Monday, July 11, 2011

Where are we going next?

It doesn’t matter who we talk to, or where we are, it is inevitable that this question will be tossed into the conversation. As we don’t always know ourselves it can be one of those shoulder shrugging moments where we go… (shrug) We don’t know..yet!

After the M.M.M Safari wrapped up in Halls Creek, W.A. we felt that we were to go back to the Northern Territory. After waiting so long to get to W.A. this was a little bit frustrating. And with a husband super eager to drive the infamous Gibb River Road, I kept praying about it. And here we are…a few weeks later, in The Territory again. we don’t always know why we are to go places. We just go. So after The Bungle Bungles experience we headed back through Halls Creek to travel The Duncan Road across to the border, jump on to the Buntine Highway through to Top Springs and then down the Buchanan Highway to go back to work for the lovely James Family at Hidden Valley Station. 

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Daniel had asked Jenny and David if they knew of anyone over Kalkarindji way that might need some electrical work, as we planned to join M.M.M for another project out at nearby Lajamanu… Jenny emailed straight back a list of more electrical work that they wanted done there at Hidden Valley. So that’s where we headed. After we got ourselves settled, Daniel set to work scoping out the jobs, figuring out what was needed so that we could order the parts. We all drove 4 hours up to Katherine on Monday (4th July) to purchase what was needed and to stock up on groceries, as things were getting desperate! We also popped in briefly to have lunch with Mr Mitch, one of the great blokes we met when we went to Maningrida last year. Mitch loaded us up with fresh cherry tomatoes, passionfruit, fish and Buffalo. The kids were thrilled! After stocking up, we headed back to Hidden Valley getting in around 11pm that night. I will never complain about driving 20 mins to the shop again!!! Imagine driving 8 hours return for groceries!

It is often surprising to me the places we go and the people we meet when we aren’t following our agenda. The James’ are a great family. They have been good to us. It was a delight to meet two more of their grown children on this visit, Bronte (and her boyfriend Jeff) and Rolley. These guys are great people. Bronte took one look at our 4 children and she had them doing “stuff”. The kids were thrilled to help out anywhere they could, although I’m not sure how much help they actually were, but it was a nice way for them to spend school holidays. The kids got to “help” in the yards, with a little drafting. I think 3 of them balked once they saw the size of the cattle. Then they got to “help” load Bullocks on to trucks to be sent of to the abattoir. That was pretty cool because they got to see a 5 way draft in action. They got to poke along on quad bikes behind the weaners, and generally did whatever they could to go “help” Bronte. Jenny also kept my kids busy helping with her dogs. Leisl and Rosa particularly loved the dogs! It is a miracle we have managed to leave without one. Jenny is amazing! The way she gets all her dogs to work the cattle! It’s a credit to her.

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Meanwhile Daniel had a major wiring job to do in the shed, which involved working really high up. The solution was to put a work platform on the forks of the I.T. and I was to be taught to drive it so nobody else would be pulled off another job. The things we do huh. So after a quick lesson from Bronte, we got stuck into it. I was very nervous. But within a few days it was all done and dusted. It sure helps that Daniel is not the least bit bothered by heights.

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It has been a delight to meet these people! They are doing it tough at the moment with all the kafuffle with the Government/Live Export crisis. I don’t think you can fully appreciate what our Graziers are struggling with until you hang out with them for a week or two. I also don’t think you can fully comprehend the extent of their skills and abilities either. We left wondering if there was anything Bronte couldn’t drive, or anything Rolley couldn’t do….? I applaud David, Jenny and family, for working together as a family, digging in through the tough times and going out of your way to do the right thing. I believe we are better people for having met you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity. Oh, and Bronte, thanks for the most raucous game of Pictionary ever! And for the record…..the girls won!!! heh heh….

Hidden Valley

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