What’s next? The big question, along with whether we will be back here next year, but chronologically the former is more pressing. We have decided on Australia although they seemed to have some doubts about me! We applied for the extended visas, hoping to be able to be there for 4-5 months instead of the usual 3. Roger received his affirmative response within 3 days, using my address where he is not even registered for anything other than the surgery. It took nearly 2 weeks for mine to come through, even though they were linked applications.
In the meantime we had approached a camel trekking company in The Flinders Range of South Australia which seemed to be very choosy and giving those fortunate enough to be considered a 2 week trial. We passed the initial judgement, possibly helped by one son being coeliac and their other son studying physiotherapy. We were told that most of our questions would be answered on their website, which they were, and not to keep e-mailing with trivialities, but much more politely. Consequently we were a little surprised to receive another e-mail a few days later asking us to extend our stay to cover a busy period at the beginning of August in addition to July as we requested so we are going to be cameleers for 7 weeks!
We are looking at a couple of other horsey places to surround this almost unique experience. One is a cattle ranch in the outback where the mustering is done on horseback but also motorbikes and gyrocopters which could be something else to add to the CV! The other is a trail ride establishment in the north near Cairns where one of the jobs is to walk the 5 rescue dogs on the beach! We will also be able to ride along a ‘crocigator’ infested river bed, nice!
Meantime, we have to decide whether we want to come back here next winter. This season has been infinitely better than last year but then it couldn’t have been much worse. We need to have a significant conversation with Tim and Sara whilst they are here for 2 weeks but one has already passed with minimal opportunity for much more than practicalities i.e. tank leaking again, dirty laundry not being picked up, running out of yoghurts and bruchetta being too runny! The joys of the hospitality industry. I’m not sure that I’m particularly well-suited for this lark as I do find some guests especially challenging, whether they be demanding, picky or just plain messy but we’ll see. It may just be end of season weariness. We have an inkling that there will be more demands put on us now that we’ve shown that we can do the job much better than their hosts last year so they can up the bar, just as guests do. No matter what you give people, they always want a bit more, especially if you give them a feedback form! Don’t ask questions if you don’t want to hear certain answers! Anyway, we have our own little list of requirements as well so, provided they do not decide to provide a vehicle for taxi purposes in addition to the current role, we may have an interesting conversation.