Decisions, decisions.

In a recent blog post I announced to the world that I was going to Broken Hill in far western NSW, for a one year secondment. I was looking forward to it as an exciting but safe adventure. It’s with a slightly heavy heart that I now announce to all and sundry that I have decided not to go to Broken Hill because there’s a new man in my life.

He’s three and he’s my grandson.

When I made the decision to go and accepted the offer, my daughter was visiting Australia but was planning to return to her home in Israel. I thought I would need something to distract me and this seemed perfect.

It seemed like a SMART goal

S – specific

M – measurable

A – attainable

R- relevant

T- timely

It had everything going for it in this respect. It was for a defined and specific purpose that was relevant to my current career. It was attainable while offering an appropriate level of challenge and it was time restricted.

Over the last 2 months, my daughter has decided to stay in Australia for good. We talked about me still going and she declared “it’s your decision but I’d like you to stay”

My decision…. yes it is but it’s laced with so many possibilities. I want to go but if I do I will miss my family. I will miss being here as my grandson becomes more verbal and makes up all those funny little sentences. I will miss pointing out hapclapters as they fly overhead and I won’t be able to get excited about planes or trucks.

If I don’t go I will miss out on a once in a career-time opportunity to do something very different. I will have to disappoint the people who were relying on me coming and I will have to tell the person who was so excited about filling in for me they can no longer step into the role.

Family has to trump work so I am staying.

I had to make a few tough phone calls but now it’s done I feel better… more at ease which tells me I have made the right decision.

Now 2019 is a blank slate for other possibilities….I’ll come up with some other scheme to keep this old chook busy!

Go west Old Chook!

Move over Max and Priscilla  – the Old Chook is coming to town! To Broken Hill that is, one of the richest mining areas in Australia.

As of a few days ago, I have accepted a one year secondment to work in Broken Hill commencing in January 2019.

 

Broken Hill is in far west NSW and was the location for Mad Max 2 (aka Road Warrior), and Priscilla – Queen of the Desert. It creates the desolate moody background for  lots of other movies like Mission Impossible 2. Even though I have only been there for one short visit, I have a soft spot for Broken Hill. It was the original Old Chook’s first destination (see this post )

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Being 1,100 km northwest of my current home, the landscape is very different and almost alien. The sandy beach of my home town will be replaced by sandy desert. Summer temperatures hover at 40oC and above for days on end. The winter is mild and it’s always dry.

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In Australian we say “that’sabloodylongwayaway”

It’s still a few months away but I am already getting excited. I don’t know anyone who lives there, I don’t know where I will live (yet) and I am leaving behind family and friends.  My friends are calling me brave, but to my mind this is a “safe” adventure. It has limits. It’s only a year, my old job will be waiting for me when I get back and I won’t be any worse off financially. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

“If you always do what you always did you will always get what you’ve always got”

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I am looking forward to

  • stargazing with a totally dark night sky and doing some astrophotography.
  • Watching the sun rise and set on a horizon that is so vast you can see the curvature of the earth.
  • Getting to know the locals and
  • Stretching my own comfortable life.

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Over the next few months I will be getting ready to go. There will be lots of planning. No doubt there will be spreadsheets!  Plenty of spreadsheets.

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I will chronicle my progress  here and share this Old Chook’s  adventures in the outback! I hope you’ll enjoy the virtual journey.

The images here are from a road trip I took to Broken Hill in 2013.

This excerpt comes from a newsreel made back in 1953

Old Chook’s (Interrupted) World Tour

So what’s the deal with the Old Chooks I hear you ask? Well you know, I ain’t no spring chicken anymore and as someone on the other side of fifty, I thought old chook was a fitting moniker. But the old chooks didn’t start with this blog. No; they have a rich and varied past.

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I found them in an op shop (thrift store) in Wollongong. They were originally wine bottle stoppers with  corks attached to their bottoms. I fell in love, paid the $2 asking price and brought them home. I did some surgery to remove the corks and Ruby and Esmeralda went into the camera bag.

They were considerably smaller than the garden gnomes you see some people take on holidays and it was my intention to take them on my travels and have them do fun and interesting things. I didn’t matter that they weren’t really chickens; they were close enough.

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Their first big outing, “Old Chook’s World Tour Part 1” was to the Australian outback in 2013. They flew with me to Adelaide from Sydney and then came on a road trip through parts of the River Land of Victoria and then up to Broken Hill. Nearly 2000 km all up. They had a great time. Cracking jokes on Facebook and generally amusing my friends. (Maybe they only amused me but I was having fun!)

 

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I don’t know why there is a tea pot glued to a cement pile near Broken Hill – there used to be a whole tea setting there

 

Unfortunately they  languished in the bottom of the camera bag for a while. They came everywhere but they had developed  stage fright. When I got a  larger camera, there was no room for them and they got put aside.

Ruby and Esmeralda did not make any more appearances until 2016 when they went on a cruise to Kangaroo Island. Once again, they joined in on the fun, had a few too many cocktails and on their first shore tour in Eden, ended up going overboard, literally. (I left the zip of my bag undone….)

I was genuinely upset and searched for a new photo mascot. First, I found Penny, the grey seal in Mornington Peninsula.  She had plenty of personality but failed her audition because her supine stance meant she couldn’t pose very elegantly.

Later that same year, I found Spark and Button in Bright, Victoria (think about it!) They have made limited (i.e no) appearances other than their debut performance on FacebookBright spark 2

Chooks, however, have been the inspiration for my souvenir purchases.  A few times I have had to deviate from the theme and get other avian species like ducks, canaries, kiwis and once, a polar bear (Yes…. I know, I know but at least it was an animal!) It has also given my family and friends a rich source for gift giving ideas and I have an impressive collection of garden chickens.

Chooks also are a favourite subject to photograph.

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Chooks on Show – Planning an escape?

 

From now on, I am going to make a serious effort to take Spark and Button with me on my next journey but if any fishermen down near Eden finds Ruby and Esmeralda; let me know; there is a reward!