This has been perhaps the shittiest year in my life, not so much personally – though that has not been particularly positive – but because of what is going on in the world. Climate change, extinctions, storms, fires, political empire declining and falling. Caligula suggesting he might like to hold on to the reins of Incitatus. The world is Orwellian. Not 1984, but Animal Farm.
Meanwhile, here in the land next to Godzone, Spring has unequinoxiquivocally arrived. The thunderstorms have begun, and the temperature soars. Time for spring cleaning the caravan. There is quite a bit of mildew on the canvas sides of the poptop, and cooking residue at the kitchen end.
Time also to get rid of all the junk I’ve collected, and somehow managed to keep from the thieves, as it is all just meaningless clutter now.
Then I may prepare to move on. Perhaps I’ll head back to Katanning in the new year, if the borders open. I have a part time job offer in the area. One not too physically demanding. I would have liked to return to NZ but my last trip did not give me reason to think it was such a good idea.
There’s water in the scuppers and the sea is cutting rough The bilge pumps are not working and if that’s not bad enough There’s salt water in the rum lads, there will be no getting drunk We’ll all drown stone cold sober when the fucking ship has sunk
The skipper’s drinking brandy, for he has a private store He says he’ll go down with his ship and what can he do more? He ordered the abandon ship, we cut the lifeboats free Not one of them would stay afloat. They sank into the sea
The life jackets are useless. They are soggy wet kapok We tossed them in the ocean and they went down like a rock The first mate said to swim for it, we’ve minutes to get clear Before the old girl founders, and drags us down with her
The bosun said there was no point for where then would we go? Unless there is an island near and that, he did not know So even if we swam and swam, and then we swam some more The bloody sharks would take us all before we reached a shore
I’ll take me chances here said he, and go down quick and clean Just then a huge wave swamped us. The biggest we had seen The old ship groaned and foundered, then settled on a reef The water’s really shallow here, to everyone’s relief. .
Bribie Island Caravan Park is closed to people wishing to camp or who want to rent a cabin. Only we permanent residents remain. The pool, kitchen, tennis court and common room are closed, as are half the ablution blocks. Visitors are discouraged. Social distancing is encouraged. It has been suggested we have a “social period” now and then in which we sit outside our own homes and talk to our neighbours.
The doctors at my practice are now doing consultations by phone in all cases when the patient does not need to be physically present. My next consultation, to discuss my last pathology lab test results, will not require me to make the usual two hour round trip.
Federal Police are confining international travellers in motel rooms and standing guard. The first person has been jailed for breaching self-quarantine requirements three times in less than a week.
Body bags have been delivered to remote communities in anticipation of an outbreak there, which, if it happened, is expected to be far more devastating than among the general population. Some see it as sinister that resources for body bags are more easily found than for sending free supplies of soap and sanitising chemicals and cleaning equipment.
Unemployment has spiked since so many businesses must close.
The cost of food has spiralled out of control. Especially in the outback. Drought, fire and flood have no doubt contributed to this.
Grey nomads have been requested to forego travelling to remote areas. Their response so far has been selfish, along the lines of “But we want to visit the Argyll diamond mine before it closes down”.
The public pools￼ are closed. Hotels, clubs and restaurants, also. Only takeaway fast foods are open. Gatherings of more than two non-family members are forbidden.
Sales of duct tape have skyrocketed as shops and banks and pharmacies mark out queuing areas and 1.5 metre spaces with lines and crosses.
More and more old people are appearing in public wearing masks. No one makes a fuss as they did over niqabs and hijabs. Yet these folk terrorise supermarket checkout staff in a manner unprecedented over matters completely beyond their control.
We often talk about climate change in terms of melting icebergs, rising seawater, and elevated temperatures, but what about the impact of climate change on our health…today? A new report from The Lancet Countdown shows that climate change is already harming human health worldwide, especially young children and the elderly. The report also presents the lifelong health consequences that a child born today will face if the world continues on its current climate path.
There has been a run on toilet paper. Though runs on toilet paper may not be all that unusual, this one is causing a shortage. Being caught short is not so good.
Many vendors are posting notices such as this:
ENSURING ALL COLES CUSTOMERS HAVE ACCESS TO TOILET PAPER Following the unprecedented demand for toilet paper we reluctantly introduced a temporary 4 pack limit last week. Unfortunately, many stores are still selling out within an hour of delivery. 1 PACK LIMIT PER CUSTOMER PER SHOP We have therefore made the decision to change the limit to 1 pack per customer so that toilet paper is available for more of our customers, particularly the elderly and people who are unable to purchase in large volumes.
It seems that many people fear the corona viruse may cause us to wipe ourselves out.
My coffee this morning also reminded me of cyclones. I’m not complaining, but cyclone season, which runs here from November to April, has so far been cyclone free. BOM say there is a 65% chance it will remain that way. That’s unusual, but maybe in a good way. I’m certainly pleased. I live in a caravan with a pop top and a canvas awning out the side.
Other parts of this huge country are copping the unusual in other ways. Drought, fire, flood.
The balance of the Force has been disturbed, young padawan.
Spare a thought for my friends in Katanning, who are on a watch and wait, as fires burn all around. The water bombers are flying constantly. Everyone is packed and ready, but in which direction can they flee?
We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom Remember us-if at all-not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death’s dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer-
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death’s other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death’s twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is Life is For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.