12.09.2016 - 08.10.2016 38 °C
So where to begin. We thought we wouldn’t have much to write on our blog but boy were we wrong.
Theres not much to do when we have time off apart from eat and watch tv. We decided to go for a walk in the bush, find a nice spot of shade and do some reading. We walked along in the hot sun and discovered the bones of pretty much every outback animal!
We settled down on our blanket after scaring away some birds and wallabies, Anna read for just ten minutes before realising that Ben was actually asleep!!! It was ok though because we had a little surprise visit from the managers dog..
Jess the dog visited Anna again at the back door of the kitchen a few days later, she is the cutest!
Franklin loves mangos and Ben built a path...
Now for the real stories...
It was Anna’s birthday on 22nd September and so Ben was trying to organise as much as he could considering we are in the middle of nowhere. He got our manager to order in some birthday candles. Silly them, they forgot that Anna is the one who goes through all of the orders to tick the items off the invoice. Surprise… not so much! That evening we had a BBQ. We were all sat outside trying to avoid being nibbled on by the mozzys and Anna suddenly jumped out of her seat. Everyone was so shocked and had no idea what was going on. It turned out that a frog jumped up from the floor onto her leg. As it was pitch black she had no idea what it was and immediately panicked. Luckily everyone saw the humour! It was soon bed time for Benanna.
That weekend we had two days off which was a huge relief as boy did we need it. We decided on the Saturday to drive to Burketown. Ben read a book during the drive and Anna enjoyed the scenery… dessert land is so interesting when all you look at all week is the kitchen sink! We arrived at Burketown and explored it in day light… it really doesn’t have much to offer. We managed to go half grocery shopping in the post office! Get Telstra sim cards for our phones to have access to the internet ( the wifi got cancelled boo :-( !! ) Get Ben a sausage roll and at the same time a phone number for a mechanic to help poor Sheila get herself a 60 minute makeover. We barley got some much needed petrol as we were dazzled by the very confusing self service system. On the drive back to the station we stopped by the river. There was a family fishing so we decided to sit in the shade and watch.. whilst eating Doritos and Dip! We watched them catch a cat fish which was pretty exciting. When we walked passed they had actually caught a few.
Ben has killed his first real snake.
I think the photos say it all to be honest. It was creeping around in the bushes and although Ben was reluctant to kill it, he had to for everyones safety. That day he had been digging up plants to put them in pots. We now know the meaning of toad in the hole. The soil was filled with toads. Occasionally Ben would stab his pitch fork in the dirt and alls you would hear was a weird squeaky sound. A lot of toads lost their lives that day, however Ben entertained himself by throwing the toads out into the lawn for the hawks to catch. This whole situation gave Anna a great British idea for dinner. Toad in the hole it was.
On a less humorous note, we had an intense meeting one morning after breakfast. Since the new managers have taken over, the team have struggled to adapt to their way of doing things. It has gotten that bad that Randal has had to start threatening people with their jobs to get them to work. The managers appreciate that we are happy to be here and are working hard, its a shame they can’t say that about all of the team members. That morning they came to breakfast with resignation letters and asked if anyone wanted to fill one out because of their attitude. We were glad for that meeting to be over!
Constantly eating beef, showering in river water and drinking water from a creek is making us appreciate our personal items which we get to order in every 2 weeks. We are sure to have plenty of chicken in the freezer and plenty of soap in the cupboard. We have also been buying cordial to disguise the floating bits of dirt in our drinking water!
Yet again Anna is covered in bites, she is totally antisocial in the evenings as she just attracts all of the anything that bites! She has had 2 really awful bites, I know none of you want to see them but here goes…
We did a big clean in our quarters which was much needed. As there are lizards running around and god knows what else, all the dirt soon builds up. Ben cleared the outside and Anna tackled the inside. We then both took on the bathroom together as it’s just so awful! We hoovered up so many creepy crawlies, we didn’t realise we were sharing our room with so many little insects. Anna got that into hoovering everything up that she managed to suck up Ben’s shoe laces and bracelet… whoops!
