1st April 2009
Life is good. Here I am, sitting on a verandah, enjoying a rum & coke, overlooking LakeMaraboon in Central Queensland. Night has fallen. The rainbow lorikeets that were jumping all over us and eating our potato chips have gone to bed, as have the kookaburras who shared our verandah all afternoon waiting for some meat. Our yabbie nets are in the water – hopefully attracting some red-claw crayfish for breakfast and the geckos are barking at the insects around the lights. We hired a boat this morning and pottered around – fishing and swimming on the glassy, chock-a-block full (and therefore very un-Australian) dam.
We are here relaxing at LakeMaraboon after a very intensive two day school at Emerald on marketing cattle. It required a fairly challenging shift in traditional thinking which left us excited but mentally worn out. And since Heather and Lindsay (farm-sitters from last year) have Rocky Springs under control (or rather Pep has Heather & Lindsay well trained) we are making the most of the break from a very busy March.
One of the March highlights was finally getting my truck licence. I am now Brian’s “trucker girlfriend” and “Queen of the Roadranger”. I went to Moree and spent two days driving a largish truck, loaded to 17 tonnes, with 2 gear boxes, 16 gears (including 4 splitters) and a great big “L” plate. There is something quite empowering about driving a truck with a big yellow “L” through round-abouts and traffic lights. Most people tend to give you a wide berth. Other than the instructor I think I only scared one bloke and he will not be such a complacent driver for a while now! I was particularly chuffed with the five reversing manoeuvres I had to do – up narrow laneways, onto trailers etc – I nailed every one first go. So now I am licenced and can mix it with the big boys at the truck stops – and here is the proof…..
As you may or may not know, I turned 40 last year; and really there is not a lot of difference to note (or so I believed). Sure, I have saved on hair dye because I now have permanent blonde (?) streaks in my hair, and there are parts of my body looking forward to hockey training more than others, but overall 40 was looking pretty good. Then I went to Binnaway.
Brian and I were doing a road trip to Goulburn in the truck to pick up a super spreader (another piece of agricultural machinery). We did 12 hours on the road on the first day which passed quite quickly for several reasons:
- I drove for a few hours
- It was Sunday and not much traffic
- It was Sunday and no roadworks
- South is always downhill
We loaded the spreader, parked in Goulburn overnight and then were headed home again before daylight on the second day. Rather than put in an even longer day as:
- I drove for a few hours
- It was Monday and lots of traffic
- It was Monday and lots of roadworks
- North is uphill
we decided to stay with Kiwi friends who are managing a farm near Binnaway. We did not want to turn up empty handed so we headed into the small town to pick up supplies.
We parked the truck directly in front of the pub and while Brian was checking the chains on the spreader, I went in to get a carton of beer. I walked into the front bar and all the men stopped talking, put down their beers and stared. I thought to myself – “I must still have it, even at 40”. This thought was confirmed when the first bloke looked at me and said “Whoa”. It was then that I had my Coming of Age Moment, for the bloke was apparently looking past me as he continued with “Whoa, is that a super spreader?”
I then managed to clear the bar of all but one male as they all rushed out to talk to Brian and look at the spreader. I was left inside with a deflated ego and a bar fly who would have joined his mates if not for his crutches and advanced state of inebriation.
All of you below 40 can stop laughing right now – it is coming to get you as well. All of you above 40 can just stop laughing.