Wednesday, January 22, 2014

23 January 2014 - Caboolture Showground, Caboolture, Queensland

Last week the folk in the west, and then the south, of the country endured record breaking heat waves; this week it arrived here, albeit a little diluted. Temperatures have climbed from 34 to 36 degrees and we have spent much of our down time holed up in the caravan, air-conditioner pumping away, the profit margin for the show-grounds shrinking daily as we all did the same.

We had caught up with my parents and both boys on Sunday night, after having consumed too much wine, which is never very clever, however a catch up is a catch up and always very welcome, for me anyway.

On Wednesday, after much discussion and debate, we ordered just the one solar panel charging unit from Solar Panel Xpress, deciding to settle for outside storage after all and hope that the hail in 2014 would stay away from wherever we settle the rig into storage; Pollyanna thinking perhaps, but better for the struggling bank account.

That night we received a telephone call from a young woman named Jess who was interested to check out the rig for her parents. She asked sensible questions and when learned that we were moving out on Friday morning, asked if they could call and see us after work.

It was also Wednesday when we learned that Longreach and Barcaldine had been drought declared, added to the growing number of rural centres struggling with almost a year’s absence of rain. This brings the total for Queensland to 65% of the land mass as being drought declared, as of now; the State Government are to hand out a $20 million assistance package. The announcement was made on a station which had been host to the same event and same response less than ten years ago. While I personally am not in favour of hand-outs to failing manufacturing industries such as those suggested for Holden, Ford and Ardmona SPC, you have to ask yourself how this differs from a hand out to the “poor farmers”? And while one might say the latter has arisen from “an act of God” and the former to human mis-management, a signal that the company should be allowed to fail, should one also suggest that it was better the land be abandoned to the whims of the weather and wild ones who were out there before farmers attempted their control. Life is full of complexities and I obviously have far too much time on my hands to consider and wonder such matters.

On Thursday morning, after a walk up into the town in the stinking heat, we picked up the solar panel, morally obliged to do so even if it might well turn out to be superfluous to our requirements.

The afternoon was spent flicking between the Santos Tour Down Under, the cycling race being played out in the lovely rural areas around Adelaide, now familiar to us, and yet another surprise turn up for the books at the Australian Open. The night before we had watched as four time champion Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the tournament by Stan Wawrinka. “Who?” you ask, as I did.   The big names were dropping like flies and the fresh youth like Canadian Eugenie Bouchard who dreams of dating that silly little baby boy singer. “Who?” you ask, and well you might.

Came the evening and the arrival of Jess, with her mother and uncle, the latter armed with a bottle of beer. There are certain things in life that inflame me, turn the looney-switch, or whatever you might call it, and callers armed with their own half eaten or drunk refreshments in hand are one of them. Uncle was off to a bad start; the whole visit was off to a bad start. But surprise, surprise, by the time they left, the deal was virtually done, all but for a call to Jess’s father away working on mining infrastructure. I was gobsmacked and could not believe that they had made up their mind so quickly; obviously our price drop had been too extreme. I should add here that we are speaking only of a caravan sale; they were not interested in our sturdy workhorse Toyota.

Of course, nothing was absolutely settled and we should have dismissed the whole affair, at least until confirmation arrived, but conversation all evening turned back to the impending sale and all that involved. Sleep was disturbed, not by the sticky heat, or the noisy thunder storms all around the region, but by the compilation of lists in my head. In fact we were both awake early this morning, unable to sleep and so gave up trying to and sat over an early breakfast, still discussing the “what ifs”.

Jess was on the ball too, her call coming through to us while we were still sitting over our coffee; “Mum” had spoken with “Dad”, and they wanted to go ahead with the purchase. They would get back to us again later in the morning after “Mum” had been to the bank. And so they did.

So needless to say, our previous plans, not Plan A or B but that which has been formulated more recently, to store the rig for future use, look like being scrapped, every one of them! On the strength of this “gentlemen’s agreement”, we dropped off our Nullabor gold clubs and a couple of other bits rattling around in the rear of the landcruiser, at the local Lifeline charity shop, the first of many visits there will be before we fly out in just over two weeks’ time.

This morning, we indicated to young Jess who seems to be the main-controller in all this, that we would be somewhere on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow so that agreements can be formalised. Alas, I have been unable to find any vacancies; Australia Day falls on Sunday, the following day the public holiday and every man and his dog are making the most of the last long weekend of the high summer. Thankfully I have managed to secure a site at Yandina, a camp we were last at in about July 2012.

The landcruiser has been listed for sale, our appointment with the storage people further north cancelled and the first of many lists made. We have crazy times ahead!

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