Another busy couple of days here. Today has been about the quietest in a while, and even so I'm not sure it counts. My last update brought the story up to last Sunday. Since then I've had a day's work with Darryl, finishing off the Amazon-Basin-of-weeds I talked about previously. This last part of the job wasn't that bad, as most of the mowing, weeding and tidying could be done with a whippersnipper and mower and a some moving around of potplants and the like. It gave me one of the best before-and-after photos I've had in a while. I was truly astonished how well the yard came up once we'd finished.
Wednesday brought another couple of trips into town. In the morning I took the maternal unit to the dentist and shopping and then dropped her off at a lunch she was going to. Then I went back into Shepparton to go to the doctor and to the Blood Bank. Annoyingly, I'd messed up the appointments and was late to the Blood Bank. They saw me anyway; at least it prompted a rather nice interaction in the twittersphere.
@sdtuc2 Not a worry at all, Stephen! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to help others with a blood donation. #bloodyhero –JH— Red Cross Blood Au (@redcrossbloodau) December 7, 2016
Hungry for fame! Anyway, I had something a bit novel after that. I'd been invited to the Shire Council's end-of-year drinks for stakeholders, in my capacity as Tatura Unit Controller. This was a good opportunity to go and press the flesh and make myself known to some of the bigger businesses and government entities in the area. I'll leave you to decide where promoting the Service ended and self-promotion began. Anyway, I was pleased that I was actually looking good that day. On one hand, it's easy when you've got a good uniform to wear: put a snappy uniform on a pile of horsemanure and it'll still at least look better! But, I was looking a bit leaner and a bit tanned and I'd had a haircut the day before, so I was feeling good. I hope that confidence came through.
Thursday saw me back working for the doctor in Shepparton for about 6 hours, preparing his entertainment area and grounds for a party he seemed to be giving that evening. So, I cleaned his barbeque from top to bottom, raked, weeded, pruned, swept, mopped etc etc. All I can really say is that it pays and I'm not in a position to knock the work back. I was done by 1630 and decided to go to Tatura and do some SES paperwork before training.
Training that night was festively themed: we were given the job of finding some of the best Christmas lights in the area using six-figure grid references. The lights themselves were clearly a lot of people's pride and joy (and, I suppose, the electric company's).
Training was over by about 2230 and I was at the shed finishing off some paperwork when the pager went off for a farm animal stuck in the River. I was unit duty officer and decided to activate the unit to see if we could get it out. There's room to doubt if it was properly a job for us (on one hand, it seems wrong to leave an animal to die in a public waterway if you can do something about it; on the other hand, ultimately it's an item of property rather than a person or a pet), but there were a lot of members who were keen to turn out and so it seemed warranted. Ultimately we were able to move it to a sandbar where it was safe (or at least safer), and hopefully it found its way out today. It was a long night though. We were able to release some members early, but five of us were out there till after 0330. It was getting to be daylight when I got home a bit after 0530.
As you can imagine, I started today tired and I've had to work hard not to go to tired and grumpy. Certainly tonight I'm looking forward to a shower and a proper night's sleep tonight. Facebook tells me most other members of the crew are in the same boat. I wish there was a way of telling them that I'm sorry they feel weary today, or if they feel their day has been less than great because of my decision to activate the unit last night. I don't suppose one can say it without losing standing as a leader, but I worry - a lot - that anyone in the unit might not find their time in the service rewarding.
See you tomorrow.