An attempt to have a crack at a peaceful holiday in Cairns last February ended up being a six week invasion of Roo’s apartment complete with ambulances, paramedics and finally a trip to Townsville for the Hunter Gatherer to succumb to a heart operation – after which the rest of the year continued to deteriorate miserably as the HG lost both parents in quick succession and chaos descended on what hadn’t ever been a particularly peaceful existence in the first place.
Towards the middle of the year, Rocco decided to leave home and move to Melbourne for work. Being the final chicken to leave the nest, one would think Rocco’s mother would have wept and gnashed teeth – and that might certainly have been the case had there not been so much other stuff going down. There was certainly no time for Rocco’s mother to blog or write or even think straight – so it is with a certain amount of surprise she finds herself thinking reasonably straightish once again, though astounded to find herself relocated halfway across the country in a partially renovated beach shack located within a flood’n’cyclone belt (but that’s another story), and far, far away from the softcock option of New South Wales’ idyllic south coast where she had become ensconced in arse-inflating comfort in a cosy room overlooking a nice garden, contemplating chocolate cake and the HG’s impending retirement and not thinking of weather conditions in every waking moment and having one foot permanently poised to flee.
How did all this happen? Who knows – but it did. In July, after a harrowing few months of disarray, the HG and Rocco’s mother decided to take a short break to visit Flygirl in Darwin, returning via Cairns to re-visit Roo and get it right this time. The idea was to not have a medical emergency for a change, but to check out real estate with a view to maybe relocating ho-hum soonish whenever. Rocco’s mother didn’t at any stage imagine they would really be relocating. She and the HG were not, and are not particularly to this day, renowned for snap decisions, change or risk taking. Rocco’s mother is, however, a sucker for old Queenslanders (the houses, not the geriatrics), and spent many happy hours looking through the real estate liftout of the Cairns paper and even attending Open Houses. After a few of these, where various ‘renovator’s delights’ and ‘handyman’s dreams’ were offered for twice the price the present home in NSW would be worth, the HG informed her he wasn’t a fan of Queenslanders anyway and that there was too much work involved. In a way, this came as a relief to Rocco’s mother, who was already contemplating going home and resuming her arse-expanding sofa activities and not having to worry about termites, woodrot or, indeed, having to spend every waking moment of every available day wandering around Bunnings. Which is what eventually happened. It turned out the HG’s lack of enthusiasm for old Queenslanders was merely a matter of location. He didn’t want to live in the city – he wanted to live by the beach.
And so it was, on the final day of the holiday, Roo took the HG and Rocco’s mother to a northern beaches suburb where they phoned a real estate agent on a whim, and inspected what could only be described as a shack. Rocco’s mother wasn’t even taking much notice. There was plenty of termite damage, woodrot galore – one bedroom and a small alcove which didn’t have any business being called a bedroom but optimistically had been – and an outdoor dunny located on the back verandah, which tilted away at a crazy angle and felt as if it were about to collapse into the ground. Rocco’s mother was surprised to hear the HG asking animated questions of the real estate lad – and mildly alarmed when the RE lad informed them he’d had a quote for ‘around $10,000 to have the roof replaced’ – which would, of course, be immediately necessary for the unlucky purchaser to undertake prior to habitation. Alarm bells gave a distant jangle when the HG whipped a tape measure from his pocket – but Rocco’s mother knew their flight was booked for the next morning.
Imagine then, how fate intervenes and changes the course of people’s lives. At the airport the next morning, Rocco’s mother and the HG were bumped from their flight, and the afternoon saw them returning to the beach shack with an even more rigid tape measure and … whatever.
So it came to pass. The termite infested shack was duly purchased, the cosy home in NSW disposed of, and nothing will ever be the same again. As we speak, Rocco’s mother is sitting in the small room which could never possibly be considered big enough for a bedroom and which is, surprisingly, just perfect for a computer and not unlike the small office she had ‘back home’. Maybe things will be written here.
But that’s another story …