Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 30

Tues. Oct 23    Wittenoom
Yet another pleasant week spent working on our pipeline. This must be the best job on the lease and the days just flash past. Now that we have crossed the dry creek bed, we can work (when we feel like it) in the shade of the gum trees as we take the pipe along the river bank, the work being well-punctuated by games of battleships, and frequent brews of tea. 
Our routine is occasionally interrupted by a flying visit from one of the bosses, but as they have to approach across the creek bed, we have them in view for several hundred yards, and this gives us ample time to look busy before they reach us. 
There was a good film last Wed; Honeymoon Machine and I went roller-skating on Thurs. It is just brute force and ignorance on wheels, good fun but crippling. Saw a most enjoyable pic on Fri.; Pepe. 
Managed to avoid the mill on Sunday, as we were needed to connect our pipeline through. All went well and on Monday we moved camp to the other side of the settlement and started cutting lengths of pipe for the next stage of the job, if you can call it that. We have set up another good campsite in the creek bed. Life is bloody good at the moment.
Steve’s birthday today was marked by beer before, during, and after dinner, followed by an evening of card games.

Sun. Oct.28    Wittenoom

The weather has been hotter these last few days and the place we are working in now does not have as much shade. We now get an issue of ice every day. Wed. movies and Thurs skating, as a spectator this time.
Phil has been giving me driving lessons in the evenings. He seems to think I am coming along nicely. 
66 pounds clear on Fri. Went to the pictures and, later, to the illegal two-up school, which takes place in an old hut out in the desert. This hut changes its location on a regular basis because some of the wives in the town get a little displeased with their husbands coming home late and broke on payday. So they demand that the long arm of the law should get a bit of exercise, and the game temporarily closes down i.e. the hut gets moved further out and certain people get barred! The only night I attended the school was a real eye-opener with 10-pound notes flying through the air in side bets. Rudi won 105 pounds while Johnnie Anderson lost 80, all his 2 weeks pay and 30 borrowed. There was a story circulating about a miner who arrived from Perth on Friday’s plane, went to the two-up and won over 1000 pounds, and took the next plane back to Perth. As he said, he had only come here to save enough for a deposit on a house - and now he had it. Bye Bye. 
On Saturday we had an idle day at work and then went up the gorge for a swim before dinner. To the movies in the evening, Thunder of Drums, not bad either.
As we had Sunday off, a group of us decided on a trip to Dale’s Gorge in Phil’s car. Away by 8 and straight through to Yampire Gorge, where we spent some time exploring the old asbestos workings, which were only on a small scale compared to Wittenoom. It was a nice place though. 
From there we drove over the hill to Dale’s Gorge. This is a beautiful place, about 600ft deep from the edge of the plateau and full of trees, with a clear, sparkling river winding through it. We climbed down into the gorge and set-up camp near a deep pool, where we spent a couple of happy hours swimming, diving and generally playing the fool. When these activities palled we moved back up towards the head of the gorge where there was a big waterfall. 
Met the Chief engineer, Tom McLeod, or Big Chief Red cloud, as we usually refer to him. He later took cine film of us diving off the rocks into the pool below the falls. On the way back to Wittenoom we went to have a look at Joffre Falls. This turned out to be a huge canyon, very deep with the bottom entirely filled with the river. Allan Leckie and I swam nearly ½ a mile without coming to the end. Then it was back to Wittenoom, and pictures in the evening. A really good day.
Back to the pipeline on Monday for a lazy day. Played volleyball in the evening.

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