Poems on this day – 5th July 2021

Another Week

Another week is here
Another Monday of fun
How many have I seen?
How many more to come?
Time runs away from me
I can’t keep up these days
On the downward spiral
Running out of plays
Lazy summer Sundays
Now filled to overflowing
Oh, to be bored again
With no idea where I’m going
Regret no past mistakes
It was all a knowledge to seek
Savour every living moment
So begins another week

Uprooted

Uprooted from all you know
At the age of just sixteen
Still growing into your world
But following your parent’s dream
A better life is on it’s way
Though you may not see it yet
Take up this challenge
Make the most of what you get

I’m teaching a sixteen year old student who is moving with her parents from China to Australia. A tough time for someone that age.

Four Rats

Four rats run around Tokyo
Stealing all her food and drink
Too slow in her reactions
Those rats are smarter than you think
Sniffing the air in excitement
Whiskers twitching from their keep
In the drains and shadowy corners
Whilst Tokyo remains asleep

Tokyo is my friend’s pup, the sneaky rats are well fed!

I got a headache, like a pillow – 12th December 2019

If you got nothing to talk about then there’s always the weather.  Over the last couple of years though, the weather has become a major conversation for most people.  Extremes are getting hit everywhere.  And now having said that……

It’s not just a surprise to me that it’s so cold here in North Thailand at the moment, even the locals say they’ve never felt anything like it.  We all probably forgot what it was like last year.  It’s a bit of shock to the system though and apparently this ‘winter’ cold will be over within the week.  It’s actually a nice temperature but I can’t enjoy because everyone got sick and thought it best to sharing it with me, so I’ve been rugged up and sleeping it off for what feels way too long.  Hanging out daily with hundreds of sick kids doesn’t help much either.

Another annoying thing is that the temperature had just become appropriate to crack open the bottle of Malt Whiskey I’d been sitting on since last year.  After a couple of nights of enjoyment the sickness took a hold.  Maybe it’s related?  When it’s not school holidays I’ve pretty much stopped drinking now, so I’m a bit out of practice.  This has had some positive health effects in that I’ve lost a little bit of weight without having to do any exercise.  I would like to do some exercise though but……I’m fucking sick.

Anyway, in between working and coughing I’m also in the middle of planning a ten day or so South East Asia tour for Worlds Dirtiest Sport from France, which is basically Kevin from Trumans Water and his one man band.  I’m very excited about this.  It’s a great excuse for me to get to see some other parts of South East Asia that I haven’t visited yet, to enjoy watching Kevin play each night and to discover the local scenes and bands there.  As well as catching up with some old (and newer) friends.

Whilst doing this I also have to arrange myself a new UK passport, as that is what my Thai visa is attached too.  I got this Australian passport that I’ve never used and not sure when I’ll be able to!  This will mean having to make two quick trips to the British Embassy in Chiang Mai on working week days.  This is my opportunity to use the word palaver.

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those days

Dealing with the moving targets of Thai bureaucracy has hardened me somewhat to the bullshit bureaucracy I had to deal with in Australia and the UK with all the visas, passports and information requirements. This time should be a cinch.  Famous last words.

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these days

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be around the kids at school. Even if they are shitbags they never fail to make me smile many times a day. I can go home with those smiles and forget about how little they actually learned.

History is what’s happening – 12th-15th February 2018

A fond farewell to Hayden in Brisbane as we lugged luggage again, two coffees down before boarding the plane.  It was nice to fly in over Sydney (yet again) and if Brisbane was 10 times busier than Adelaide then Sydney repeated the feat over Brisbane especially as I struggled with my bags at two stations that didn’t have lifts.  My dodgy elbows are extremely upset with me but what can a poor boy do.

Tonight I would stay with my friend Billie, her husband Jade and their daughter, Nexis, in the upmarket suburb of Killara on the North Shore of Sydney.  They live in a house far too big for them, boxes still not unpacked from moving in 9 months ago.  It did mean they could offer a spare room for this temporarily homeless wanderer for which I was grateful.

I met Billie about 10 or 11 years ago when I was part of a dragon boat racing team, representing Australia (somehow!), in a dirty bay on Hong Kong Island.  Billie’s family head the institute of dragon boat racing in HK and Billie and her sister, Mandy, were the compere’s for the races.  Both girls were and are extremely attractive and, Billie especially, bright and outgoing positive personalities.

