Talk about timing………

11 04 2020

Anyone not new to this humble blog will know I’ve been saying 2020 would be crunch time. Can I now say I told you so….? Having said that, I will freely admit that a pandemic was not what I was expecting. One was always on the cards of course, but a financial crunch of its own accord was what I was really expecting. But, in retrospect, all that was needed was a straw, any straw, to break the camel’s back……. and a pandemic will do just fine.

I haven’t written anything here since the water tanks arrived mid January, and as usual, it’s because I’ve been flat out, tired, and lazy, using my phone to communicate, said phone not being the right tool to update this blog…. just plugging the now 10 yr old laptop into a power point and tethering it to said phone seems, at the end of the day, such a burden on what’s left of my energy. It’s Easter, and I have nothing urgent to do right now, so you’re all in luck, with something to read while in lock down..!

The reason for the title of this post is that as anyone following me long enough will know, I was terrified that having built Cooran up to its potential, I’d start again down here in Tasmania from scratch only to be foiled by the very collapse happening right now. Without the following timeline, you won’t realise how close things got…….

Before any of this even started in China, we decided I’d have my cataracts removed. My opthalmologist Zoe did a fantastic job, she’s a glowing example of an Asian immigrant who’s become an asset to our community. By the time I had both eyes done – two weeks – the shit had hit the fan in China, and talks of a pandemic was becoming the only topic in the media. But my sight had improved beyond belief, should have done it years ago.

With new eyes, panic set in…… I had to have this place prepared for winter. The AGA had to be going, and the back wall insulated. I also have to have another fence built to keep the goats out of our non goat zones, and I don’t want Maggie tied up all day long for ever in a a day….

So while everybody else was panic buying toilet paper, I ordered a flue penetration kit. The heater people I decided to use, after two said it couldn’t be done because the AGA was too close to the wall, told me “ready by the end of the week”. Of course they forgot to tell me which week! I also ordered the Green Board material for the back wall, stuff made by the Rockcote people I knew way back in Queensland, and for whom I even took photos for in my previous life as a professional photographer, in the late 1980’s…… This fortunately arrived promptly, and whilst not heavy, its volume is 6.6m3. Two return trips to Hobart in the ute…… Just think of how much oil went into that little exercise…… As the pandemic worsened, I ordered the rendering for the insulation, even before any sheets went up, and bought three rolls of wallaby (read goat) proof mesh while I was i Hobart. The flue kit was ready that day, so I picked that up too. They closed the very next day………. Is that timing or what?

Literally everything I need to finish our project…. who needs a ute..?

So much has happened since my last post that just looking through what photos to use makes my head spin…. We killed our two pigs, who had decided electric fences were no obstacle to raiding next door’s back yard, a male lamb, and a goat kid. We now have 220kg of meat in the freezer, we won’t be going vegetarian any time soon…..

Our young French wwoofer watched the carnage and was a bit shocked by it all, but eventually agreed it was part of her education…. and she enjoyed the AGA meals too. As things were getting from bad to worse, she started fretting about going home to France. While she still could. Planes grounded everywhere, and all her friends telling he to stay here (including one doctor) she couldn’t make up her mind. She eventually found an affordable flight back, and I drove her to Hobart airport, which was completely deserted of people and cars. Well, cars being driven at any rate, because the whole place was just full of parked hire cars, and more campervans than I realised even existed….. it was like a post apocalyptic scene… Jessica is now back home where the pandemic is still rampant, we hope she manages well. At least we inspired her to start a veggie plot ASAP.

Not a person in sight, no parking nazis to move you along……..

I’ll post something separate about the AGA for all the aficionados, but let me tell you, it’s transformed our lives with oodles of hot running water on tap, and even a shower, meaning no more walks to the shed in the cold for a hot shower. Such luxuries..! Am I glad we had the foresight to prepare for this calamity, but all the same I feel mightily lucky for the timing.