Thursday, November 29, 2007

More rain

Severe weather warning yesterday, so we hoisted the awning, packed the barbecue and outdoor furniture and battened down the hatches. There was a lot of rain, but 'no deaths and nobody drownded'. A day for trying out our new dvd player and some in house entertainment.

Our ship has docked in Sydney, so awaiting customs clearance ( a lengthy and expensive business). This means we will soon be reunited with such luxury items as clothes, cutlery and crockery, and a large pile of audiobooks on cd. We have decided that we are getting too comfortable here, J & G and the kids are great and we are getting seduced by the lifestyle and twitching whenever we pass a real estate agent's window- so time for the wagons to roll and move on before we get rooted here.

All advice has been not to head north as Queensland will be too hot in the summer, so we are going to set off southwards towards Orange, Wagga Wagga and Canberra. Ness's relatives based in Wagga so another freeloading opportunity!

The grey nomads, along with students and general transients, travel this route as it is a fruit-picking trail, with casual labour available for those with accommodation, their own sturdy boots and a vat of factor 50 sunscreen. I have visions of a 'Grapes of Wrath' scenario, with caravans of desperate 50-something Winnebago dwellers fighting in line for gainful employment in the heat and dust.

There have been a few problems with the pigs recently. The pink chav's babies were all born with ASBO's and there has been a spate of fighting and thuggery resulting in the 2 ginger piglets developing facial abscesses and ensuing fly strike and maggoty faces. In an attempt to separate the thugs and Mums there was also an incident involving a falling gate and a fatality due to internal injuries.

Gingers and a weedy runty pink piglet now being bottle fed, which is time-consuming, they are demanding little devils. James dog is in love with the piglets, and I will get a pic of her with them when they cease to look like 'elephant pigs' and the dead flesh has sloughed off.

Meanwhile the veggie patch is amazing. I thought that Ness and Georgie were being highly optimistic when they dug trenches in the bone dry dust and started planting a few weeks ago, but the first zucchini were picked and eaten yesterday, and beans, squashes, spuds, lettuces, melons, onions, leeks etc all thriving and looking fantastic.

We need to plant 44 more olive trees at the weekend to complete the driveway. The ones planted in early Oct are already bearing fruit. Have also planted a beautiful pomegranate tree, a lime tree, and some blueberry bushes, and fed and mulched the resident citrus trees. My ambition when we do settle is to grow a pomegranate hedge, the bright red flowers are stunning.

James is doing some locum work for the next 3 weeks for a local guy, mainly large animal stuff so he was somewhat concerned when called to the local stud to stomach tube some foals with diarrhoea. Not an easy task when you have been a small animal vet in London for several years. Fortunately all went well, and the foals worth a million dollars were decent enough not to snuff it.

He also saw 2 snake bites at the weekend- one dog dead on arrival, the other dog comatose and did not make it despite supportive treatment and antivenom. There are extra bags of intravenous fluids around the house now in case Cocoa or James dog get bitten, and I am getting paranoid whenever either of them root around on the ground or look at brown sticks.

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