This morning was the last day of my holiday relief paper round. I started it last Saturday and then did Tuesday to Friday, delivering the Manly Daily on a run that started on the corner of where our new house is going to be.
I had been musing on the idea of a paper round for a while as I thought it would be a good way to get fit and earn a little money as a bonus (all be it not much). The Manly Daily is always advertising holiday relief runs for a week here and a week there and with the two week school break just ended there were a lot of runs in Avalon (they call them runs here, not rounds). I decided to give it a go so rang up and got one for a week. The papers are free and get delivered to everyone unless they request not to receive it and they have to be delivered by 8.30 in teh morning.
I must say, I very nearly gave up after Saturday morning. The pile of papers I had to pick up was humungous, I could barely carry one batch at a time and there were about ten batches. I ended up doing a small section at a time and driving in between. Not only that but I was about fifteen papers short and it started pissing down with rain about half an hour before I finished. The whole thing took me just over two hours for a poxy $12, not that the money was ever really the point of the exercise.
Anyway, after much deliberation I decided to stick it out and come Tuesday morning, after carefully plotting my route from Google Maps the night before and getting up nice and early at 5.15am I was ready to go. On arriving at my collection point I was delighted to find less than a fifth of the pile I encountered on Saturday and managed to carry the whole lot all at once, just. Tuesday’s paper was half the size and had no thick property insert so needless to say it was much more manageable and enjoyable. I actually got to relax and take interest in my surroundings.
Being out during the dawn chorus is fabulous. Everything is amplified: the jubilant laughing of the Kookaburras, the rawcous cacophony of squabbling Cockatoos, the shrill whistle of the Butcher Birds, the fluting yodel of the Magpies, the liquid voice of the Currawongs and of course the high pitched tweets and twitters of the Lorrikeets. In fact, there were a couple of times I’m sure I found myself listening to a baby Currawong but try as I might I couldn’t see the owner of the raspy little croaks. I only recognised the sound because we had a pair of Currawongs nesting in a nearby palm tree when we used to live in Collaroy and the baby used to make exactly the same noise – very loudly – and very early in the morning 🙂
Anyway, today was slightly different as I had booked a phone call to the UK before work. So as not to miss it I got up extra early, 4.15am, to get back in time for 6ish. I took my head torch, for which I was very glad of as without it I would certainly have missed some of the letter boxes. This extra early hour gave the run a different slant. There were no birds to start off with but instead many rustlings and scuttlings in the bushes. I had a shock when I passed under one tree; extra noisy rustlings preceeded the sudden launch of a big black shape into the sky with the beats of giant leathery wings. I had disturbed a fruit bat from his up-side down slumber. This happened a few more times before dawn and I delighted in the spectacle.
In summary of my week as a paper girl: The hardest part was leaving the house immediately after waking up (I normally get up around the same time but have a leisurely cup of tea, breakfast and alone time with the computer before work). However, once I had started the run I loved being out with urban nature on my own. Dawn is like a different world and it filled me with energy and a zest for life, not to mention the aching in my muscles afterwards which means I was getting valuable exercise! On the down side it’s very tying. The early hours before I go to work is the time I spend writing this blog, facebooking and calling friends in the UK etc. Also, I don’t know that I would like to get up so early every Saturday. Ideally if I was to do it on a more regular basis it would be good to share with another person and either take it in turns on a daily or a weekly basis.