Today (Thur 29th Nov) I was supposed to be going into the office with Mat and then while he went off on his jobs I was going to wait until 9am ish when Stuart was going to be there and have my induction. However, when we got there Tony (big boss) decided I should go and help Mat and the others first, and then get a lift back to the office for my induction after lunch.
The first job was really quick, just removing and chipping a load of wood from a house where the tree was reduced the previous day. It was at a really cool place where there were steps winding round and down to a jetty and a little private beach by the sea.
The second job was also pretty quick, at a really impressive house and grounds which apparently belong to the navy. The house (I should probably say mansion) and grounds next door belonged to the Prime Minister, although Iâ€™m not sure if he was there at the time as Australia only had their general election last week – my claim to fame for the week lol.
I got a phone call from Tony whilst we were there, asking me to come back to the office once weâ€™d finished and leave Mat with the others. Oh joy – I hadnâ€™t had a go at driving over here yet and although they drive on the same side of the road as the UK our ute is an automatic and the roads are a lot bigger. Again, we are lucky as we had previously been given a SatNav by Matâ€™s mate so I didnâ€™t have to worry about directions too much, however, Iâ€™m not too sure how much I trust them yet as we have only used it a couple of times and Iâ€™ve heard hideous stories. One was from Chrisâ€™ mum who told me how hers got a brain tumour and sent her off in completely the wrong direction and got her totally lost.
So off I went, after going with Mat to the petrol station first and nearly running over a man (hey, I was nervous), all on my own, half way across the world, in a foreign country in a strange automatic with only NavMan for company – Me and Mat have decided to name our NavMan Mayweed, after the greatest routefinder in moledom (one of William Horwoodâ€™s characters in his Duncton Chronicles). I only hope he lives up to the name!
After a lot of traffic, one wrong turn where I thought I knew better than Mayweed (gladly Mayweed proved he knew what he was talking about) and an hour later, I finally arrived at the office safe and sound.
Stuart took me through my induction, issued me with some cool bright orange shirts, a helmet, gloves and cool shades, then handed me over to Bob who ran me out to a crew for some chipper training. Iâ€™ve used a chipper before when I did the work experience for John and Clare but this chipper was double the size, had a lot more knobs and buttons and could quite easily eat a man whole with no problems. I will be making sure I am extremely careful around this piece of machinery!
It turned out the crew that was there was finding the job tough and wanted another man – they got me instead – lucky them! Bob left me to it and after a while of operating the chipper whilst the lads threw great big heavy logs at it I decided it was about time I put my muscles into training and gave them a hand moving logs too.
It wasnâ€™t long before we were finished and after going to one more house to pick up and chip some wood that was cut in the morning I got a lift back to the yard and office. It was good to meet more of the crew and get properly inducted and now I have my nice bright orange shirt I feel like I donâ€™t stand out, plus the material has factor 50 sun protection and should help protect my arms from scratches, stinging caterpillars and the like.
We were back by 3.15pm so I had a wait before Mat finished and we could drive back to Parramatta together. I had taken the laptop in with me so sat around for an hour writing up notes and meeting various new people as they came and went. Today was pay day so lots of people were coming in to pick up pay slips. The payroll lady, Jenny, was so efficient I even got my first wages paid straight into my new bank account!
Once Mat arrived I piled my stuff into the ute and we were just about to drive off after having a quick kiss and a cuddle when Mat looked at me funny and said he had never noticed a mole behind my ear before. He peered at it more closely and I had a little girly screaming attack when he pronounced it was a tick. Mat then went all serious and efficient as he bundled me back into the office to see if anyone had a tick remover. No one did but Jenny had a pair of tweezers so Mat borrowed these, sat me down outside and with one deft pull the tick was removed. Fortunately it had not been there long so had not got a really strong hold and it all came out in one go with no bits of nasty mouth parts left behind, buried in my skin – this is what I was worried about the most. Once it was out I had a good look at it before Mat squashed it. It was not as gross as I thought it would be; not having had time to suck my blood it was completely flat, not the big puffed up round thing I was expecting. With the episode over I felt like a real wimp being such a woose. However, I owe a lot to Mat being so observant to my body parts that the thing was found so quickly – left to me I think it may have been there a while – ugh, it doesnâ€™t bare thinking about, especially as they can carry nasty diseases. I have not started howling at the moon yet though so presume my tick was clean!
Neither me nor Mat were in work the following day as we had been given the day off to go and get medicare cards sorted out and to trail round the estate agents looking for a flat. This meant we didnâ€™t have to worry about getting an early night and could spend the evening relaxing with some beers and such like.