We have been watching a lot of TV and movies now that the internet had been cut off. We watch tv every night before we fall asleep. We have been getting into Australian survivor, river monsters and total wipeout! One of the guys here has a hard drive full of movies. He has put a bunch on our USB stick and also given us his tv box so we can watch movies straight off the USB. Luckily we did all this before Anna got ill. It provided her with plenty of entertainment as she was bed bound. We think that Anna had a virus. We aren’t sure where she got it from and luckily Ben didn’t catch it. She had body aches, was getting boiling hot then freezing cold and feeling sick. She started feeling ill on the Monday morning before her birthday. She managed to work all day although Ben had to help her with dinner. On Monday night she was up being sick in the bathroom. The sight and smell of our bathroom alone can make you want to be sick so feeling ill inside it is just disastrous. Anna decided to take Tuesday off work. Ben decided to take on the role of the cook and the gardener and made everyone breakfast, snacks, dinner and dessert. Everyone was offering to help cook but as soon as it wash washing up time they all scrambled out of the door! Poor Ben. Anna was back to work on Wednesday. The managers family brought her some homemade get well gifts to help her get through the day…how cute!
It rained on the Wednesday and the temperature dropped about ten degrees. This helped with the recovery process!
The day was here, it was Anna’s birthday! She had a great day considering where we are. She received even more hand made gifts and cards and a cake (baked by the managers wife).
Ben got her the present of…. SKY DIVING!! Yes thats right, on December 4th we will be in Cairns, at 5.30am jumping out of a plane! The sunrise better look good from that height. I don’t think what we are doing has fully sank in yet, but we are nervous. Ben has a full day planned for Anna on the 4th so we are excited. Including a trip to the spa mmm! We went to Burketown pub that night even though we didn’t enjoy it the last time. This meant Anna didn’t have to cook. Ben received some bad news about his Grandpa that night as we got some internet, however we still had a really good time. It was filled with drinks and competitions on the pool table. We all had a really good laugh. We got back late though so work the next day was interesting to say the least. Ben showed Anna another surprise on Friday. He is designing a poster of Asia to show where we went.
Another surprise for Anna was that she was getting 4 baby cows delivered for her to look after.. They were very nervous but she will have them settled in no time! Unfortunately one has a hernia and is really sick.
One of the guys got ill right after Anna, and funnily enough, it was his birthday the day after Anna’s. He must have caught something else because he was being sick for 4 days straight and he lost a lot of weight!
So as we have mentioned a few times, there are lots of creatures and critters around and about in our bedroom and bathroom, in fact in any room you enter. Well Anna was not expecting to find a bird in the bathroom when she popped to the toilet the other day, and it was a big one too! She has a video but we have decided that we will make a Wernadinga travel video at the end of our time here, then you will be able to see and hopefully experience some of the stories from our blog.
Anna has now named all of the baby cows she cares for. She hasn’t managed to name the chickens yet as she can’t tell the difference between them. We have some bad news unfortunately. Leon, one of the grey baby cows, has now passed away. Ben and I fed him milk but there was just no hope. We were debating whether to get someone to kill it to put it out of its misery but we woke up one day and he was already gone.
Speaking of dead things, Anna has been seeing lots of interesting sights out of the kitchen window. She saw a dead parrot on the floor which was strange, when she next looked it had vanished. Then she saw a dead crow, that one got swept up by a hawk! There was also a bunch of hawks fighting over a dead toad. She has been seeing lots of live things too though, the horses and wallabies often run past, and there are two lizards in our room which keep fighting/doing it. Just the other day she walked in and they were locking mouths on the desk top. We got a video of that also so get excited to see our travel video!
We went over to watch the horses being tacked up one morning. The Australian saddle and bridal are so different to the British tack. Anna imagines the style of riding would be very different too but she hasn’t seen anyone riding or been riding herself yet, but fingers crossed! She was amused how the guys herd the horses and fling the saddle on and they are ready to go. In England we catch the horse with a carrot, brush it, groom it, wash it, then put the tack on then we are finally ready to go!
