BEFORE THE TRIP…….JANUARY – MARCH
After last year in the Gulf Country, we’d had some possibility of working the tourist season at the Pungalina safari camp. John was quite keen on the idea. I was somewhat ambivalent.
A tough decision was postponed – or maybe avoided altogether – when we received a phone call, early in the New Year, from O at Pungalina. He told us that the plans for the place, for 2004, were uncertain, and that he was not in a position to arrange workers.
Later, we were to find out that the personal circumstances of the main owner of Pungalina had changed, and he had to sell the property. That was actually to become good news for us – but more about that in 2005!
We were both quite pleased to not have any work commitments for this year.
Much of the early part of the year had involved the hard work of renovating our kitchen, family room, lounge and laundry. A kitchen fitting firm did the fit out, but demolition, tiling of floors and walls, painting, was done by us.
John had the extra stress of ensuring that the Tasmanian silver wattle we’d chosen in 2000, was shipped across Bass Strait, and used by the cabinet maker for our new cupboards.
The process, together with the usual “unexpected delays”, not of our making, meant that for several weeks, my cooking, food preparation and washing up, was done outside, using our camping table, stove and washup bowl. Meals were very basic, over this time. At least, summer lent itself to lots of cold meats and salads. Meals were eaten sitting in the camp chairs, wherever they happened to have been put. After weeks of this, the prospect of heading off in the caravan was distinctly attractive.
Plan B for 2004 quickly came into being – a trip to Western Australia.
Back in 2000, we’d planned to spend much of the following year exploring parts of the vast WA, that we had not been to in 1993 (our long service leave trip) or 2000. Lots of unfinished business there, after we’d had to return home instead, at the end of that year.
L, our lovely resident house sitter, was happy to continue our arrangement. She had missed the renovation chaos by spending the long uni break back home in NSW.
Departure date was dictated by the end of John’s bowls season.
There was no detailed plan – just to make our way to WA, in our own time.