Saturday, 19 May 2012


Yowah golf course
This is a unique town. I use the word “unique” advisedly. There’s probably nowhere else like it.

It is similar in many ways to places like Lightning Ridge and Cracow but has its own character which sets it apart from them.

Despite the fact that most who live here are doing it tough, they are a friendly and generous crew. Making a living scratching for opal in this hard red country is not for the faint hearted.

There’s an awareness of the history of the place, and most are happy to yarn to visitors about it. Talking to the locals renders time unimportant, and you are reminded of the long lost arts of conversation and yarn spinning.

They are a strong community, and have developed, in their own unique way, a golf course, a library and a museum. All are worth a visit.

I was working, so couldn’t dawdle, but it would be a great place to spend a few days, or if you’re the adventurous kind, stake a claim and scratch a while.Toompine is also worth a visit, even if it’s just to meet the donkeys.

More Fleeting

You can have any colour so long as it's red.

Here, dear reader, for your careful perusal and edification, is another road test.

My fleet manager (she who must be obeyed), is utterly reliable, in that she always has requested vehicles available for the itinerary booked.

Where she does occasionally fall down is in providing a vehicle fit for purpose. Supplying a Hyundai Santa Fe diesel with a range of over 800km is overkill when all I need is something to get me 80km up the bitumen to Millmerran.

On the other hand, setting me up with a diminutive Hyundai i30 wagon (petrol) which has a safe range of 500 – 600km when I need to work at Yowah and Thargomindah is seriously bizarre.

Both these things have happened this month, but being the indefatigable worker that I am, I made do. Providing the bloody things have wheels, I’m good to go.

Last week I used the i30 for the big loop – St George, Cunnamulla, Yowah and Thargomindah.

It went OK.

Despite its un-fleet appearance (bright red), it turned out to be solid, comfortable, and capable of negotiating some dodgy tracks on the Black Gate short cut between Yowah and Thargo.

To be honest, the diesel version, if its engine and gearbox combination is anything like the Santa Fe’s, is probably the way to go. This one (petrol) gave about 7.5 lit/100km on the long stretches, and was a doddle to drive.

It also had a reasonable sound system with a USB port, and cruise control, so the 300km stretches that I drove went by pleasantly. I was able to listen to podcasts of Late Night Live and the Conversation Hour on a five dollar memory stick bought for the purpose.

Hyundais once had a terrible reputation, but they’ve improved at an amazing rate. These days they’re built like brick dunnies, and come with all the safety kit. This availability of state-of-the-art safety kit is what sells them to the fleet buyers.

The good things about this bucket of bolts included the steering, the ride, and the practical interior.

Not so good were the radio reception, the external mirrors which refused to stay in place against the slipstream, and tyre wear. On this car, the fronts were on the way out after only 27000km.
Fronts on the way out.

Tyre wear is not a problem on fleet vehicles, of course. Most drivers simply don't look at the tyres, and if they do, they don't let the fleet manager know that the tyre needs replacing.
And only 27236.

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I won't drive anything until I give it the once over. Once or twice, I've refused to take a car out because the tyres weren't legal. It doesn't make me popular.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sacred Traditions

Here's another image that says it all. Pity it's American.

Acknowledgement to Media Matters.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Background Weirdness

This is Misty, a timorous beastie I encountered at Yowah.

This is as close as she'll let me get.

Posting her pic provides an excuse to complain that Blogger has succumbed to an attack of weirdness and messed up the background.

I had nothing to do with it. I mean, I like the Eureka flag, but not so much that I'd plaster it everywhere. My road pic has floated off into cyberspace.

Whilst I can blog on the go, I can't fix stuff on the road, so a remedy will have to wait until I get home.

Sorry bout that.....

Update - Background has fixed itself. Ghosties!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sushi at School

Occasionally as I work in schools I notice small things that indicate how much the world has changed since I started teaching.

Back in the sixties, tuck shops sold pies salad rolls, and chips.

Today you can order sushi. This is in a bush school, a long way from the big smoke.

Multiculturism can't be all bad.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...