213. Sunday 11th September 2011. The tenth anniversary of the day the world changed forever…which has nothing to do with our post this week. Still at Finch Hatton…

Monday 5th September 2011

Guess who was the birthday boy today? No! I am not going to share with you my age. Ya hafta guess!!!

Donnis went to Marian (that is the name of a town which is 10Klms from Mirani) to have a massage in exchange for giving a massage. I dropped her off and drove on a further 20 Klms to Walkerston.

Water tower in the centre of Walkerston. Ya could not get lost in Walkerston. The land is flat flat flat for kilometres in all directions and the water tower stands out.

Melissa had warned me there is nowhere to have a coffee in Walkerston and she was almost correct. The bakery does coffee but the only tables are outside on the footpath where you can sit and watch all the traffic and smell the associated fumes pass by.

Walkerston is a two pub town. The Duke of Edinburgh (which also doubles as the RSL Club) is in the centre of town.

O'Sheas Pub is at an intersection.

Although I was surprised by the amount of traffic, I should not have been. Walkerston is on the Mackay – Nebo Road, the access road to all the coal mines which have sprung up over the Great Dividing Range in an area known as the Bowen Basin. Twenty years ago there were only a handful of mines and staff numbers and traffic were fairly predictable. Now there are a multitude of mines and the flow of traffic including trucks and buses is almost constant through the once sleepy village of Walkerston. As most of the workers at the mines are contracted under a FIFO scheme (Fly In Fly Out) they live in purpose built camps near the mines and are bussed to and from Mackay.  Workers mostly live in Mackay so there is a constant all day every day shuttle of buses to and from the mines. In fact Melissa’s husband Steve works at an older more established mine but he stays on a friends property near Moranbah and drives himself to and from work and then back to the farm at Finch Hatton at the end of his roster. Another son in law, Paul, is one of those workers who stay in camp for his shifts then comes home to Mackay by bus at the end of his roster.

As we left the farm in the morning, I took Donnis to the spot where I saw the snake yesterday. If it was still there, it would be another piece of evidence that it was a Taipan. They are a territorial snake. It was in the same place but as Donnis approached with the camera it moved away under the road. Donnis was clicking away still taking photos. What the!!! Unseen by me was a second snake as she had not seen the first. WooHoo. Usually Taipans are known to be in pairs. If you see one there is another not far away. The camera settings were not correct for wildlife and the photographer was a bit nervous but the result is still not bad.

One of a pair of Taipans.

Did you know?

  • Of the ten deadliest snakes in the world, all are found in Australia.
  • The second deadliest snake is the Taipan being beaten into to first place by its cousin, The Inland Taipan.
  • With just one envenomation (bite) the Taipan venom is enough to kill 250,000 mice or 30 adult humans. It is not the amount of venom it is simply the toxicity of the venom.
  • Annually, more humans die from Bee stings than Snake bite in Australia.
  • Generally those who are bitten and die are snake handlers, milkers (milkers are those people who milk live venom from a live snake to make an anti-venom) or people too stupid to leave a snake alone.
  • Most snakes prefer to move away but if antagonised or cornered they will attack. Except the Inland Taipan which will go out of its way to attack. Luckily the snake is only found in an isolated patch of desert in the middle of Oz.

Donnis and Melissa took me to Pinnacle Pub for a birthday dinner and I had a rump steak.

Tuesday 6th September.

Donnis went to Mackay to do a two day course to renew her CPR certificate.

Wednesday 7th September

While Donnis was at day two of her course I took TERIOS to K-Mart to have a service carried out.

While waiting for TERIOS to be serviced I had a coffee at Muffin Break. This is what greeted me as I drained the last of the coffee from the cup.

First the car ran wonderfully when I picked it up but when I was on my way to Donnis a terrible shuddering occurred. I took it back to K-Mart but they could not find anything wrong and claimed what they did was a simple oil change, filters and plugs.

Hmmm! The shuddering occurs when in 5th gear. So we have devised a routine until it can be assessed by Toyota on 20th. If the shuddering occurs, slow down change back to 4th until the shuddering stops then change back into 5th. I(t could be the drive train, the brakes or the gearbox). Just what we do not need in our lives at the moment but better now than somewhere in the outback.

Thursday 8th September.

It was another overcast day with a few spits of rain.

I have started to braid a rope just for the fun of it.

Melissa called my handiwork "plaited rope". I call it "braided rope". Perhaps we are both correct. I find the process relaxing and gives my hands and fingers a good workout.

All the hay bales in the stables are held together with a simple thin nylon twine. Instead of throwing out the twine I have collected it over several weeks and started to braid it together. At first it was straight forward. Then came the moment where I had to add another piece of twine and simply knotted two pieces together. It makes the rope lumpy and does not look good at all. As well, when I stopped braiding for the day I put a knot in the three pieces of twine. When I re-commenced braiding I started from the knot without taking out the knot. Again it was not pretty and was lumpy. Now that I have a sizeable length of rope those lumps and knots are beginning to unravel. It did not take long for me to devise a way to join in a new length of twine without using a knot. The first three metres of the rope has been unbraided and the rope now feels lumpless and has a smooth continuous feel to it. I have twenty metres of multi-coloured rope and am waiting on more hay bales to be opened so I can do a bit more braiding. I am enjoying the relaxation of the braiding process.

Closeup detail of colours and texture of the braided rope.

Friday 9th September.

The morning started with a thick fog blanketing the area. The fog started to lift but still filled the hollows and valleys as far as the eye can see.

Early morning fog from our hillside camp at Finch Hatton.

WooHoo. Usually a fog heralds a bright sunny day to come and that is exactly what occurred.

Power lines through the fog.

WWWGO & TERIOS in the fog at Finch Hatton.

Later in the day the wind picked up from the northwest and finally swung around to the west. This brought a chilly change to the afternoon and evening.

Saturday 10th September

Woke to a chilly morning and a cool breeze blowing from the southwest. The breeze has swung through from the west to south west with gusts from the south. That cool breeze got stronger as the morning wore on until a huge gust came along and blew our two folding chairs and a milk crate down the hill. I quickly grabbed the awning before it was blown apart. We waited for a lull in the gusts and wound the awning in.

Sunday 11th September. The tenth anniversary of 911. It still sends chills down my spine. I still get angry about the cowardly act. I still do not like being in large cities although I did not like large cities beforehand.

It was quite cold overnight and early this morning. You know the type of cold I am talking about. You are in bed, all cosy and snug in your warm cocoon and you stretch and encounter the chilled sheets outside your warmth area. Yikes! You realise you have pulled the blankets up over your head and an explorative hand sneaking outside the blankets convinces you it is too cold to get out of bed. On the other hand your bladder is telling you otherwise.

Geez. This is Spring. In the Tropics.

We both had a day off so went in to Mackay to catch up with sister Sandra. Of course a little shopping was achieved as well.

Boo Hoo. My Rugby League team, the North Queensland Cowboys were defeated last night by Manly. My preferred team is now out of the 2011 competition. As a result I have switched my allegiance to my other preferred team, the Brisbane Bronco’s and – pardon the expression – they are a dark horse to be at the grand final.

Go the Bronco’s.

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