27/08/2015 E.A. Murphy Lives in Darwin!
We spent seven weeks at Berry Springs before heading on. It wasn’t intended to be that long, but circumstances conspired to keep us there. Now, everyone knows that when things go wrong, they invariably happen in threes. We learned during our stay near Darwin that the next thing to happen after the first three isn’t really the fourth – it’s the start of a brand new series of three. During our time there, we went on to our fifth set of threes that kept rolling in on us like waves on a beach.
- Car trouble initially brought us to Darwin earlier than intended. We had to wait almost a week to have it worked on.
- I ordered a couple of very common parts from the local Land Rover dealer to restock my kit of spares. The expected 4-5 days delivery time from Sydney ended up being twice that.
- A slow-leaking van tyre was irreparable, and with no local stocks of that particular brand, the replacement had to come up from Adelaide. Again, the expected 4-5 days delivery time pushed out to twice that.
- The washing machine developed a slow water leak into the bowl, requiring a part to be ordered in from Melbourne. This took over a week to arrive and be fitted.
- I had an extra Anderson plug installed on the van, which was done very well and finished in a day (we weren’t looking forward to spending the night in the van in the electrician’s back lot).
- Soon after arriving at Berry Springs, I ordered some camping gear from NSW, thinking we would have time enough for the delivery. The parcel dropped into a Postal Black Hole that formed in the back corner of the loading dock at the Underwood Mail Exchange. Ejected back into Known Space a week later, the parcel was inexplicably returned to the sender who then redirected it on to me. Initially sent on 16 July, it was finally delivered on 10 August.
- Something else ordered from the UK on 18 July also arrived on 10 August after much emailing and angst caused by gaps in international parcel tracking. It took the same time to travel halfway around the globe as the parcel from NSW. Aussie kilometres must be so much longer than anywhere else.
- While we were driving on a back road into Darwin one day, the Land Rover came to a sudden stop in the middle of nowhere and just refused to restart. Our remaining bit of good luck put us just inside Optus cell range (Yes, don’t say it…we’d left the Blue Tick Telstra mobile back in the van), and RACQ Breakdown Service came to the rescue with a tow truck that hauled us off to the workshop in Darwin. The fault was diagnosed as a dead Low Pressure Fuel Pump in the fuel tank. It took a few days for the part to come from Brisbane and be fitted. But, it was then found that the High Pressure Fuel Pump had also given up the ghost, being damaged from compensating for the loss of the other pump. This resulted in a further few days’ delay for shipment of that part from Brisbane and then a tricky full-day installation. But… once installed, the brand new HP Pump was found to be faulty – and a replacement was ordered from Brisbane, with the associated delay. When that one was installed, the engine was up and running. But… the vehicle was now down on the bump-stops and the air suspension wouldn’t raise up to its normal operating height. It took three days to sort that out.
- Surely that must be the end of the saga, I hear you say, but no, things weren’t quite finished with the car. After collecting it from the workshop in Darwin and driving back to Berry Springs, half a tank of diesel was dumped along the road and on the rear and underneath panels due to a broken fitting in the new fuel filter. The workshop guys spent three-hours on the side of the road putting in a temporary fix to get me home, and… replacement parts were arranged, again from Brisbane. All up, it took three weeks for the car to be sorted out.
- My trusty Trail-A-Mate hydraulic jack that is used as a jockey stand started to slip, and the van gradually acquired a downward list at the front. I picked up a service kit in Darwin (surprisingly, off the shelf) and fitted it.
- Back at camp, lazing in a camp chair with a glass of red under a shady tree beside a picturesque pond, and contemplating all that had happened, I got shat on by a bird. In some cultures, that would be considered a good luck omen; me, I just couldn’t see it the same way. Moral: A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.
- And the cherry on top – while climbing up into the tow truck, Di dropped her phone and broke the screen. A replacement phone was ordered in from down south…(sigh)
- One of the two Sirocco fans near the bed became petulant and would only work when pointed away from where it was needing to be faced to direct a breeze. That one was relegated to the skip and I installed a replacement. Fitting it was a breeze…lol
- The blue LED lights inside the freezer have gone across to the Dark Side. No big deal.
- Three days before leaving Berry Springs, I came down with a Man Cold, that most debilitating of head colds. Guys, you know what I mean. Childbirth pales in comparison to the incapacitating sinus discomfort of a full-blown Man Cold.
At some stage I must have run over a Black Cat… a whole litter of five in fact…to have brought all these things down on us, although I can’t recall doing so. The Murphy’s Law that states “Everything goes wrong all at once” certainly applied to us while in Berry Springs. A lot of time was spent running around either organising things to be done or dropping things off or picking things up. We need a rest!
Following all that had happened there, we are thoroughly convinced that no-one in Darwin maintains warehouse stock. Everything is available there as long as you’re prepared to wait until it arrives in from down south. Just give it time – “Darwin time” it’s called. Locals say that “NT” stands for “Not Today; Not Tomorrow; Not Tuesday; Not Thursday”. And that Western Australia operates along similar lines, with “WA” standing for “Wait Awhile”.
There was an upside to our tale of woes, though – all these things happened within a stone’s throw of Darwin. They were obviously going to happen anyway and could well have dropped on us in some isolated spot in the Back of Beyond where we would have been in a whole mess of trouble. So looking at it that way is somewhat consoling. We were also staying in a nice location at Berry Springs, and it was kind of nice to spend a long stretch in the one place. The lakeside bushland location gave Di lots of time for bird watching, and the long layover also allowed for weekly chiropractor and therapeutic massage sessions to straighten out Di’s “Twitcher Neck”.
And me…I started listening to the Blues a lot. “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all…”
On the theme of things going wrong, Mr E.A. Murphy, who I’m certain must have lived in a caravan while formulating his Laws, also stated that:
- If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.
- If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
- It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
- If several things that could have gone wrong have not gone wrong, it would have been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong.
- Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
- If anything can’t go wrong, it will anyway.
- Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
- If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
- If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
- Everything takes longer than you think.
- You never find a lost article until you replace it.
- If nobody uses it, there’s a reason.
- You get the most of what you need the least.
- Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
“The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you remember the journey” – Anonymous