Needless to say, they attracted the attention of the white boys at the races and at the drunken awards dinner on our last night there.  Myself and another racer went out later for supper with Billie and we decided to stay in touch through email just in case our paths crossed again, under the pretence of sharing our photos of the week’s events with one another.

A few years later our paths did cross again as Billie became an air hostess with Cathay Pacific airlines.  This, of course, took her all over the world, and eventually to Sydney.  She got in touch and we met up one night for dinner.  At the end of that night, she quietly invited me up to her room for coffee.  I didn’t want to presume anything and I have no idea of her intention at the time but something in me decided not to take her up on the offer.

I’ve not really been one for one-night stands and I definitely didn’t want to do that with someone I felt that if I had then that might just be all our relationship might have been.  I liked Billie, a lot, not because she was pretty but because we got on so well and had a lot of fun together.  A friendship was more fulfilling than the possibility of brief exciting encounter and that’s the way I wanted to keep it.

We met a couple more times when she flew to Sydney.  The final time with another of her crew, Kit, also a beautifully attractive girl.  By then I had already met Amy and it was with some pride that we all headed to Amy’s favourite nightclub after dinner, I got to walk up to the dance floor with three amazingly attractive women.

Of course, I didn’t want to embarrass myself by actually dancing so I left them to it.  Immediately they were swamped with guys wanting to dance with them, to which Billie and Amy crossed their arms in big X’s indicating for the guys to go away.  After 15 minutes of this though they became exasperated and we decided to leave.  On our way out a guy near the stairs grabbed Kit’s arm and yanked her towards him at which point I had to intervene and got to tell him that these three girls were all with me.  It made me chuckle to bruise the poor guy’s ego (and radically inflate my own, briefly) as we left the club.

A few more years of staying in touch and Billie told she had met someone from Australia, Adelaide, in fact.  I knew she met a million guys around the world and that she could pick anyone she wanted but this one she met in a bar in Hong Kong.  She said he was not handsome, a bit fat even but had a generous and family-oriented personality.  This was what she was looking for in her ideal partner more than a troublesome good looker.

Then a couple of years later they decided to relocate from Hong Kong to Sydney and ended up living a couple of blocks away from Amy and myself in Chatswood.  We got to hang out a bit more but also were leading busy lives.  A case of when living near the beach you never go for a swim.

Billie and Jade now had a baby on their hands and Billie could become the dragon mum she always dreamed of.  I caught up with her sister Mandy during this time too and she soon was married with a couple of kids of her own.

Anyways, Billie rushed to pick up from the station in her new 4WD, on the phone to her friend, as we rushed to pick up Nexis from school, now in Year One.  Nexis and I always get on like a house on fire, like I do with most kids, and we were soon making fun of her mum and I was getting her into trouble so we were both getting told off.

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Nexis and I played some more, with their water hose – more trouble – and with their French Bulldog Dunstan, short name Dunny.  Billie cooked up a nice veggie dinner for us all, Nexis went to bed and Jade overruled Billie to watch a movie instead of Billie’s favourite Aussie trash TV, Married at First Sight, thank heavens!

Next morning, Billie dropped me in Chatswood, with all my bags and we wished each other well, hoping they can come and visit Amy and me in Thailand sometime in the future.  I spent the morning running around getting coffees and trying to arrange to meet people but everyone was busy.  Never mind – I know you’ll always be there, somewhere.

A train to the city and more coffee as I met up with one of Amy’s best friends Jess as I was staying at her place right in the centre of the city.  We went out for a big seafood dinner to celebrate another friend’s, Grace, birthday, joined by Muoy and Hakan.  Amy had already prepped me to pay for the meal tonight as her gift to everyone and for Grace’s celebration.  Grace kindly reciprocated by offering to take me to the airport a couple of days later.

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Next day was a big run around and I’d been hitting my ten thousand steps easily for a few days now.  In the morning I met Jess at the cafe where she works and got my first free coffee.  We were heading to Chippendale to meet one of my friends who had opened her own cafe recently.  Jess is thinking to do the same in Adelaide sometime in the future so Amy thought it would be a good idea to introduce them and for Jess to get some tips.

