Day 40 9 April 2014
I have been in Carnarvon since the 8th and it looks as if I will be spending another day here. It is a real oasis – tropical fruit and plants – like paradise after my 40 days in the desert. Coral Coast Caravan Park has a pool, icy cold and very healing for my feet. I soaked them of an hour and they feel a lot better.
I have discovered a Menshed here at PCYC so I will meet and talk with them. Another excuse for staying longer, I hear you say.
Mary Ellen sent out a parcel of arthritis socks and a pair of shorts to replace a pair that I had ripped to shreds after 10 000 kms on previous walks. She sent them via Sadleirs Nexus, arranging it with the founder of the company, Peter Howell, who was incredibly helpful. Sadleir Nexus logistics merged with Samsons, the oldest private company still operating (I think) in Australia and probably the first company in Fremantle. Walking is also good for learning history. Today Tony Maslin, the Carnarvon depot manager, will help me finish some shopping (bought a radio for footy purposes) and take me to the Menshed where he is a member and knows some of the guys. I’ll stay at the depot tonight and get an early start in the morning. I have the office all to myself overnight and there is a shower.
Tony dropped me off at the radio station to do an interview with Rosie, a pre-recording for broadcast on the 10th. Phil Youd, who owns Radio Hot Hits 99.7 has a connection with a Perth station – 66, I think. He took me to his special project – the Deep Space Museum. He astounds me with his enthusiasm for rebuilding this important part of history when both state and federal governments were prepared to let it rot. I think it’s worth a trip to Carnarvon to see this place as it is now but it will grow into a major attraction for Carnarvon. If there are any grey nomads out there, he wants couples to volunteer for manning the museum. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Carnarvon Menshed goes under the name Carnarvon community Men’s Group, strongly supported by PCYC. Jalba Dann is the Chairperson and I met Joho Oxenham (Vice-chair), Ben Robinson, Amosa Sipili, John and Jim Mitchell, Keith Collier, Keno Phillips and Barry Bellottie. They have a lovey building but still sit at a table under a lovely big shady fig tree. It seems to me that this Menshed has a quite different approach, not on mechanical metal or wood skills but more mentoring young aboriginal men and boys by taking them on camps and meeting with them. The outcomes as far as health seem to be the same – just a different way of working. Also I was very impressed with the work they are doing with their research at adapting the Gubinge or Kimberly plum for local growth. This fruit has 10 times the vitamin C of blueberries. They are working with a couple of universities. CSIRO is also doing work on the cancer reducing properties. There is a bit potential as a product; currently it is used in 17 different products. One of the hurdles is that the US is trying to cover it with patents and a legal fight is on.
Now to one of the most amazing people I have met – and this one takes the patisserie. He is Olivier Peyre, French of course. When he was growing up, he would compete with his brother for riding the greatest distance on his bike, adding on more each race. I was wakened by Olivier as I snoozed under a picnic table for shade. He had a picture of me in his hand and said, “I had to stop”. He gave me some food and I soon realised it was a sacrifice for him to take this time out because he was going for a record cycle 400 km in one day. It was a special day – the wind was steady to the north and he has a parasail that he holds onto the bars with. I will never forget his youth and strength and enthusiasm for life.
Important stat: My weight is now 91.5kg; I started at 106kg. Yay me!