I’ve realized lately that in life we make our own successes and failures to a great extent. It’s also being drummed into me just how responsible we are for our own health and welfare. Now I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself very well, but, although I have the option of doing pretty much nothing at all, all day every day, I can’t help but be driven to strive forward in doing things, because that’s just part of who I am, part of my makeup.
Sitting watching someone at the van parked next to me, a gent is sitting outside his van under the awning, just sitting looking around. It’s almost 10 in the morning he’s not reading or listening to anything, just sitting. Personally I’ve listened to the news, checked my forum, made a phone call, made plans for leaving here and where I’m heading, cleaned up the van, sent a couple of emails and now I’m about to drive off to Sapphire to see a man about shiny rocks. Then I will be visiting someone else in Rubyvale before returning to do a quick stock up at the shops and return to the van to pack up ready for an early leave tomorrow. Then in the afternoon I’m off for a walk, I’ve been averaging 5-10km every afternoon, I had a big one yesterday walking over 10kms. When I left for my walk yesterday he was sitting outside his van, when I got back a couple of hours later he was sitting outside his van.
I see this often, people who arrive in a camp site or caravan park, get set up and then sit, and they will often just sit there for many days if not weeks. I guess I just struggle to understand this.
You may have noticed that the images are a little bit random, I guess it goes with the subject matter I’m writing about, fairly random.
See, hows that for random.
But now a gripe, one I’ve had for a long time. People with no idea of personal space. This keeps happening over and over and everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that they don’t like it or don’t comprehend it themselves either.
In this camp site it happened again, there I was in the middle of a big paddock. When I arrived there were a couple of vans down one end, another towards the other end so I grabbed a spot right in the middle. The following morning the others all left, so it was just me in the middle of a huge paddock, that afternoon two more people arrived, one parked about 5m away, the other perhaps 8m away on the opposite side.
The couple in the caravan pictured below are highly animated and very loud, and obviously big sports fans, great, it was the weekend of the AFL and NRL grand finals. She also cut her finger one night and it wouldn’t stop bleeding, they are having problems with their daughter back at home, and you have no idea how hard it is to find toner cartridges for their old printer. She must have called 5 different places. And on and on it went, I learned far more about them than I wanted to know.
Now I’ve been here about 6 days doing a few things in town and people have come and they have gone from the park but I’ve had someone reasonably close either side of me the whole time since the first night.
Strangely enough speaking with Bill and Deb in Rubyvale yesterday they suggested that their experience was the complete opposite, that people tend to give them a wide berth and park a long way away from them. They think it’s because they have a very old ratty looking tiny caravan and drive an old 1980’s landcruiser as well. Perhaps I need to downsize and get myself an older crappier car and van. For now I guess I’ll just continue to shake my head in disbelief every time it happens.
Ok, maybe I’m being a little harsh. Would I change my mind just because this time it’s 4 lovely young German girls who have pulled up beside me? No. It has nothing to do with that, nor the fact that they all stripped off to their bikinis and sun baked on the grass just outside my door. That actually had me feeling a little uneasy, I didn’t know where to look so I drove down to the beach looking for shells. Which is weird when you think about it because that’s probably where they should have been. Still no more complaints from me. Look at the grasshopper.
It’s been a while since I’ve been in a large city and arriving in Rockhampton was a reminder of the city life I left behind, with all the pro’s and cons attached to such a life. My laptop has been playing up, won’t boot up, randomly freezes if you happen to knock the screen bluetooth has stopped working, wifi has stopped, many different issues, and all happening just out of warranty. So I went out looking at laptops, it’s interesting that over the years computers have now become such a normal part of day to day life. You used to go shopping for computers at a computer store, specialist shops who I would guess thought they’d always be successful because computers were becoming such an essential part of life. Yet, computers have become so entrenched in life that everyone buys them from the same shops they buy their stationary or their white goods , CD’s, kitchen appliances etc.