On the way there I ducked into another small cafe another Chatswood friend was working at and was offered another free coffee, gladly accepted as always.

In Chippendale, we found my friend’s cafe, the Bean Brewers.  Jenny runs it with her husband and has managed to build up a good little business.  They spent a long time looking for this place and are working hard, seven days a week, to make it a success.  I met Jenny when she was just 16, ten years before, when she was working at my favourite cafe in Chatswood.  She had moved to Australia from Vietnam to study and wanted to stay.  Similar to my own story with Amy, a customer had taken a fancy to her and eventually they got married.

Once again, we all wished each other well and went on our way.  Jess went back home whilst I went to my next appointment, this time at UTS, to see Bronwyn, Hayden’s mum, my ex-wife, the partner of all the 1994 diary entries you can find here.  Twenty four years is a long time and things change and things stay the same.  Bronwyn told me of some photos she had found of our time back in the UK and when I saw them later it was odd to look at the person in the photo that was me.  I didn’t recognise them as me, though I knew it was obviously me.

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After lunch and during another coffee stop my 3pm appointment cancelled which I was actually a little grateful for as the temperature was soaring and I was starting to get sweaty.  I headed back to Jess’ for a quick shower and recovery before heading out again to meet Jochen, at a pub just down the street.

Jochen arrived with his friend, from a meeting that they had just attended.  Jochen works for the Goethe Institute and moved to Sydney with his wife, Sabina and kids, both of whom are a similar age to Hayden.  They actually moved back and forth a couple of times before finally settling on Australia as the place to stay.

I first met Jochen, about 15 years ago I’m guessing, through a band he was playing in with a mutual friend.  Although being from different countries within Europe, which becomes a little competitive, here we were suddenly comrades on foreign turf.  I’m over dramatising but in some ways bonds are made through mutual conditions such as these.

The other thing that drew us together though was our musical interests and our roles within our own DIY music scenes.  The connection was instant, an unspoken understanding of the way things had been, the way we were doing things now and the way we wanted to continue doing those things.  I value Jochen’s friendship above most others – one of those friendships where you may not see each other for a couple of years and you can sit down and continue the conversation as if only a day had passed.

And of course, this was pretty much the situation we were in, having not been in much contact for the previous six months since leaving Sydney.  I expected to be out for a couple of hours, perhaps drop by another friend working in a shop that night too.

Kicked off with interesting conversations with Jochen’s friend, a filmmaker, again about mutual musical interests, particularly the Dutch band The Ex (crazy thoughts arising about how to tour them through South East Asia and Australia), moving on to discussions about working with Japanese musicians for live film scores.

After he left we decided on another beer, and another, conversation free flowing, about our lives, our kids, our futures, about continuing to work together in one way or another and just about generally staying connected.  Something that is so much easier to do now than it was in 1994.

All these thoughts could lead to longer stories that I will have to leave for now.  But that night, my last in Sydney, the beers continued along with the stories and topics and we eventually stumbled out around 1.30am, I think, and on our respective ways.

In a blink, I was asleep and awake again, still drunk and almost voiceless as Grace whisked me to the airport and I jumped on the plane, last time for a while in Australia, hoping for more sleep, which didn’t come.  But I was too drunk to care, too drunk to think.  The perfect exit.

 

Great southern land – 26th January 2018

No dreams to report today.  I got home this morning and chucked down a couple of tablets and quickly fell into a codeine coma.  Woke up 9 hours later feeling totally refreshed.  The day of Australia Day is over and now I’m just working through the double-time overtime night.

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Amy has been picking through catalogues of tiles as we start thinking about the details of our house.  There still feels like a lot of work to be done but the contract is to have it finished in the next two months.  In those two months, I will eventually have quit my job and left Australia.  It still feels less than real.  I’m not as stressed as I should be!

I continue to write up the 1994 diary entries, up to the end of March so far.  I had a habit of writing with no paragraphs or breaks and when typing without capitals too.  It’s a pain to keep track of where I’m up to in the text.

Each entry brings back evocative memories and it’s interesting to compare those times with these.  Do I not feel stress this time because I have some idea of what I’m getting into this time?  When I moved to Australia I would say it took me a good 18 months to feel settled.  I missed all my friends and the things we got up to before I left, knowing that it would be a long time before we would be able to do those things again.

