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Old Jan 5th 2005, 10:06 pm   #46
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paylia
I will second that - except you will be second in line to buy the book after me
TC please keep the life story coming - it gives a fascinating insight for those of us who have had a sheltered life ( I nearly said a more privileged life but the more of this tale I read then the less privileged I feel. I am envious of your experiences if not the hardships)

Cheers
Peter
lol, Peter! If anyone had a more privileged life than I, before I left the UK, then jolly good luck to them! A Public School education, living in a 7 bedroomed Georgian farmhouse in the Cotswolds, a husband with a good job...... and a sense that there had to be more to life than this.
There's a wonderful feeling of freedom that comes with burning bridges and tossing bonnets over windmills!
Sure, we could have stayed safe and secure in our little niche. Financially, I would certainly be better off than I am now. But I wouldn't have the memories.
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Old Jan 5th 2005, 11:30 pm   #47
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

So there we were, 'stuck' in this isolated mining camp, miles away from anywhere. Boring,you say? Lonely? Not on your life.
I made a mistake earlier when I wrote that we had the only swimming pool between Derby and Karratha; that should have read 'Derby and Kununurra'. Now it seemed that everyone between those two places wanted a swim and knew that they would be welcome, as we'd always had an open house philosophy. It was a rare day when there was no-one camped on the flat outside, between us and the riverbed, 300 metres away. Although this was dry for most of the year, there was a spear sunk in the bed which gave us adequate water for the pool, laundry, showers, washing up. I was, however, decidedly iffy when it came to using it for drinking and cooking, so ensuring good quality drinking water meant a couple of trips a week into HC, where we'd fill plastic containers. And since this became something of a chore, it had to be shared.......which meant I had to learn to drive.
It had never seemed necessary in the UK, where I'd always lived in reach of adequate public transport. Now it became essential; what if M. had an accident, needed to go to hospital? We would truly be stuck in that case. So M. decided that I should learn to drive ........and almost pre-empted our divorce by 20 years!
It's noon on a January day when the temperature is around 38F. I'm behind the wheel at the bottom of a steep sided creek when the engine cuts out. I restart the vehicle but it stalls every time I try to go up the slope. I ask my husband what I'm doing wrong, to be told "You're not using your brain! You know how to do this, just get on with it!" After several more attempts, I burst into tears, jump out of the vehicle and say that I'm walking home. Whereupon M. slid calmly behind the wheel and drove off, leaving me to do just that!
But that weekend, our town police sergeant drove out with his wife and kids. Staff had been rotated and this was not the person involved in the earlier story. This guy, John, was determined that the town should become a much more law-abiding place and to this end, he wouldn't have a drink while he was in town, though he enjoyed one as much as anyone else. The camp was a place where he could let his hair down and relax. It emerged, through conversation, that he was also trying to teach his wife to drive, with similar tearful door-slammings and cold shoulders as our experience. So it was agreed that John and his wife would come out at least once a week; that he would give me a lesson, while M. taught his wife. This continued until John pronounced me ready to take my driving test.
He explained that as my instructor, he couldn't also be the examiner, so a day was set when his constable would be available. On the day of the test, I got behind the wheel and drove off - illegally, as it happened. As a learner driver, I should have been accompanied, but the generator which provided our power had broken down and M. had the job of repairing it; not a big problem, as he'd been a mechanical plant engineer in our former life.
The Landrover was always kept fully stocked; 50 litres of water, a carton of tinned food, tea, sugar, matches, milk powder - and a rifle. (I'd learned to shoot in UK and had honed my skills hunting roos and donkeys in the Kimberley. This particular rifle, a semi-automatic Ruger .22 was light enough for me to manage and was registered in my name.)
There were two rivers to cross, en route to town, the Black Elvire and the White Elvire. I got over the first crossing without any problems, but when I got to the second, it was flowing quite rapidly. Carefully I turned the vehicle to return to the camp, only to find that now the first one was flowing too. So I was stuck between the two. No worries; I parked the vehicle in the shade of some trees, lit a fire, boiled the billy and had a cup of tea. And while I was sitting there, an albino dingo came out of the bush and crossed the road in front of me. What an incredible sight!
But this wasn't getting my licence! I went back to the second crossing, where the water was now reduced to less than knee-height. Heart in mouth, I edged my way across and then on into town.
When I arrived at the police station, John told me he'd had to send the constable out to look for an old prospector, who hadn't been heard of for several days, so he would have to take me for the test after all. My driving was absolutely appalling! But nonethe less, John gave me my licence; though he did say that it was perhaps as well I'd gained it in the country. Maybe by the time I had to drive in the city, I'd know myself - and my vehicle! - much better than I now did!
Shortly after this, the rains began in earnest and we were cut off from the main road for almost three weeks. At the same time, our washing machine broke down. And although we could order the parts via the Flying Doctor radio, we couldn't get into town to collect them. And given that we were so very isolated, wearing clothes wasn't high on our list of priorities. We'd been in the pool one afternoon, then gone into the kitchen for a drink when the back door opened and in walked the local Catholic priest. He looked at us, standing there without a stitch, and asked "Have I come at an awkward time?"
