You make dust from sand – 17th January 2018

Each night shift I usually head out for my second coffee at around 10.30pm.  Obviously, there’s no coffee shops open but luckily the OTR service stations are 24/7 – their catchphrase is ‘We never close’.  Their coffee is not great but the caffeine quota is perfect.

There is an OTR about 15 minutes walk from the office so I can get a little exercise for bonus points too.  The first time I went there I just followed the main road which was a little dull and unexciting, as trucks roared past on their night runs from warehouses to stores and others returned home from their evening adventures.

I looked at the map and found a parallel back street that is a million miles away from the dull orangey-yellow flourescence of the main road.  The street lighting here is whiter and paler and mostly blocked out by trees.  Some places are pitch black underfoot and you have to step heavily to avoid tripping on pavers raised by the roots of the trees.  The other thing you notice is the quiet.  No one is around, not even cats seem to bother with this street.  You get a nervous excitement when someone else is walking on the street, will I get stabbed or punched or who knows.  I generally call out a ‘hey’ as I pass and usually just receive a surprised grunt in return.  Oh well.

Halfway down is one the opposite side I usually walk, there is a graveyard.  I didn’t think too much about it until one night I decided to take some pictures.  Some folks had decorated their relatives graves in Christmas lights which offers a jolly juxtaposition.  I considered how some people find graveyards spooky but I think that is a result of the gothic architecture of some of the memorial stones.  I mean what could happen here – everyone is dead already.

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There’s a nice graveyard near where I live.  Actually, Adelaide seems to be full of graveyards when I think about it.  Anyway, this one is almost like a landscaped park, sectioned off to cater to different ethnicities, cultures and religions.  Not so much of the olde Euro-gothic stonework.  I had a nice walk around there one evening, only saddened when I came across a marker for someone who had died young.  I thought about the lives these people lived, what they may have seen, which parts of the world they came from to get to Australia.  I used to look at people in random non-descript places, walking the street or wandering the shops, and zap myself into their heads and try to look through their eyes and take on their entire histories that brought them to this place, right here, right now.  A momentary flash of an existence that someone else lived, though nothing you can hold on to and maintain.  Now I mostly just ponder my own existence and how someone I never met or knew might browse my death mark one day and wonder about my life.  Round and round we go.

I was reminded of the times a few of us used to hang out drinking in a graveyard in Bournemouth before we would head to see a show at Capone’s just across the street.  The time when we had finished school forever and took our old textbooks there, burned them on an old grave and then got drunk to celebrate our freedom.

But down this street there is little sign of life and to me, it is the perfect playground for childish mischief.  But no kids are about, no underage drinkers in the park or graveyard, barely a barking dog or passing car.  Is everyone tucked up nice and early in their neat clean houses, living the dream?  Will I be doing that in my little piece of paradise being built in Thailand?

Talking of which, Amy was overrun with paint charts today, having to decide tonight the colours that would be in and outside our house.  She asked my opinion, and I’m pretty easy, so I just said paint everything inside white.  This is far too boring for her but she can’t tell if any colours that she does choose will work because it’s just too hard to imagine right now.  Again, as a typical man looking for a quick solution, I told her to choose what she wants and if it doesn’t work out we can just repaint it later, no problem.  I think by the time she went to bed she still hadn’t picked anything for the indoor colours.

Defanged and declawed – 16th January 2018

As I was walking from my desk to the kitchen in the office, I got this sudden urge to kick a football.  I almost took a swing at invisible ball mid-stride.  Do you know that feeling when the ball strokes your foot at the perfect point and shoots off ferociously towards an imaginary goal, avoiding the desperate stretch of the imaginary keeper?  Since school days I mostly did this by myself against a brick wall.  When I’m settled in Thailand again I’ll have to get a football and then all I’ll need is the brick wall.

I was on the school football team from middle school until I left high school, aged 16.  I was pretty passionate about it for a while there.  Actually, I was passionate about it until I came to Australia really.  There wasn’t much of a league going on at that time and there were no live games or much in the way of replays from England then either.  I got interested in cricket for a while, especially as Australia couldn’t lose a game for trying for a while there.  But Australian Rules football ended up being my new passion, but that’s another story.

In middle school, the best players from years 1 and 2, and from years 3 and 4 would make up the school teams.  This was a big honour if you were in the lower year of the two but, as is the way of school kids, everyone stuck to just being friendly with kids in their year.  Even though you had the privilege to play with the older kids against other schools, no one talked to you.

In the summer break between years 3 and 4, I had been picked to go to a soccer selection camp but as the date drew nearer I lost my nerve and told my mum I was too sick to go.  I’m not sure why I felt like this now.  Was I too shy, too scared, too insecure?  It’s possible I missed a great opportunity and my football coach at school was disappointed when I told him I didn’t attend.  I’d like to say I paid him back by helping us win every game and scoring lots of goals that year but to be honest I can’t remember now.

In high school, I maintained a place in the team as the centre-forward but I recall us losing more games than we won.  I don’t recall scoring too often either.  The worst, although possibly the best, memory is when we played another school that just didn’t give a shit. We tried so hard and they just kept kicking the ball back and laughing at everything we did and everything they did too.  They cracked up at each other’s mistakes and unbelievably ended up beating us something like 3 goals to 2.  I think I knew it was over then.  Football wasn’t for me.  Particularly as my only other memory is playing in a hail storm and though we stopped the game, there was nowhere to hide as those painful little pellets peppered our faces and legs.  Fuck that for a game of football.

Our inter-school games were on Saturdays and I used to ride my bicycle the 4 miles to town and then up the hill to school.  It was around this time I started getting into music very seriously.  Our tiny local record store, which still thrives to this day, would attempt to track down rare imports from America for me.  I would bring them lists of records I’d heard about in borrowed copies of Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll or that were occasionally mentioned in Sounds or NME.  I can’t clearly remember the day picking up Bad Brains 12″ on Alternative Tentacles and Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’ album on Unicorn.  Our football game was in the late morning this day and I picked up these records before riding up to school.  It was a bit of an annoyance to have to lug them around with me but I was so excited I couldn’t help looking at the covers as we travelled on the bus to our away game.

I recall nothing about the football game that day and know that when I got home I would hide the records under my shirt as my mother was sure to ask where I got the money from to buy them.  Well, mum, that lunch money you gave me….  never had a lunch in the whole 3 years I was in high school.  I would beg and borrow pennies from my friends and just eat a couple of lollies from the ice cream van.  This may explain why I became such a skinny-ass weakling and my lack of enthusiasm for playing sports so much around this time.

