The dog days are over.

_DSC5805

There was the allusion that I was doing something brave, something risky, by moving to the outback, alone.

At times I have scrambled for my comfort zone, desperately searched for a shred of normality in a place that was so far from home. But the idea that any of it was out of my control – that’s a farce. I was coming out for a year then dusting off my blue book for a few more overseas stamps, flitting in and out like a butterfly on a summer’s day.

Of course, things rarely go to plan and from the first roo I gravely slaughtered on the road the plan became more complex than simply taking your clothes off on the Great Wall. The barren country out here is enchanting. I’ve fallen for crisp sunsets and people who tell you your boss is a cockhead when he tells you to walk through a heatwave to take a photo of them.

But the biggest change has crept up on me. It’s the dogs. Everyone has one. They’re more popular than belt buckles at rodeos and infinitely less useful. My relationship with canines in the past has bordered between difficult and distressing. You can read more about how much I loathe puppies here. It began when a simple poop-scoop in a plush Sydney park ended up all over my hand. It’s still too soon to laugh about that one.

It’s a different kennel out here.

_DSC5800

I realised suddenly the other day that all of my friends here have these furry mates that they take to the river for a barking session. One bloke I spoke to recently owned about 40 canines. It all seems so incredibly grown up. I put dog and house ownership on the same level, mostly because they have a knack of happening simultaneously but also they require some form of commitment, although I definitely don’t profess to any genius knowledge in this area.

During my dog-hating city days I noticed that my lowly opinion on man’s best friend was rarely shared, respected or appreciated. People love their running, barking beasts more than their gardens. And it’s not as if dogs produce anything of worth. Except unconditional love, apparently.

Back then claiming to loathe puppies was the worst thing I could ever say on a date. Mens’ eyes would glaze over as if I’d started telling them about my split ends. For a while I wondered if I would become a spinster because I couldn’t handle dogs. So you can imagine my distress when I meet a nice guy and he drops into conversation ever so casually that he already has a dog. Yep, he owns it and feeds it, although the feeding is a rather liberal arrangement. Aware of my shortcomings in the dog love department I tried my hardest to win over Boots. He’s a lovely dog, certainly better than Michelle’s pal Romy, who I love very, very deep down. Boots can even ride a jet ski. But he does have a slight issue with moulting. I’m often left with a hand that could pass for an orang-utan’s left thigh. It hasn’t been too hard to wipe that on a pile of dirty towels or sumsuch.

As you can tell I wasn’t overanalysing the dog thing too much (please note sarcasm). Then I started looking for a share house. The Charleville telegraph was in fine form as I searched and found a new home within an hour. The new pad, of course, comes with Hugo. He’s a rather energetic puppy. On inspection I was licked more than an ice cream on a hot day. Apparently he’ll be sleeping outside.

So now my life does appear to be spiralling brilliantly out of control. My boyfriend owns a dog and soon I will be living with a puppy. How did that happen? I would never have allowed that when I was a city girl.

It’s fantastic. The spontaneity is going to my head. My carefully planned year out here has been hit by a dust storm and I have no idea where it will take me. Sharing the journey with new people, opening up is the next level of adventure, and one I had been avoiding, not least because I feared one day I’d be expected to love a hound.

_DSC5775

When the world ends we party in the safe zone, southwest Qld.

_DSC6033
Doomsday is upon us. The end of the world is coming. But it appears the southwest is safe. Numerous scholars, physicists, remote viewers doomsday enthusiasts and Amazon Shamanic trippers are predicting a devastating galactic event will strike earth 21 December, wiping out the current world order.

Of course not all of the folk in the west are believers. But many are happy to jump on the bandwagon. Toompine, Adavale and Quilpie pubs are hosting end of the world parties, perhaps enjoying the thought of a session with no hangover.

In an interesting twist one psychic, Pane Andov, has been given the corrdinates to a safe zone that will be immune from the fallout. Quilpie sits in the middle of the triangle at the top while Cunnamulla is on the bottom eastern side. Thargo, Toompine and Eulo are all safe but Charleville is too far east and Eromanga misses out in the west.

