A Memory Triggered

I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning. They have a screen where you can choose to watch TV or have different outdoor scenes etc. I chose Channel 54 on TV. They featured different holiday destinations in Australia. I was surprised to see Echuca, Victoria and the Murray River as I used to live and work there. A paddle steamer was chugging down the river.

I remember I had a job managing a ‘corner store’ that sold just about any convenience foods and takeaway lunches. I worked from 5am to about 10pm at night six days a week. I have never worked so hard in my life! I was twenty at the time and we were living in a tent (true story for another day) in the caravan park adjacent to the store. The owners wanted to take a couple of months holidays and offered us the job with the house behind the business.

On Sundays I would take a ride on the paddle steamer and just stretch out on the bench seat and relax! I had a precious few hours off and I really soaked up that leisure time. When I saw the paddle steamer on the screen this morning, that was what immediately came to mind.

PS No, that is not me on the treadmill 🙂

Living in a tent

Murray River in Echuca (Victoria) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Riverboats on Murray River in Echuca ...

English: Riverboats on Murray River in Echuca (Victoria)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We wanted to get out of Melbourne to breathe the country air and take life at a more leisurely pace. Work was hard to find. My (now ex.) husband got a job at the Bendigo Pottery in Epsom, Victoria. He didn’t know anything about pottery but they showed him how to make Toby Jugs. The work was hard and the days were long. Our house was on a poultry farm – lots and lots of hens laying eggs! My days were lonely and boring so, when the owners offered me some part-time work, I agreed. My responsibility was to clean the eggs. Now just imagine cleaning hundreds of eggs each day. Just ask yourself, what makes them dirty?

Enough said about chooks. My ex landed another job and we moved to Echuca in Victoria. He won a job with the Victorian Railways as a ganger (fettler). He looked after a stretch of rail line with a small team of men. A house was promised right next door to the Railway Station. It wasn’t available straight away so we made good use of our tent and lived in the Echuca Caravan Park for several months. The tent was 12 feet by 18 feet. We set it up with a double bed (a proper one), a fridge and we even had our TV up and running.

It was mostly a good experience. The caravan park is situated next to the Murray River that is prone to flooding on occasions. And yes, it did flood while we were there and we had to evacuate but not for very long. I guess it is easier to evacuate a tent than evacuate a house! There were a lot of brush tail possums living in the area. They would come into our tent during the night scavenging for food! I wasn’t frightened of them at all.

The railway house became available and we moved in. It felt so big after living in a tent! It was on the New South Wales side of the Murray River so it was actually an interstate move of only a few kilometres. When my first son was born I would often take him for a walk in his pram over the big railway bridge into Echuca to go shopping. I was twenty-one at the time 🙂

Until tomorrow