Those two records I bought that day had such a huge impact on me.  Black Flag spoke directly to me somehow, even though they were singing about getting beatings from the LAPD and I was sulking because my mother made me do my homework.  ‘No More’, ‘Room 13’, ‘Depression’, ‘Padded Cell’, the intensity, the passion, the violence!  I was 15 at the time – hearing those songs now will take me right back to then.

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With Indian ink, a needle and the aid of a mirror I tattooed myself the bars, smart enough not to reverse them in the reflection.  It wasn’t until years later in Australia that I got them tattooed properly and they sit proudly on my upper right arm, a reminder of who I am and where I am now.

I did a whole bunch of my own tattoos with a simple needle and ink, though all but a few have been covered over with more professional art since.  I was partly inspired by a heavy metal girl at school whose name I now forget.  She was mad as fuck, not to be messed with and had ‘666’ tattooed on her forehead, though hidden by her ginger hair.  I later heard she became a born-again Christian though I’m guessing that might’ve been someone’s idea of a joke.

My own dodgy work, including ‘LIFE IS PAIN, I WANT TO BE INSANE’ (again Black Flag-inspired, more specifically a tattoo that adorns their singer Henry Rollins) seems to have served me quite well in some instances.  Whilst they might’ve been a reason for a beating when I was younger, these days it tends to keep people at bay and an indicator not to mess with me.  Which is amusing because I generally will run a mile from any trouble anyway.  I’m also a pretty friendly guy too.  These days I tend to actually like people.

Thinking about tattoos also reminds me of a couple of experiences in China.  The first I was walking through some back allies in Beijing, just enjoying the experience of being lost.  I ended up a small square with just a couple of older folks around.  One guy was pulling a cart along and stopped to look at me out of curiosity.  As I got closer he reached out and grabbed my arm and just ran his hand up and down my tattoo, laughing in wonder.  I laughed with him for a minute before we both went on our way, realising we had no other form of communication to take this encounter any further.

The other time I was travelling with a bunch of Aussies from all walks of life, as part of a dragon boat team.  One of the ladies was an Occupational Health and Safety officer, hard to say how old she was, but she seemed much older than me.  Even now, I feel most of the people I meet are older than me, perhaps a refusal to believe that I am not in my early 20s anymore.  This lady looked at my tattoos and started asking questions about them and then finished the conversation with ‘You’ll regret them when you’re older.’  I was 41 at the time.

My tattoos are my own historical document.  Memories for me to consider, a past to ponder.  Anyway, as I often tell people, ‘They come off when you die.’

Amy is getting excited and it’s infectious.  We have some locals building our fences and as we’ve given them no time frame they’ve arranged themselves a party table in our garden where they can kick back after a days work with BBQ and whisky.  Apparently, around 5pm cool breezes waft across the valley and it’s a perfect indicator that it’s time for a relaxing icy cold drink of your preference.

The Burmese builders have finished building their shacks and have also set themselves up a party table, though for them it’s also their breakfast, lunch and dinner table.  Our house is a party house before it’s even complete.  I get the feeling the locals might still come around to party after they’ve finished here too.

Amy is choosing wall paint colours, inside and out and looking more seriously at bathroom fittings now.  It’s exciting, though as we discuss, a little weird as almost everything should be complete by the time I get there.  I can just breeze in and go to bed in a brand new home.  I hope, anyway.

Poison in a pretty pill – 15th January 2018

One of the very few nights I managed to sleep the recommended amount of hours and so far, I feel suitably alert.  That could soon change after a couple of hours staring numbly at this computer screen.

It’s Monday morning and it’s been a while since I was working a regular day shift.  Night times and weekends it’s so quiet here it makes you nervous to even sneeze.  It’s somewhat comforting to hear the bustle of work and the earnestness of people discussing technical solutions.

One thing that I have developed as a pet peeve though is the absolute authoritative statement.  There are a few folks here who talk as if their word is definitive and their tone implies that there is no point to discuss anything further.  How can people be so secure in their knowledge of the world, of everything, that they already know that they cannot be convinced otherwise?  This shows me a stagnant mind.  No room to grow, no room to learn.

These people are usually men and usually older.  Though it’s even more excruciating to hear younger men talking like this, you can almost hear their minds closing up already, sealing shut.  The older men’s voices sound authoritative and dead.  A resignation that things just won’t get better.  ‘Things were better in my day’.  Maybe it’s the work environment, some kind of unsaid competition.  I never want to subscribe to this thinking, despite sometimes catching myself doing the same.  I think I avoid it mostly and it is a reason little kids like me so much, they can recognise the essentially childish wonder I have, the interest in the details, the awe of the world.

This attitude seems less prevalent in women and the one or two times I have come across it, it has been scary.  I’m not a macho kind of person.  I was raised by my mother after my father died when I was 18 months old.  I naturally learned the female perspective, a different view of things.  I fought against this as a teenager, trying to put my own stamp on my personality and eventually on the other side of it, became more comfortable in a more feminine environment.  I generally prefer the less competitive company of females.  I’m not into cars, muscles, action movies and getting pissed with the boys.  Not that I have rejected everything masculine – I can still be a beer drinking, sports-loving yahoo from time to time but mostly I enjoy these things alone where I can make an ass of myself, just to myself.

The Crass album ‘Penis Envy’ also made a big impression on my developing teenage mind too.

Sordid sequences in brilliant life!
Supports, and props, and punctuation
To our flowing realities and realisations
We’re talking with words that have been used before
To describe us as goddesses, mothers and whores
Describe us as women, to describe us as men
Set out the rules of this ludicrous game
And then it’s played very carefully, a delicate balance;
A masculine/feminine perfect alliance
Does the winner take all? What love in your grasping?
What vision is left, and is anyone asking?

I still had lots of growing pains when it came to love, sex and relationships with women though.  I could be a master manipulator when I wanted to be. There are things I have done in the past that I now wish I hadn’t but I must acknowledge they were part of my own learning process and got me here where I am today.  It takes a lot of effort to be 100% true to your convictions and there are times when we fail.  Things aren’t always black and white.

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The last few days my phone calls with Amy have been pretty short.  There’s never much to report on my side and work on our house has slowed somewhat now.

