Sunday morning at Balgo in the Kimberley, the wind ripping past in a cold gale of dust and smoke. Wirrimanu, the name of this place, means ‘dirty wind’. White plastic shopping bags pulse and inflate, struggling against the twigs and wire that restrain them. My view down the magnificent plunge of the pound is intercepted by the gridded weld-mesh cage enclosing the verandah, and again by the three-metre-high cyclone mesh fence surrounding the compound. An insufficient barrier, as it turns out, to the entry of determined petrol sniffers. They have been in during the night and have opened all the jerry cans in the back of my car. Slippers, the dog who sleeps in the tray, has clearly made them welcome. I am carrying only diesel and water, and the sniffers have taken nothing, leaving a small stone on the lid of the toolbox as a gesture of – what? – irony, defiance, humour?