I am going to give the more first. We have sold one of the houses in Ipswich. We should be ululating with joy but unfortunately we did not get the price we wanted but chose to accept the final offer after much to-ing and fro-ing. So one down and one to go. The numbers are not encouraging and we are going to have to market relentlessly with the spectre of having to get jobs unless we can sell the second house very soon if we are to continue our walkabout.
Now for the bit I like better. Walkman’s Beach campsite at Agnes Waters has brought us into contact with some very interesting people and experiences. Our closest neighbours are a couple with a dog a bit like Bella, called Peanut, she is slimmer and older but they like each other and play a lot. Her ‘parents’ have been travelling for the last 9 years. She is a graphic artist and he is a diesel mechanic. They make their living by prospecting for gemstones and selling them. They have studied the field and go into the relevant places with their caravan which is a very old fold out ‘van which they tow with a ute with a big canopy. We have had a couple of very nice chats and times with them. They have been to all the places in the ‘top end’ that we will be going to as well and many in the ‘centre’ that we probably won’t go to.
As I was writing this they came over for a chat and brought some of the stones they have found. Amazingly beautiful things they are too. They found most of them on the surface of the ground and picked them up and had them cut. The Aquamarines are the most beautiful, they look like ice across a range of colours from clear to pale turquoise. They are worth a fortune even in that rough state. Then the huge purple quartz crystals in clusters where he showed us how they have ‘grown’. Isn’t it wonderful to think of crystals growing like plants? Topaz crystals apparently can generate ‘electricity’ – all sorts of things that crystals can do. Reminds me of when we lived at Camphill Farm with anthroposophists who recognised the ‘life’ in the crystals.
Our next stops after Rockhampton and the Rocky Swap are taking us to towns like Sapphire, Rubyvale, and Emerald, where we will also take a few walks and see what we can ‘pick up’ off the ground. I have never met a real prospector before and it has inspired me. This trip was triggered partly by a book called I Left My Hat in Andamooka, by a journalist describing his trip through the opal fields. He described his VW campervan and his dog and the places he went to and all that and we reckoned we could do it like that too. Now I am thinking we could do a bit of part-time prospecting as well! Why not?
Then on Sunday night a very grubby young man with an untidy sweet dog stopped by for a chat and ended staying for too many beers and telling us his story. He is an orchardist! He works on a casual basis for farmers thinning their fruit trees, pruning them and managing teams of pickers. He has a pumpkin contract waiting to start next month and in the meantime is living in his station wagon with his dog in this sublime campsite. He is a surfie so he and Alan were able to indulge in that mysterious discourse that I first encountered on our honeymoon at Elands Bay. All so interesting to meet some different people instead of the people who are like the people I know in South Africa.. these are special people paddling their canoes in unusual ways and doing what they want to do sort of on the margins of the system.