Hey all, Happy Halloween!
It must be at least 5 weeks it is since I last updated this! Sorry everyone, I have just not got round to it! I will try to catch up with myself over the next few days. This will probably take a few posts, most of which I hope to write when I am less tired than I am tonight!
Last time I posted I was not enjoying being a tasty snack for local creepy crawlies! Well I did survive my run in with the bugs at Digger Street and did eventually really enjoy it there! It was good to be involved with a slightly more fixed community of people and do some academic(ish) work. As part of my wwoofing I helped out with a project they have there called 'the way out now'. This project involves putting a 1970's alternative living hippy type book up on the internet. To this original text will be added the views of people from today who are into their alternative living and also, hopefully, further contributions from the original authors which will show if their views have changed in the last 40 years. Its interesting, you should give it a look! (www.thewayoutnow.com)
A few days after I got to Digger and still in the going crazy from all the bug bites and not sleeping cos of the possibly-fleas/possibly-bedbugs I was sharing a bed with I got an offer to spend a month as an au pair out on a cattle station in the middle of nowhere! This offer contained 4 major bonuses:
1) I wanted to see middle of nowhere outback Australia
2) I like children much much more than I like the alternative job I was offered (as a charity mugger)
3) If the placement worked out well I could go on doing more au pairing and therefore avoid chugging indefinitely
4) I would no longer be sharing a bed with things that bit me
However, there was also one fairly epic downside. It looked like it was going to cost me close to $1000 (over 600 quid) to travel to the new job!!! I thought about it, but not drastically hard, I reasoned being able to say id worked as an au pair would be another string to my bow and it was the only way I was going to get paid to come and see a side of Australia I wanted to see anyway!
So I accepted the job and rang my parents to cheerily inform them that I was about to commit financial suicide ($1000 being roughly the size of my then bank balance)! I doubt they were surprised, it would be the first time that I have done something outwardly daft because I believed that it was the best course of action. I have done this sort of thing several times over the years. One day when I was about 8 I informed my slightly shocked mother that I was leaving my private school - I did and it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made!
My parents gave me a bit of a loan which I hate, I really really try not to take money off them but I will pay it back so its no big deal to anything but my pride!
The thing about Australia is that obviously its huge! I was in Cairns and needed to get to Bowthorn Station which while still in the same state (Queensland) was going to take me 5 days to reach! Partly this was because of the distance but it was also because in the more remote areas public transport doesn't run every day. I had to be in Mount Isa by Thursday morning to catch the mail plane out to the station, I left cairns on a train at 7.15am on the Saturday beforehand.
Australian trains do not cover anywhere as near as much of the country as British trains do, most of the interior of the country just isn't populated enough and if you want to go anywhere there you drive for a very long time or take a very expensive flight. Luckily for me there was a train part way to my destination. I managed to get as far as Townsville before I was forced to resort to a bus.
It is somewhat traditional for me to be hit on by creepy men on trains. I have no idea why but it just always seems to happen. This time was no exception. A slightly inebriated, unkept looking, middle aged man happened to be in the seat next to me. I spent some time trying to look as disinterested as possible while he chatted to me about his last week and swore loudly and repeatedly in his anger at not being able to smoke on the train. He was going to be on the train for 30 hours (that's how long it takes to get from Cairns to Brisbane) I luckily was only going to be on the train for about 6!
After a while train creep went in search of food and I was left in peace to read my book and watch small towns with names I cant remember move past the window.
I think I will leave it there for tonight
to be continued...