Travel Story: Crazy Paddy

September 5, 2010 · 9 comments

A trip across anywhere will inevitably have you meeting with people, whether you want to or not, and whether they are good, bad or a bit crazy. I had a few encounters across Australia in the mystery machine themed van (naturally…) and one that sticks to mind is an Irish man who introduced himself when I was filling up the campervan with fuel in Esperance, which is in the south east part of Western Australia.

A beach on Esperance

Just when the tank was almost full I heard someone calling at me.

“You there! – That’s a marvelous vehicle”

I turned round and faced the man, he was ancient, thin with heavily weathered skin, clearly this guy has spent a good few years in Australia despite keeping his strong Irish accent.

“Thanks very much, it’s quite a thing isn’t it?”

“Did you paint it yourself? What is it?”

“No it was like this when I got it, It’s the mystery machine, from the cartoon Scooby Doo, we’re driving it across Australia” I replied – the standard answer for those not familiar.

“I have no idea what you’re on about, but you should be careful they don’t take it from you”

“Who?” I questioned a bit puzzled, maybe he meant the police were strict around here.

“The government, they are out to get us here, trust me”

“Er… The Australian government? In this tiny town in the middle of nowhere?”

“Yes, exactly here, they took my land”

“What land?”

“I had 17 acres of farm land up there (pointing at the hills behind us) where I used to grow crops and raise cows, but they took it off me and forced me out”

At this moment I looked up and around, the mystery machine was the only vehicle in the petrol station and this man seemingly just came from around the side, of where there was one very long uphill road with no houses on (the petrol station was on top of a hill in effect). The man wasn’t even out of breath or breaking a sweat, so I couldn’t work out where he actually came from, apart from maybe the outdoor freezer where you can buy ice from. Alex (my travel partner across south Oz) joined in at this point after paying for the fuel and looked just as bemused as me on where this guy came from.

“When was this?” I replied, a little intrigued by this story.

“Like 15 years ago, they hate us Irish niggers here”. Said the very white and pale Man from Western Europe (despite the sagged skin there was little tan).

“Er… OK. So what have you been doing here the past 15 years?”

“Trying to get it back of course! It’s mine I had it for 20 years then they just told me to move!”

“Did they pay you for it?”

“Never mind that, they are out to get us, where are you from anyway?”

“England”

“Ah England, good man, nice to see you out here”

“What was you doing before you had this farm?”

“I was in northern WA where I also had a farm for 20 years, and before that I was farming in Ireland”

“So what are you doing now?”

“Well I’m telling everyone about this incident to raise awareness and we can go against the government then”

“Why don’t you go back to Ireland if you don’t like it here?”

He gave me a confused look as in ‘damn I never even thought of that in the past 15 years I’ve been complaining about it here’

“Well that wouldn’t be right. Anyway I’m off, need to tell more people”

“Nice speaking with you” – he then walked off down the hill in the opposite direction and crossed the road.

“That was weird” I said to Alex.

Alex “Yeah, how old was that guy?”

Me: “Well he has been in Australia for 55 years and before that he was farming in Ireland, so assuming he left there age 20, then he is at least 75 years old now”

“What was his name?”

“No idea”

“Where did he come from?”

“No idea”

We both turned around and tried to watch him walk down the hill (we had a very good view of the road being at the top of it). This was about 10 seconds after he left

“Where did he go????”

“No idea”

We drove down the hill in the direction he walked and never saw him again.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlo September 5, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Nice story Rob, interesting fellow!
Carlo´s latest blogpost – Gravedigging in Halifax PHOTOS

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AdventureRob September 6, 2010 at 1:36 AM

They are always in the most random of places too, although that adds to the charm of them ^_^

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Alouise September 5, 2010 at 5:44 PM

I always meet interesting people, but never a government conspiracy theorist quite like that. Sounds like something from The Twilight Zone.
Alouise´s latest blogpost – Dilemna

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AdventureRob September 6, 2010 at 1:38 AM

You’d think he was on drugs or something, but it did seem like he was making a legit statement, just didn’t want to follow anything up. Personally I think he sold his land and had a mind dump when it comes to remembering that part of it.

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Earl September 6, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Now that’s a bizarre tale. Although, the absolute middle of nowhere Australia sounds like the perfect setting for such an encounter.

How long had you been in the middle of nowhere yourself before ‘seeing’ this guy???
Earl´s latest blogpost – How To Turn Severe Weather Into A Travel Memory

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AdventureRob September 7, 2010 at 2:37 AM

Haha, there was no hallucinations, he was for real, it was in a town just not a very populated one. For some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else had exactly the same story as I do about the guy, he’s probably been doing this for years.

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Giannis September 7, 2010 at 3:15 AM

funny story. i always meet those interesting people on my travel. they can complain all the night, after they drink beer.
complain people , government, world…

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AdventureRob September 7, 2010 at 2:02 PM

They are what make travelling fun though :-) You do tend to find a lot around bars too.

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Benji Leggate - passionate about Margaret Rive September 14, 2010 at 4:16 AM

Sounds interesting. Is there maybe a reason why he was in the middle of no where. This is the beauty of taking a road trip as you never know who you might meet or what gem you might see, especialy if you are not on a tight time frame. I agree that the bars are definately where this type of people congregate.
Benji Leggate – passionate about Margaret Rive´s latest blogpost – The Worlds Best – A Margaret River Chardonnay

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