I’ve been thinking about this period of time that I’ve been in Adelaide, away from Amy.  It’s never felt like you imagine a long distance relationship to be.  The goal we are working towards keeps us bound together completely.  Just because we don’t see each other every day doesn’t mean we are not together.  This is helped by our own securities, something that I may not have had the strength to contemplate when I was younger though.

I am already visualising looking back on this time as some kind of dream.  It’s just something I’m doing rather than something I’m being.  It was a bit of struggle before and during Christmas but with the turn of the new year, it finally feels like a countdown to the realisation of our plans.

Writing up the diary entries for 1994 has made me think about why I don’t really enjoy Christmas and new year celebrations.  I’m not a big birthday or holiday celebrator in the first place and have often been alone at these times but looking back at the events at the end of 1993 I wonder how much of an impact they have made on my psyche.  It’s not something I’ve really consciously considered for a long time.  It’s also not that I mind joining in celebrations either, though I don’t find anything particularly special about certain dates to participate in them – let’s enjoy ourselves every day.  A cliche, I know.

 

Sleep in safety – 14th January 2018

After my last night shift ended on Friday morning I managed to force myself to stay awake until about 5pm, with the aid of cheap coffees from the local service station.  I chucked down a couple of Panadeine in the hope they would ensure I didn’t wake up wide awake at 2am and they worked a treat.  I’d forgotten to take my alarm setting off from last week so I was gently awoken at 5.50am to a mellow Beastie Boys tune.  I picked up the phone and noticed Amy had sent a message whilst I was asleep.  The message was a little disconcerting:

“If I died tomorrow just do what you want to do OK.  Life is just today we don’t know what will happen.”

I still wanted to sleep some more but these words tumbled in and out of my consciousness.  What motivated these words with no context at all?  There was nothing I could do to answer this question right now and eventually I fell back to sleep for a few more hours.

Later she called me after she had just woken up.  She sounded sleepy but happy.  I asked her about her message and she told me she’d received some bad news about her school friend Fah.

I’ve met Fah a few times on previous visits to Thailand.  An attractive girl who loves to eat and drink in nice places and works for Thai Airways.  Last year she complained of stomach aches and went to the doctor to have some tests done.  They discovered she had cancer and that it was quite advanced already but still hoped to be able to treat it with chemotherapy.  She started that treatment but was often not healthy enough to be able to do it.  The bad news came this week that they found the cancer advanced to her pancreas and that is was untreatable.  She might only have 6 more months to live.  6 months ago she was fine (as far as she knew).

Amy said Fah’s parents were with her at the hospital in Bangkok and I mentioned how tragic it is for a parent to have to watch their child in pain and to lose them.  Amy told me that Fah’s only sibling, her brother, was killed in a car crash years ago when he was just 11 years old.

I thought of my mother and how I hoped that she wouldn’t have to go through anything like this.  She already lost her husband, my father, when I was just 18 months old.  I thought of my son and how I hoped that I wouldn’t have to go through anything like this too.

Amy and I agreed that she should go and visit Fah as soon as possible.   There’s nothing one can do, nothing one can say, except to give each other comfort.

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It’s interesting to be posting my old diary entries – I haven’t read them since they were written.  I can look back at certain events with a more distant eye and reflect on what my true motivations were at the time and ultimately how trivial they seem now that they are in the past.  It was so serious to me at the time.  I guess that’s the wisdom of age.

Right now though, I’m struggling with concentration and direction.  I can’t get all my thoughts out quick enough and will have to come back and try again tomorrow.

Born annoyed – 10th January 2018

Gah!  As I was dozing off after night shift this morning I came up with a good narrative to write about.  I was struggling to remember it but then realised it was based on something I’d written already, so with knowing I could just reference that as a reminder I drifted off to sleep contentedly.  Now I’m here and ready to write I can neither remember it nor find reference to it – whatever ‘it’ was!  I’ll have another go in a minute.

My brain is always vomiting up mad ideas, some of which I get to pursue and often fail at but mostly they get dispensed to lost parts of my memory – possibly for the best.  This is particularly amplified by the constant grogginess of shift work hours.  Right now I don’t need any more ideas.

One day I may indulge myself in the pursuit of meditative silence but it’s never really been my style.  Give me speed and LSD over a spliff and valium any day.  I do wish I could sometimes turn off the noise when I’m trying to sleep though.  I also wish I could’ve turned off all the negative content that plagued me when I was younger.  But here I am now, some wisdom intact but with the body nearer decay.

Just got off the phone with Amy, our first catchup on her day’s news.  As I’ve been asleep and pretty much just come straight to work I don’t have much to say.  Amy is a good talker though and I provide input where I can.

Our house is all walled and sealed now and a new set of workers are coming in to start working on the finishing details.  These workers are transient homeless Burmese cheap labour.  Tough willing youngsters going wherever the money is.  They build a mini slum for themselves to live in onsite and drink cheap whiskey when their day is finished.

This has brought up Amy’s safety as an issue though.  She has been travelling to the house before sunrise to water plants and trees before the day gets too hot.  The location of our house is a little out of sight from the road and it’s basically just a small village anyway, so never many people around.

Now that the workers will be living onsite there is potential for trouble and something we need to consider to avoid.  Amy will need to be there at certain times to advise on specifics for the workers so we’re not sure how we’ll go about this yet.  Her mum and dad are both busy with other things during the day so not really available to come act as security guards either.

Note that we both doubt that anything bad may happen but in this circumstance, we want to be extra cautious.  If something were to occur it would be everlastingly associated with this house.  It also makes me think more about security ongoing.  We are planning on security lights and maybe a camera or two.  I also want to get a dog at some point too but that will have to wait until I am settled in too.

The community around is already curious about this strange house being built.  Only strange by Thai standards, it’s fairly basic by western standards.  But anything new is great for village gossip and rumour.  We will want to make friends with everyone around but also don’t want people up in our business.  I think it’s more likely for me to end up closer to those around if I can help or assist with things in any way.  I’m actually quite looking forward to that aspect of this new life.  It doesn’t matter if the locals think I’m strange, I’ll just be a crazy foreigner.  For Amy though they are likely to be more judgemental.

As I alluded to yesterday, there are certain traditions and customs that we won’t be adhering to such as a big housewarming for family, friends and neighbours.  No spirit house at the entrance.  This has already been an issue of discussion with Amy’s parents.  Whilst I think these are just a quaint custom and don’t really have an objection to them as they have no other meaning for me, for many traditional Thais they are seen as a necessity to provide spiritual protection and prayers are said as you drive or walk past, supposedly.  Of course, I don’t buy into that and Amy completely rejects it.  I think her rejection is a show to other Thai people that you can’t depend on luck and fate and other forms of woo to bring you what you want.  She sees it in her friends, the friends who say how lucky Amy is to be able to have done the things she has done and is doing in her life.  Amy knows full work that she has worked her ass off to do these things and it has nothing to do with luck.

