SHANE PINNEGAR – WRITER
Chef Shane’s excellent FNWA adventure – November 2019
Where to start with Chef Shane’s Excellent Far North WA Adventure… (mega update warning!)
For those who don’t know, I’m working in Derby, Far North Western Australia, running a restaurant called Neaps Bistro at the Derby Lodge Apartments. This opportunity fell in my lap when an ole work colleague of Lady Boomboom asked (several months ago) if I might theoretically be interested in filling in when the chef up here was on leave. Nek minute (6 or so weeks later) her hubby requested an urgent meeting and just over 24 hours later I was on a plane to Broome.
As I stood in Broome airport waiting for my bag to come round the magic bag dispenser, a dude with an impressive face mullet, hair in a pony tail, wearing a Mezcaltones t-shirt and a big ole grin, strode up to me and said “Are you Shane?” I gave him a Cheshire Cat grin and thought to myself, we’re gonna get along juuuuuuuuust fiiiiiiiiiine! Eddie runs The Derby Lodge with his wife Janene. Excellent people.
That was 20th October, and my stint filling in for the staffing crisis for a week or two has blown out to a month, with us looking past Christmas towards the end of January now. It’s a huge job – 50-60 hours a week, patchy internet, redesigning the wheel from scratch almost as the previous incumbents of the role left barely a single scrap of paper regarding procedures, ordering or anything much of anything. We’ve had problems with unreliable and/or inexperienced staff, I’m still trying to get my head around ordering enough of everything five days in advance (how long it takes to be trucked up from down south), but we’re mostly going splendidly and the word is out that the food is top shelf.
It’s been excruciatingly difficult being separated from Lady Boomboom and Los Poochos Scorchos. It’s the most time I have spent apart from any of them ever, since we’ve been together. I’ve also missed a bunch of concerts and film previews that I REALLY wanted to see, but sacrifices had to be made – sometimes you gotsta go where the money is. Things have been made more difficult by some intermittent, confusing and potentially manipulative contact with the maliciously estranged daughter. When you’re homesick and lonely, that shit cuts even deeper than normal.
That said, coming north has been a very rewarding experience. I have respect and autonomy, and give that to the management and staff as well. Treat others as you would like to be treated, address issues like an adult, be positive, help them to grow and learn and together you’re stronger than you could have otherwise hoped. Basic really – no idea why so many people and venues get it wrong.
The internet and mobile network up here has been patchy at best, so I have a tsunami of emails and messages I haven’t managed to respond to or action. Sorry, folks. Doing my best.
We had a few days together at Blues At Bridgetown, and we are counting the moments until a week in Bali in eleven days – which will be the start of Lady Boomboom’s 50th birthday celebrations. (Her birthday is Australia Day, 26th January, but we couldn’t take a week then as she will have only just started her shiny shiny new job 2-3 weeks prior). We have our house to pack, get ready for renting out, and get our lives moved to live in Kalgoorlie, and it looks like Tru will be handling most of that alone, like the legend she is. In fact she will probably be in our new home in Kal for two weeks before I even step foot in it on Boxing Day!!! If I’m still up here at the end of January, then I’ll bring her up to Broome for a few days for her 50th as a celebration of her settling into her new job in The Goldfields!! Her in The Goldfields, me in The Kimberley – who’da thought?!?!
I couldn’t do it without her support, and without regular time together to look forward to. Love conquers all.
So here I am, there you all are, and life is very different for now. It’s a finite thing, of course. Ultimately they need a full timer who lives up here, and I will return to my life – albeit relocated to a new town. I have my second novel to finish editing and publish, my third 1/3 written, and another one in development stage. The only writing I have managed up here has been menus so far!