Three Tents in Weipa

Past Tents: Camping

We had not been camping in about two months. Not overnight camping. We had been on day trips a couple of times to a sweet place called Jacob’s Hole (by white people; I don’t know what the traditional owners call it). But The Pilot kept getting rostered to work on weekends. And if he wasn’t working on the weekend, he was so tired he just wanted to spend time at home recovering, rather than getting tired out from all the driving and packing and unpacking and sleeping in a tent involved with camping.

Then I got a part time job from Monday to Friday, making Saturday and Sunday the only available time to go camping. No more Mrs Flexible Pilot’s Wife*! Starting this job coincided with the longest stretch without two consecutive Saturday/Sunday RDOs in a row since The Pilot had started the job.

And then it got hot. Proper hot. We were halfway through October and according to The Pilot (who closely follows weather patterns for both professional and personal interest) it had got to 38°C every day so far in October. Just knowing that made us feel worse, even though theoretically it could have justified why we were feeling so terrible in the first place and thus provided some comfort.

We were suffering from a tropical strand of seasonal affective disorder, known colloquially as Mango Madness. This condition is suffered by many during the season called The Build-up. Between the cool/dry season from May to Mid-September, and the rainy season which starts in late December, The Build-up gets its name from the storm clouds which build up in the sky but never follow through on the promise of rain. But I have always associated the name of this season with the rising emotional pitch, always building up to the point of explosion, as people get more and more tired and tetchy from the heat and humidity, and relationships become strained, while we all look hopefully to the sky for the release of cleansing rain.

Finally, the tension broke. Not in the form of the rains coming early, but rather in the form of not two, but three RDOs in a row for The Pilot: Friday, Saturday, Sunday – and an afternoon start on Monday. Sweet manna from heaven!

We found this out on the Thursday and immediately made plans to go camping.


Present Tents: Trees and Birds

I have found a way of winding down after work. It involves lying on my bed and staring out the window at the trees and the birds.

Apparently staring into the distance is really good for you, mentally, and is a good antidote for staring at a computer screen all day (which I do). Part of the genius design for the house we are living in is that there is a nature reserve next door but we can’t see it, because there is a solid fence in the way (/end sarcasm). This makes me feel very frustrated. I can sit on the back verandah and stare two metres in front of me, at endless colourbond.

So now I lie on the bed and stare at the birds. The trees are tall enough to reach above the fence. When there are no birds I stare at the trees, which constantly sway and move around. Then a bird will swoop down from a tree and I get a thrill of joy.

While I am doing this, I have amazing writing ideas, accompanied by an impulse to leap up and write the idea. But I don’t. I stay longer, I keep staring, and what happens is I get even better ideas. So that by the time I have been lying there for 20-30 minutes my idea is fully formed and just how I want it.

But mostly I don’t think. It is a form of meditation because I let go of the thoughts. Yes, that’s very interesting, I say to the thought, but look at that tree, swaying, leaves moving, flock of birds!!

The moving birds means there is just enough stimulation to keep me entertained for quite some time.

Future Tents: Coconuts

Like any woman of my demographic (probably) I am a big consumer of coconut products. I columbused the miracle of coconuts at the same time as every other white person. I buy: coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut oil, and coconut water. I use coconut oil for oil pulling, moisturising, occasionally as hair product, and for cooking (though I usually cook with olive oil). Coconut water is a natural rehydrant which is necessary in this hot place.

Today at work I was talking about how ridiculous it is that I buy all these coconut products, when we are surrounded by coconuts everywhere. And everyone told me where you can find coconuts, in the wild, ready to be picked up.

Apart from coconut oil, which takes a high level of processing, I could easily make the other products if I had access to coconuts. Coconut water doesn’t even need making. You just drain it.

So I am going to make coconuting my new hobby! I’m off now to go on an adventure with The Pilot and try to find some!


*Just to clarify, officially I go by Ms not Mrs, with special exceptions. The phraseology here is stylistic.


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