Perhaps some of her friends also think I am some kind of rich sugar daddy, as foreigners are often seen but again both Amy and I know that this is not the case and we are doing what we have to do to get where we want.

This was another thing we discussed tonight as we talk about her friends who are constantly disappointed with their lives.  How their lives are in debt and loveless, their exes having gone on to brighter things with other partners.  These are beautiful looking women who find the quick and empty highs of expensive purchases and credit card holidays.  Their online personas at odds with their inner turmoil.  We have tried advising them on better approaches from time to time and almost everyone comes to talk with ‘Auntie’ Amy for advice but she gets tired of watching people make the same mistakes over and over again.  Why come for advice if don’t accept it.  Obviously, it is more complicated than that but perhaps obviously, it isn’t.

We don’t sit around thinking we are better than everyone else but we can see that we are happier and I think one of the reasons is that when we met we were both at points in our lives where we were happy with ourselves.  Even now, if anything happened to break up our relationship, we both know that we would be able to carry on, maintaining the happiness in ourselves.  We love each other, we want each other but we don’t need each other.  I think some people want and expect too much from themselves, their partners and their lives.  When I was younger, I did too.  It’s a course set for unhappiness and an unfulfilling life.

Our second call of the night, before Amy goes to sleep, revolved around our cats – our default topic when there isn’t much left to talk about.

Soon after Amy moved in we decided to get a cat.  Amy left several of her cats at her mother’s house but they were reluctantly looked after.  Unfortunately, they all passed away by the time Amy moved back.  I hadn’t had a pet since leaving home, more than 20 years previous.

We lived next to a shopping centre that had a pet store and we were smitten with a kitten on display there.  This was before discovering much about pet shop animals and pet farming practices, something soon to be highlighted by how sick our new pet was in the first 3 or 4 years of his life.

Our new resident happily adjusted himself as we did too, to have this other thing living in our space.  A purebred rag doll, as a coffee fan, I crowned him Cappuccino.  He has been a beautiful pain in the ass ever since.

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About a year later, a little concerned that one cat might be lonely on its own we thought what fun it would be to get another little bastard.  This time we went to the RSPCA and found a little tiny handful of fluff Amy named Tigger.  It soon became apparent that these two boys were not going to be great friends.  Like chalk and cheese, Cappuccino is an expensive and fussy prince whilst Tigger is a doesn’t-give-a-shit street cat.  Tigger soon became the fat cat, hoovering up any food left lying around, often times just pushing Cappuccino out of the way to get to his food too. Capp would wander about graciously, always complaining he was hungry so we had to devise ways to stop Tigger from being renamed the Vacuum Cleaner.  He would often eat so fast, without chewing and biting anything that he would throw it all back up again 5 minutes later.  Which of course, meant he was hungry again.

Tigger was adventurous enough to take a plunge off our first-floor balcony one day and we desperately searched our whole block for him but he must’ve hidden himself away somewhere.  The following evening, as we sat in our apartment, we could hear little pathetic cat cries from outside. We dashed outside and a scared little Tigger was hiding in the bushes and took some coaxing to come out again.  The first thing he did when we got inside was the dash to the litter tray and dump a great big shit in there for us.  He must’ve been holding it the whole time waiting until he found a litter tray again.  I think Capp secretly enjoyed the house to himself again briefly and maybe even encouraged the original jump or perhaps providing a little push himself.

Tigger took another jump into the unknown a few months later as a bird flew past him but luckily Amy was there watching whilst it happened.  She ran out and quickly retrieved him.  As he became fatter and lazier I think he decided he was getting fed well enough not to go chasing after more food.

Cappuccino became a favourite visitor at the vets, where we handed over piles of dollars on a regular basis to try and fix his urinary issues.  Finally, we eunuched him and he is pretty much a girl now.  But this wouldn’t be his last time to get to travel in the car to various places, him screaming himself hoarse in displeasure.

Cappuccino had been recommended to get his teeth cleaned as they were getting a bit mucky so we had to drop him to the vet in the morning where he would be sedated, teeth cleaned, and awake for us to pick up later in the afternoon.  All was well until later that evening. We’d heard a bit of growling and hissing from the other room and a while later Capp sauntered into the kitchen and gave his usual cry to be fed.  I noticed his mouth was red though and forced his jaws open to reveal a mouth full of blood and half his tongue flapping loose.  It was too late for the vet so it was off to emergency.  As Capp didn’t seem too bothered by his new multiple tongues, the vet there advised to wait and take him to the normal vet in the morning, giving him a quick shot of painkillers in the meantime.

So back in the car again, the vet surprised to see her favourite customer and us sad walking wallets again.  And lucky boy, he gets to stay overnight again – his favourite thing in the world.  We had the choice to just leave his tongue as it was as it would probably heal up but just remain flapping around.  This didn’t seem like a great idea as it could easily get bitten again whilst he was eating.  So with a stitch or two, he was fixed again.  But not for long.

Capp would often try to exert his authority in the house but without realising that he probably wasn’t the boss, and Tigger would stand for none of it.  He would take a swipe at Tigger who would then swipe back, a chase might occur and then two rolling balls of fur would explode for a few seconds before they retreated to their corners of safety.  This happened about once a week and it was common to come home to patch of carpets covered in big chunks of Capps white hair, Tigger often with telltale signs of white hair around his lips.  So we didn’t think much one night when it happened again.

This time though Capp was squinting with one eye and which was weeping down his face.  When we looked closer we could see a big white area on his eye and a little bit of blood.  We usually err on the side of caution but his regular visits to emergency vets were meaning we might have to take up second jobs.  We gave it the night to see how it would be in the morning and of course, it was worse.  Out came the carrier again which quickly sees him disappear and then the screaming starts.

The vet had a look and poked around a bit and we could see that the white area was a deep cut across his eye.  She stuck some antibiotic and painkilling liquid in there and advised to come back in a couple of days.  Oh great – we have to go through all this again in a couple of days.  Here, just take my debit card and pin number.

