GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #094



I never thought anything in life could feel this bad, even my dad dying does not really compare.

But life must carry on and I can either descend into a morass of self-pity and achieve nothing in the rest of my life, or I can treat this as the start of another chapter, one that is full of promise.

In many ways the world is my oyster, it's just missing its pearl.


Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

Fri 13 May 2022

I bought a quad.


No this is not some sort of knee-jerk thing to take my mind off the current situation, we had been talking about getting something for ages.

I have been loath to buy more machinery of any kind really, if I do things manually it takes longer but I get fitter and there's nothing to break down...except me of course. But if I fit this out as I have planned with brackets for the chainsaw, brushcutter etc. it will be a real bonus around here.

It's second hand with heaps of hours on it, that worries me a lot.

Sat 14 May 2022

I had something of a relapse today, spent most of the day just moping around in a funk of self pity.

I need to pull up my big-boy panties and get on with things or it won't end well.

Mon 16 May 2022

I used to watch a TV series called "Life on Mars", the story of a detective from Manchester that is hit by a car in 2006 and wakes up in 1973. I loved the show and would give just about anything to go back to the 70s.

Well today I did just that, albeit briefly.

I was shopping for socks, no big deal I hear you say but I'm pretty sure the last time I bought socks was in 1977, before I was married and when had to do all this stuff myself. So here I am in Big W with two packets of socks and bam, I'm back in the 70s. I dunno what triggered the flashback, the layout of the aisles, performing this weird bachelor sock-buying ritual, some other subliminal input, or what, but for just a second I was back in a men's store in Canberra's Monaro Mall in the 1970s.

Then just as quickly I was back in 2022, frankly I wish I'd stayed there.

So back to Life on Mars, if you liked the 70s, Ford Cortinas, and political INcorrectness you'll like the show. And the reason for the David Bowie song is that the head cop in the series is Gene (You are surrounded by armed bastards) Hunt, AKA the Gene Genie.

There is also quite a lot of empty shelves in the supermarkets, not drastic although Aldi looked a bit sad in places, but noticeable for sure.

Tue 17 May 2022

A friend contacts me from Moranbah, he's just started work in the mining town and tells me that they are crying out for people, all sorts of jobs going and even if you have no experience they will train you.

He gives me the contact details of his boss.

I spend hours going over the pros and cons of working again, yes the money would be useful but the job is 700k away. I calculate the net gain for a year assuming a 12-hour shift, 14 on 14 off, $35/hr, fuel, and various other expenses like wear and tear on the vehicle, and the big one, loss of pension. I come up with the grand total of $22k.

Yes that's right, for a whole year of hard work and stress and God knows what else like all my plants dying I will put an extra $22k in the bank. Not to mention repairs to the vehicle after hitting all those kangaroos with all that country driving often at night.

Yeah nah.

But then I think well what if I work solid for say three months, come home for a month, rinse and repeat.

That's a whole lot better, still a drama but now I'm $50k or more in the black. That's a tidy sum.

Wed 18 May 2022

After a day of thinking about it I finally phone the boss. All he has is (maybe) an agitator (concrete truck) driver position. That's it.

I say I'll send my resume bit even before I hang up I know I'm not interested, no way I want to drive a concrete truck and I think for that particular job the hours would be less so I'd have a lot of spare time on my hands in a shithole of a mining town not earning money and probably drinking away what I did earn.

Yeah nah (again).

Fri 20 May 2022

I bring Chris home today, well her ashes anyway. 2.9kgs, not much to show for a lifetime eh?

Sun 22 May 2022

The mango trees are doing well.


And I've made a start on the new workshop extension.


Mon 23 May 2022

The bloody quad won't start, it's as though it has no spark. That should be simple to test but right now I'm angry enough at the world, I just want things to work.

So I decide to drive into town and get the mail. Towards the end of the street the car just doesn't feel right, so I turn around and drive back to the gate. All seems good so I try again, it still isn't right so I do a few donuts at the end of the street and it seems good again.

So I head off.

500 yards later it coughs and splutters then stops. I frig around for ages and eventually get it back to the bottom of the hill, but there's no way it will get up there.

I've had a similar problem a few times over the years and each time it's rectified itself after a short time, so I wait.

