#3 Free time
When you live where you work – and you work where you live, it’s impossible to keep those separate.
There is no private. Almost no privacy.
It takes a lot of effort to keep something to yourself or to protect a secret. It feels sometimes like you are living in a soap serie.
Because there is not a lot of entertainment, there’s a lot of time for talking and time to notice situations and certain behaviour.
This has pros and cons.
Like everything in life.
On of my favoriete after-work activities was a camp fire. We would drive a little bit in land -close to the water and in an open space- to just sit on a piece of wood to stare at the fire we lit up. Enjoying our three beers XXXX gold (because of the reason we could only drink three beers a day).
When I arrived it was a dry camp at first (no alcohol allowed). This because of situations that happend before, so the boss decided to put a stop to it.
But -us humans- we need a little escape from reality and something to make us feel more relaxed. Alcohol is the oldest way for doing this and also the easiest. This is why it’s hard to remove it from the daily life. Also on a kettle station.
So from a dry camp to a limit-alcohol-camp, kind of thing.
Which was ok.
‘Better then nothing’
Sometimes, it was just a campfire in front of the kitchen area. We put some chairs around it or danced with the little boy.
The little boy -son of the owner- made a beautiful fire hole one day, which we used quite a lot after that. Fast to lit up and easy to leave it burning after you went to bed.
On a free day, it was time to hit the water in Mount Isa: the closest river to our station. This was a thirty minute drive on the back of a truck.
Open and not secured, including the dogs. You can call it a wild and epic drive.
And even in this thirty minutes, the landscape changes constantly. Special if you think about, in such a small area so many different views.
From the station with cows to a dirt road surrounded by trees. After the dirt road it changed to an open space with a magnifical field over ant towers. We crossed three fences which we have to open and close (to keep the cows devided) which let us to a rocky area where we had to walk down to come to the water.
It made you feel free from the station for a couple of hours. And water always helps.
The boys fish and de girls swim and lay in the sun.
I mentioned before that, for a station cook, there are no actual days off. Still, we had to start preparing dinner around three o’clock. The plus side of this, was that on Sundays, it was ‘easy food’. Simple and fast dishes like macaroni or lasagna.
One day a guy from the station went fishing and came back with fresh fish! So we fried them and had (selfmade) chips with it.
A place created by one of the girls on the station; the oasis. Also a little escape from the station (just next to her bunker where she slept).
Decorated with lights which charged in the sun; ready to shine at night. Comfortable camping chairs with on both side a place to put your beer.
This is the place where I loved to come after I prepared dinner and wanted to relax before everybody came in to eat. I was watching the stars and enjoying my beer. Station life..