19 Aug 2005
If I ever see another bloody carrot again in my life it will be too soon!
I'm joking of course! I am actually quite enjoying my time here. Lancelin is a very small town of about 800 people an hour and a half north of Perth on the coast. Although it is so small it has quite a reputation (a bit like the mighty Builth Wells!). The town is full of holiday homes and apartments as lots of people come here in the summer for water sports and the beach and the sand dunes, so basically just to get away from the city and relax. This gives the place a bit of a ghost town feel in the winter and particularly in mid-week. There are very few shops here and those that are, open during quite limited hours.
On Sunday Howard and Betty dropped me at Joondalup station where I was to catch a bus upto Lancelin. Also going up were two Irish girls, an Irish bloke, a Japanese guy and an English girl. We were the first group who were being sent up from Perth to work in the packing and grading sheds at a carrot farm. None of us really knew much about what we would be doing, but we had been told that it was free accommodation and a good way to qualify for a working holiday visa extension, as well as a good way to save some money (there isn't much to do here!).
The three blokes were put in a room together, as were the three girls. It is not a bad place. It is a hotel/motel and our unit consists of a kitchen with a TV in and two bedrooms with two bunks in the one and a double in the other. The carrot farm that we are working at is 10miles away as the crow flies, but the road to it takes a long route around the huge sand dunes for which Lancelin is famous for around these parts, so it is more like 20miles on the road. The farm itself is huge (4000 acres) all the Mid Wales farmers would be dead jealous! We started work on Monday at 7am. It came as abit of a shock as I have not been working now for 2 1/2 months and since I have been in Perth I had been getting up fairly late! The first week has flown by though (for me at least!). Everyone else has been moaning about how cold it is and how boring the work is. I actually find it ok if not quite fun?!! I have been lucky though as I have been used on several different sections doing varied jobs. On Friday the packing and grading sheds finished at 12pm, but we were told that there was work around the farm if we wanted it. I was the only person who took them up on the offer and cruised around the farm driving a truck for a bit, dug a trench in the softest sandiest soil that I've ever been fortunate enough to dig in and wash down a few tractors before heading back with the Operations Manager for a beer in the pub attached to our motel!
I think as a result of this I was moved after the morning break today (Monday 22nd Aug) outside to go with the Farm Agronomist to mix up fertilizer and program the massive irrigators that are run by computer, each one covering a circular area of 10hectares. In the afternoon I fulfilled a lifetime ambition and cruised around the farm distributing the different bags of fertilizer that had been planned for the next day in a Massey Ferguson! My experience from working at the Showground has proved invaluable! I even was reversing with a big flatbed trailer on today! Thank you Tony, Glyn, Notty and Gwyn!!
I've skipped the weekend though, it was good. I went back out on Friday night to watch the Fremantle Dockers (Aussie Rules) in a crucial game to decide if they made the play-offs this year - they won in the last minutes - Come on Freo!
I ended up going back to a couple of house parties in Lancelin and had a very good night. Several people who work on the farm were out in the pub and at the after parties and it was really good atmosphere after the Dockers' win. I didn't do much on Saturday, other than washing and a few emails on one of the two internet access points in town! The Aussies lost to South Africa in the evening, so Rugby Union and Cricket are both on a bit of a downer out here at the moment! I had a wander around the town on Sunday. There were loads of people on quads and scramblers going up on the dunes to ride. Apparently there is at least one death on them each year as the sand regularly shifts and people ride off huge drop offs which they don't realise are there!
The bloke who drove our bus up from Perth works at the youth hostel and also does surf lessons at weekends. I am going to book a lesson one weekend when the sea has warmed up a bit. Keiran is the spitting image of Woody Harrelson and says he has got a big board waiting for someone good enough to ride it! Sorry Bry, I know it was your dream to hit the surf first, but I think that I've just heard the calling of the ocean that you claim to have had for all these years!!!! (Thanks for organising all those different people from Builth to email me by the way!!!)
Apart from that I don't have a great deal more to add. Unfortunately the net kiosk here doesn't have a USB port, so I can't upload anymore photos at the moment, but I am determined to get a picture of me on my Massey F on here shortly, so if I head to Perth for the weekend I will make sure I stick some pics on then. I hope that everyone is good and enjoying the heatwave that I hear is sweeping the country. We've just had a very wet week, but that seems to have turned now and it has been bright and sunny as we come out of winter! I'll add more when I can.