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My Sunday notes

We set off for the wilderness. Not really. Just to the farthest paddock we have, called Keys. We won’t be long. Our old dog has insisted on coming and sits up with me in the front seat. It’s 9.30.

I have my trusty I phone to take photos of the 50 or so cows we hope to sell soon. They look fat and shiny. We check the tanks at each centre.

Then we drive to Keys as our neighbour rang last night to tell us we have a serious water leak. We can see it as we drive closer. It is spraying high into the air, the misty shower catching rainbows of light.

Closer inspection reveals that feral pigs have chewed through the pipe; it will have to be repaired but we can shut off the access from a nearby tank in the meantime. The dog flops out of the ute and has a paddle in the muddy water and lets the geyser spray over him briefly. We all climb back in the ute.

Nothing. She will not start at all. Apparently there has been a chronic issue with the starter motor and neither of us are mechanically adept. It is 10am.

So we draw straws. Not really. My husband agrees the dog can’t walk far and it is getting hotter, so he will walk home and bring back the other ute. The dog and I will find some shade and wait. It is more than 5km back home and most is uphill.

Thank goodness there is a breeze and I track the dog as he knows the best places to sit. We are under bank of huge old trees and beside a creek bed that only runs once a decade.

We wait.

I practice observing with intent. I watch as a small yellow leaf helicopters to the ground to join the carpet of leaf litter and the weird shapes of pieces of bark. All the trees are so different, some with bright yellow bark, some with smooth skins and others with gnarled rough exteriors. I notice that many trees have hollows or holes down low, homes for lizards and snakes, but I am prudent and just observe.

Above the parrots flit from tree to tree and as I walk slowly I find blue feathers hiding in clumps of grass. A spider fights to keep his netted trap intact as the breeze picks up.

It is now 11.45.And getting hotter. The dog has another paddle and I wet my face. I hope my husband is OK and I do not have a Plan B if he does not return.

I think of those early explorers who faced the wilderness or desert and of the brave ones who set off to seek help.

I lean up against a tree and ants run up my leg. March flies bite me and the dry grasses prickle.

12.15. At last we spot the white ute. My husband only just made it back, with bouts of dizziness and nausea but he has re-hydrated and has water on board for us too. We drive home. The dog heads off to the cool laundry floor and my husband retreats to the back bedroom with the air con. I can hear him snoring.

So a salutary tale. No radio. No phone connection. No water. No supplies. A bit Burke and Will really. And not within cooee of an NRMA call!

Hopefully next Sunday will be better.