That couple of days later, with no real sign of improvement, we were recommended an animal eye specialist about an hour away.  Our first visit there the next day and the doctor offered a couple of solutions, one expensive and another very expensive.  Or, he said, we could just leave it and see what happens but that might mean losing the eye if things go badly quickly.  The doctor could see that was reluctant to make a decision there and then and so advised to come back a week later.  He did the antibiotic and painkilling liquid too as well as some other more specialised checks that saw us well out of pocket.

Back we came, Capp still no more happy and used to travelling in a car.  The doctor said the eye was looking ok but he would like to do a graft on it – it would cost some outrageous amount but would likely fix it up properly.  Again, he could see my hesitation and he asked me to think about it whilst he had another look and poke around.  He lifted up the flap of skin over Capps’ eye and said it was possible to cut this flap off and see how the healing process goes and that a graft would still be possible after that if it didn’t go well. I don’t know how or why but Cappuccino was completely tolerant of us holding him steady as the doctor took a pair of tiny scissors to the tiny flap on his eyeball and snip, snip, it was off.  Thank you very much and come back in a week.

Thankfully his eye rapidly improved and I rang the doctor up and said thank you very much but I don’t think we need to come back for a final check and another couple of hundred bucks.

So with all that stress of these bastard cats, we decided to stick them on a plane – see how they like that!?

We chose a good company and again, threw an open wallet at them and despite some concern when we initially received the boys in Thailand they made it through intact.  They even seemed to enjoy being loose in the van that we picked them up in at the airport.

Safe to say, we love those little furry fuckers.

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Time is on my side – 9th January 2018

I don’t exactly remember when Amy and I set our date to leave our place in Chatswood, Sydney.  Probably around the beginning of 2017.  We booked some tickets – one way for her and return for me, for the beginning of August.

We set about planning, packing and selling.  It was a big decision, especially for Amy, as I was the main driver for the move to Thailand.  She was initially reluctant when we had discussed it in previous years but by now she had come round to the idea, particularly with the increasing cost of living in Australia, especially Sydney.

Amy’s main complaint about returning to Thailand was having to deal with the culture there again.  Whilst I could mostly avoid getting involved in situations that might prove to be annoying and petty, she would have to bear the brunt of it.

Amy was really born in the wrong country.  She doesn’t know why she thinks the way she does, she wasn’t particularly exposed to Western thinking and culture but especially she since had moved to Australia she could immediately understand the benefits.

Thailand still suffers from a superstitious cultural history and there are many customs that must be observed by the locals, things that to outsiders seem quaint but significant.  Because of reliance on superstition and luck there can be a lack of rules around things that we in the West might find important.  This leads easily to a society of gossip, rumour, innuendo and, eventually, corruption.  Amy is a practical person and has railed against this, mostly internally, all her life.

The plan was to ship our life over to Thailand and whilst Amy arranged the building of our house, I would return to Sydney, living in a cheap room, earning money until we decided we had enough to continue to the next stage.  Over the years we have had many discussions and plans, changing periodically based on new information, savings and exchange rates.  Amy buried herself  in house design blogs and web resources as we planned a palace we couldn’t afford, but ending with what will hopefully turn into a long term home.

As our time to leave approached we had many parties and dinners as separate farewells to our friends.  We managed to strike a deal with our real estate agent and some Thai friends, where they could move in in place of us and they would buy most of our furniture – this save us a great deal of effort and gave us a bit of extra cash into the bargain.

Just a couple of weeks before our flight I found out my job in Sydney would be relocated to Adelaide.  This presented us with a choice we needed to decide on quickly.  I could just go to Thailand and not return – and to allow for this possibility I quickly procured a one year spouse visa.  Or, if I could wrangle it, relocate to Adelaide on my return to Australia and work a bit longer to give us a bit of fallback financially.  Luckily my office agreed that this was a good deal for them too, although they don’t know about my plans to leave again just yet.

With that last minute decision, we packed the cats up, got a Thai courier to pick up the boxes of our lives and jumped on the plane.

Now it is five months later, our house is halfway built and it will be a couple more months before I get there – finally.

These five months have been both difficult and easy.  From moment to moment our feelings can vary mightily and this is particularly heightened for me working shift work.  Even at the best of times odd random thoughts pop into my head as I feel like I suffer from permanent jet lag.  One day I can be full of energy and enthusiasm, the next depressed and sleepy, sometimes this can amplify to an hourly change.  Dealing with the difficulties of maintaining a relationship during this period hasn’t been an issue as we know our situation is temporary and that every day we move closer towards a deadline, one which was made permanent last month when I booked my one way ticket out of here.

Amy and I talk two or three times and day and I usually have very little to report.  She varies between boredom, particularly before the house was started and complete stress of having to make decisions about the house that she can’t be sure are exactly what we want.  She calls me and asks for my opinion about everything but as I am not there in person it is very difficult for me to visualise precisely how one thing might effect another.  I offer my opinion where I can and defer to her choices elsewhere.  I’m very easy going with these things and just need a safe space to sleep and eat – everything else is a bonus.  I know this puts a lot of pressure on Amy to be key decision maker but I’m happy for her to have everything exactly the way she wants it.  She was also into this idea so much she contemplated building me a separate small shed where I could live and sleep by myself.  A separate space would be fine but I would at least want it connected to the house so that I still felt that I belonged.  This idea will have to wait anyway but we are already discussing potential renovations to extend the living room and add another bedroom if we ever fall into more money again.

The view
This is the view from our soon-to-be living room.

I realise that the idea of building a house is outside most people’s reach and in the UK or Australia it would be far outside of ours too.  This was a key factor in our decision to move to Thailand.  I had managed to save most of a big redundancy payout in 2013 that basically covered the cost to build a house in Thailand.  Without having to work our asses off just to pay rent each week it would, hopefully, mean a more relaxing lifestyle and the possibility to travel through other close by South East Asian countries.  Obviously our incomes would become comparative but with only facilities and minimal maintenance required we hope we’ll have enough spare cash to fill our liquor cabinet and provide open invitations to our friends from all over the world to come and visit and stay a while.

I’m writing these updates at work.  I’m on my second night shift tonight – usually my last shift but I’ll be working another two nights to cover someone else who is on leave.  I’m already zonked tonight and could just ease back into reading the internet.  I do do some work whilst I am here too but I’ll describe more about that another time.

I have more to add to the above too, and the myriad paths that lead to this point.  I have a lot of things left to tell you.

