Fab Feb

Barbequed  possum anyone?

Barbequed possum anyone?

I have survived my busiest 2 months of the year, December and January, and can now relax into sloth and indolence.  When the school holidays end, bookings go from being just about 100% to mainly weekends.  I like what I do, so it isn’t as though it’s a chore and drudgery, but it is a challenge.  My workload has increased in recent years from sole operator of a busy B&B, with the addition of child-minding duties for my grandkids.  Two boys, 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old.  They are a delight and full of mischief and I have fun (most of the time), and they have fun (most of the time), but of course anything to do with little kids is punctuated by mishap and misadventure, accident and willful destruction, differences and altercations, and unpredictable random events.  ‘No, it wasn’t a good idea to put your book in the toaster’.

In the school holidays, my child-minding days double as kindy ceases and my working daughter ropes me in for another day.  She gently feels me out to see if I am up for the extra day.  Thus I have found I can service a cottage with two little kids as my efforts are efficiently directed towards a goal, while their play only messes things up occasionally.  But I can’t service both cottages in a day with the kids.  It is nearly impossible without them.

Then on December 22nd, the inverter blows up.  A branch fell down near the sauna 200m away  and shorted out the transmission lines, and with a loud bang and stench of burnt insulation, I have no electricity.  

Just an aside here.  I have just eaten a hasty tasty that exceeded my expectations.  Wholemeal bread, salad, fried eggplant and fish.  With a dab of homemade hummus rich in garlic and cumin.  I drenched the eggplant slices in crushed garlic hours before cooking.  The salad was lettuce , spring onion, tomato with a few dabs of jalapeno taco sauce.  Hey, I know that’s not right, but as long as the sauce doesn’t overpower the flavour of the mildest ingredient, lettuce, it works.  It was middle east, Mexican magic.  

Meanwhile, back at the blackout, I discover that the company that makes and services the inverter goes on holidays on the 22nd of Dec, the day it blew up, and doesn’t come back until the 15th January.  Oh bugger!  Murphy’s law strikes again.  I have a stand-by inverter of just 1 KVA that I plugged in.  I was surprised that the little inverter did so well and kept the lights on at Possum Valley.  It could even handle the washing machine along with the lights and  fridges etc.  The guests never knew the critical state of the power supply.  But I couldn’t use the clothes dryer.  It just killed the inverter.  I got mountains of linen and I could wash it but not dry it.  This led me to try and find the days where I had no guests arriving, I didn’t have the grandkids and I didn’t have to service cottages.  Then I would race to the Atherton laundromat and stuff the dryers, four at a time, with baskets of wet linen.  I was lucky that Dec was a pretty dry month and by careful cloud and humidity watching combined with the forecasts and radar, I managed to dodge the washing on and off the line at propitious moments.  

There are a lot of chores that I don’t do while guests are here.  Obviously cottage maintenance and noisy stuff like chainsawing trees and chopping up the wood for the sauna, slashing etc.  I have now slashed everywhere.  The slashing is not only to cut the grass, but to chop up the weeds that would become shrubs then trees if I let them grow.  When I bought the block 40+ years ago, about 30 acres on the south side of Possum Creek had been cleared during the war (WW2).  There were patches of grass, patches of small bushes and patches of more established regrowth trees.  Without me defending the 3 acres around the buildings, it would be all trees by now.  You have to live here to appreciate how vigourously, steadily and inexorably the forest pushes back.  

So I have now come to the leisurely maintenance season, and perhaps you dear readers could help me.  Not by any hard labour, but by correcting a certain lack of perception I have.  Like many blokes, I am quite capable of being totally blind to what I don’t want to see.  Ranging from dust bunnies under the bed, flaking paint on the windows, dodgy collapsing plastic chairs on the veranda, to massive piles of junk I don’t seem to have gotten round to removing.  My wife who left me long ago, suggested that it was a common trait of men, perhaps genetically transmitted on the Y chromosome.  The most insignificant and information poor scrap of genetic material, but hailed by men as the crowning achievement of evolution.  So perhaps kind guests could suggest what needs to be done to improve things at Possum Valley.  I am quite aware I have blind spots, OK, boundless areas of ignorance, so I would take it as helpful advice rather than trenchant criticism.  

Breathlessly awaiting your suggestions.


  1. Robert says:

    How about the inverter, what happened? Are you still using the 1Kw unit?
    I seriously can not think of anything wrong with Possum Valley.
    I no doubt have one or two blind spots too!



    • Hi Robert. With the carrier I arranged for the busted inverter to on the factory doorstep on the 15th Jan when they opened and in the cover note indicated the urgency of the repair and that I hope they were all refreshed by their long holidays and re-enthused. They called with a quote and for instruction the same day, fixed it the next (a major transplant, and shipped it the next. So yes, my main inverter now back in service.

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