Sure enough, 10 minutes later it starts and I bolt home. The post office can wait.

Tue 24 May 2022

I almost made it through the day without breaking down...almost.

Every now and then I check Chris' Facebook page just in case there's a message or post from one of her friends, I'll stop doing that soon but for now I keep checking as her online friends should be informed if possible.

Nothing there, but I saw the last post she made on the evening of the 28th...

...she only had a few hours to live when she made that post. (no comments about Labor or Liberal please, I don't give a toss, they are all pricks in my opinion)

It does make me wonder what the point is in doing anything, none of us know when we make our last Facebook post, install out last bookshelf, do our last oil change on the car, or cook our last meal. I guess it's best not to think too much about such things and try to make every day the end of each day one should at least be able to say I enjoyed the day, and maybe add that I achieved something, no matter how small.

Chris and I used to talk about which one of us would go first. We did actually both think it would be her but we really treated it as almost a rhetorical question because that was years away eh?

Wed 25 May 2022

On a brighter note, and speaking of cooking, today was quite a red-letter day. I actually cooked a real meal from separate ingredients, some of which came from my own garden. Specifically some Malabar spinach and potatoes.

The spinach was given to us by a friend as small seedlings, and it's going gang busters...


...the potatoes not so much.


That's the entire harvest from one plant, but enough to supplement my latest culinary creation, fried rice.

This isn't much and I won't be setting up a market garden any time soon, but I find that growing even a little bit of your own food is quite empowering.

Sat 28 May 2022

I mentioned the other day about the locksmith opening the safe, I expected them to work their magic with a couple of paper clips or something but he comes back out from the workshop to ask if I know the combination. I tell him what I think it is (from a few years ago when we did use the combo lock) and two minutes later he is back with the opened safe.

It seems that there's a trick to power up the lock if the batteries are flat or not installed. The latter is my case because we've been using the key for years and not bothered with the combination.

There are now two holes in the plastic overlay of the combination lock (circled, near the 1 and 4 buttons).

I'll have to check but I'm sure they weren't there before. Anyway if you apply a 9V battery to the contacts behind those holes the lock powers up. Now that's handy to know, it's not a safe-cracking thing, you still need to know the code, but that knowledge would have saved me $55.

So either the holes were there all the time and I never noticed or had forgotten, or locksmiths know exactly where to cut. I would like to find that out.

If it's the latter they must have some sort of template and round punches or something, no way those perfect holes were hacked with a Stanley knife.

Sun 29 May 2022

More work on the workshop extension. I need a post hole right here...


...but as you can see there's a great big root there. If it was from a live tree I would probably try to come up with a solution that didn't involve cutting the root, but it comes from that long-dead stump just behind it so it's chainsaw time.


Hole dug, post in place ready for concrete.


I saw this ad today.

¡Ay, caramba! Willing to pay $250k for a bush block.

Also a neighbour of mine was reportedly offered $300k for his block so he's put it on the market for $290k.

I was skeptical when I heard about the $300k offer but now I see these ads maybe not. And my block is way better than this one.

I confess I've considered just selling up and pissing off lately, I won't because I love it here, but with prices going up like this I could be tempted...nah not really, where would I go?

And speaking of neighbours, I met the bloke that bought a block bordering me the other day. He's getting out of Dodge (well the Sunshine Coast) as indeed are a lot of people. I think the pandemic BS we've gone through this last couple of years has opened a lot of eyes to a few things.

Wed 08 Jun 2022

I go into Bundy for a few items but one main reason is to have another look at a new CFmoto quad. I'm thinking stuff it with the old one I have, maybe should just go get a new one. But they start at $7500, geez I don't know that I can justify that.

While here I fill the car up. $292, yikes!

Mind you I do have two tanks and they were both empty, but Holy fill ups Batman.

I have been budgeting $50 to drive into town for years, I might have to increase that.

Fri 03 Jun 2022

Ever since I bought the Cruiser I've been listening to music by plugging a Sony MP3 player into the AUX input of the stereo. It's always been a bit of a pain but kinda worked so I never bothered changing the arrangement.

But the other day I couldn't get the player to start so I went looking for a news stereo, something more modern that will play directly from a USB stick.