I guess that’s just what I needed – 8th January 2018

It still seems weird to write dates that start with two-zero. When actual writing was still an actual thing, dates always started with a one-nine.  It was actual writing that originally gave me RSI in the right wrist.  From writing out invoices and orders at my job, when computers were just things that were talked about on Tomorrow’s World.  And then writing the diary of 1994ever, which I eventually ended up turning to an old word processor to complete.  It got to the point where I couldn’t even hold a pen.

The RSI returned later when I ended up back at an IT desk job, triggered by mouse usage.  I switched to using the mouse with the left hand so that I could develop the pain there too.  Not only do I have weak wrists, I ended up with torn elbow tendons too – this time from the repetitive work of being a barista.  Really it would all go back to having poor posture and being a general weakling.  I scoffed at my school friend who would spend time lifting weights to build his muscles but just how many things can you look back at and wish you’d have been smarter?

Today’s title is my obscure way of talking about cars.  As I have very little interest in cars I thought it might be a challenge to try and write about them.  Really they will just be a sidetrack to certain memories which will hopefully provide some amusement or at least diversion from things you might be more concerned about.

Before the age of eight, the only memory I have of my mother owning a car was falling out of it onto the pavement (it was stationary at the time).  I don’t remember about feeling any pain but apparently, I was upset enough to be taken to the hospital and told that everything was ok.

I used to walk to school and I can vividly remember walking down into the town and back up the steep hill with my mother carrying bags of shopping and nagging me to hurry up.  This was in a town called Whitehaven in Cumbria, England.

We left the north when I was 8 and spent six months in Devon but I don’t recall how we got there, whether by bus, train or car.  I have little memory of us owning a car here but we must have as I do recall waiting outside the school gates to be picked up.  In fact one day I was so annoyed and upset that my mother hadn’t come to pick me up and I ended up walking the 4 miles or so along the dual carriageway and up the hill to home.  My mother was there and surprised to see me as it was only just after lunch.  I thought it was home time somehow.  I argued that it wouldn’t make sense to take me back to school just for another couple of hours before having to come back and pick me up again but she insisted.  Bloody hell – I was upset that I wasn’t picked up, upset at my mistake and now triply upset at having to go back to school and answer questions about where I was after lunch.  I guess I survived but wonder at what kind of psychologic impact seemingly little events like this cause us as we grow up.

I don’t know why we moved to Devon.  I’m sure I was told but it probably had little meaning to my tiny mind.  Six months later though and we moved again to my mother’s parents house in the countryside, about 4 miles outside the small town of Wimborne Minster in Dorset.  The first car I remember from here was an old grey Austin Morris that had indicators that flipped out from the side of the car.  I found this hilarious and somewhat embarrassingly old-fashioned.  Because it was at this house I developed an interest in cars as most little boys do.  I think the Morris soon died and I mostly remember us having a white Ford Cortina after that.

Matchbox is a name most people my age will remember.  They were the most popular of toy cars though I seemed to own more of the cheaper brands than Matchbox ones themselves.  Despite having Maseratis and Lamborghinis my favourite car was a Ford Capri.  I just loved the design and the shape of the back window.  Perhaps I also started becoming aware of our class status in the world and just as I couldn’t afford to have so many Matchbox cars, the luxury cars would forever be out of my reach and somehow a Ford Capri was still within the realm of possibility.  I was only 10 so I should probably have started saving then.

Before I started being an anti-social teenager I would spend the evenings with my mother watching TV.  She looked after her parents but I didn’t have much interest or interaction with them except for Sunday roast lunches and even that I managed to get out of when I was a little older.  They weren’t horrible or anything, were quite left-wing I believe and also atheists.  But they were terribly old fashioned and me, I was a young boy desperate for adventures but stuck in countryside England.

The couch in my mother’s room was like an upholstered park bench so there was a lot of space underneath it where were kept things that needed to be handy but not used every day.  I decided I wanted to acquisition this space for myself.  Not for my things but for me.  I would lie underneath and watch TV from there with the aid of a cushion.  I wonder now if this may have been the start of my dodgy neck and posture problems.  I’m stretching and rubbing my neck now as I’m thinking about this.

Next to the couch was the bureau and I soon cleared out any junk and papers under here and made myself a space for a ‘race-track’.  This was merely a space into which I could push my toy cars and see which went the furthest and I would do this relentlessly.  The Ford Capri would often win and I somehow told myself this was because it was a superior car and not because I was pushing it harder than the others.

Next developed my interest in tables, scores and statistics.  I was already a keen football fan and poured over books of tables and statistics of years gone by.  My interest in music was also developing as I keenly watched certain songs go up and down the charts week to week on Top of the Pops.  It was here that I saw the Sex Pistols playing ‘Pretty Vacant’ and things changed forever, but that’s another story.

I decided it was best to keep track of my car races and charted their progress.  I don’t remember if it was day by day or week by week but I did fill a textbook with these charts and it was confirmed the Ford Capri was the greatest car in the world.

I think I must’ve stopped playing with these toy cars around the time that I retreated to live in my bedroom, or as I thought of it, as being too old to hang out with my mother.  I would walk or ride my push bike around locally until my late teens when I upgraded to a little 50cc step-through motorbike that I would hammer to death and never maintain and it probably wasn’t until my early 20s that I bought my first car – my dreams of a Ford Capri as far away as the luxury European sports cars.  I had to settle for a putrid coffee brown Morris Marina – my most hated car in the world.  It showed me as much love in return and we gladly left each other about a year later after an aborted attempt to travel upcountry for a gig that saw me broke and dejected, borrowing money to buy some consolation beer for the sad train journey home.

I think I ended up with a blue Fiat 127 next.  Extremely unstylish but I kinda grew to love it.  The weird thing about this car was the massive thin gear stick.  I discovered that this was a huge piece of plastic stuck on a tiny stick and ended up leaving it off.  It would’ve been a very effective cosh, like a small baseball bat, but luckily never required that use.

The next car of note was a Vauxhall Princess and not of note because of its ability.  The only excitement of this car was its purchase.  Found in an ad in the local newspaper it wasn’t far from where I lived and was in the price bracket I could afford.  I went round with my partner at the time and was greeted by a grubby overweight man in shorts and a wife beater.  He showed us the car and we decided we wanted it so went into his living room to exchange money and papers.  He took a seat in his armchair and filled out the paperwork.  It was difficult not to notice two things at this point.  One was the large jar of pickled onions beside his armchair, the other was the pornographic video we had interrupted his watching and that he thought was ok to let continue playing.  Suddenly the man seemed grubbier still – I mean, come on, pickled onions!  We dropped the money, grabbed the papers and escaped as quickly as we could, dreading to think what was now occurring in that dim front room.

