Well, alright, driveabout. After two days solid sleeping, ready to take Pete’s car into the blue yonder. A colleague suggested I might like to love in Peel but I drove right through it without noticing – I guess the distance between houses was below the mile mark, but still didn’t recognise it as a village! Still, the landscape was heartstoppingly lovely, open grassland, cattle and sheep grazing round what I’m pretty sure were billabongs. Roadsigns signal to watch out for kangaroos but I watched in vain. After a while stopped by what turned out to be a closed garage/post office/shop hoping for a coffee. Couple of guys were fixing a fence so I asked if they knew anywhere – sure they said, we’ll put the kettle on. Ended up having a great roadside chat with a grey haired prophet-type called Tod who moved out of Sydney to live with his horses but needed to sell the house to keep the land, house being an old abandoned bar/restaurant with all the fittings and plenty of rooms upstairs – all going for 180k AUSD. Felt like something out of the dustbowl era, an old James M Cain novel of drifters and empty bars. Rivetting.

Bathurst seems unremittingly bourgeois on return, all sports shops and retail centres BUT think I’ve found a nice house not far from the Uni – it’s off the main highway which may be a drag, but its the best place I’ve seen so far and I’ve now looked at about 10 properties – which tended to be too cramped or too sprawling – this has a Goldilocks ‘just right’ feel to it – owned by the nice woman who runs the warehouse appartment I’m in now, simply decorated, fully furnished, so I won’t have to schlepp about for washing machines and fridges. 3 beds which I’ll turn into 1 double, one study and one clothes and stuff room, to be cleared for what I hope will be a steady stream of visitors. There’s a garden with old trees for shade and a little white verandah thing, enough for a table and/or chair – will supply pix when I get more access. Some colleagues are concerned it’s too close to the gaol but it looks a v peaceful cul de sac – we shall see.

Still frustrated by lack of internet availability here – spent last night wrestling with a dongle in the interests of connectivity – otherwise can only chat to family during cafe hours – this one’s closing and it’s not yet 7 am UK time so a bit early for cheery chats. Here’s hoping it works tonight.