2007-04-29

Deus Ex Machina

I only had to be in Brisbane for one day this week, so I decided to brave the train on Thursday morning. There is only one train a day from Kyogle to Brisbane, and it leaves at 04:12. I set the alarm for 03:15 and jumped in the car at 03:30 to drive over the hill. There was a gale blowing, and just outside the village the road was blocked by a fallen tree. I pulled off the road and crawled the car over the soggy verge, to squeeze between the tree and the fence edging the farmer's field beside the road, and that was just the start of the fun - as I climbed out of the valley, the mist got very thick, and the wind and rain increased until I could barely see the road. By the time I got to the unpaved section, it was more muddy river than road, and I was wishing I had four wheel drive and a little more ground clearance than a Holden Barina (Vauxhall/Opel/Chevy Nova) gives you. I eventually made it to the train with minutes to spare - and the other two people waiting on the platform looked even more spun out than I was.
When I got the train back from Brisbane the next morning, for the first time I was not the only person getting off at Kyogle - there was a small group of young guys and girls with backpacks, Lonely Planets and designer dredds. I was about to offer as many as would fit in the car a lift, as it seemed a fair bet they were headed for Nimbin, but in true flashpacker style, they had used their mobile phones to order a maxi-taxi from the station, and they beat me to Nimbin by 15 minutes.
One of the few treats we've allowed ourselves amongst the grinding expenses of setting up a house from scratch, is a nice coffee table. I'd forgotten about the coffee table project, but at lunchtime on Friday, Aldo, the carpenter in Nimbin whose workshop we'd looked around a week ago, 'phoned us back to say that he'd worked on some of the pieces of wood we'd admired when we had a look round his workshop, and had even turned one into a finished table following the design ideas we'd discussed! We went back at lunchtime to have a look, and we both fell in love with what he'd made straight away, so after another couple of weeks of curing and varnishing and whatever else you do to turn raw pieces of wood into shiny hard furniture, we'll have a centrepiece for our lounge - crafted from local forest timber by a cool local italian carpenter.
Nimbin is extremely lively the weekend before Mardi Grass - the number of people that turn up intending to spend a week or two rather than just the long weekend is quite a surprise, as Nimbin is such a small village. The market was bustling, and there seems to be live music in all the venues and cafes pretty much through the day, which makes it pretty fun to just wander around both the village and the market.
This week has been one of steady progress (not least in identifying the best cafes in Lismore for leisurely brunches) and for things beginning to come together, but not quite to fruition. Many things are gestating, but none of them is at the completion stage yet. In some ways this is frustrating, in other ways it adds a sense of anticipation, knowing that soon the hard work we're doing will start paying off. A good example of a project that's moving forward, but is still no closer to completion, is my long-mooted plan to weatherproof and partly replace the old, failing timbers on the North side of the deck. This weekend it dawned on me that doing so would be an exercise in sisyphean futility: The deck is open to the rain forest weather, and will rot again within months no matter what chemicals I treat it with. So instead, I'll build a copy of the lean-to style roof which shelters the South side of the house, and once that is up, replace the rotten timbers in the deck below... and only then weatherproof and repaint everything. Not so much "measure twice, cut once" as "consider every aspect many times, or repent at leisure".
Susie and Delphi from downstairs are flying to Melbourne to stay with relatives for a week in mid May, and we've offered to look after their big friendly dog, Bruce. He's pretty stolid and reliable, so it should be a fairly painless dry-run for our plan to adopt a puppy, and should alert us to necessary preparations for a canine invasion that we haven't yet considered. Most importantly, Bruce is great fun; he will show us some walks we don't know about yet, and probably introduce us to his furry friends when we take him for walks up the road... which will be a good excuse to get talking to the humans that those friends engage to house and feed them, too.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just looking at the VW kombie van in the picture makes me laugh at how Hitlers baby the VeeDub became the peacemobile in the 60's and good ol'Herbie(the love bug)at Disney in the same period.
What a great PR job from the boys at Volkswagen.
It kind of reminds me in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" were Joker wears the peace badge on his helment along side the words "Born to Kill".

Cheers / Darren

blogger said...

They are so rounded and cutesy-looking tho - especially the early models with the split windscreens. Even knowing they're the children of the Reich you can't help but love 'em ;)