Thursday, 24 July 2008

Traipsing in the mud

Balancing an armload of shopping bags, small child, backpack and umbrella this morning I dripped my way into the Rosewood IGA and immediately saw the picture mentioned earlier in the comments. As part of its expansion from merely an IGA to a Supa IGA, the supermarket spent some time and trouble looking at photographs at the Rosewood Scrub Historical Society. Their selection of local images were enlarged into photo murals that decorate both entrances. And the image right near the rear entrance is a train at Perry’s Knob. Whether the society chose the spelling or the IGA did, they are promulgating the “K.” I feel vindicated.

I’ve been trying to shop locally and have changed my shopping from a run down the highway to a meander over the hills to Rosewood. Every time I follow the ridge past the cemetery and descend the curves into Rosewood, I think of the early settlers taking the same route by wagon. Today I was idling along behind a Linfox container truck groaning its slow way up the inclines and felt as if I was probably going along at a similar speed as they did. The nice thing is that it is such a pleasant drive that I don’t mind taking it slowly. There are rolling hills, occasional glimpses of the river plain below, distant sightings of the jagged peaks of the Main Range, a mysterious plantation of huge old hoop pines, old houses, sagging sheds with rusted rooves, the local garbage dump, the mine, occasional livestock on the road…who could be bored?

It’s rainy and surprisingly cold. Our road has a muddy stream down either side and the centre is a mass of bumps. The badly filled potholes on the Rosewood Road have all washed out and our driveway…well it is not in good shape. I had to take a couple of runs at its steepest part before the wheels would grip today. There are days when the thought of a nice sealed driveway or a big four-wheel drive are very seductive. I’m guessing that when this house was built in the 1920s, access was via what is now the neighbour’s driveway – a gentle incline that is a meek cousin to our bush track. Our neighbours over the road find our driveway very amusing and seem to enjoy the occasional mishap, slide, spurts of gravel, cursing and clouds of dust.

Today was a little more difficult than usual because in addition to the slippery driveway, I have a damaged left thumb. At the time I hurt it, I thought that it was a good thing that it was the left hand and not the right. Now I have realised how much I depend on a sturdy left thumb. The list of things that it hurts to do grow longer by the minute: changing gears, releasing the handbrake, picking up a lot of things, turning off our solid old light switches (the kind that go “thunk” when you move them), lifting small children, buttoning things, using the Apple command key…After all the things I have done on the house and managed to avoid damaging myself, last night I was heading for the shower and decided to change a light bulb on the way. It was just a bit too high so I grabbed a chair, stood on it and fell off it. My backside squashed the recycling very effectively (though it is not a technique I am planning to use again) and my thumb stopped itself on the remains of our back window leaning in the corner with nails strategically pointing out.

At the time all I could think of was not breaking the screen and back windows. Afterwards I was trying not to hyperventilate at the sight of blood streaming down my wrist and dripping in the sink. Now I am trying to work out if I can paint one-handed or if it is the perfect excuse for sloth.

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