Thursday, April 08, 2010
Laager the wagons
This post is not intended to be critical (as in definitively, impending, disastrous) of any person, method of travel, attitude, belief - or way of life. More along the lines of philosophical musing.
These days sometimes I identify with the Australian Aborigines. Not in the sense of "Tribal Kinship" .. but more in the sense of a better understanding what those communities went through from 1778 onwards.
OK. Am parked in a campground with few, little, no "facilities" in the modern "Western European" sense of things. Just an open area surrounded by several hundred acres of natural forest and bushland. Very few people come here (apart from the occasional trail-bike rider). There is a group of houses a kilometre or so away, but there is no "community centre" as in Post Office, Shops - or, if one wanted to "push the point" - no church building of any sort.
Have been here a few weeks, and several of the "locals" have wandered past. Am guessing "checking me out", since am camped on what used to be a "community sports ground" - but am guessing that it fell into disuse some 10 - 20 years ago.
I love it. Sort of "freedom personified" in the sense that the community is 'laid back', no "Official" presence as in "police stations" or "Town Halls"; people just 'get along with each other with little fuss and bother'. This, of course, is an impression so far - may well be unaware of the 'realpolitic' here ( though was sitting minding my own business one Saturday night at about 9.30pm when I see high beam headlights come along the dirt track toward the van. Hear the unmistakable chugchug of a heavy 4WD vehicle. It stops just next to my van. Uh Oh, think I. Turns out that it was the bloke who runs the Free Range chook farm up round the corner (about 3K away up over the mountain (um, biggish hill) as the crow flies - or a pair of hiking boots) - otherwise about 6k by dirt road. "Gidday" 'e sez, "you've bin here a while." We had a bittuva chat, had a couple of beers. He found out who I was and what I was doing. At some point during the conversation his offsider mumbled that 'is mate was the "unofficial Mayor" of the village nearby. 'OK', think I, no problem. We shared the same sort of philosophies, methinks. I won't bother you if you don't bother me (though in the interests of full disclosure (had driven past his farm some weeks prior) - his free range chook farm paddocks are protected by several specially bred, fully trained, probably vicious dogs [Italian?]. I did drive round to return the visit several days later, but he wasn't at home. Was met in the driveway by a rather beautiful young lady and two lovely, friendly German Shepherd/Alsatians) . Was somewhat bemused by the sign on the gate which stated "Armed Guard Dogs". Couldn't see any with shoulder holsters, though.
The only reason that I mention this is .. well ..
Two 'big rig' units turned up on the campground today. Both converted 'ex-commercial' buses. Most just 'turn up' take one look at the shithouses (toilet facilities) and piss off.
Abbey, my canine companion, is generally very friendly, plays with all breeds, they sort their own heirachy out among themselves. There is a local (human) female who wanders through the campground and woodlands at regular, but unpredictable, intervals on a horse named Friday; accompanied by a big, boofy, brindle boxer female dog named Chaos, who is also 'free range', more or less.
Abbey and Chaos play pleasantly together. Am not making this up. The boxer's name is Chaos, daughter of Anarchy. If she has progeny, the best of them will be named Mayhem. It's really quite odd when, on a quiet afternoon, hearing a distant female voice drifting out of the forest calling for "Chaaaosss .. Chaaaos.".
However, getting back to "gunboat diplomacy".
Was quietly sitting reading the "Weekend Australian" (yer, OK, allow myself at least one indulgence per week), heard the sound of a heavy motor, looked out and saw a converted public transport omnibus come up the track.
Later, I hear a voice near the back of the Van. Opened door, Abbey (who is used the the freedom of this campsite, heard it also and popped out of the door ahead of me. Bloke there with German Shepherd/Alsation on leash.
Abbey began the - from my point of view normal - sniff around. "Is yours female?" said the bloke with a hint of British accent. "Yep", say I.
"Mine doesn't like females", sez bloke hanging on to one end of the leashed and snarling canine.
"OK", say I, "will put mine on leash". (Abbey hates it, thinks that she's done something to displease me. Bit difficult to explain to her that it's just sort of local human politics).
Next thing I see is yet another converted omnibus .. with barking dog onboard; pulls up next to first omnibus. Another bloody big Alsatian. They manouvered their vehicles into a sort of side-by-side 'laager' in the centre of the campsite.
SO, here's me thinking .. bugga. Have enjoyed peace, silence, tranquillity; for several weeks. Have no 'rights' nor 'authority'. Then those with "more resources", "bigger dogs", a 'more powerful' community structure move in and fuck up my peace and tranquillity.