Sorry for the delay, the long-suffering keyboard has finally give up the ghost... I am typing with an onscreen one. The word 'onscreen' just then took approx 1 minute to write.
Anyway, this is the post-final-ride final ride. The one that takes us up to where we will be living and working for the next 6 months.
We left Phil and Karolina after a week in Surfers Paradise, with the tanned surf boys running about barefoot and the skimpily clad promoter-girls in bikinis and gold platforms.
We meandered along an alternative route back up north to Ayr on some very good dirt tracks.
They were places where even the 8-year olds wore cowboy hats, where the service station women stop just short of actually growling at you, and where homesteads were called things like 'Why Not'. (As far as I was concerned there were some very good answers to that. They included '1. snakes', '2. wretched desert', '3. total lack of drinking water', and so on. I considered tacking up a little reply on the sign. But the frankly petrifying scrawl warning off trespassers put me off a bit.)
People were using oil drums as postboxes. Adam went off into the bush and weed on a snake.
The horizons stretched like long stretchy things. The sky enjoyed the extra space and made itself comfortable.
This garage had a shop. It was the only building for 150 miles in either direction. When I asked the cowgirl for biscuits she eyeballed me like I was an escaped lunatic. The answer was no, in case you were wondering.
We spent a day playing with enormous (and in one case quite frisky) kangaroos at the National Park.
I spotted a wild duckbill platypus. Sadly it also spotted me, and flopped off quickly.
At night we were rudely awoken by a huge thumping sound just outside the tent. I clambered out to find myself less than a meter away from a 6ft growling male roo. I'd apparently interrupted his midnight snack, and he wasn't best pleased...
I clambered back in and we both pretended the sorry situation had never happened. Though he still muttered about it for half a hour afterwards. I heard him.
And so now we have arrived. We are living in a dilapidated old caravan on Inkerman, a strangely decrepit campsite, for $120 a week.
Next door there is a semi-naked sugarcane harvester living in a 1970s Bedford bus.
Yesterday, on meeting the campsite kitten, he happily informed us that cats make great bait.
Next door to him is an extended family of pikeys. They, as a rule, don't speak to anyone. Except the younger lad made an exception in my case, and asked me in long Kentucky-esque drawl where Turkey was. And told me he liked melons.
The second day we were here we got some casual work for a farmer, and spent the day bent double planting aubergine seedlings by hand. I planted 1,236. Then I hobbled home and prayed for some kind of miracle to prevent me from ever seeing his fields again.
The third day we did find actual employment. Now we are both proud workers in a pepper-packing plant, where we’ll keep on packin’ peppers ‘til our pepper-packin’s done.
I like the gang of women we work with. There is an interesting culture. Though I have today discovered one of the women is married to her cousin...