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Saddle repairs

Peters Paddock-Camp — 2000-07-10

I build some strength up with a muesli, while Jo is loading Jafar’s and Istan’s saddle frames into the car, before heading off for Beacon. Soon after I am sitting in our Holden, the landscape speeds by and I am struck with just how fast an automobile is and how little of the countryside one sees. I had not thought it possible that I would be sitting in a car again so soon and although I feel uncomfortable about it and actually see it as breaking the rules of an expedition, I am glad to have the use of it during this difficult phase of our journey. As a matter of fact, Jo had intended to return home with it ages ago, but the circumstances forbade it. In twenty minutes I am in the small town of Beacon and quickly find John’s workshop. Just as I turn the key, he comes out to greet me. Cathy had told him I was coming and he knew to expect me. Without hesitation he and one of his employees begin working and in just half an hour the job is professionally done. ‘Should I paint the welds?’ the friendly man asks. ‘That wouldn’t be bad’ I reply ‘then it wont rust as fast’. Then I take some photos of his work, his inquisitive son and himself, before setting off again. On the way back I stop in at Westfarmers, on the lookout for spare parts for Tanja’s kitchen boxes, where I meet Toni. After describing my problem to him, the nice man takes me in his ute to a place where lots of old canisters are lying around. ‘You can take the blue and green ones’ he says ‘there was no poison in them’ and helps me gather ten of those. Back at Westfarmers, he cuts off the top fifth of the container and after washing them vigorously I rejoice at the good and free solution. Then I fill up the Holden’s tank and find a supermarket in which to buy a few things for Tanja’s kitchen and an ice cream for myself.

At 2:00 p.m. I am back at our camp and proudly displaying my treasures. Jo and Tanja laugh with me and that same afternoon Jo binds the large pack bags to Istan’s and Jafar’s saddle frame. ‘Did you get the metal rod cut out of Istan’s saddle?’ she asks. ‘Of course, the saddles are now fully tuned.’ I answer promisingly. We have barely finished our preparations before a new wave of bad weather bears down on us and we quickly seek shelter under my bush office. Here we spend a few wet but cheerful hours.

Day: 60

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