Egg Madness, Cauliflower Soup and Woodpeckers

Custard eaten. Quiche eaten. Homemade ice cream eaten. Eggs on toast eaten. What do they all comprise? Yup that would be eggs! Makes a change from zucchini's! Despite being a little worried about this egg madness, I am actually eating some of the healthiest since I left Melbourne… Including the novelty of dehydrated fruit, trying cauliflower soup (my mum should be proud, I used to hate this vegetable before I got to Australia but people keep forcing it upon me!), i’ve also had a western australian fish called mullet. It was most nice to eat some proper fish…

Other than eating, it has been a week filled with chickens and eggs! My daily fun task, collecting some of the eggs genuinely requires a Fort Boyard esque game leaping over metal bars!! Always the furthest away corner ;). The chooks keeping me entertained, swarming round us, all we have to do is throw a stone in the opposite direction and they go running!! I don't think a day goes by without me uttering the words 'stupid chooks'. Perhaps a little unfair, maybe they are just misunderstood and are trying to tell me something :-). The weather somewhat reminiscent of Scotland, in my quest to not be doing farmwork in high humidity and heat I think I forgot about that delightful covering called rain….! A bit cooler than Northern Territory, I have been covered in it a fair bit of it this week… Every cloud… the backpack carrying a body warmer and raincoat for the last couple of months unnecessarily, my clothes hoarding paid off with their usage required :-).

This week, my running shoes added Western Australia as a state jogged. Cross country and uphill at that, they had sunset and kangaroos for company :-). Awesome. It's been a while… I have also seen the stars from a Western Australian perspective. Not quite as good as NT but still bright and impressive. Surprising to me and others who know me, I have been managing to maintain these relatively early nights! My body doesn't know what's hit it being awake at 6.30am having had a full night's sleep!! A bit more time on my hands, I have also been managing to read. Only making it to page 33 of Dracula on kindle, having left Renner Springs with actual books and a heavy backpack, I felt it was wiser to tackle them first… 'Still life with woodpecker' my first book of choice, a bit different and 33 years old, it has been teaching me some new words… ‘Snockered’ in particular, reminding me of Michael McIntyre and gazebos!

My highlight of the week though has been the girls I am here with. Laughs and giggles a plenty everyday, we have been sharing stories and learning about each others countries. Chat about weddings, babies, kilts and true Scotsmen, whether Scotland 'belongs' to England, haggis, ceilidh's, how hairy 'westerners' are, which european country has the hottest men, stereotypes, tai one and tai two, 2000cc of alcohol and practising both my Japanese and Korean, the funnest part was venturing out of the farm and taking novelty pictures in a neighbouring town. Got to love the banter, it has been most fun :-).

Linguistically challenged

Amazed by how effective knowing ‘good’ and ‘not good’ in Korean is for various situations, and picking the language up quickly enough to use in conversations effectively, my German housemates have also refreshed all the German I know. Not wanting the Belgian to feel left out, I have been trying to use French also. I now think and speak in 4 languages! Added to my bucket list is to learn French properly! I randomly wonder whether I am teaching my housemates English with a Scottish accent?! Today I answered my Korean housemate in German! Not bad having given it up approximately 16 years ago…!! Loving being immersed in all these languages, though at times it is hard not being able to understand.

Quarries, Bushfire Blacksmiths and New Companions

Whilst struggling with the conservation part, there was still fun to be had. Time spent with Korean housemates proved enjoyable and now able to speak a little Korean, and having shared some englishisms, my week still held purpose and life lessons.

On the Thursday we went to a quarry. I took upon it myself to ask lots of questions, and in so doing, learnt more about Australia’s native and non native species so that at least I was learning whilst I was weeding! I met an American Irishman living in Melbourne who was quite a character. Unsure how to take him at first I quite enjoyed his company and his good mood rubbed off on me. A Malaysian boy living in Australia provided good banter and compliments and had the most amazing scorpion tattoo. I wish i had taken a picture! At 39 degrees, we finished early and headed up to the top of the hill to look back at the view of Melbourne. Impressive. Team leader Andrew facilitated an excellent group photo, which is one of my fave pictures so far. Good day had, it felt like progress had been made.

image

Today we went to help the tree project clean out new premises where they will be building an 8m tall tree to commemorate the 2009 black Saturday bushfire, one of the worst fires in Australia’s recorded history, killing nearly 200 people. Leaves forged from blacksmiths from across the globe, it puts everything into perspective. Whilst we diverge from conservation aims, it was interesting to be involved in part of its journey and I will be interested to see the final result.

image

On return to our abode, a chat with staff made me feel much better. ‘Jal ga’ said to companions moving on and ‘annyeong’ to new ones, banter was had over a couple of drinks. With high hopes for the week ahead, and a new place to explore in Hamilton, I hope it will be a good week.

Two Germans, Two Koreans, an Englishman and a Scots Lass

Rested and with the slightly odd, self chosen, combination of fruit toast, scrambled egg and baked beans in my tummy I carted my backpack to my volunteering meeting point. On arrival, I learned that I would be staying in Melbourne for the first week, volunteering at a sanctuary. The week after, to Hamilton and then Geelong after that. Less people than expected with only 6 of us, and 3 moving elsewhere on monday, I hope it increases in the weeks to come. I’d expected to be in the one place for 4 weeks, but happy to still be in Melbourne. Told that our project wouldn’t start til monday, along with the other two new people, we took the free city tram, and had a pit stop at a bar off the main road. We made plans to go see life of pi in the evening. A little unexpected to have the weekend off and to not be heading west but will try to embrace the change and focus on the conservation work. Remind myself that fate works in strange ways! I’m sure once I start properly on Monday my slightly dejected mood will improve! Always looking for a positive, I have already broadened my horizons by learning some korean!