The impending apocalypse dominates conversation at the bar in Quilpie. Quilpie Motor Inn manager Julie Milesi said she has fielded two rather strange enquiries from people wanting to escape the carnage. “One was convinced this was the only safe place to be, that Quilpie was the only place that would survive.” Julie hasn’t taken any bookings – perhaps rooms are too pricey for the believers – but she said everyone is talking about it around town.

Yugoslavian Mo Pajic is a believer. He relocated into the zone – Quarrion street, Quilpie to be exact, about six months ago. “I decided to take my chances here,” he said.

He has prepared himself mentally and boosted food supplies, including purchasing a large bag of corn meal and a mill, plus about 30 boxes of Weet-bix, flour, tinned goods and about 30kg of honey. He’s not concerned about embarrassment if the apocalypse is a false alarm, he’ll just eat the food later. His cat Chichak, a chicken and two mini horses are keeping him company for now, but he also plans to add a border collie to the clan.

The 44-year-old admitted some people thought he was crazy, but he said many sceptics don’t have enough freedom with their thoughts.

“People don’t have the guts to jump out of the box of mental thoughts that society puts upon you.” He hoped more people would take a liberated approach to believing in the impending disaster. Preparedness is the key.

“I feel sorry some people are still sceptical. There is a chance it could happen and most people are not ready.”

Mo’s interest in 2012 began in 2003 when he picked up Patrick Geryl’s The Orion Prophecy: will the world be destroyed in 2012, which takes an archaeological look at how the Mayan and Egyptian civilisations predict the earth’s demise in 2012. But his English wasn’t good enough to grasp the concepts at the time and there seemed plenty of time left. In 2009 he started taking the world-end concept seriously. Mo credits the Farsight Institute who have seen large amounts of static energy in 2013 by remote viewing, Peter Sterling who saw visions on a Shamanic trip, remote viewer and former US army major Ed Dames, psychic Pane Andov, Paul Laviolle and others with explaining the ideas. A crop circle phenomenon in Avebury Manor in the UK in July 2008 where the sun increased in size to take in Mercury and Venus also ties in with the theory.

Macedonian astral projection psychic Pane Andov influenced Mo’s decision to move west. Andov’s said on his website that he had his first psychic experience when he was seven, but it wasn’t until many years later that he began communicating with extra terrestrial races. “He began to understand that humanity was under some kind of experiment by a few E.T races and that the truth was hidden from us,” the website said. Pane told his followers that he was shown changes that would occur to the planet while in an altered state of consciousness in 2008. His first vision showed an extreme crack in the African continent which unleashed volcanic magma. He has not detailed other more disturbing visions but said another crack would appear in Australia. He believed a galactic wave would arrive and unleash huge amounts of energy which would make the solar system highly unstable. There would be more tectonic activity, including volcano eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes and the huge amounts of static electricity would fry the grid. Food supply, banking, fuel, hospitals and mobile phones will be redundant without the power supply. Mo doubts civilisation, especially in the cities could carry on. “Will they know where to go if the toilet is not working,” he asked.

West Australia would be no good but a triangle, which sits on the southwest would still be habitable. “When I checked the satellite images of the area it was not the most welcoming place in the world,” Pane said of the triangle area that reaches about 400km on each side. The extra terrestrial stopped in 2009/10 and he has not received any more information.

For Mo, believing is about stretching out and daring to think against the mainstream. He said the people touting these hypothesis have too much at stake to destroy their reputation. But he conceded some, including Andov, do make money out of their doomsday prophecies.

Mo said the December date is flexible. If things are still ok in June next year then he’ll celebrate. And he’ll probably stay in Quilpie, too. He has been working with the for about four months. “I walk ten minutes to work and people are talking and waving to each other. In the coastal part no one has time for anyone.”

This is what the party is likely to look like.

_DSC5976

NB: This was written for the Warrego Watchman. Copyright Penny Langfield 2012.