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This time is a little more detached.  It’s like we’ve already done the move but I’m not quite there yet.  As I’m just quietly beavering away in Adelaide I’m not thinking about partying my way to the last day.  Australia is a great country to live in really.  It has its fair share of problems but it had greater potential possibilities too.  I may be tipping my rose tinted glasses somewhat.  Either way, the future is now.

Nervous, I’m nervous, so nervous – 18th January 2018

Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  It’s boring!

Faaaaark it’s hot!

It was 42 degrees today here in Adelaide.  Luckily I slept through it and it was only 41 degrees when I woke up at 5pm.  Dropped down nicely to 31 degrees when I went out for my walk at 10.30pm.

Yes, it’s boring to talk about the weather.  But when you live in Australia and plan to move to Thailand it’s quite a relevant topic.  I didn’t own a jacket for the first 7 years of living in Australia, and I only had one after that because it was a present from a girlfriend.  I do appreciate some warmer clothes during the winter here these days though, these old bones are getting creakier. I have seen frost in Sydney once too – about 12 years ago.

Amy has suffered through the Thai winter where there is a regular annual news item about how could it is each year.  This year the lowest overnight temperature was around 8 degrees.  Looks like I might still need a jacket then.  For the two weeks that it lasts anyway.  Kind of the reverse to an English summer.

I’m promising myself not to ever complain about hot it is in Thailand.  Let’s see how long that lasts.

Front

Amy has gone from bored-to-stressed in 24 hours, as she has been running around dealing with the people who will build our kitchen and walk-in wardrobe.  Figuring out who will build our bed base design and special wardrobe in the second bedroom.  Expanding the outdoor kitchen area and deciding to put the washing machine out there and renaming the laundry to Amy’s craft room.  Choosing the wall paints and figuring the guys building our fence deserve a bottle of rice whisky when they finish – to keep in their good books if we need any other help in the future.

Back

Hopefully, the paint goes on in the next few days so Amy can see how everything will look and change anything before it’s too late if she decides.  It’s still so weird for me to be here just looking at photos and only being able to visualise living in a finished house, rather than be involved with its development so closely.  I hope I like it!

Fence

I emailed off my application for the CELTA course in Chiang Mai, starting in April, after Songkran.  They wrote back quickly and I’ll need to do an interview with them sometime soon.  I want to do a video interview but need to make sure the internet is stable enough.  I also need to be on top form and with only have a day and a half break between shift changes again this week I can pretty safely assume I won’t be up for it.  As well as this, I’ll be moving house on Tuesday evening and there won’t be any internet connectivity for a week or so.  I guess by then though I should have a long enough break to be alert enough to what I already know will be a difficult interview.

I’m just a little petrified about my ability to do this course – it’s been so long since I’ve been in a study situation where I’ve had to actually care about what I’ll be learning.  I was sent on so many useless courses in my old job that I never really paid much attention. I know my focus and concentration is not as good as it used to be too.

But hopefully, with a more meaningful result and benefit at the end of the course as the reward, I will be motivated enough to push on through and do my best.  I really want to learn to do something that has more meaning, to myself and to others.  I hope that I can be a good English teacher, and a great mentor to those I will end up teaching.

Once done I’ll start investigating opportunities to work in schools and also to do some private tuition, which I think will be what I might end up doing longer term, once I’ve done a couple of years to get a good grounding on the best way to do things.

I’m still nervous though.  If I can’t pass the course, what will I end up doing?  I do take comfort in the knowledge that other of friends have passed so if they can do it, so can I!

 

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.

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.

 

No Action – Never Close – 13th February 2014

Cat #: 132TZM

Adelaide stalwarts No Action return with the first single from their long-gestating, as-yet-untitled debut LP. The A-side, Never Close, refines their melodic punk influences into spiky, anthemic 90s college-rock territory. The B-side, Ride in the Whirlwind (exclusive to this release) slows the pace, offering jangly introspection and self-deprecating charm in equal measure. Another hook-laden 45 from one of Australia’s most prolific and underrated bands, this one-time pressing is limited to 100 copies. Sure to please fans of Silkworm, Archers of Loaf, Mission of Burma, Comet Gain et al. This one smarts.