At some point, that car left my life and the best car I ever owned entered.  Again, sourced from a newspaper ad – that was the only way to do things back then.  This was the magical Ford Escort that would soon be dubbed the ‘Rocket from the Crypt’.  The special thing about this car was that its body was barely held together by rusted metal and was sure to fail its next inspection – hence its price of 20 pounds.  The magic was underneath the hood as this thing never failed to start and never suffered any issues at all.  Sadly when it came to inspection time we had to let it go as the cost to fix up the exterior would be about 30 times what we paid for it.  I reluctantly sold it for 15 pounds and annoyingly found out someone had done a dodgy service on it putting it straight back on the road – something I wish I had considered.  I found out because I received a letter in the mail from the local police about driving away from the scene of an accident but I pointed out to them that I had already sold the car prior.

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After this came a Mini van which I adapted with cheap stereo equipment and I would often bring along a second car battery to hook it up to directly, put the speakers on top of the car and have an impromptu party, jumping up and down on the bonnet.  Ok, I only did this once and I was drunk and high at Reading Festival but the memory is clear on that one.

The downside of this Mini van though was that the back doors didn’t quite close properly and the exhaust fumes would get sucked back into the car often making us feel sick.  As well as that time driving back from the Phoenix Festival in the pouring rain and windscreen wipers stopped working.  That was a tough drive.

That was all in England.  Once arriving in Australia cars became more functional, reliable and obviously, more expensive.  No 20-pound bargains here.  Due to the great distances required to travel anywhere else from where you are reliability becomes much more important.  I stuck with Hyundais and Toyotas, the Toyotas starting out as lease cars and often lent to friends in bands to tour as I needed to achieve a certain mileage each year to warrant it being leased, else paying huge penalties.

Very little to report about these cars except the one night parked on a busy street in Newtown, my girlfriend and I steamed up the car windows with various acts that were thankfully ignored by passers-by.  That gear stick though…..  Afterwards, we went to see the Jesus Lizard.  What a night.

Just before leaving Sydney my work colleague asked if I would like to sell him my car – a well serviced white Toyota Corolla that I never ever washed.  He wanted it for his daughter’s birthday which was a couple of months away.  I thought it was a good idea but still needed it to drive to Adelaide and would probably need until I decided to leave, but if he could wait until then, then it was a deal.

As it turned out I ended up sharing a house with a guy who likes buying cars, fixing them up a bit and then selling them again for a couple of hundred dollars profit.  This meant there was always a spare car or two hanging around the house.  My friend back in Sydney was often making sure the Toyota was still available so I asked my housemate about the possibility of using one of his cars for a while until I left.  One of the cars he had around was a beat up Ford Falcon ute which he was actually hoping to keep around as it was useful for carrying things about the place but he was also thinking he’d have to sell as he was mainly using another car to drive to and from work all the time.  And so a deal was struck.  If I paid for the ute’s registration I could use it and my friend could come and pick up my Toyota, and in time for his daughter’s birthday.

This ute is my second favourite car as it is a big chunky wreck.  Even my housemate said not to worry too much if it gets any little dents and other drivers in their nice newish cars tend to steer clear as much as they can.  It drives like a demon, has no aircon or heater and stinks of petrol and years of ground in oil and dirt.  It’s done nearly 400,000 kilometres and is on its second engine.  The accelerator is a little sticky and it chews up petrol so I’m not going on any fancy drives anywhere but for the back and forth to the office it’s perfect.

This update has reminded me of a Toyota ad that was constantly played on TV when I arrived in Australia. “More room front to back, more room side to side, the really really roomy Toyota!”  Advertising does work I guess.

Who are you and why am I here? Adelaide – 7th January 2018

In the great British tradition of 2000AD, I’ll try and use song titles and lyrics for all post titles.  The previous post was from the Subhumans and this one is from Void.  I can hum them to you.  I often think about this lyric when I’m in situations deserving of its use.  One time I shouted it out whilst Huggy Bear were playing a show at the Joiners in Southampton, UK.  It was a little unfair and the band were excellent.  But they looked so angry and upset with everything that I began to question their screaming.  Better to hand out lyric sheets and/or talk to the audience in between songs.  Maybe they did this, I don’t recall.  I was more than likely drunk too.  It was quite common.

Through some twisting and plotting, I have found myself in Adelaide.  I have been here for 4 months now, with about 10 weeks to go before I exit.  It is unlikely that I will ever come back though I have grown accustomed to the quirks of this little city.  Occasionally I even enjoy it here.

The precarious nature of IT work has led me here.  I was re-employed by my old employer in Sydney, who will remain nameless, and I’m sure at some point soon will likely become nameless too.  When I was re-hired I spent about a month doing nothing whilst accesses were being requested and approved.  Soon after I quickly learned everything I needed to know, which was very little indeed.  The pervading atmosphere in the office was overwhelmingly negative due to constant re-structuring of offices and jobs moving overseas to cheaper countries.  I saw no reason to pursue any kind of career here again and, in fact when I had previously been retrenched from this company I had sworn off ever doing this type of work again.  I became a barista soon after that – an immensely rewarding job and proof that after 18 years in one industry, there were still other options available to me.  However, I got word of this new position and it made sense at the time to re-introduce myself to office life.  I’m sure in many jobs that work is rewarding and innovative but those two adjectives had long left this company in everything except their promotional literature.

So it was, my wife Amy and I worked hard and saved money and made a plan to move to Chiang Rai in Thailand – her hometown.  After having travelled extensively in Asia I have dreamed of living there and Chiang Rai is of a similar size to the small town I grew up in in England.  It also felt like time to leave the fresh high-rises and high rising rents of Sydney, where we had considered starting our own business but thought that the risk was too much.  It’s probable we would have been successful but the risk of failure would have meant losing everything.  With the money we had saved, we could build a house and start some small simple business in Thailand.  We even toyed with the idea of growing and selling our own fruit and vegetables and generally taking it easy.  That was the dream!  The simple life.  Let’s aim for it anyway.

After a year or so the restructuring at the company meant the job I was employed to do was going to move to Adelaide.  By this time we had worked out our plan of action and this sudden change threw a slight spanner in the works.  In August 2017 we had planned to relocate Amy and everything we owned, including our 2 cats, back to Chiang Rai.  I would continue working and saving as much as possible until it was deemed I had enough money to give us a comfortable cushion to survive on.  Amy and the cats would live with her parents whilst she employed someone to build our house.

