Dumb Miners – Log #0001

So it seems stupidity is seasonal in mining and besides the occasional honest mistake or someone being misinformed, there really hasn’t been any thing worthy to post.

Unfortunately our Alaskian friend has been having internet problems, our resident, UKZombiekiller has had her schedule ramped up, our one time posting, office Penn pushing (see what i did there?) trainer probably will only post once a year and our latest Dumbestic Goddess is having a hard time juggling three little shits angels, a new pup, an independent cat who comes home for dinner and a scratch at night and what social aspects she can salvage, before she is able to post.  That and I just taught the beauty how to post.

So in recent events, posting has been slow.  So I thought I’d have a go at this daily (or whenever possible) entry thing I see happening around the place.  Problem is however as I type this on my phone I am stuck down a pit during a break down with no signal on my phone.

Well, at least I have time eh? So here goes the entry….

So after some family holidays and getting the kids play room (see: sun room) sorted I left for work.

*Oh shit I just saw a wall collapse on the other side of the pit, no wonder its blocked off.  Ugh, we are going to have to fix that next week… Sorry back to it…*

The drive was pretty much uneventful, for once, besides seeing the occasional burn off, the smoke hazed sunset and a few road kill kangaroo’s (family see scuppernong) propped up on the delineators.

I got to Collinsville to find everything had shut early, so much for dinner and midnight lunch.  So forces to continue the drive to work where I arrived at the gates  forty minutes early.  Wes and Brett had carpooled once again and this time were out in the scrub digging up some sort of desert cactus for Wes’s garden,  complaining about getting dirtier than one would at work.  I can understand, we work with coal and dirt all day, but we sit in airconditioned cabs while we do it.

Yeah the life of a opencut coal miner is difficult… to keep fit.

As the others arrived it was voted unanimously that a forced relaxation day (maybe two) should be thrown upon us, with full pay, to manage the issues of fatigue that the safety department pushes wo hard.

Though, a few of us know we don’t manage our fatigue as well as we should on our first night shift.  Looking around, it seemed yesterday afternoon was no different.  Funnily enough, we pushed through with coffee and errr nicotine supplimentation.  ’cause smoking on site is against site rules.

The topic of the night seemed to be road tolls.  It was at 48 yesterday and hopefully it still is.  We queried the mentality of drivers and pedastrians, not ever knowing the full circumstances.  I mean some of these deaths are people going home tired after a 12-16 hour work day.  I know how that feels, but we travel in groups home stopping at the two hour mark some more often with their carpooling passengers.  But, some people don’t have the luxury of a good working team that looks.after each other.

Such a morbid topic for the first night shift.  What a morale booster!

The working night started with a pace of a snail travelling backwards on a turtles shell.  The guideposts and signage wasn’t done on our circuits which meant a huge hazard that was caught by our OCE and pit supervisor.  ( don’t know what OCE stands for, but he is the bloke that stops the show when he thinks safety has or will be compromised)

So after 15 trucks fueled up, to try and keep trucks moving so it.looks good on books, it was my turn to fill up my 4000 litre tank of fuel to the brim.  Or try to.

We ran out of fuel in both tanks, so i called up the service truck to come and fill up the remaining trucks…  I got half a tank before they ran out and had to drive an hour to the main infrastructure and an hour back before topping me up and two more trucks running on fumes.

They shut down my circuit because I would be the only truck running and they sent me from the shovel to under a digger.  (I’ll do a glossary with pictures later for those going “what the fuck is he talking about”…. Maybe an Aussie translation glossary too)

After my first three loads it was decided that 5 trucks waiting in line was not cost effective.  So they told me to “shut her down” as the two other trucks got fueled and split to the remaining two diggers.

I managed to get an hour and a half sleep with a book open and my head resting in my palms.   I still haven’t read past the prologue of my book I got for Christmas, which I waited for a year and a bit to be converted to English.

By this stage my gut was eating itself.  I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before giving me a total of 19 hours without food.  Breakfast this morning included the usual five weet-bix with low fat milk and yoghurt, to an added plate of whole grain toast, three fried eggs, four rashes of bacon, grilled tomato with melted cheddar on top, a spoon full of baked beans and three cups of orange juice, apple juice and milk.  In separate cups, not all together.

It was 8 o’clock on the rocket clock when I entered my room to unpack.  I did my usual routine of unpacking and headed for the shower.  Half hour of high pressured, wet bliss, I was officially knackered.  I wrapped the bath towel around myself and went outside for a smoke.  The towel nearly revealed my jewels to the cleaners walking past as it dried and lost its friction upon itself, at least it gave them a giggle knowing how close I was to showing the power of a toothpick.

I checked over my emails aiming for a couple of favourite online stories and my favourite zombie survival site.  Nothing needed my attention so I lied down and opened the book.

I woke up on the front page, still not past the first paragraph.

John The Aussie

I deactivated the numerous alarms set on my phone and enjoyed another shower.  This time getting dressed before wondering out into the world to load the car with my work gear.  I fell asleep in daylight and 6.5 hours later it was still daylight.  It gives me that heavy eyeballs feeling.  But it was a good sleep.

