Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sunday, 26th Feb, 1837

What exactly, I cannot help but ask, is the matter with the Captain of the "Tam O'Shanter"? Whiteman Freeman is his name and I am astonished by the man's incompetence.

The ship left England at the same time as we did on the Buffalo, but whereas we took a leisurely, pleasant cruise out here, the "Tam O'Shanter" rushed with unseemly haste and arrived at Kingscote more than a month before we did. Over seventy settlers on board and I doubt any of them had a chance to put their feet up and relax as we did. What is the point, I ask, of being on board a ship if you can't take the time to enjoy it?

The Tam O'Shanter

Be that as it may, after a few days at Kingscote the ship proceeded to Holdfast Bay and then Freeman, using all his navigational skill, tried to enter the Port River and promptly ran aground on a sandbar, the poltroon. Thanks to his stupidity it took four days just to refloat her, followed, once we managed to get her tied up safely, by two months of repairs. So this week he set off again and be buggered if the buggery bollocks didn't run her aground on the same bebuggered sandbar as before.

So now we are faced with refloating her and assessing the damage before repairing her all over again.

Damn and blast Whiteman Freeman to the fires of Hell! How he ever got his Captain's papers and commission I do not know, but I suspect he bought them at a cut rate price. The bastard son of a bastard dunderknoll!

We nearly lost the Marines earlier in the week. (That word "nearly" pains me as I write it.) They set out early in the morning to cut timber for my new residence and by late afternoon had not returned. They had taken sandwiches and a cake made by Widow Harvey, so naturally we feared for their lives. By early evening, when they still had not returned, we took to firing the guns on board the Buffalo in order to help them find their way. Naturally there was talk of them being taken by the natives, although I assured all that if the Natives did take the Marines they would certainly bring them back once they saw what a load of shoddy goods they had stolen.

Finally there was the sound of gun fire on the beach and the Marines appeared.... drunk and with no wood cut, but full of stories of what a grand day they had had. It appears that the highlight was target shooting using Lucrezia's cakes as skeet.

While we had been home worrying ourselves sick they had been off roistering and having a high old time. It is clear they display a level of irresponsibility and foolishness unique in my experience. Perhaps we could give them to the natives.

The building of Government House has made little progress I am sorry to say. The Marines have been the abject failure I predicted and I am no closer to moving off the Buffalo than I was a month ago. They have assured me that they are "making progress with the plans" and have, rather proudly, shown me their architectural drawing for Government House. I attach it here without comment.

The Marine's Final plan for Government House
The colony has had to avail itself of the stores on board the Buffalo due to a shortfall in supplies of food. One thousand pounds of flour, five hundred and sixty pound of sugar and two chests of tea have been transferred from ship to shore. The tea was of good quality and the sugar only a little adulterated with sand, but the flour, I am afraid to say, was through and through infested by weevils. Still, the oven kills them, they add flavour and as a source of fresh meat they make a change from possum and parrot.

I am in two minds about the arrangement. In my position as Governor of the colony I am disappointed at the high cost that we were forced to pay for these supplies. The Provisioner  of  the Buffalo drove a hard bargain, knowing that we had no choice but to pay him his extortionate rates. However, in my position as Provisioner of the Buffalo I am glad to say I scored a handsome profit and of the portion of the Colony funds still residing under my bed a goodly wad of it has moved to under my mattress.

Fortunately by having less provisions on board there is less opportunity for Widow Borgia to carry out her dreadful trade. "Derbyshire Dumplings" and "Cheshire Puftaloons" have crossed our plates this week and our lives are, no doubt, richer for the experience. We survived and are stronger for it.

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