It is not surprising that sometimes when you look at your job you think, 'this job really sucks!', without looking past the present. Now this isn't uncommon and I think we tend to look at what is happening in our own bit of the cosmos as a benchmark and never take the the time to really look back at times past.
I have been looking into my working past quite a fair bit during my research into the 'The Lost Post Offices of Australia' series and I'm finding that there is very little that is new in my work as an Australia Post driver. We still have to contend with vagaries of the weather, the mishaps on our journey, irate customers and dare I say it, ineffective management.
Now my research isn't just going back a couple of years, or even a couple of decades, but as far back as the 1830's! The stories reflect how tough it must have been in those pioneering times with roads impassable, the stoic coach horse dying from exhaustion and the mailman sleeping on the side of roads until the tracks dried out sufficiently, sometimes for up to sixteen days (as was the case in 1852) before they could complete their journey.
So once again I followed I track that I have travelled before, this time armed with my new take anywhere friend , the Sanyo S1275 camera and followed the back tracks from Branxton to Maitland, passing through sleepy Hunter Valley localities such as Windemere, Gosforth and Luskintyre. This time I looked at the landscape through the eyes of not someone who was driving a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, but as someone who had to traverse the area on horseback.
It was a stunning vista, low early morning cloud, lush rolling fields and babbling brooks to visually take your breath away with each new turn of the corner. It wasn't until I came to a Hunter River crossing called Melville Ford, that the realities of how harsh this stunning area can be, for at Melville Ford there are the battered remains of two former bridges, each standing as a silent testament to how ferocious this river can be when in flood.
Yes, I'll continue to whine about how tough work is, however I know that I won't be sitting at Melville Ford Bridge for 16 days watching my horse die from starvation.
Sort of brings our working life back into perspective.