This is the least traumatic (for me) view inside my donga, taken as my colleagues and I cleaned it out today. We did have some pleasant surprises. One of the antique clubs was retrieved, and I found my GPS and GoPro camera, though all the gear that goes with it has disappeared along with the 3 camera bags I had.
Unpleasant discoveries too. I found the box that contained my leather bound rice paper edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is a valuable collectors item, but not the book. Some of the unstolen DVDS are trampled and scuffed.
We salvaged my Kenwood Chef mixer, food processor and some of my pots and pans, and even a few of my kitchen knives, though not my very best ones. Even though my cutlery and crockery was mostly gone or smashed, finding these few things made the situation seem a little less bleak,
Everyone kept asking me if I was OK, and I insisted I was, but as we drove away I realised my jaw ached, and I had been grinding my teeth the whole time we were there.
My drone education continued yesterday with a few more flights successfully completed, though that was more due to the quality of the aircraft rather than the skill of the pilot. The first flight over Caroline Pool came up with a high wind warning as soon as the aircraft was higher than 60 m. Then the drone disappeared from my sight just as communication with the controller was lost, so I could not even see where it was on my iPad screen.
I was about to give it up as lost, when it hove into sight and connection was reestablished. Viewing the recording later I could see it had hovered for a short time then plainly concluded that it should head home by itself. Once communication returned I could see it was now in charge. I had only had to watch without interfering as it returned under its own control to the spot from where it had taken off.
The second flight went better. I kept it fairly low and always in sight. However when I told it to return to home by itself, this time it became confused and tried to land in a tree. A warning flashed up that the landing site was not suitable and asking me to guide the aircraft to a better spot. This I did. Smart little machine.
My third and fourth flights were out over old Halls Creek. There I just practised manoeuvring. I tried to follow some wild horses, but lost them. I am learning, but I need to remember to turn on the camera to record all the flights.
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’ve got speed
I’ve got everything I need
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I can fly
I’m a supersonic guy
I don’t need pleasure
I don’t feel pain
If you were to knock me down I’d just get up again
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’m makin’ out
I’m all about
I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face
My natural exuberance spills out all over the place
I’m the outback spaceman, I’m intelligent and clean
Know what I mean?
with apologies to Neil Innes
Back to Billiluna yesterday and finally started on cleaning up the donga. Committed genocide on a billion spiders that festooned the walls and ceiling. Some looked as if they might be redbacks who had moved in during my absence. I spent a lot of time cleaning up the deliberately spilt food and herbs and spices, scrubbing and bleaching and sorting out the stuff thrown on the floor, at least where I needed to walk. Bedding all washed and sanitised with Domestos. Unpleasant little gifts uncovered and removed as I went.
I got a better idea of what was gone, and what was not. I hate to add up the coast of what I have lost. Sentimental value aside, I think it possibly amounts to around 15 to 20 grand. It is ironic, isn’t it, that a few blogs ago after the first burglary, I wrote that I had too much stuff and I needed to figure out what to do with it. I guess that problem is solved.
Finally, having made a good start on the mess, and finding myself psychologically stable in the face of this shit heap, I decided to sleep and start again in the morning. I set up my CPAP and settled down on my mattress with a sleeping bag. Within minutes my skin was crawling and I was being bitten by something tiny I could not see or catch. Cooties?
Sod this. I can cope with the smell of pee and the other adversities, but this was too much. I pack up my kit and drive back to Halls Creek, itching all the way, arriving at the SPQ around midnight. Hot shower, clothes into the washing machine to soak with hot water and bleach, then to bed in what seems to have become my second home. I shall try again next week after giving the place a good permethrin spray and airing out.
For those newcomers who have not been following, the story so far:
I live in a remote community in the outback in a small portable home called a donga.
I was burgled twice in a month while I was away from the place, the second in particular being very devastatingly thorough in removal of my property and destruction of what was not taken.
CPAP: Constant Positive Air Pressure machine. A device for those who suffer sleep apnoeia. I am one.
SPQ: The Shire of Halls Creek Single Persons Quarters, A sad lonely place for people who have no one to love them. Elvis called it “Heartbreak Hotel”.
Now read on…
Posted in autobiography, History, Music, Philosophy, poetry, travel
Tagged culture, Depression., health, Humour, memories, work
At last my new toy has arrived.
To cheer myself up, and because I fell deeply in love with Jake’s when we took it out last week, I bought a drone with a really good camera. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This will replace the GoPro I lost, and then some.
I have named it Spéir Súl, which is Irish for “Sky Eye”. It sounds better in Irish.
It was not cheap, this new toy, but I rationalise the purchase by considering it to be a new stage in my photography adventure, plus it will enable me to see, and photograph, places I can no longer access on foot. Besides. I am on my own now, and how I spend my money and my time is my own affair.
That seems a little defensive, so perhaps I do feel a little guilt. But I’ll get over it.
Today I took her out to Palm Springs for her maiden voyage. I wanted to film the rock I am no longer able to climb, and the view from the top I can no longer get to. However, the drone would not fly for me, because before it’s first flight the software that controls it from my iPad demands that I register and activate it first. Of course, that requires connection to the internet, and there is not even phone reception out there.
Mission aborted. Try again tomorrow.
I just posted this on the Halls Creek Community Facebook page
To the person who broke into my donga in Billiluna, stole my possessions and trashed the place, and wrote nasty things on my wall:
I forgive you. If you were hungry, I would have fed you. If you needed something I would have tried to help. I am sorry you had to act so badly, but that is on you, not me.
But I am really sorry for what is likely to happen next. You should know that among the spears, bows and arrows and carvings from my family in Solomon Islands, were two genuine antique war clubs that were used in warfare back around 1912 or so. They have a very powerful blood curse on them. Before I became their guardian my brother in law had to make a strong protection charm for me. Anyone who steals, mistreats them or damages them or uses them without protection is likely to have Very Bad Things happen to them. I hope bad things have not already started and you and your family are safe. I would not wish the Solomon hikaluzi on anyone. Please return them to the Shire office before something terrible happens. Tataru nomana Koa goi. (Good wishes to you).
No point appealing to their sense of fair play. Maybe this will work.
One of my colleagues (my boss) travelled down to my home and started what I could not; cleaning up the mess left by the vandal thieves. He also spoke to the community about why I was not returning yet.
He came back last night with my grandfather’s fob watch (smashed) and my vintage 1978 dive watch that is unharmed and still going. They had not been stolen with everything else, but had been tossed into the trample pile along with my cds, DVDs, books, and other things that the thieves had no use for, so did their best to smash.
The dive watch was robust enough to survive that treatment.
In my mind that dive watch had become a symbol of all I have loved and lost, and all I have done in my travels round the world. Losing it had brought about a despair I could not overcome. Regaining it gave me a new resolve to deal with the other losses and get on with it again. I had not consciously focussed on that one thing in the midst of overwhelming loss of valuables and collected memories but having done so has actually in the end proved beneficial to my mental state. Because I have it again.
I think I can get back on the horse now. I am not sure if there is a life lesson to be drawn from this, and I truly don’t know why, of all things, it was the watch that was the focus of my angst, but having recovered it has made me feel so much better. Since the incident, I have been very ambivalent about returning in spite of my confidence that it was not a community member who had desecrated my home. Now, once the Shire have improved the security there, I am happy to go back and once more try to help the youngsters find their way into the future.
I have to add that I work with awesome people.