Thursday, 27 May 2010

More Mice, Music and Museums

Ouch. My two pals who spent two nights in Shepherd's Hut (not Cottage; I was confusing it with other accommodation) down at Innes National Park, report that their stay was spoilt because the building was overrun by mice, plus they saw one rat indoors too. The mice were unstoppable, ran over the bedcothes at night - and one of them even dropped into Julie's hair and had to be shaken loose. Something of a nightmare, I guess. And Julie, let me tell you, is no shrinking violet. The other visitor is from overseas and this was part of her first week's experience of Australia. Not good.

But it gets worse. When, on departure, the infestation was reported to Nat. Parks staff, the lady at the desk said they KNEW about the mice ("There's a plague"), HAD KNOWN at the time of booking but said nothing, was offhand and unapologetic, said "There's nothing we can do", and furthermore there was no suggestion of returning or discounting the $50-a-night fee.

OK.  The mouse problem is real. But really! What a chapter of poor public relations, bad customer service; and altogether a black mark to National Parks as a tourism operator. And what a story will be told back home when my new friend returns to South Korea in a few weeks.

The brave pair are soon to head to Alice Springs on the Ghan. Are there more mice in Alice? Probably. I wish my friends all the best with the wildlife.

On their way back to Yorketown yesterday, they stopped off in Warooka to hear me and fellow singers perform on stage as part of a Uniting Church Fellowship event. That went well. A good time was had by all, as they used to say. The singers are not even all of that religious denomination. We just like singing. This time we did not have to compete with Sam the Dog who must have had a gig elsewhere. Thank goodness for small  mercies.

Then, this morning, my  house guests had to get on the road back to Adelaide while I joined a bus full of local Historical Society folk: we aimed first for the Stansbury Museum (intro talk, shufti and cuppa). In the big shed they have a strange machine, circa 1870s, purpose unknown (grape or olive processing??) with an invitation to anyone with ideas to offer suggestions. By midday we were in Ardrossan at the large display there with emphasis on Clarrie Smith's justly famous Stump-Jump Plough. Local man Clarence E. Smith was only 46 at his death in 1901, but his invention hugely benefited the region, making ploughing physically easier (for both horse and farmer) and more cost-effective. We were very grateful to the main organisers Lesley and Cheryl, Bill our bus driver, the lunch providers, and all the contributing people from the different historical societies.

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