Stop Thief!

We had a few days break in Perth last week. My husband likes to take his own pillow when we travel. We are in the habit of checking and double-checking whenever we are packing up  to leave to make sure we leave nothing behind.

pillows

I felt quite smug when I noticed he had overlooked his favourite pillow and I rescued it. We put our bags and the pillow in the car prior to checking out. One of the hotel staff observed us as we packed the car. I thought to myself  “I hope he doesn’t think I am stealing this pillow.”

It was only when we arrived home and unpacked that I realised we had an extra pillow that in fact belonged to the hotel. What to do now? Well we rang them and explained and they were going to call back but we haven’t heard from them again!

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Revisiting Melbourne

I first lived in Melbourne in 1972 after I left school. I found work and at different times rented in the City, East Melbourne, West Melbourne and Brunswick. We left Melbourne first in 1980 to go and work in the Northern Territory and then finally said our goodbyes in 1982 when we moved to Western Australia.

I travelled from Western Australia to Victoria dozens of time over the years but didn’t ever stay in Melbourne as my folks lived in the country north of the Melbourne. For a while now I have been hankering for a walk down memory lane. We finally booked a holiday staying in the centre of Melbourne with five days to explore old haunts and recent additions such as Federation Square, Docklands and new shopping malls.

Below is a selection of photos that hold  memories for me.  There are the beautiful arcades, the place where I worked, and the Puffing Billy Steam train in the Dandenong Ranges.

 

Overseas travel

My first trip overseas was to Ubud in Bali in 2004. Prior to that I hadn’t stepped off Australian soil. I was pretty excited about it. We stayed at a lovely resort called Waka di Ume.

We left home at 5.15am and arrived at Denpasar Airport at 11.50am. We met ‘Jan’s Tours’ who transported us to Ubud. The trip was fascinating for me – I was amazed at the number of motor bikes, the different architecture and vast expanses of industry.

The accommodation included a big four-poster bed with mosquito netting all around it. We relaxed and had a lovely meal at their restaurant that evening with a tropical storm brewing outside. It was in their wet season (February 2004).

The next day we experienced the hustle and bustle of the shops/markets but I found the currency very confusing and a bit overwhelming.

The following morning we enjoyed breakfast on our veranda overlooking the rice fields. A stray cat came and spent some time with us.

After breakfast we walked through the village, away from the shops. We found a mixture of temples, rooms to let, people’s homes and small enterprises. The narrow road was moderately busy and yet some women were spreading their grains out on the road and traffic had to go around them. Some people were doing their washing in the drains (after the good rains the previous day) and the clothes were then laid out on the grass to dry.

I had heard a lot about massages in Bali and decided to have one at a place close to where we were staying. It was not what I expected and there was a communication problem. No real harm was done but I was really pleased to get out of there.

Our time was mostly spent reading, relaxing, eating and enjoying the swimming pool. Bali was very quiet when we were there. It was not long after the Bali bombings when several Australians were killed. People had stopped coming but not for long – I believe it is back to being a very popular holiday spot for Australians. It is only about five hours flight time from Perth to Denpasar.

My next trip was to Singapore and that was a very different experience, including some karaoke!

A clumsy jump into retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

The post below was written for an exercise in my creative writing class.

I can’t do it any longer. It will kill me if I keep going. After all, it is only a job and there must be more to life than going through the motions and playing the games. The pay and conditions are good but they don’t make up for the emptiness of the soul in doing something that no-one cares about.

The games – well they aren’t much fun. They are word games mostly. The government agrees to being a party to a strategy or initiative. Each year some lonely public servant checks what promises were made and provides some affirmative words to demonstrate that, yes, we, the government have really done something about it. It is written down in black and white weasel words, so it must be accountable. If it is not written down, there may be hell to pay.

I worked for the Office for Women’s Policy – in fact I was the last of the team to resign – I don’t think it is called that anymore. The issues considered were important but they got lost in the midst of political battles and point scoring. Either that or they got stuck in the mud of bureaucracy. For six months I worked on a cabinet submission to encourage greater participation of women on government boards. There was no appetite for this. The public cry was that women shouldn’t be supported to get on boards. After all, men don’t get support – they get appointed on merit. What – are you suggesting that every man on a board has more skills, knowledge and experience than the average female applicant? No, that doesn’t hold water.

Working full-time meant I left home at 7.30am each morning and got home at around 5.30pm each evening. I had little energy to enjoy my leisure time. Work consumed me. Some people can switch off after a day at the office but to me it was personal. The quality of my life was questionable.

We got away for weekends down south as often as we could. I couldn’t wait to get hold of the local papers and check out the real estate pages. We looked at houses and drove down the streets of Busselton and wondered what it would be like to live there. We dined out and pretended we were locals – could we make it a reality?

Unbeknown to me, Tom had done some research online about Busselton. I found a brochure in the mail one day about a Lifestyle Village in Broadwater, close to the beach. I didn’t pay much attention to it but suggested that we could have a look at it next time we were in Busselton. On our next visit we met with the sales rep and looked at a few houses on the Saturday. We decided to have a second look on the Sunday and took away a package of information to consider.

In no time at all, we signed the contract for our new home. We had three months to sell our Perth property. We put it on the market and it sold after thirteen days. Crunch time came at work – it wasn’t difficult to leave as I mentioned earlier, I was the last of the team to abandon ship. I was lucky to be able to keep a tenuous link to my job in case the experiment didn’t work out – this was six months leave without pay.

I haven’t looked back. I didn’t decide to retire – I just jumped out of the workforce when the opportunity presented itself. Now, five years later, I am still considering what my next act will be.

Weekly photo challenge: Adventure

DSC00561In 2008 we visited England and Ireland. I had a day to myself and decided to go on a guided tour. Passengers boarded the coach at a central location and we visited St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and other key London sites. Part of the journey was by boat to the Tower of London.

The details are a bit foggy now but I remember we were told to be ready to board the coach at 5.00pm (after the visit to the Tower of London) at a designated location (a tree near a cafe). Now I thought I understood the instructions but I obviously wasn’t paying enough attention as I was waiting (with another lady) under a different tree near a different cafe.

When 5.00pm came and went I realised something must be wrong. I had the tour brochure in my bag so I called them to find out what was happening. The coach had departed the Tower at 5.00pm as scheduled so I was left to find my way back to where we were staying.

I started walking and I had absolutely no sense of direction – whether I was getting closer to the centre of London or wandering further and further away. I was determined to get back to our apartment without seeking help. I saw a sign for the Underground and was able to buy a ticket and get home much easier than I thought possible. It was probably even quicker than the bus!

That was a memorable adventure! And now I listen to instructions, well sometimes I do …

My old HR Holden

In 1988 I was slapped with an “un-roadworthy Certificate”, locally known as a Yellow Sticker, on my faithful old Holden HR station wagon. The police demanded I repair the vehicle  before I drove it on the road again, but I couldn’t afford it at the time,. I was about to leave Perth anyway, to go to live in Newman in the Pilbara Region, so I wouldn’t be needing my car.

I was very sorry to let go of that car as we had traveled lots of kilometres without any problems at all. I wasn’t actually driving it when the police put it off the road. A girl friend was minding it for me while I was interstate.

There is another sad story as she was looking after my cat as well. Now it wasn’t her fault for either of the catastrophes – it was just really unfortunate  that my cat was hit by a car and didn’t survive. It is very difficult to stop cats from roaming! As you can imagine, it was a big shock when I got back home to Perth. I felt sorry for my friend as she was so upset about what had happened!

I got $200 for my car and bought a push bike with the money  🙂

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