I drove to the mess hall for dinner waving to the usual suspects waiting for buses, which were heading to the underground department.  I got to the hot box to find mustard sauce coated bratwurst.  “Fuck it, I’ll give it a shot. I’m sick of steak, and the steak looks gristly anyways”.  I loaded up one small one about the size ofy thumb and found todays roast was freshly cooked pork with crackling.  Can’t pass that up.

Oh look mustard chicken mixed with tortelini.  Whole grain mustard must of been on special this week.  Yep… The mustard grilled cabbage confirms it.  Surprisingly it tasted alright, I looked up to see why.  A new cook,  they all cook great for the first couple of weeks, then they get stuck on the ‘been doing this to long, not appreciated for my cooking, they can eat what they are given’ routine.  So I wrote a compliment and threw it in the suggestion box,  a few of us do this so it pushes the cooks a few extra weeks of cooking with love.

So a few hours ago I arrived at work to get my dollars and the digger has been down since the start of shift.  3 hours later with a broken cab light ( can’t read book) I get to this paragraph.  Like this sentance right now is the exact three hour mark of starting work and sitting in an airconditioned cab in a pit with no light and no signal and one bored bloke.

So I have now decided not save and publish this here, but instead, update the rest of the night as it goes on by.  Though I doubt much interesting will happen, I figure that someone out there is fascinated by the unique and grammatically incorrect structure I type up with my phone… So stay tuned for the next paragraph.  At least you don’t have to wait until it happens.  Whatever it is.  And this is the GAWD DARNIT I AM BORED stage

Update 2145hrs – apparently more machinery breaks down waiting to do work as opposed to breaking down during work.  4 trucks gone up to the maintenance bay.  Of course I and another truckie, I think its Rob, wait in line by ourselves.  It looks like he is reading under his cab light, the prick. I might swap over the bulbs during first crib.  Hopefully we have the same light.

Update 2213hours – another rock slide on the other side of the pit.  One more and we shut shop for the night.  If we do I hope I get to go to the other pit.  They are more fun that way, and it’ll give some people a break as I hot seat.

2232 hrs – early crib for us.  Shit is still broken down.  I’m going to get very tired if we don’t do something soon. Which reminds me… Man who run in front of car gets tired, man who chases car gets exhausted.  Two coffees and a spinach sausage roll later, I’m walking back to my truck wondering if it is worth driving back down into the pit or not.

I wonder if people are actually interested in a mining glossary, Aussie glossary and/or a list of Murphy’s mining laws.

2347hrs – the first truck just got loaded, and I’m third in line.  There are light vehicles down ahead moving lighting plants.  I don’t like it when they are on our circuit, the 4×4 Pajeros, Cruisers, Hilux and Nissans are so fragile against the tires of a 4400 Terex dump truck.  They are usually the kings of the road, not here though.  Here they are the gremlins or bugs among the semi’s and lorries.  Ah well, as long as I can see them and know how many there are in our area, I can keep tabs on their safety and mine.

Oops, my turn to get loaded.

0249hrs – the joys of loading from a coal floor.   At night, when its wet from digging through underground springs, you can’t tell until you or someone else has driven through it.  Of course, I was the first.  Unable to reverse the only option was to go towards the high wall in attempts to become unstuck.  Ever seen a dump truck burn rubber?

I managed to squeeze out within inches of the high walls face, and after straightening up reverse the remaning 100 meters (330 feet?) to get under the digger.  Sure as shit, I had an audience and over the radio came “that’s a carton”.

For those unaware, a box of beer is to be bought and shared in circumstances where someone makes a mistake and requires assistance or more.

“Mate, I didn’t get bogged. I didn’t ask for help, nobody gave me any advice, I didn’t halt production.  So you can shove ya carton.”

All the response was a staticy chorus of long whistles as a bunch if workers attempted to talk over each other on the radio.

0305hrs – just got the call for second crib.

0700hrs – really nothing happened all towards end of shift… I drove up and down a hill all morning and barely even a crackle over the two way radio happened… on the bus and going back to carpark to pick up the car, to drive to the mess hall to eat and then drive back to my room to get some sleep before 9am for the next night shift….

Meh, I think i did ‘ok’ for a log entry….  What are your thoughts?

John The Aussie

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~ by John the Aussie on January 4, 2012.

6 Responses to “Dumb Miners – Log #0001”

  1. WOOT! 30th POST!

    Not so woot because I did this with the upgraded wordpress application, it failed so many times halfway through it used 2gigabytes of memory in total of half uploaded fails…. gonna cost me a little I reckon…

  2. “Man who run in front of car gets tired, man who chases car gets exhausted.”

    Enjoyed the read and I’m a sucker for bad puns. 🙂 That got a laugh out of me.

  3. great post! I didn’t know there had to be an occasion for getting a box of beer…? btw – thanks for checking out my stuff! Keep up the good work!

Go on, give us a yarn or two, mate.

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