"No," I responded, "but I'd feel more comfortable if I were dressed!"
"Okay", he replied "I'll go around to the front door." "
That's no good", I answered , "I have to go through there to get a dress." He looked at his watch. "Right", he said. "I'll give you five minutes!"
Five minutes later there was a knock at the front door. I opened it and was greeted with "Good afternoon, Mrs. S****."
"Good afternoon, Father. Won't you come in?"
And the matter was never referred to again.
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Old Jan 5th 2005, 11:47 pm   #48
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCrone
So there we were, 'stuck' in this isolated mining camp, miles away from anywhere. Boring,you say? Lonely? Not on your life.
I made a mistake earlier when I wrote that we had the only swimming pool between Derby and Karratha; that should have read 'Derby and Kununurra'. Now it seemed that everyone between those two places wanted a swim and knew that they would be welcome, as we'd always had an open house philosophy. It was a rare day when there was no-one camped on the flat outside, between us and the riverbed, 300 metres away. Although this was dry for most of the year, there was a spear sunk in the bed which gave us adequate water for the pool, laundry, showers, washing up. I was, however, decidedly iffy when it came to using it for drinking and cooking, so ensuring good quality drinking water meant a couple of trips a week into HC, where we'd fill plastic containers. And since this became something of a chore, it had to be shared.......which meant I had to learn to drive.
It had never seemed necessary in the UK, where I'd always lived in reach of adequate public transport. Now it became essential; what if M. had an accident, needed to go to hospital? We would truly be stuck in that case. So M. decided that I should learn to drive ........and almost pre-empted our divorce by 20 years!
It's noon on a January day when the temperature is around 38F. I'm behind the wheel at the bottom of a steep sided creek when the engine cuts out. I restart the vehicle but it stalls every time I try to go up the slope. I ask my husband what I'm doing wrong, to be told "You're not using your brain! You know how to do this, just get on with it!" After several more attempts, I burst into tears, jump out of the vehicle and say that I'm walking home. Whereupon M. slid calmly behind the wheel and drove off, leaving me to do just that!
But that weekend, our town police sergeant drove out with his wife and kids. Staff had been rotated and this was not the person involved in the earlier story. This guy, John, was determined that the town should become a much more law-abiding place and to this end, he wouldn't have a drink while he was in town, though he enjoyed one as much as anyone else. The camp was a place where he could let his hair down and relax. It emerged, through conversation, that he was also trying to teach his wife to drive, with similar tearful door-slammings and cold shoulders as our experience. So it was agreed that John and his wife would come out at least once a week; that he would give me a lesson, while M. taught his wife. This continued until John pronounced me ready to take my driving test.
He explained that as my instructor, he couldn't also be the examiner, so a day was set when his constable would be available. On the day of the test, I got behind the wheel and drove off - illegally, as it happened. As a learner driver, I should have been accompanied, but the generator which provided our power had broken down and M. had the job of repairing it; not a big problem, as he'd been a mechanical plant engineer in our former life.
The Landrover was always kept fully stocked; 50 litres of water, a carton of tinned food, tea, sugar, matches, milk powder - and a rifle. (I'd learned to shoot in UK and had honed my skills hunting roos and donkeys in the Kimberley. This particular rifle, a semi-automatic Ruger .22 was light enough for me to manage and was registered in my name.)
There were two rivers to cross, en route to town, the Black Elvire and the White Elvire. I got over the first crossing without any problems, but when I got to the second, it was flowing quite rapidly. Carefully I turned the vehicle to return to the camp, only to find that now the first one was flowing too. So I was stuck between the two. No worries; I parked the vehicle in the shade of some trees, lit a fire, boiled the billy and had a cup of tea. And while I was sitting there, an albino dingo came out of the bush and crossed the road in front of me. What an incredible sight!
But this wasn't getting my licence! I went back to the second crossing, where the water was now reduced to less than knee-height. Heart in mouth, I edged my way across and then on into town.
When I arrived at the police station, John told me he'd had to send the constable out to look for an old prospector, who hadn't been heard of for several days, so he would have to take me for the test after all. My driving was absolutely appalling! But nonethe less, John gave me my licence; though he did say that it was perhaps as well I'd gained it in the country. Maybe by the time I had to drive in the city, I'd know myself - and my vehicle! - much better than I now did!
Shortly after this, the rains began in earnest and we were cut off from the main road for almost three weeks. At the same time, our washing machine broke down. And although we could order the parts via the Flying Doctor radio, we couldn't get into town to collect them. And given that we were so very isolated, wearing clothes wasn't high on our list of priorities. We'd been in the pool one afternoon, then gone into the kitchen for a drink when the back door opened and in walked the local Catholic priest. He looked at us, standing there without a stitch, and asked "Have I come at an awkward time?"
"No," I responded, "but I'd feel more comfortable if I were dressed!"
"Okay", he replied "I'll go around to the front door." "
That's no good", I answered , "I have to go through there to get a dress." He looked at his watch. "Right", he said. "I'll give you five minutes!"
Five minutes later there was a knock at the front door. I opened it and was greeted with "Good afternoon, Mrs. S****."
"Good afternoon, Father. Won't you come in?"
And the matter was never referred to again.
Sterling job. Reminds me of my old Enid Blighton days...but the grown up version

