Sunday afternoon in the sun, about twenty eight degrees. I have just erected the side shade awning, mainly to give me some privacy and establishing a greater sense of permanence.
Chris and his fellow workers were out the door just before seven thirty just like any other day, as they will be tomorrow, the national Labour Day holiday. Twelve to thirteen hour days, seven days a week, until the harvesting is done with; Chris is prepared to hang in there and after the few full days he has already managed, I am sure my husband will do so just as well as the young bucks he is working beside.
His team consists of three backpackers; an Englishmen, an Irishman and a German, and of course himself. His supervisor is a chap probably more senior than Chris, or at least one that has been left out in the sun to mature more than him. There appear to be three women workers; an aboriginal woman of middle years working the modules as is he, one driving as the errand fetch-it, and another in the weighbridge office whom Chris believes to be the manager, Daryl’s, wife. Otherwise the whole affair is a very much a male operation. It is quite possible that there are many more women working in the gin, a place that Chris is not likely to actually enter.
The farm is owned by an elderly American, who is currently here with his daughter. From some papers and a plan that Chris has to carry with him at work, I gleaned the following facts last night:
- The cultivated or cropped area of the farm is 15,807.16 acres (or 6,397.07 hectares).
- Chris started work in Field No.20 which has an area of 299.98 acres (or 121.4 hectares)
- He then moved on to work in Field No. 24 with an area of 157.4 acres (or 63.7 hectares)
- Today he was expecting that their team would be moving to Field No. 1 with an area of 329.88 acres (or 133.5 hectares)
I find the size of these areas just mind boggling!
I am also reminded of a comment that Daryl made when he came to visit us just after we arrived. I asked if the recent floods had impacted on the operation. He said it had, but in a positive way. They had lost 1,000 acres of sorghum, but the plus side was that the extra water had been able to be let into the irrigated channels from the outside flooded zone and as a result, they expected a bumper crop of cotton.
No doubt the American will be rubbing his hands together as he watches the trucks trundle through the weighbridge.
My own routine is coming together and so the next weeks will just have an element of sameness. I like patterns to my day when I am alone, with my little disciplines and ways, especially when so much of the days to come could otherwise be lonely and boring.
This morning I ventured into the “laundry” here. One look at the washing machine, table and floor told me that there was much to be done before the washing of our clothes and linen could be started upon. I cleaned out the machine, a relatively modern extra capacity machine that has been treated cruelly. The lid and bowl surrounds were disgusting with dirt and the receptacle at the top of the agitator has washing powered cemented into it; I decided to return another day with a skewer or spade to sort that out. Otherwise it is an excellent machine and did what it should in a timely fashion. I collected the rubbish and litter from the floor, walls and table and deposited that in the rubbish drum beside our camp, then swept the floor with our broom, and only hope the broom will not have been ruined. I then scrubbed the table and the floor in a rather haphazard fashion leaving both however in a much improved state. Perhaps no one else will notice, but I certainly will!
I next attacked the camp or rather the car park on the side of which we are camped. Plastic bag “glove” over one hand, and bag in the other, I walked around gathering empty (and surprisingly in some cases, full) cans and bottles of liquor, wrappers and cardboard beer cartons, and all sorts of other litter you really don’t need to know about. That too all went in to our drum. I will have to get Chris to ask the supervisor when and if someone actually comes around on a regular basis to empty this, or we may be faced with over spilling garbage in our “back yard”.
As I logged on, I learned that both my sons are here in
, just for two days on business. It is unfortunate that we cannot hook up, even for a drink as I did with Kit and his wife in Australia one sunny afternoon nearly three years ago. The reality is, it would be easier for me to catch a plane to Rome Auckland to see them than travel to for that brief encounter. And even stranger still, Larissa and her family will be in Canberra this same month, as they disembark for a day from their cruise. All three of our children will have come to this country and we will miss them all. Such is life! Brisbane