097. Sunday 16th August 2009. Old friends, mundane musings, old coins and Swine flu gets closer…
For those of us who live in Oz and are old enough to remember the pre decimal currency will no doubt know where I am coming from.
In the days of my pre pubescent youth and pubescent youth our coinage all had a slang name.
A threepenny piece was called a thruppence. Nothing unusual about that. It was also more commonly called a “trey bit” or sometimes a dina, a sixpence was called a “zack”, a shilling was called a “Bob” while two shilllings was appropriately called “two Bob”. There were probably other names in different regions but you should get the drift.
Now here is where my musing comes in. We changed to decimal currency on 14th February 1966. In all that time I cannot recall a slang name which has stuck to the decimal coins.
Initially we had one cent, two cents, five cents, 10 cents, 20 cents. Later a 50 cent coin was introduced and later still the one and two cent coins were dropped and a one and two dollar coins were introduced. Not a zack or dina or trey bit or Bob has made its way into our Ozzie vocabulary for these coins. Where did all our characters go? What happened to our language? Or am I missing or forgotten something?
Last entry you may recall my excitement at the coming weekend camp being at Ilbilbie Station, a new location for us. On Thursday evening I arrived home from work to find a message on the phone. It was from Sandra R, President of the Mackay Sugarloafers. It seems the owner of Ilbilbie Station, had died from Swine Flu on Monday night at Mackay Base Hospital. We had heard about the death on the news on Tuesday but the name meant nothing to us. Of course the event made us all take notice as until now there had been no Swine Flu deaths in our region. The decision has been made, out of respect, not to go Ilbilbie Station. Earlier this year I had heard on the radio that within 6 months the flu pandemic would be in full swing and that everybody would know somebody with the flu or has died from the flu. I guess that prediction is coming true.
Instead of turning right at the Ilbilbie Roadhouse the camp will now be at Marian Creek, a left hand turn at the roadhouse. In the past this has probably been one of my least favourite campsites as it is dusty, untidy with litter, broken bottles and the sandflies are more than a nuisance. It just did not appeal to me although the creek is interesting enough. So on arrival this weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find the site was pretty much rubbish free although some broken glass was evident on the fringes of the camp, it was old broken glass. Somebody has gone through the area with a slasher and cut down a lot of grass, enlarging the site. Some hand written signs saying, “You bring it in, you take it away” were nailed to trees. No problems for us Sugarloafers as we always haul out our own rubbish and tidy an area before leaving.
On our way to the campsite we stopped in Mackay to take some photos of Donnis son, Errol’s, property which is being subdivided. Then on to Paxtons Markets on the riverside in Mackay where a big second hand book sale was in full swing. We parked near Byrnes Pie Factory but alas they are closed on Saturdays. After getting a supply of books we were on our way again only to stop at Plane Creek, Sarina for lunch.
We are camped on the bank of Marian Creek and the tide is on its way in. If you have never experienced a 6metre tide, well, this is something to see. Where we are camped the creek is probably 300 metres wide. The water is rushing along and just past us is a section of river with a jumble of rocks. The water is rushing over those rocks, creating a set of rapids and making the same noise as rapids. Soon there will be no sandbanks to see in the middle when the tide will begin to slow and only an expanse of water between the mangroves and us on the other bank. Our side of the river is a steep bank, in steps gradually being eaten away by the tides. We are camped two metres back from the edge and we have a down creek and up creek view.
It was warm overnight and I woke to a heavy fog (mist) which did not lift until after 9am. For an hour or so I could not see the water from our rig but I could hear it. I could hear a multitude of bird calls in the gloom.
On Friday night a 6 metre Carpet Snake was seen to leave from a tree stump beside the camp and make its way across the gravel road to the salt pans across from our camp.
Shortly after lunch I waded across the shallow part of the creek and on to the sand banks and eventually the other side then walked to and around the first bend. No crocs to report but old Wally told me later a croc had destroyed one of his crab pots just around the bend the night before. On my walk I noticed a couple of large and majestic Brahminy Kites gliding and following the river and looking for a meal. Around the bend I saw no evidence of crocs or their slides but did see a very large catfish and from its size at first thought it was a shark. I was not concerned about crocs but more interested in being able to walk back across the creek before the tide turned. A couple of Sugarloafers reminded me that, apart from crocs there are a few other nasties in the water. Irukandji and box jellyfish which breed in the mangroves, stone fish, stingrays and of course sharks. Nevin tried to lighten the conversation by saying he once saw a pair of dolphins cruising up the creek at high tide.
Gradually rigs drift away home during the day leaving only a half dozen campers to stay another night.
Tomorrow we have to head home too.