Saturday, 31 August 2013

Days off, homesickness and seeing some of the Tablelands!

So Friday eve with Terrii didn't happen as I had to work until 10.30pm but it was a good night. Saturday was the usual 3-til-close shift and in the evening socialised with the younger lads whilst working and gave some advice to one of them who wanted to get into publishing. Hopefully will see them every weekend as they are a good group of lads, with good banter to keep you going through the night. (They are also the ones who said they'll hopefully show me around sometime).

Sunday I worked 10am-6pm, it was Fathers day here in Oz so it was super slow and Paul had shut the kitchen as we'd run out of alot of the food we served so it was even slower as we lacked the lunchtime customers. So I literally stood around for ages, served the few locals who came in and chatted with them and then cleaned every single glass we have in the it was THAT quiet! I worked the day on my own hassle-free so it hopefully showed Paul I'm capable of holding up the bar without him.

I skyped the Parentals in the evening and my first day off was Monday. So I decided to go and check out the Herberton Historical Village, which is kinda like in the UK where we have the Tudor village at Kentwell and such. Paddy, the local who comes in every lunchtime, works as the caretaker there so he picked me up at 10am, drove me down and got me free entry - bless him!

All the old buildings from the 1800's-1960's have been moved to this heritage park and rebuilt like Herberton would have looked back in the day. So you can tour the various shops, schools, houses, etc and get some informative history about the town. It was actually pretty good, and I love my history! I also did a walk around the back of it by the river and into the bush, which didn't take long and was very quiet. I then used the rest of my day to find out about getting a tv for my room and then selling it before I leave (Paddy is going to take me into Atherton on Weds so I can go into Woolies). I did some washing, hoovered my room, read, watched some TV series, generally just chilled out! It was a great day off to just do my own thing without dreading work at 3pm! lol

So when Paddy took me to Atherton that Wednesday he also took me on a little drive through the tablelands, through places like Tolga, Toowoomba, Yungaburra where we stopped off for a drink in the pub there. The weather wasn't great - for a week straight it was drizzle and rain, plus quite cold. Reminded me of being back in the UK.

I didn't get a TV in the end as Paul gave me one for my room, but it only plays DVD's so I shall have to get a library card to rent some out. The last couple of weeks have been a mixture of things. I have been quite homesick recently, mainly just because I'm working, once I get out travelling again I'll be fine, but it comes in waves, sometimes I'm ok, other times I feel like I could just pack it all in and get a ticket home! During one particularly low day I was even considering doing just that, I was looking at ticket prices, thinking of ways I could earn money at home and fly back out with Bex in November, but logically and practically it just wouldn't work out, I'd never have enough money to travel Australia. So I told myself to suck it up and get on with it, it wasn't forever and I'd soon have enough money to leave. Plus I was beginning to make friends with some locals so it wasn't like I was always alone. Speaking to other people about it I realised I wasn't on my own, a few of my friends out here and who've been out here felt exactly the same during their first couple weeks/months. Especially as you are spoilt after travelling, it's easier to come and work in Oz first than halfway through your travels! I always say I'm homesick for the travelling, and because I haven't got that to take my mind off it, I'm also homesick for home. But I'll get by, when I'm working I'm fine and I actually enjoy it, it's just the time I have to myself before work that I have time to think about it.

So other than that I've been working hard, it was really busy all last week and we got caught out a few nights and last Sunday by tons of people coming in when we wasn't expecting it, we've done a few nights of serving dinner to 50+ people, which is busy when there's only 2 of you serving and only one cook! Sunday we had 8 bikers booked to come in, but on top of that we had another group of 30 bikers come in who hadn't booked and wanted food, plus a few locals. That's what the Royal is like, one minute it's dead, then you'll have an hour or two of mad dashing around, then it'll be dead again!

I went on Saturday before work, with Tony and his daughter on a drive up to Mt Ida and Mt Sheridan. Tony is one of my fave locals. His daughter wants to be an art teacher and one of her school projects is to paint the town of Herberton, so she went to take pictures up Mt Ida to draw, she's going to do the whole thing in Fountain pens! So we went for a long drive through the bush in Tony's 4x4 - we could hardly make some of the rough terrain in even that - across Mt Ida, followed the rail line, up Mt Sheridan, checked out some old mine shafts which are no longer in use, went to Watsonville, the next town down. So it was nice to see some of the views and area, plus it was a super nice day.

One evening last week, Terrii and Amanda and Max took me to the BV hotel pub in Atherton for a few drinks after work, we're hopefully heading there on Friday after I finish work, to attend the biggest night of the month - 3rd Friday - for a night out!

I got some awesome news at the weekend that Becca, one of my housemates from when I lived in Bath and a good friend, is coming back to Ravenshoe for a few weeks to work on the farm she was working on before I arrived in the area. Ravenshoe is about 40km from Herberton so not too far. She arrived yesterday actually so we're going to make sure we meet up on days off and try to see each other a bit, as we've both been feeling homesick lately and a little lonely so it'll be nice to have some friendly company! She's also hopefully coming with us all on Friday, yay! Someone from home is close to me, this makes me feel a little less alone.

On Monday I had my last day off for the next two weeks (as Paul's daughter is coming up next week for the school holidays, so I'm pulling a few more shifts as he's got some time off), so I decided to go into Cairns for the day/night. Chris and Simon, two of the guys from the Inbetweeners crew who I met in the Gili islands, are in Cairns for the week so I thought it'd be good to try and see them. So me and Chris caught up, Simon was off with his new girl attachment, snorkelling. Paul dropped me into Cairns in the morning as he was headed in for a stock run, then I went and did a spot of shopping in Cairns Central and who did I bump into?! Beryl and her daughter Sam! I'd arranged to stay with her that evening as it was her birthday but didn't expect to see her out, so we chatted for a bit before parting ways til later that afternoon.

Chris and I went for a spot of lunch and then went down to the lagoon where we just chilled for a few hours, chatted, shared oz experiences etc. Turns out Chris and Simon had done some farm work when they first arrived in a town down the road from me, Tolga! Small world. So we shared some tableland tales. They've been on their east coast travels for the last 7 weeks so I got some tips for our own travels. It was then time to say goodbye, until we meet again, probably when we're all back in the UK! And I headed to Beryl's where the whole clan was there, Sam, Beryl, and you remember Ricky and his Thai wife Jackie? Well the whole gang, plus new tiny bump (you may remember Jackie is pregnant) were all there, so it was lovely to catch up over some wine, it was like when I first arrived in Cairns. Jackie was headed back to Thailand on Tuesday for 5 weeks to see her son who is still out there with her parents. I'd gotten Beryl a Queen CD as it was her favourite band but she didn't have any of their songs on CD so I ordered it online as a gift to say thank you, and with a stroke of luck it arrived on her actual birthday!

We all ended up heading out that evening for some drinks, we headed to the Pier, and then onto the Woolshed where Beryl and Tracey her other daughter got up and did some table dancing. Then we all got home about midnight and I left the next morning on the bus to Atherton, and once in Atherton, Paddy took me the rest of the way back to Herberton. In some ways escaping to Cairns was nice to get away from Herberton and back to civilization for a bit, but in other ways it made me realise how much I missed being free, and how much I missed the lifestyle of Cairns and being a backpacker! But hey ho, only another 9 weeks to go til I can go back...

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