So another tense meeting was held one morning after breakfast. Anna wasn’t in it, they left her in the kitchen! But Ben witnessed the overseer being fired in front of everyone. Ben had an awkward morning! The management team are hoping to now see a change in attitude. And we hope so too, we don’t see the point in all of the stress when its such a relaxing way to live life. Plus we don’t need anyone putting a downer on our holiday tourist vibes!
Randal, the manager, took Anna out for a drive. Anna was really happy to get out and see the station that everyone talks about 24/7. She saw lots of cattle, termite mounds, wallabies, a dead ferrel pig (which was huge by the way) and they even drove through a river. As they drove through over rocks, Randal was explaining how you wouldn’t want to get the car stuck as there are crocs, bull sharks, sting rays and jelly fish which could kill you. On the way back through the river, they hit a huge hole and almost got stuck! Anna nearly ended up through the window as she wasn’t wearing her belt (she had to get out every 5 mins to open and close the gates). It was safe to say she had it on after that. They got out of the river in one piece thank god. They stopped at the camp site to visit the extreme campers. These campers spend 2 weeks out in the bush fishing for Barramundi and shooting ferrel pigs. They are crazy as they camp by the river with the risk of crocs, and in this ridiculous heat! However the campers did give us a huge barramundi for dinner, luckily one of the guys offered to debone it so Anna doesn’t have to…
We are getting on really well with the management. They are such a lovely family and we really don’t see what the problem is. They are surprised that we have taken to our roles so well in just a few weeks. Anna had the children over the other morning to make chocolate corn flake cakes. The 3 kids have so much energy but they are so polite, I guess all the chocolate didn’t help! Anna is getting constant compliments from everyone about her food. She was nervous at the start but now we are all settled in she is enjoying it. Ben has transformed the lawn and is getting to know the roads and routes when out in the truck. Ben is in the garden for 2 and a half days and out with the gang for the other half of the week. He is getting battered and bruised by the cattle work but it will all be worth it in the end. We are enjoying our time here but we are looking forward to some luxury.
I know this blog is a lot about Anna, but Ben doesn’t write down a lot of notes! So another story about Anna… She went for a ride in the chopper! She took lots of photos so hopefully they will explain cattle mustering a bit better…
The helicopter has no doors and only had 2 seats. it was 30 degrees, there was no water, her hair was flapping around everywhere.. she lasted 30 mins then asked to go back to the house. She started to feel sick when the pilot started doing all of his fancy tricks. We really hope Ben will get to go up before we leave as he has never been in a chopper! It was an awesome experience, the pilots have ninja eyes for cows!
Pay day had finally arrived, and what a better time to find out that Ben has had some card fraud! Someone in Asia has managed to take $306 from his account. They tried two more times but luckily the bank declined them. He will receive a refund and a new card so it has all been sorted!
In other news, Anna’s ex employer from Melbourne still hasn’t paid the super (pension) she owes her. Anna found out that 2 of the staff have now resigned as it got even worse to work there. We can’t imagine it getting worse so we feel sorry for any future employees the boss gets her hands on. Anna is currently trying to sort out that situation but its proving harder than the card fraud!
On a more positive note, there are little wallabies outside our bedroom window daily. We see them do the funniest things. They have no idea we are watching them. One was holding its private parts and licking it spotless, whilst the other had a little joey hanging out of its front pouch! The little joey was copying its mother and hunting for food on the ground!
The other day, we had the biggest storm. Ben was at the yards and Anna was in the kitchen of course. It was a shame we experienced it apart as it was one to remember. There was a HUGE clap a thunder which sent the baby cows running, as well as the managers family. Everyone took shelter and before we knew it, the heavens fell. Literally. It rained and it poured. Ben got much wetter than Anna though. Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos or videos, but apparently there will be a lot more storms to come.
