In the 1970’s, if you ordered anything from Brisbane, it could take up to two weeks to reach Gladstone. How far we’ve come! Nowadays it takes two months.
We needed a new washing machine, so we choofed off to the shop and found one that suited our needs, ie: big and cheap. After I’d crossed the managers’ palm with shiny coins, he announced, “It’s in Brisbane and should be here next week.”
“A week?!” I cried, “Why?! Are you using bicycle couriers?! Are you trucking it via Adelaide?!” I didn’t hear his reply as the security guard dragged me from the store.
Like many Gladstonians, I have the misguided impression that we live in a modern city linked to the outside world by speedy road, rail, and air freight. But the reality is, we are more like some forgotten outpost beyond the Black Stump, where all the supplies arrive courtesy of the annual camel train; weather permitting.
Anyway, several weeks later I popped down to the creek where Long Suffering Wife was pounding my shirts clean with a rounded stone, and from a safe distance I called, “The washer’s arriving today!” She narrowed her eyes and redoubled her efforts to beat my clothes to rags.
Well, it didn’t turn up that day, or the next. In fact, by the time the nice delivery folk finally arrived, I’d actually forgotten we’d bought a washing machine, and sent them next door instead to see if it was theirs. They sorted it out; eventually.
Now, if previous experience is any guide, the new washer will have a factory set, self-destruct code that will fry all the machines circuits in two years’ time, which is why I’ve already pre-ordered another washing machine. And with a bit of luck, the camel train will get it here before the new washer carks it.