Fantastic!!!

Don't let me stop you...as you were then
 
Old Jan 6th 2005, 11:43 pm   #49
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

In July came the day of the auction. Everything was sold, from the buildings down to kitchen utensils. The swimming pool was dismantled and donated to the school by the mining co., which was the best thing that could have happened.
There were certain things, however, which the company wanted, down in Kalgoorlie, so we were given an all-expenses-paid trip to deliver them. This was the first time I'd done the trip South staying in motels or hotels each night; luxury indeed!
When we reached Port Hedland, we had the choice of either the coast road, with which we were now familiar, or down the inland road, through country we'd never seen. No prizes for guessing which one we took!
We arrived in Nullagine around 11.30am, so it seemed natural that we'd stop for lunch. When we went into the pub, we found 17 people there - 14 of whom had stayed with us either at the hostel or the camp. The Kimberley, despite its vastness, could seem like a small village at times. Needless to say, we didn't travel any further that day.
The road south had recently been graded, so I told M. that I wanted to drive. He'd refused previously; the HC to Fitzroy and Derby to Port Hedland roads were in a dreadful state, huge bull-dust holes, sharp ribs of rock appearing above the surface. The vehicle itself was less than stable, given its load of a couple of motorbikes, several (full) filing cabinets and a lot of drill cores; and my driving skills were still in their infancy. But on this morning, probably due in large part to the hang-over he was obviously suffering, he agreed. I got behind the wheel, while he sat in the passenger seat, immersed in a book of crossword puzzles. After an hour or so, I remarked "It's very smoky in here." To which he said, "Well put your cigarette out then!".................but I wasn't smoking;it was coming from around the steering wheel. "Stop the car! Stop the car, lift the bonnet!" he yelled, hitting the ground running. And as he raised the bonnet, we could see that the wiring was on fire!
This was one of the times I was glad of my husband's skills! He'd put enough spares in the vehicle to cover most emergencies, and with his know-how, aided by what seemed like miles of extra wiring and a couple of bulldog clips, we were ready to go again,
"Do you want me to go on driving?" I asked tentatively.
"Fifteen hundred miles!" he responded. "I've driven fifteen hundred miles since we left HC, entirely without problems. You get behind the wheel and set the the whole b****y thing on fire in under a hundred!" And he got behind the wheel.
Do you know, it was years before I found out that I was not, in some way, to blame?
We reached Meekatharra that night and got away to an early start the following day. We'd planned our route to go via Wiluna and Agnew, again totally new country to both of us. I was driving as we left Meeka........and what a sight! The road was as crowded with Kangaroos as Hay Street Mall is with people on a busy Saturday. Despite the lack of vehicular traffic, my speed was so slow that I only averaged 25 mph for the first couple of hours, until the sun was up and the roos sought shade. And I was disappointed by the countryside. In Halls Creek, the gold had been found in the hills, with trees. This was flat, barren, sandy, nothing to see but the occasional mullock heap and the road stretching endlessly before us.
We arrived in Kal after dark, and it seemed so cold after the Kimberley. We drove down the notorious Roe Street and I was shocked to see the women, clad in the flimsiest of garments, bidding a fond adieu to their clients on the pavement outside their cabins. No, it wasn't the prostitution that shocked me.....all I could think was :" Those poor girls! They're going to catch their death of cold!"
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 1:36 am   #50
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Waiting for the tatters of a cyclone:

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Old Jan 7th 2005, 2:28 am   #51
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

[QUOTE=Quinkana]Waiting for the tatters of a cyclone:


I can smell the odour of the burnt land, the heat of the rocks, the hint of moisture in the air. And the lowering clouds, which seem to sit on top of the head and press it into the shoulders. The sense of waiting, of expectancy that life will soon return to this apparently dead landscape.............
Thanks again, Q.
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 6:47 am   #52
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Hi Crone

I have been totally engrossed in your great true stories and cant get enough of it. Please dont stop writing them.