Anna battered and fried the barramundi on Friday night. We don’t like fish but we were pleasantly surprised. Apparently the fish is much better in Australia so we plan to try some more. Barra fishing is only legal for 6 weeks across September and the start of October so we wouldn’t of really had another chance to try it. Ben had tried it before but said that Anna cooked it better
The rodeo had finally arrived. And I am sorry to say it was a bit of a let down! We had to work on the Saturday morning, Anna was up at 5.20am to cook breakfast and afterwards Ben headed down to the yards with the crew to load cattle onto trucks (road trains). It only took 2 hours or so which meant we had all day for the rodeo. We had showers, packed our day bag and headed to Rik’s car so he could give us a ride. We were on our way by 10am. We arrived in Burketown just before 11 and were surprised to see it was just as quiet as any other day. We fully expected the town to be more lively with the rodeo. We headed to the post office and stocked up on food of course! Rik did the same which meant there was barley any room for us in his 3 seater truck. We managed to squeeze on in but had to eat some of our chocolate and biscuits before we set off again, what a shame! We drove down to the rodeo…. to a field with a few caravans, cars and trailers. We parked up and Rik didn’t even bother to get out of the car as he was very disappointed with the size of it. We all had high expectations for our first rodeo in Burketown, and these expectations shattered within seconds. We walked around the grounds, if thats what you can call them, and saw empty tracks, pens and yards. There were no shops, no food, and the drinks stand didn’t even sell lemonade! We found out that there was a break from 11am until 1pm and so we had hours until anything happened. From 1pm it was horse sprint racing and so all the action didn’t even happen until 6pm. Arrrghhh we could of spent all day in bed!! We decided to make the most out of the trip out to town and so Rik gave us a guided tour of the cemetery… where 5 people are buried, the warf, where we spotted two fish, and the historical tree, which was just taller than Anna. We drove back to the rodeo around 2pm to see what the horse racing had to offer. We were really amused at how dressed up people got to stand around under a canopy and watch horses run less than 500m. We soon headed back to town and into the cafe to waste so more time eating pizza and chips and playing on our phones. At around 4pm the rest of the Wernadinga troops started to arrive and so we headed to the pub. Anna wasn’t drinking and so ended up being designated driver. We soon entertained ourself for a couple of more hours on the pool table. We thrashed this other couple and then played against each other. Anna played better in the doubles but sadly lost against Ben. 6pm FINALLY arrived. We thought that on a Saturday night at Burketown rodeo the mood would finally pick up and the night of rodeo extravaganza would begin, we were wrong. It just seemed to be the same as the day, people milling around drinking and watching an unorganised mess. We watched a load of kids chase a pig, some people get thrown of horses and bulls, and some riders run around barrels on horses. It was good to experience these sports and we did have a good day, it just really didn’t live up to our expectations. We headed back about 8.30pm, Anna didn’t hit any wallabies, and were in bed by 10pm. Ready for work ON A SUNDAY!!!
Ugh.5.20am. ON A SUNDAY. Anna was up frying bacon and eggs. She was not happy. Breakfast this morning was for 3 members of the team and 2 truck drivers (the rest of the drunk team camped at the pathetic rodeo). Today was the day to load more trucks. Anna was even going down to the yards as there was a lack of staff members to help out. We piled onto the back of a pick up and drove down to the yards. Anna followed Ben around like a lost puppy but soon got the hang of it. Anna was a bit nervous about the cows (She is scared of them) but soon realised they are more scared of her! It took an hour and a half to load 2 road trains full of cattle and it went smoothly. After it was done, we had to move the injured cattle to another pen. Just us two had this task as the others were busy getting hay and cleaning out water troughs. We ended up running around chasing two really stubborn cows for about ten minutes. This in 30 degrees heat was not fun. On the upside, Anna got to drive the buggy back which was a lovely breeze! After feeding the cows and chucks by the kitchen, it was showers and bed by 8am. Perfect!
We spent the rest of the day watching movies and eating lots of healthy… ahem food. It was a good Sunday.
This is how dirty Ben can get in the yards:
Anna stays clean and takes selfies with franklin..
I would recommend you google 'morning glory clouds' as we get them occasionally and they are amazing. We haven't managed to get a good photo ourselves though..
We haven't got a lot of stories from this past week apart from Anna bumped into a tarantula garden spider and we have this weekend off whilst everyone else is working woohoo!
We finally have the wifi back and the first thing we have done is book this amazing hotel for after skydiving!!