Furry, scaly, leggy

With one final roster to go, I can report that we now have two brand new air conditioners (thank you landlord and lovely property manager) and, while we won’t get the benefit, they’ll definitely be appreciated by the new cop!

And before you ask how the final roster has been going, let’s just avoid any complaints and use the term ‘eventful’.

First, there were the mice…… sorry, they were second – as in this is our second mouse plague.

This time it wasn’t so much a ‘jump up on a chair’ reaction but more, “Great, now I have to empty the pantry again!”

To be honest, the little blighters were rather clever in their attempts to “break in” to a locked house while I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so clever and took 3 or 4 days to figure out that the tiny black specks at the foot of the door jamb were actually chewed rubber from the weather strip.

Day after day, while I kept sweeping up these tell-tale signs and wondering whether we had a termite problem, Micky and Minnie were actually chewing their way under the door and into our pantry! Seven dispatched mice later and, just in time for our trip to sort furniture on the coast (I imagined coming home to a house full of mice), the mystery was solved! We simply had to ensure that the fly screen door was never left ajar – try eating through a metal door frame Hah Hah! – and they can no longer get to the mouse-sized hole in the weather strip.

The mice were closely followed by a brown snake that was thin enough to blend into the long grass – until I almost trod on it…. and then called Nigel, who was luckily in town for lunch.  However, the ensuing debate regarding what to do with our scaly visitor apparently became rather boring and he managed to quietly disappear.

Now colour me yellow but I’m a lot more calm and collected around anything with less than 5 legs so pests numbers three and four were much more unnerving, especially when I realised they’d been living in the drain pipes under our bathroom. Big (well, biggish) creepy, shiny, leggy spiders had set up house – one in the bath drain and one in the shower drain- in the unused bathroom (yes we do actually wash but we use the ensuite). In contrast to Sylvester snake, no such discussion was necessary – a can of Mortein sufficed.

One might surmise that leaving town for a few days would solve these encounters of the creepy kind but one would be wrong.

On our arrival in Paradise we were immediately overrun with a few thousand Plague Soldier Beetles (Yes, a very apt name) that unashamedly proceeded to copulate on any available surface – from the outdoor table and chairs to the BBQ to the plants, nothing was spared…… not to mention their predilection for drowning in our pool.

To top off a cracker of a fortnight, last Tuesday, as we were packing to return to the land of no soldier beetles, the heavens opened up and within a couple of hours, we were inundated to the point where we had water views in the sub-floor plus  a very uninviting plunge pool, complete with dead beetles, leaf matter and quite a lot of mud…….

And this became the scene at our Cellarbrations store – one street away!

On a more pleasant note, Nigel was in Broken Hill for a strike force a couple of weeks ago and succumbed to my pleading to take photos of the interior of the Palace Hotel……. in police uniform. I’ll leave you with the photos but encourage you to check out more images here.


Three is the New Four!

Yesterday was quite a momentous day in the scheme of all things remote.

In sweeping changes due to start in July this year, special remote tenures have been reduced in quite a few locations, including Cobar (from 4 to 3 years).

Even better news is that some locations, which have proven difficult, if not impossible, to fully staff have been “upgraded” from Remote to Special Remote, which will go a long way to fixing the problem.

Personally, I’m excited. Remember my post, Lines in the Sand Part 2?  Well I’m happy to say that the Commissioner has heeded my advice (just joking) and Nyngan will now be Special Remote with all the new incentives that entails (up from a one-off payment of $5,000 to 5 yearly payments of $3,000).

Of course, starting in July, none of these changes will affect us. But any changes that encourage police to “go west” are a good thing. One suggestion I’d make is to retain some sort of proviso that priority transfers will be honoured. It would surely be difficult to entice cops to leave their own homes for 2 or 3 years without any certainty of return at the completion of tenure.

Over the almost 10 years of outback tenures, I’ve been extolling the virtues of special remote policing. The friendships you develop, the camaraderie with colleagues and the genuine welcome you receive from an outback town are hard to top.

So with all the dramas of the past year (we still have no transfer date), it’s nice to be able to say that my faith has been restored. Way to go, Commissioner Webb!

