Life on Planet Dog

Welcome to Canine-Central on the Planet Dog! We now have four mangey-muts and of course we love them all. I have promised the Kiwi that I won’t become a typical Pommie Dog-Lady with a greasy quilted waistcoat and bristly chin.

A fortnight ago I went to pick up the fourth member of the team, “Cloud” from her breeder situated two hours to the north of us. Unfortunately I chose the hottest day of the season with the outside temperature gauge on the ute reading 42c. I kept the radio on whilst I was driving along and every fifteen minutes a very serious announcement was made warning listeners of “Catastrophic Fire Conditions” for the whole of Western Australia, an area almost the size of western Europe. The voice talked of a bush fire many kilometres to the south, warning the residents of Hopetown, of a bushfire causing danger to life with there was no time to leave and what actions to take to protect themselves. “S****,” I said to myself “We’re all going to die!”

Not only were the temperatures in the mid forties but there was also a gale force wind blowing in from the hot centre of the continent.  The wind buffeted the ute with such a force that I struggled to keep it on the road eventually stopped in a layby.  I was on my own in the middle of nowhere and completely inexperienced in these kind of conditions.  It took all my strength to open the ute door and was met with a wind so hot and so fierce it completely took my breath away.  Here’s a video…

One errant spark would have incinerated the district in a matter of minutes.  In these conditions the harvest has to stop which although an annoyance to the farmers, it does give them a much needed day off.  All along the road were young chaps in their cars clearly using their day off to head into town for their supplies and a well deserved beer at the pub.  They all gave a cheery wave as they passed by reassuring me that things were ok.  Soon enough the fires in the south were brought under control and I’m sure a big sigh of relief to the Hopetownians.

Earlier on that same eventful day I went to a Christmas Wreath making course.  Despite the heat I mucked in with twenty local ladies who were all getting into the Christmas spirit.  Through the gossip and camaraderie we all made quite impressive wreaths from bush foliage, ears of wheat and just a hint a glitter.  Mine graced the caravan door for a couple of days until it wilted in the heat.

Although life is basic and quite tough at times I do get to experience the odd moment of civilised life.  Last week I took a trip into Perth and became a “Lady that Lunched”.  The crack of dawn saw me hit the road for the 2hr drive to the hairdressers and a frantic whizz around the shops before picking up my lunch partner, sister-in-law, Judy.  A table was booked on the verandah of the Blue Duck at Cottesloe looking out over the blue Indian Ocean.  Juicy squid and ice cold Sav-Blanc was rounded off by an obscene amount of home made ice cream.


Back to Canine-Central.  I have to take a moment and plagiarise Jilly Cooper, “Widdle and Puke” aka Sky and Cloud are living up to their pseudonyms but are a delightful wriggly handful and certainly keep me busy.  Auntie Margot and Auntie Daphne are very motherly towards them and incredibly tolerant.  Daphne doesn’t mind if they swing off her ears and chest hair and Margot is very forgiving when they pinch her precious stinky rope toy.  Here’s a short lived moment of calm.


On the farm the harvesting of the Canola has finished and they’re now onto the Barley.  In the middle of all this, the sheep still have to be attended to and the Kiwi whizzes round them twice a day and often more on his quadbike making sure everyone is ok, they’ve got feed and water and the flies are kept at bay.  Every so often the flock has to be brought into the farmyard for some closer attention.  It’s a hot and dusty job but obviously essential and it’s rewarding to have a closer view of the mushrooming lambs.

Quadbiker Kiwi and his Moll
Drenching the Lambs

On the odd occasion I accompany the Kiwi on the back of the bike on his trips around the sheep which I thoroughly enjoy.  I’ve also made myself useful by driving the support warning vehicle ahead of the huge mobile grain bins.  Rather an appropriate photo – an oversized load warning of an oversized load.


We had another civilised day on Saturday with an afternoon spent at the historic stone built Aggie’s Cottage near Dandaragan.  They were hosting a Christmas Shopping event with lots of stalls selling all sorts of great Christmas prezzie ideas.  It was a bakingly hot day and the lunch provided by Rustic Events was perfect.


5 thoughts on “Life on Planet Dog

  1. Can’t believe the contrast with Long Melford! Well done Sheila!! Are you still one of the girls with pearls? John loving commentary as he spent his gap year in Oz, long before gap years were thought of! Love to both Melinda


  2. Hi Camilla – it’s Justin as in Julian and Justin a while back – I have been over at Caroline’s quite a bit helping out with her charity cooking lessons and teas and generally helping her out and have much enjoyed reading your tales from Australia – a real hoot! Would love to join your mailing list!
    Tatty is great and in her final year at St. Andrews hoping to work in London.
    Jules just got back from Anguilla where he went with the girlfriend – we e mail one another quite a bit however and are still close friends. Hope to see you whenever you are back and in London.

    Justin x


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