I hope you don't mind, but i am a moderator on another site specifically for people moving to Adelaide and i have told them all about your chronicles hoping some of them come over for a read.
I think you are an example to us all, and a very special role model for us modern day women who, in my opinion are vey spoilt!!
If you ever come down Adelaide way i would be truly honoured to meet you.

Regards Nicki
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 7:00 am   #53
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCrone
"Do you want me to go on driving?" I asked tentatively.
"Fifteen hundred miles!" he responded. "I've driven fifteen hundred miles since we left HC, entirely without problems. You get behind the wheel and set the the whole b****y thing on fire in under a hundred!" And he got behind the wheel.
!"

Brilliant !
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 7:37 am   #54
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by podgypossum
Hi Crone

I have been totally engrossed in your great true stories and cant get enough of it. Please dont stop writing them.

I hope you don't mind, but i am a moderator on another site specifically for people moving to Adelaide and i have told them all about your chronicles hoping some of them come over for a read.
I think you are an example to us all, and a very special role model for us modern day women who, in my opinion are vey spoilt!!
If you ever come down Adelaide way i would be truly honoured to meet you.

Regards Nicki
Thanks, Nicki. If anything I write persuades just one person to go look and see for themselves, even if it's only for a holiday, I'll be happy.
Next year (2006), I have a friend coming from Canade and we hope to explore the Flinders Ranges - maybe then?
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 7:40 am   #55
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo9
Brilliant !
This is what passes for a Yorkshireman's sense of humour.
But you learn to live with it.
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 7:49 am   #56
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

wow what an interesting story,youve obviously seen some changes over the years,please keep posting im sure there a lot of us want to know what happened next.

wish we were there already,tracey,
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 9:51 am   #57
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Hi well what a wonderful experience and its really great that you are sharing it with us. Please dont stop telling as i am truely fasinated with it all and i dont normally read long threads like this (thanks again nicki for sharing on ad brits)

Debs xxxx
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 12:01 pm   #58
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

i feel like im part of a story thats unravelling and am anxiously waiting for the next installment

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Old Jan 7th 2005, 4:07 pm   #59
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Having duly delivered our cargo and the vehicles to the headquarters of the mining co., a couple of days later we headed off to Perth aboard "The Prospector". My first Australian train ride!
A suite had been booked for us for a week, courtesy of our former employers, at the (then very swish ) Riverside Lodge Hotel. No, you won't find it now; after several metamorphoses, it's become the Mounts Bay Hospital.
One of the best things about being there was the opportunity to have B., our elder daughter with us for a week. The most traumatic event of my time in HC was having to send her away to school as there simply were no facilities whatsoever for her continuing education. We couldn't afford to send her to the very expensive boarding schools, like Perth Ladies College, etc., so she was boarding with friends we'd made in Derby who had since relocated. When she left, at the age of 13, she was already 3 inches taller than I, and had bigger bra and shoe sizes; and compared to the grants and allowances paid by the Gvt. for Aboriginal schoolchildren, we received a pittance. A couple of examples: Aboriginal children had 3 free air flights per year to their point of origin; we had one. Aboriginal children received a $20per week living-away-from-home allowance; we got $40 per term.; and so it went on........
We had commitments to meet in HC, so we were on the road again. This time in an ex-ABC Outside Broadcast truck - with a 15ft. tray - which M had bought.Never one to miss an opportunity, he phoned all the shop-keepers and several station-owners in and around HC, offering to transport anything they needed from the big city at very reduced freight rates. The truck was paid for before we even left Perth!
We stayed overnight with friends in Carnarvon. This was the former HC Shire Clerk, who'd transferred. It was party-time again, so it was well into the following afternoon before we headed North once more. As darkness fell we reached Minilya Roadhouse, where the bitchumen disappeared and we were back on dirt roads again. And then the rains started.
If my husband had one foible, it was a reluctance to stop once he had wheels under his butt and the sound of a smoothly purring engine in his ears. He could, and frequently did, drive for 20 hours at a time. So it was on this trip, and the rain got heavier and the road became more slippery........you know the Slim Dusty song, "The Lights on the Hill"? It was just like that! And soon after we'd passed Whim Creek, a big articulated freight truck came barrelling at us right down the centre of the road, horn blaring, headlights on full beam. There was nothing for it, we had to pull over on to the shoulder, where the back wheels skidded off the road and we were axle-deep in mud!
We made ourselves as comfortable as possible and waited for daylight.
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Old Jan 7th 2005, 6:47 pm   #60
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Default Re: It's been a long, long time!

Oh boy, the suspense is killing us!

Did you:

(a) dig it out
(b) tow it out
(c) unload it and push
(d) winch it out
(e) abandon it and thumb a lift?


Don't delay too long before putting us out of our misery


Peter
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