Cop Humour

When Nigel started HWP training in Cobar it was refreshing to find a like-minded colleague in Detective Greg. From the start, there’s been a friendly – if somewhat twisted – rivalry between Cobar highway patrol and Cobar detectives.

Starting with a photo of children’s crayons, pinned to the Highway Patrol office door (remember, Nigel was in training)…………

the one-upmanship games continued with mock newspaper cuttings, ads for specialist detective services and the like …….

The pièce de résistance was  a re-worked post regarding the new detectives’ badge. Here’s the original article ……. followed by our version

New ID for detectives

For several years now, there has been a growing divide within the NSW Police Force between rank and file officers and those, who would call themselves detectives. The problem seems to have arisen from a difference of opinion where detectives see themselves as modern day superheroes – an elite group of masterminds, far exceeding the abilities of the rank and file – while the rest of the Force regard them as elitist narcissists – no different from any other police officer. However, a recent compromise threatens to drive that rift even further when, in November, a new detective badge will be rolled out.

Deputy Commissioner Investigations & Counter Terrorism Dave Hudson said, “The badge is to recognise the criminal investigation profession and to show, once and for all, that detectives are super police. Credit must be given to the Detectives Board, who have fought long and hard for this well-overdue recognition of its members”.

When questioned as to why the original demand was for a gold-plated badge he stated “While gold would be the material of choice, reflecting the caliber of these officers, we appreciate that times are tough and the general public might think that the funds could be better spent elsewhere”.

This sentiment has put him at odds with the state’s top police officer, Mick Fuller, who has always condemned the demand. In the past he has stated, “while I respect the work that most detectives do, there are too many under-achieving officers – especially in rural areas, who do very little towards crime management. According to sources within the Commissioner’s office, he only recently acquiesced when he learned that he would be given badge number 007.

Above Commissioner Mick Fuller APM was presented with CI Badge no 007. Sources say that it was the final inducement for approving the new badge.

Happy February!

I must admit that my New Year’s resolution (No “Woe is me!” in 23) was slightly tattered around the edges after seeing our latest Escapia stats.

To be honest, it wasn’t all that unexpected when our property manager asked to pull the pin on the Stayz advertising. With no certainty that bookings will be honoured if the removalists come knocking, “I’m so sorry…. I’ll have to check with the owners”, was wearing a bit thin.

So, what was our solution to losing potential holiday bookings? We booked it ourselves! Last Sunday we returned from 5 weeks of sun, sand and surf in Paradise. That’s actually the longest we’ve spent back home since leaving in May 2018 for the 4-year tenure.

Of course, at $400 per night there were mixed feelings – it was hard to decide whether we were paupers or princes – but it definitely buoyed our flagging spirits. We caught up with family and friends, walked on the beach, consumed copious amounts of prawns and wine, all the while avoiding the stifling humidity of a wet Cobar.

On our return and thanks to our beautiful neighbours, the yards were  unusually still alive. In fact it seems the only things not to survive our absence were the clothes pegs, which spectacularly and punishingly snapped as I tried to hang the first load of washing.

After five weeks on such a high note, it would be fitting to report that we have exciting news ….. that Nigel finally has a date for his transfer back to Forster…….. that the powers in charge have realised their mistake, apologised and sent flowers and chocolates….. whoever said, ‘No news is good news’???!!

Instead, we have 4 days of unpacking, washing, mowing, weeding, replenishing clothes pegs ……………and re-packing …… before returning to the coast for my 6 monthly cancerversary.

I know I know, but we were supposed to be living there.

Happy New Year

While the challenges of 2022 were quite ….. well, challenging (let’s face it – I failed miserably), my New Year’s resolution is to stop complaining and boring people senseless about the things I can’t change. Let’s see how long that lasts.

My “friend”, Charles Swindoll – whom I’ve never met – says of the new year, “Challenges brought on by changes await us. We’ll be shoved out of our comfort zones and required to respond. We can do so positively or negatively, with hope and optimism or with resentment and pessimism”.

Last year I came across this saying, which I liked so much, I wrote it down.

Four things come not back: the spoken word; the speeding arrow; time past; the neglected opportunity.

While there aren’t too many speeding arrows flying around Cobar, I can definitely relate to the other three. Happy New Year and I’ll leave you with a couple of examples of Cobar’s community spirit.