Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Why I don’t cut the lawn. Or drive at night.

I don’t cut the lawn because Clyde doesn’t have a lawnmower. Besides, I’d be doing Joe out of a job. Joe cuts the lawn, has done for years, and he stops for coffee if he’s got time. ‘I’m driving to Mildura,’ I told Joe last week. ‘Watch out for kangaroos if you’re driving in the dark,’ he said.

Joe used to drive a truck delivering mail and groceries to Wilcannia and White Cliffs, always at night. ‘It was cooler then, less traffic. Kangaroos were the only problem,’ he said.

Clyde warned me about kangaroos when I moved to Broken Hill. ‘They feed at night,’ he said. ‘If a kangaroo hops in front of the car don’t swerve and don’t brake. That’s how rollovers happen. Hit it if you have to.’

I dread the thought. I apologise if I kill a fly, relocate snails in the hope they’ll find somewhere more appealing than my strawberry bed and I haven’t eaten meat for 35 years.

‘First time I hit a kangaroo I stopped and cleaned it off,’ said Joe. ‘It takes a lot to stop a semi-trailer then set off again, throws the schedule if you do it too often.’ Which is why, Joe explained, he didn’t stop again on this particular two-hour journey from Broken Hill to Wilcannia, even though 35 kangaroos hit the front of the truck. ‘Worst thing was the smell,’ he said. ‘Couldn’t get it out of the radiator for weeks.’ He drained his mug of coffee and left it in the sink. ‘See you in a fortnight,’ he said.

That’s why I don’t drive at night.

8 comments on “Why I don’t cut the lawn. Or drive at night.

  1. Django Zazou
    March 7, 2013

    I love all these, Deb! Not just because they’re yours but because they’re utterly charming and paint such a vivid picture of life in a place that – frankly – I have almost no conceptions of. And by that I mean Australia, let alone Broken Hill!


  2. debhuntinbrokenhill
    March 7, 2013

    Thanks Django we’d love to see you in Australia!


  3. Julie Witte
    March 8, 2013

    You know me, never seem to have time for anything – but this morning I have taken time and read your beautiful blog – and all your others. They are wonderful. I want to be in your garden cuddling your dingo (and you) and eating your strawberries, peaches and scones and jam.


  4. Don
    March 8, 2013

    Hi Deb great place Broken Hill enjoyed drive to Adelaide.Great country.


  5. monsoonwendy
    March 12, 2013

    Your Joe sounds a character Deb. I have linked to this post you know where! Hugs, see you at the Races? Now that WILL be a post worthy event eh.


  6. Pingback: Adelaide etc.

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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