling up

I wondered how old this water was? How many aeons it had been since it had fallen as rain, wherever, permeated into the ground water layers, and made its way along, before emerging here?

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There was a surprising volume of water flowing down stream

We spent quite a while there, enjoying both the swimming, which was a bit of a rarity here, and the unique pools.

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Back to camp for a late lunch, then we just lazed about for the rest of the day.

O had offered to take M for a flight in the Jabiru and show her much of the place from the air – in appreciation of her contributions whilst here. She accepted the offer with alacrity, and really enjoyed the flight.

M then had to get her stuff together, so she could get away in good time tomorrow. Her plans involved following the Gulf Track around through Borroloola and Roper Bar, to Mataranka. Then she would be driving through Arnhem Land, to Gove, to visit friends who were teaching there and take in the Garma Festival. Adventurous lady. We would probably catch up again in Melbourne, closer to Xmas.