Now I’m really getting side tracked. Being in a city again, means staying off the roads at certain times of the day. I’m typing this at 8.30 in the morning because there’s little sense in me leaving until after 9.00, I can see the slowly streaming traffic on the main road out the front of this caravan park and I don’t want to be part of it. Off to the botanic park the other side of town after 9.00, then after lunch I’ll be heading to Yeppoon on the coast about 30km away to try and chase down some shell grit. Always good to check tides when chasing shell grit, I was going to drive down there this morning but the high tide is at 10.30 so flip my day around, botanic garden in the morning, beach after lunch.
Looking forward to tomorrow, I’m visiting Max and Helen. I got to know them in Sapphire last time I visited there, their bags of sapphire wash was the best value in town, and I went back almost every day for more. Max is a gem cutter and I’ve decided to get one or two of my big sapphire stones cut so that I can see the whole process from a rough rock out of the ground, into a sparkling faceted gem.
I let Max pick which ones he’d like to cut and he chose the blue and the parti-colour, I added the big green because I wanted to see a large stone cut. The parti-colour yellow/blue stone should be interesting, hopefully it will be well defined between the two colours when it’s cut. The blue is a fairly light blue with a clear white band through it, and the green is just a lovely big green chunk, by far the biggest stone. I forgot to weight them but Max will do it before he cuts them.
Now bouncing back to the gardens. The Banyan tree has just jumped onto my list of all time favourite freaky trees. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before, they are truly amazing things, this one below is a little over 100 years old and covers an enormous area. And hey if the branches go out and new roots keep dropping down to the ground, you tend to wonder where the limit is, could it keep growing out almost indefinitely.
Of course, ask google. The “Great Banyan Tree” in India is said to be over 250 years old, it covers an area of about 4 acres or 1.5 hectares. The original trunk of the tree was struck by lightning in 1925 which caused some rotting so the original trunk was removed. Now there are 3772 aerial roots supporting the branches and the crown of the tree, which is almost half a kilometre in circumference. Cool!
The botanic gardens here in Rockhampton are worth a visit if you’re into that sort of thing. I also spend a fair bit of time walking around the botanic gardens in Emerald. They surprised me, the town is only small with only about 15 thousand people yet they have an enormous botanic gardens. Ok, it’s not as flash as larger towns like Rockhampton, but they made some effort, more than most towns their size. Here at “Rocky” they even have a small free zoo incorporated into the gardens. I was a little conflicted about the zoo, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to one and although their zoo was filled with lush plants and most of the cages are fairly large and filled with vegetation. It pained me to see a chimpanzee sitting at the fence holding the mesh with a dazed look in it’s eyes swaying slowly from side to side.
Yay, drove from Rockhampton down to Yeppoon and finally got some shell grit. The beaches here had stacks of it, it was literally everywhere I looked, not just washed into certain little trap areas at the ends of beaches, but all along them. The trap areas at ends, near rocks or where there are sand banks were thick with it. Now I just need to spend hours picking through it all. Of course, because it’s the first stuff I’ve seen in a long time I collected way too much and it will take me days to sort it all. I’ll either have to ditch some or perhaps save it to sort at my leisure down the track.
Moving along fairly quickly now, I’m down in Chinchilla and I’ve collected a bucket full of fossilized wood. Just a quick stop, two nights and one full day collecting, now I leave early tomorrow and head back down to Tingha another 500 odd kilometres away. I’m planning on spending some time there while I fossick and explore the area a little better. There’s a tip I’ve been given for a sapphire fossicking area from a guy in Rubyvale which isn’t on any of the maps, there should be a week long gem show on right now at Inverell, maybe Pommy Dave will be there. There are many bags of shells I need to sort and photograph, a huge stack of fossilized wood to sort through and the van needs a service.
It’ll be interesting to be back in the NSW gem fields after I’ve spent so long in Queensland, when I was first in NSW I was a real greenhorn, I had no idea what I was doing, things are a lot different now so I’m looking forward to it.