Apparently three of the major supermarkets in town have just run out of milk. Petrol is beginning to look scarce and all residents are urged to conserve their water, lest we run out of that too.
Aussie pointed up to the mountain where the town's water supply sits in a huge green tank. "That's it, yes? And what about the sewerage? What will sixty thousand extra poos per day do to our sewerage system? Can we cope with so much poo? Oh my God! Can we cope?""
No, it's not the apocalypse, nor is it an invasion of barbarians. This is a town where men used to kill and dismantle animals the size of double-decker buses, so we have no problem with dystopian scenes and we totally understand those barbarians. The fact that the Prime Minister is turning up on Friday has nothing to do with anything at all.
It's the ANZAC Centenary Celebrations and it's happening here this weekend. The amount of people surging into Albany to participate has been wildly speculated upon, argued about and rumour-milled, until someone nailed that algorithm based on the success rate of grass seed germination in chicken entrails and came up with sixty thousand people.
Sixty thousand people.
There has only been about a hundred years to organise such an event and for ages I felt rather cynical about the whole thing and decided as a grumpy old woman that come October 31st, like a lot of the other locals, I was going to get the fuck out for three days. You know ... the war thing, the ANZAC thing, how we only embrace our war histories after enough soldiers and nurses are so dead they can't remind us of the reality thing, the 'do I have enough milk because Woolies has sold out' thing.
The 'thing' is, I've been watching the townsfolk put so much energy into our streets, shops and ANZAC centres, that I'm starting to feel terribly proud of them all. Stirling Terrace is the old sailors' precinct; originally the pubs and restaurants presented their welcoming facade to land-sick, desirous seafarers, whalers and fishers as they sailed into Princess Royal Harbour. Since we began travelling by road, rather than by sea, places like Stirling Terrace have been neglected and left to struggle on in an interminable morass of southerly winds. Stirling Terrace was starting to look like those old gone-broke gold mining towns, the memory of boom time reflected in its grand architecture ... all peeling paintwork and tired, leaning verandas..
The last few months, I've watched workers and volunteers pave new footpaths and steam clean old ones. They've replaced verandas, planted Flanders poppies, and sanded back and painted all of the old facades along Stirling Terrace. The place looks absolutely beautiful.
This afternoon, there was a traffic jam as the first influx came into town. Oh Wow.The locals seem a little bit freaked out about how big this 'thing' is, but it was not a lust for revenue that I saw on the street today. It was pride, a gathering excitement and a hope that everything will go okay. The most common comment was "I hope it doesn't rain."
I so hope it doesn't rain.
And a word of advice to visitors ... if you are coming into town:
Buy a rain coat.
Avoid the roundabouts.
Bicycles are so excellent.
Point Possession is a hike but it's the best place to see those warships steam in, and possibly less congested.
Finally, there are no photos tonight but I promise, I'll start posting as it kicks off.