It is the small hours of the night, and I am lying awake berating myself for not having made a better job of handling the media yesterday. I had enough warning that something was afoot, as the helicopter circled overhead as I was being towed in. So instead of expending my energy glaring viciously at the gas-guzzling helo, as if to shoot it down out of the sky with my eyes, I should have realized it was just the harbinger of a quite unwarranted press turnout. I could more usefully have spent that time preparing my lines.
In my defence, I suppose I was tired. But on the other hand, the media, and in fact life in general, rarely waits until you are feeling at your sharp-witted best before chucking an unexpected challenge at you. “Success is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.” I had the opportunity, but I wasn’t prepared for it. Or, more accurately, I did prepare my lines, but when the time came I didn’t use them.
In my head, I knew exactly what I wanted to say. My thoughts during that two-hour tow were along the lines of what I posted in my blog last night. What on earth are the media doing here? Don’t they have anything better to do? Why are they burning all that fossil fuel for such a complete non-story?
As I sat in my boat, soaking and cold as water from the crayfish boat’s wake sprayed all around me, I was furious at the intrusion, and even more furious about the general triviality of most media (with notable exceptions). Why do they focus on the “human interest” stories when the really big news is, I suppose, the ultimate “human interest” story – what should we be doing in the best interests of the entire human race?
And yet as soon as I stepped onto the jetty at Leeman and had microphones thrust in my face, I fell back into that annoying good-little-girl mode. Be nice, be polite, answer the questions. Useless. I should be media-savvy enough by now to exert a bit more control over the situation, to use every opportunity to talk about my eco messages, not to drivel on about watermakers and leaky hatches.
Still, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this publicity thing eventually, but if anybody knows an expert who coaches people in how to handle the media, do let me know!
On a technical point, some people have suggested I should replace the entire watermaker. This will not be necessary – even if I had enough time and enough money to get an entire new unit shipped over from the US. It is only the electrical feed pump that needs replacing, and I have a spare one of those with me. The idea is to relocate the feed pump to a new location under the sleeping cabin, with watertight seals around any wires and pipes that enter or exit the compartment, so that it will be better protected.
We still need to figure out the details of how this can be done, and find someone to do the work in Geraldton. We are in a race against time. The weather is good for a departure any day between tomorrow and Thursday of the following week. After that, not so sure. So we are under pressure.
I haven’t yet found a rectangular hatch cover that doesn’t leak. These ones are brand new, but leak as badly as the old ones. No time to replace them all this year, but if anybody has any tried-and-tested recommendations for a truly watertight hatch cover, around 2 feet by 1, do let me know.
Sigh. Much to do today. First thing this morning we’ll be driving Sedna up to Geraldton on a flatbed truck (many thanks to Don Ferguson) and trying to find someone who is a) capable, b) willing, and c) available to do the work for a reasonable price. Not much to ask at 5 minutes’ notice, surely….!
Thanks to all my online heroes. I am relieved that there has not been more negative comment in the press, and am very grateful to my supporters for setting the record straight where ill-informed comments have been posted. I really appreciate your love and support right now.
Photos of yesterday, courtesy of Jane Del-Bianco.