With the sudden announcement of the restructure I thought, fuck it, I might as well leave now too and head to Thailand too.  Sometimes it’s better just to jump right in rather than think about things too much.  The other possibility, and the one we ended up doing, was if there was a chance for me to relocate to Adelaide and continue earning some precious Aussie dollars.  In the end, it was an easy sell.  I got a two week holiday of sorts in Thailand before returning to Sydney and driving myself across the map to Adelaide.

The new plan was to work until the house was built and then pack up and go.  Leaving Amy in Thailand wasn’t too much of an emotional problem until we had to say goodbye at the airport.  Luckily, just as her lip was starting to tremble and a tear was forming in my eye, she forced herself to turn around and walk away. I felt honoured and relieved.  To have such an impact on someone’s life is an honour.  The relief is that we are usually pragmatic people and that we would continue to be, knowing that we could survive this temporary adjustment.  So off I strode looking forward to reading books on the journey ‘home’.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, as I have gotten older I have found it possible to sleep on aeroplanes and not much reading was done.  Occasional pangs of grief struck me too.  Although extremely used to being alone and having gained much self-confidence, I found myself unsure of myself for brief moments.  The business of sorting things out soon distracted me further though.  The ease of communication these days also helps significantly.  Anyway, I was about to embark on an adventure.

After staying a couple of nights at a friend’s house I was taking my time driving across this part of Australia.  Four days for what can be done in one if you push it.  But what’s the hurry?  I enjoyed the journey although there was little to see for much of the way.  I guess that made it a little more special when there was something to see, such as a river or fields of flowering crops.  I blasted the stereo as I blasted the car not always realising I was hitting 140 km/h on the long straight roads everywhere.  I rarely needed a map as there were so few options for deviation.  I stayed in a couple of provincial towns along the way and they would likely be the option we choose should we return to Australia later in life.  Finally, I closed in on Adelaide.

I had never been to Adelaide before and hadn’t been given much idea of what to expect.  I had been told that I would love it and that there was much less traffic than Sydney.  That all sounded positive.

I had pre-booked a room at a caravan park near my new office.  Although the company would have paid for it, I didn’t need any fancy hotel to stay in when I got here.  The room was fine, though had no windows at all and just clean brick walls.  The upside of this was that it encouraged me to find a shared place to live as quickly as possible.  I headed to the office on the day after I arrived and got acquainted with my new work environment, which I quickly learned was the same as the old.  In fact, I later discovered that this new place was even more dysfunctional than my old one.  I was able to react positively to this though because I had nothing really invested.  They (the company) needed me more than I needed them.

The work I do is shift based.  Two days, then two nights, followed by four days off, which usually turns out to be 3 days off because the day after the last night shift is usually wandered through in a zombie-like daze.  Sleep is erratic and can last for one hour to 18 hours and by the time you are recovered it’s back to work.

Suburban Adelaide

The difference between Sydney and Adelaide is significant.  I was mystified to find shops closed in the evening and on Sundays or Mondays in Adelaide.  The lack of decent coffee was also a struggle.  Again, the situation actually benefits me well as I am trying to save as much money as possible and don’t want to be spending my time trying to make new acquaintances and using money that that can involve too.  I’ll just sit here, go to work, read books and save money.

Unbelievably, I have stopped drinking for now too.  Adding alcohol on top of shift work really messes you around so taking this opportunity to dry up for a while.  This will definitely not last once I’m in Thailand, though I’m hoping to at least minimize the caffeine addiction as a balance.

I lay in bed slipping in and out of consciousness and thrill to marvellous ideas I have to write about here.  Mostly forgotten by the time I am awake and sitting somewhere to write this.

 

Here we are in the New Age… – 7th January 2018

It’s been a long time between drinks.  Around 23 years or so.  1994 was a life changing time and then life took over and now I’m looking at another transitional period.

Life changes daily though.  It seems slow but every detail matters somewhat, and if you care to remember it.

Right now I’m sitting in an office, getting paid and doing very little work of reward.  The kind that is emotionally unfulfilling.  But right now, I’ll take the money, thank you very much.

Somehow, over time, you learn that working for ‘the man’, as opposed to working for yourself, is something that must be exploited to the full.  I managed to get myself into a position at one point of not doing any work-related activities at my job and started doing my own hobbies in company time.  Somehow I was also well paid for this.  It was always slightly precarious and eventually, it came to an end.  Then it happened again – and with the same company to boot.  I do thank you, although I wish it could’ve been more rewarding for both of us, to our mutual benefits.  Perhaps I feel guilty.  I know I would sometimes get annoyed when I actually had work to do that was interrupting my personal time and that’s not a good place to be.

The more depressing it became, the more I strove to distraction.  I ended up being very productive.  I could never make that jump though, to make money from doing the things I enjoyed.  I am envious of people who have been able to position themselves in this way.  I’m lacking in artistic talent, not through want of trying.  Often lacking in concentration, born on the cusp of distraction entertainment as I was.  The advent of new technologies only makes this worse and now that even they have surpassed my knowledge and I am like the old man programming his first VCR with only a 3 button remote, I sometimes pine for those days again.

My nostalgia is aligned with depression.  I was deeply unhappy for periods of time that I now reminisce.  That depression was an artistic motivation, a driving force.  The actions often more thrilling than the results.

Right now, I am biding time again.  In this strange period of inertia, the feeling of anticipation is immense and I am highly conscious of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence.  Hence to take time enjoying the moment, the present, the now.  I visualise vividly a relaxing future whilst aware of the constant need for ‘work’ whether in some paid variety or just the work of remaining alive and managing the mundanities of life.  I hope to derive great pleasures from the digging of weeds or painting of walls but worry that I will start to ignore the dust that settled in the corners many years before.

Luckily I have an outside motivation, my wife, Amy.  Could I do it without her?  Probably, but without so much pleasure, enjoyment and fulfilment.

The bones of the tale are this.  In 1994, I relocated from small-town England to small city Australia. Sydney and thereabouts.  In 2018, I will relocate from small city Australia to small-town Thailand.  In 1994, I documented my time in transition. I have not looked over those diary entries since, but the intention is to add them here alongside current musings.  Let’s see how they compare.  Let’s see if I have really gained some wisdom in the intervening years.