At 5 this morning in the early lightening dawn, the raucous call of kookaburras sidetracked me from sleep.  I awoke with a headache and very sore back and hips.

I have heard kookaburras several times here, in Halls Creek but I’ve only seen one once before.  Despite my aches and pains I grabbed the camera and came out for a look.  There were several calling, but only one was in view.  The light was poor and I had to wait for it to brighten a little before there was sufficient for the camera at last to focus.  I do not trust my own eyesight to focus manually with any accuracy any more.  Technology usually does a much better job.  The first shots were blurry as the camera vainly tried to distinguish the bird and the tree from the dim background of the sky.

Fortunately the bird seemed to be in no hurry to move on and sat surveying the scene around it long enough for the camera to finally grasp it, and outline it in yellow in my viewfinder.   Isn’t technology wonderful these days?

I then discovered I could transfer the photos from the camera to my MacBook via wifi.  More technological wonder.  What a time to be alive.

I made coffee, took my pills and retired for another hour or so sleep.  I awoke at 11:30 still aching and figured I had better phone in sick.

Despite the circumstances, capturing this noisy little bugger cheered me up.


Here is the kookaburra call, if you haven’t heard it before:


And Another Goodbye

I only just heard on Friday that someone took Sadie the camel out into the desert just before Easter, and shot her.  They cut her up for meat.

I’d wondered why I hadn’t seen her for a while.  She used always to be around my place. She seemed to be very fond of me.  Probably because I was nice to her, and fed her.

I feel shitty about it, because I’d had a suspicion this might happen.  I’d made only a preliminary enquiry into finding a way to get her shipped to Broome, where she would have been happily received and could have been trained to carry tourists up the beach.  Sadie loved people’s company (if they didn’t hit her or throw stones). She would have been a terrific riding camel.  If I knew how, I would have trained her.

In Billiluna she was seen as an edible nuisance, her novelty value and cuteness as a calf now negated by her size and intrusive behaviour.  She was intelligent but untrained.  She could have been a great domesticated animal.  Damn.

Vale Sadie


P1060184P1060183sadie n mesdie2


Vale Zeus

I feel as if I have been cursed with the Doom of Loss.

Joe messaged me today to tell me that Zeus was badly injured in a dogfight and died this morning.  Today I felt the grief I could not feel on Friday.  This could have happened at any time Zeus was with me in that forsaken community.  But it happened now.

No point in asking “why?” or “what if?”   Shit happens.

I had no qualms about leaving Zeus with Joe and Lina, They are good people and loved him as I did.  He was earning his keep as a guard dog and I was convinced he had found his place and was happier there with his little pack of puppy playmates than he would have been with me over the next few months.  Even if I knew where I was going I had no idea when I would be settled again, or whether he could adjust to the New Zealand climate after being a desert dog.  But if I hadn’t left him behind…..


And then, just to top things off, I dropped my new iPhone onto concrete and smashed it.  It is buggered.  I have been waiting for a protective case to arrive that I ordered at the same time I bought the phone.  It will probably turn up tomorrow.

So it goes.

I remind myself of the motto I wrote on the ‘fridge after the first burglaries over a year ago.  I shall print it out and hang it everywhere I go from now on.  The lesson I have learned from these past years.

Nothing really matters.  

A Parting Glass

A Parting Glass.

Oh all the money that e’er I had
I have spent it in good company
And all the harm I’ve ever done
Alas, it was done most to me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem’ry now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

If I had money enough to spend
And leisure time to feast a while
There is a maiden in this land
That sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
Most surely have my heart in thrall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e’er I had
Are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I loved
Would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly call
Good night and joy be with you all

So, drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
And fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be to you all
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
And fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Trad. Arr.


Comfortably Numb

Friday April 6th.

I am usually a sentimental old fool.  One who weeps during most episodes of Dr Who.

Leaving a place has been particularly poignant for me over the years.
I have usually invested something of myself in every place I have been…
But I am no good at all at doing goodbyes.  Especially when I know there is no going back.

Today I drove out of Billiluna with the last of my remaining possessions in the back of the Troopy.   I said goodbye to only one person. Joe.  A friend who is an outsider in the community, like me.  And Zeus the dog, whom I am leaving with Joe.

I searched my psyche for some sign of emotion, but there was none. No sorrow or regret. Not even joy.  Nor satisfaction. I could not even pat myself on the back for a job well done.  I felt no anticipation for what might be next. I was empty and devoid of feeling.

I was tired. But I really had not expected I’d be so drained as to feel nothing at all.

On the drive back to Halls Creek I thought of a few more things that I had not seen when packing up.  More things that had been stolen. Most notably my UEBoom2 bluetooth speaker.

So finally I felt something.


So it goes.



No Country for an Old Man

Robbed again just over a week ago.  This time they broke into my car. 

Then a few days later – another (successful) attempt at getting into the donga   

I had been on a grocery run to Kununurra and I brought my own car down with all the shopping, rather than tranship it all to the troopy.  I am not so fit I need to do any more double handling than necessary.  So it was my personal belongings that were stolen once again.  With community support I retrieved much but not all of what was taken. 

I learned who had committed the crime.  The usual suspects, so to speak.  

Two days later the three young thieves came to me and told me they were hungry.  I prepared a meal for them and sat to talk as they ate.  As we did so, I realised that all my efforts of the last two years to get through to these youngsters had not effected any change in their behaviour or in their outlook on life.  They are young, feral and living completely in the moment. They have no  empathy, no conscience, no sense of right and wrong.  The only crime is getting caught.

Their world view is the result of a system, community and culture that has no meaningful rules and no empathy.  They are young sociopaths and I do not know how to get through to them.   I am not sure anyone could,  

A few days later, while I was back in Halls Creek for Easter weekend, they broke into my donga once again.  The cage and the triple deadlocks did not keep them out.  They cut through a window security screen with a portable angle grinder.  They must have been disturbed by one of Joe’s patrols, because not too much was taken.  Yet another pocket knife,  food, some kitchen items, and the very last of my good and expensive torches.

Joe texted me to tell me it had happened so I went straight back down to Billi and began packing up my stuff.  I decided then and there I was pulling out.   That very evening someone tried to get in through the damaged window while I was there.  There is no end to their brazen stupidity.

I am 66 years old and I have recognised that I am homesick, and tired, in failing health, but with probably enough saved from the last seven years to be able to survive on a pension. I have reached a decision to retire and return to New Zealand.  I don’t have to do this any more.   

How that lightens my heart.  

I shall stay in Halls Creek and work for a little while longer but I shall soon be setting the transition to retirement in motion.

April 3 2018.

One Fine Day

Keke rane leana
Haele la sa vineki
Hake koa sa basioto
Meke zama si asa
Qetu hola si asa.
Meke hegere sa basioto. 

One fine day
The girl climbs up
Perching on the crocodile
And she says
She is very happy.
And the crocodile laughs.

Basioto Nomana

 Reprise.   1st Posted on