It has been raining off and on for over 24 hours so our newly acquired tans must be starting to fade. This is good though as it is much needed and not just to put out the fire, hopefully. The ground is so dry that dust was becoming a problem. You can see the eddies sweeping it up off the drive as the currents travel between the trees and buildings. It is most inconvenient when the grit is deposited on to our meal plates, much like sand in the sandwiches on a British beach. Whilst the main road is metalled all the others are dirt tracks, similar to New Zealand. Vehicles on the side roads, passing through the forest over the hills, leave a cloud of dust hanging in the air above the tree tops for quite a period after; there’s no sneaking around with evidence like that. Apparently this produces very unpleasant driving conditions for anyone within a mile of the vehicle in front. When we went to Grand Prairie, being the major town, their side roads were oiled which provided a much more compact surface.
We have to throw on suitable attire to use the toilet at night, due to the current conditions this has had to include wellies and a waterproof which makes it quite a palava though an unavoidable necessity! Brandy provides an additional obstacle in our bleary eyed dash! The ablution situation is really the only negative factor here. We have needed to keep the windows open all the time in the cabin or pump house, to give it its real name. This has not only been to keep the temperature down but also to get rid of the smell. Now that it is chillier it would be preferable to retain some of the warmth delivered by the semi-industrial sized heater. Whilst we are grateful, the first night was quite an alarming experience as, when triggered by the thermostat, it progresses through 4 separate stages, sounding like an Apollo lift off, before blasting hot air across the room.
When we first arrived Ray did admit that we may want to clean up our living quarters as he hadn’t had time to do so. Whilst it wasn’t tooo bad there was a rather unpleasant smell for which we initiated a search and clean operation unsuccessfully, but at least the ‘clean’ part was accomplished. We were joining Brenda and her family for a BBQ that first evening and it was only when she used a bucket of water outiside to clean the grill that I connected the smell of the water with that indoors. The tap supply comes straight from a 200′ well and contains sulphur; I could stop blaming Roger! We have separate cooking and drinking water from a 5 gallon urn, topped up from the tanker delivery, but the tap and shower water is quite noxious.
So we try to avoid running any water first thing in the morning or last thing at night as the smell takes some time to dissipate even when the windows are open, so it is worse at present. I may be beginning to get used to it, as Roger already is, but I relish the prospect of an unsmelly shower and hair wash. We are even considering exploring the local swimming pool on our day off, as eau de chlorine will be an improvement on eau de bad eggs! Nowhere is perfect and this minor problem is a small price to pay.
PS. Didn’t make it to the pool today but did revisit the Tourism and Interpretive centre again where we were helped by a girl from Coventry!! (and I revelled in the luxury of a warm, light, flushing toilet!) Whilst there I took these photos of the big horn sheep to ilustrate my earlier point, along with some other taxidermy.
I discovered that the stunning but common butterfly, which wont settle to have its photo taken, is a monarch, although paler at a creamy shade than the orangy hues more commonly associated.
We also found that the huge area of frozen seas and islands we crossed after Greenland was the province of Nunavut of which I’d never heard before nor even since we arrived. I guess that there is very little there.
On our return drive we could see forked lightening across the lake as it started to drizzle. I had jumped out the jeep to go to feed Johnny, Bailey’s horse, his special bran she’d requested. Whilst I was at his paddock I could only count half a second between flash and thunder as the heavens started to open. I ran back but before I got in the door I was being pelted with hail stones! I guess that if you’re going to have bad weather here it might as well be on a grand scale; poor horses!