Mother Judy finally got around to reading the Bleat just a couple of days ago. I said she should click on the Follow button and subscribe; a little reminder of a new entry would be solid confirmation I was still alive and kicking out in the bush. She said the loads of washing I do at her house when I come into the city might suffice as evidence I was still around (and 39 and still doing washing at her house). She looked at me longsufferingly,
and said “Do I have to pay to subscribe? And why is the beginning entry called The End?” All the no-nonsense editors are probably mothers.
So here I am – freshly educated, unemployed and a land baron. With a storage cubicle in Melbourne full of a life I haven’t looked at in four years of being overseas. Time to move it all out to Yandoit and time to start thinking about how to get some shelter for myself out there. Over New Year’s I tested out a new tent for short-term summer dwelling – B’s is the cool 1970s one in the middle, mine the crap one on the right (the food tent on the left).
Camping through a heat wave was challenging enough. And when the overnight temperature dropped to seven I woke up in a wet sleeping bag with condensation dripping from the roof. The tent retailer told me today’s canvas was mostly polycotton, not the 100% cotton of yesteryear and as such it was less breathable i.e. I had experienced normal condensation levels and there was nothing to be done. I don’t bloody think so! After much bolshy telephone wrangling I secured a swap for something slightly better and the new one seems to be keeping me dry.
So I’ve got the tent sorted and am enjoying the simplicity of seven and a half square metres of living space. I can fit my double futon in there and a bedside table. 178cm (all) of me can stand up, sit and lie down – isn’t that all people in big houses do anyway? Too many years spent in hachijo rooms in Tokyo and in small cabins on boats has handily prepared me for such modesty. I can see the stars through the mesh and read about humanure using one of the few products Ikea can perhaps legitimately be congratulated for – the $20 solar bedside light.
I put the tent under the giant open-sided shed. It’s got a tin roof and rain on it sounds great. But I can’t store my stuff there, so I got a 40 ft shipping container trucked out. I thought I could kill a couple of birds with one stone by using the container for storage and then perhaps converting it for living (store a mother in there, stack some woofers vertically..)
I got my ex-coal carrier for just under $4000 delivered. I liked that it had never been on the ocean (Melbourne to West Australia return only) and would therefore not be rusty. I didn’t know it would come painted with my initials on it but sometimes you just get lucky.
Driver Doug really knew what he was doing with the driving and the drop. No safety boots for him! Just jandals between his feet and 5 tonnes of steel as he stood beside it and manoeuvred levers. Doug displayed more than his driving skill as he freely dispersed views on Chinese in the community (unrepeatable) and bullfighting (“grouse”). A certified breast-addressor, Doug might have been edging toward a midday invitation to the pub but B and I got him out the gate just in time.
Last step in all of this was to move all my worldlies out of storage and onto a truck for driving out to the land. I bothered my friends and scored big with a creamy crop of movers. Had a scrap or two during the process but we made it (who doesn’t like a heated argument on moving day?)
After a slow drive out to Yandoit Hills, B and I landed.
And now I’m here, with a container-load of stuff and a lack of solid walls to live in and autumn is coming. Just a few things to sort out then.
Photos: Alice G, Briele H, me