I found a Kenwood, the cheapest model going at $129 but I also have to buy two wiring adapters, so about $150 all up.

I wired it up today with a little re-routing of speaker wires and it works a treat.


The car's left front speaker is not working so I'll have to look into that one day, but for now it will do.

Yesterday I discovered a leak in a port cask, so I removed the bladder and placed it hole-up on a towel thinking that I would deal with it later.

Well the "hole up" idea didn't work, I now have port all over the place.


Thu 09 Jun 2022

I went out to look at another quad today.


This one belongs to a friend (Tracy) and it's a Yamaha which is a good brand. But it's got a lot of miles on it and I'm just a bit gun shy now about second hand machines.

Tracy is about to head off on a year-long walk along the entire length of the Bicentennial Trail. The donkey you see there will be her pack animal.

The minute I got out of the car the donkey walked up to me for a pat. Tracy was gob smacked, "It hates people" she says, "and it just walked right up to you".

It must be able to see my aura

I confess that does happen to me a lot with dogs, if I had a dollar for every owner that said "He never lets anyone pat him" as I'm giving their dog a tummy rub I'd have...well a lot of dollars.

Sat 11 Jun 2022

I go to an aircrete workshop today with a friend of mine (Tamara) and as we arrive there is a person stood outside the house, Tam is faffing around in the car so I walk over to say g'day to said person.

Her name is Rob(yn), straight away I like her and during the course of the day we chat quite a lot. She's single, lives on acres not far from me, and she seems to be very capable, something I like in a person.

I don't know who she is and I doubt that I'll ever see her again, and to be honest it's a bit early to be thinking about a new companion, but it shows that there is a chance I won't be a SLOB (Sad Lonely Old Bloke/Bugger/Bastard) forever.

Sun 12 Jun 2022

Another thing we had been thinking about getting for some time is a small tractor, not as well as a quad, either one or the other. So today I go to look at one for sale not far away

It's OK, but $8000 is over the top and to be honest a quad is a more versatile vehicle for me. Plus a quad is not as dangerous, this land is a very steep in places and these small tractors are really designed for flat rice paddies, they are quite tall for their width which is not good for steep terrain.

Tue 15 June 2022

Marlene Dingle, the matriarch of the Dingle family, died last week.

The Dingles are a huge farming family around here and although I can't really say I new Marlene well I have spoken to her on the phone a couple of times when I found some of their cattle outside the fence and I put them back. I also have got to know their lead farm hand (Les) quite well, often stopping for a long chat when I see him slashing or whatever near the road, so I was invited to the funeral.

Man there was a lot of people there.

Somehow I don't think there will be that many at my funeral.




Date  ::   09 Aug 2022
Name  ::   Rod
Location  ::   Perth
Comment  ::   Great to get an update from you Rob. Hang in there.
Date  ::   09 Aug 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   It's getting better, I'm keeping myself real busy, for example I'm giving a talk on milling wheat this afternoon.
Date  ::   10 Aug 2022
Name  ::   robert
Location  ::   sydney
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,
I check your site regularly and was glad to see an updated post today, and a few of your YouTube videos.
I like your idea of an under cover workshop/drive in garage area.
Do you have any plans to travel, long or shortish trips??
Date  ::   10 Aug 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Robert,

No immediate plans to travel. At this point I really don't want to spend time away from here, not overnight anyway, I have been doing a lot of day trips to visit friends, buy materials, etc though, in fact for about two weeks now I've hardly been home and got nothing done on the building.

The current plan is to work on the house etc for the rest of this year and get everything really squared away and looking neat. Then maybe in the new year do a trip, either just in the SEQ/NNSW area as I have a lot of friends to see there, but possibly down to Canberra and up into the high country where I have some really close old friends I'd like to see at least once more.

Although I'm not sure about that because I know that the goodbye said at the end of that visit will be our last and I'm not sure I want to deal with that.

Date  ::   28 Aug 2022
Name  ::   Daina
Location  ::   Wollongong
Comment  ::   The single bloke buying socks.... Ten pairs the same, no more pairing them up ;-}
Date  ::   28 Aug 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Yeah that's what I've been doing.

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