I left the Outback more than two months ago now. I was sad to leave. The Outback grows on you. However immune you thought you were at the beginning, you’ll be leaving incredible things behind. I was sad to say good-bye to the two Little Buggers, and the gorgeous baby. I had become very attached to them.

And now that I am back on the coast, I miss the Outback skies, too. They were just magic. Here are a few, and they will close this blog on my Outback adventurous time – a truly amazing time that I am very thankful for!

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Just in time

The other day I went with The Nan for a water run. As usual, Pandi, the faithful dog that follows her everywhere, was riding at the back of the buggy. We also had, exceptionally, two dogs belonging to The Nan’s daughter. One of them is a rather small dog called Annie. She was sitting at our feet at the front of the vehicle.

As it is my job as a passenger, I was jumping in and out of the buggy to open and close the gates as we changed paddocks. Meanwhile, The Nan and I were merrily chatting. At the last gate before getting home, The Nan suddenly looked down and asked in a worried tone: “Where is Annie?” The little dog was missing. I realised she hadn’t been sitting at my feet for quite a while now, and we both had a terrible feeling.

We quickly turned around and retraced our steps, along the fence, went back to the previous gate, but the dog was nowhere to be seen. We kept going, crossing the power line, driving fast through the bushy paddock. The feeling that something was wrong was growing stronger and The Nan pushed the buggy a little bit more.

Suddenly, I exclaimed and pointed at two little ears dressed above the grass ahead “There she is!”. What a relief, we thought. However, strangely enough, instead of running excitedly to meet us, Annie started to run away from us at full speed. We hardly had time to wonder why… Out of nowhere, a large eagle came looming menacingly over the little dog, preparing for his swoop. It was getting lower and lower as we were driving as fast as we could to get to the little panicked dog before the eagle.

We both held our breath for that terrifying second when time stood still, the frozen dog ahead, the buggy and its swirl of dust, and, in between the two, the eagle, wings wide spread, coveting its prey… and then time started again, fast forward a few seconds; the eagle gave up on the juicy little rabbit-looking dog and starting flying up again, as we took the terrified, sweaty and over-heating dog in to the buggy with us.

What a fright, what a petrifying sight.
We came just in time.

More words

A few more more I have learned in the Outback, in no particular order.
I knew some of them passively (mostly the horse related ones), but they have now all made it into my active vocabulary.

sook (mauviette – a general English equivalent might be “softie” or even “pussy”)
stirrups (étriers)
girth (sangle)
stall (caler, pour un véhicule)
bogged down (embourbé)
whoaboys (hump in the road created by a secondary embankment to divert the water from the main road and use as drainage – un dos d’ane créé par un remblais qui a pour but de dévier l’eau de la route principle)
wicket (la cible à toucher au cricket)
wean (sevrer)
rolly-polly – or roley-poley or roly-poly or however you want to spell it (une boule de branchages ramassés par le vent)
poddy calf – a calf that lost its mum and needs to be feed bottles (un veau qui a perdu sa mère et doit être nourri au biberon)

As I’m sure you noticed, some of them, like sook and whoaboys, are typically Aussie, the other ones are “normal” English words, but a little more specialised. Now I have only a little time left to work on my Outback accent :).

Massive friends

My quarters – the schoolroom building, that is – are pretty much in the middle of a paddock. Which means that some massive bulls are roaming about. I grew up with cows, but they were little Holsteins, and I am guessing these bulls weigh about 200 kg more…

I wasn’t too confident going past them the first few times. Now I know they won’t charge me and that they mind their own business. Sometimes they eat the grass just under my windows, munching really loud, and it feels like they are breathing heavily directly in my neck. And once in a while, I still get scared, when two of them are fighting in front of me. But mostly, we’re good mates now, the bulls and I.

Sometimes there are quite a few of them when I open my door in the morning: