Life is very, very different here to life in Adelaide. I have written about it before and every now and then something happens which makes me feel like I am in a wonderful movie; that it cannot be real. I loved Adelaide, with its population of over a million, don't misunderstand me, but here in Cygnet the population is around 800..... Let me highlight a few key experiences.
I walk maybe 1km on the footpath to the supermarket. The sounds I hear and things I see include cars, sometimes trucks, cows, a horse, a couple of dogs and people, often an elderly woman and her shopping trolley, kids en route walking to and from school, a couple of meandering creeks, the tidal estuary of the bay and the sailing boats on moorings off past the bird sanctuary, frogs, many different birds, a playground, a walking track and a foot bridge, chooks in the food forest, the community garden full of real food and then the line of shops, cafes, bank, library, pretty little park and the post office.
I arrive at the supermarket happy, invigorated from the chilly air, reminded that I need to pick some herbs from the community garden on my way back home, and usually having spoken to at least one person I know who is in an equally relaxed frame of mind. Contrast this with going to a supermarket in any city!
On one such walk last week I saw a mulcher for sale. It was perfect. I spoke to the man who was selling it. A few days later I went back and said I'd buy it if he put some lugs on the side to hold bags..... so it was agreed. I never once mentioned my name. When I went back to pay for it, he said he'd bring it around to my home later if I liked. I began to tell him where I lived but he said he knew and now he knew my name too. That's what happens when the population of 800 becomes 801.
Today I took my car to have the connection to my new trailer changed to a Tasmanian one. I had to walk home and then walk back again later to get my car. Its the same route, only about twice as far or maybe more. The bloke who fixes cars is up another street, turn left at the dirt road past the school then wind gently along to the last house opposite the horses and the ducks by the pond. There's no sign. There never is here! You just have to know.
Next to his garage are his wife's chooks, which I was admiring while he was on the phone. She came out and we had a chat and she took me to the inner sanctum, where every increasing numbers of ever increasingly special, sophisticated, pure-bred beauties live in grassy chook palaces! Happier little creatures I have never seen..... then we came to a pair of ducks in a little home of their own. This next part of the story you just won't believe but its such a typical example of life here....
Mechanic fixes cars. Across the road lives his horse and in a pond in the horse paddock live some wild ducks. Man takes horse some treats every day or so. Ducks come and join in. Ducks love horse food. Ducks get very friendly. Ducks begin to follow man back to garage and help him fix the cars.... well they do pooh everywhere and more and more ducks come to the garage. Soon man is spending more time shooing away ducks (by cracking a whip!) than fixing cars. So he catches some ducks and gives them to customers to take away to new homes. I come along on such a day.... he takes me on a walk to see all the ducks by the pond.... and now I have 2 friendly, pretty ducks, a pair; he always tries to keep pairs together. Would I like him to come and help me get the ducks out of the car, he asks. He gives me his home phone number in case I need help. Wife waves good bye to me. Now we are friends.
I come home to find a box of old grain bags for the mulcher on my verandah. There's only one person who knows I need bags for those lugs. Nice.