I have just made contact again with my former neighbour in Suva Point, Fiji.
It seemed to me that my email was a good summary to look back on someday, and laugh.
I am now, as you see, the EHO in Katanning, a small country town in the Great Southern area of Western Australia. http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&tab=wl I came here in March.
And I am very happy, though I would have liked to be closer to the sea, and also to my girls. Still – it is time for them to grow up, and the present circumstances have been good for their independence and self-reliance.
As I suspected, it did indeed turn out that June had set up house with some badminton player she met in Brisbane. And that is all I have to say about that.
I had a pretty bad time in NZ; 5 months unemployed while I tried to sell the house, find work, and deal with splitting the possessions and accumulated crap. In the end I gave so much away that I could not sell: car, bike, furniture, tools and even clothes. I sent two truckloads of stuff to the tip! Finally sold the house but also had to cash in my retirement funds, which hurt badly. That made about $100K (would have been more if I had been able to pay the mortgage for 5 months). June took her 50k and the inland revenue took 27k for tax on what I had earned “tax free” in Fiji. By the time I had set up the girls in a flat, and made sure they had enough to get by on, I came to Oz with bugger all.
Such is life. I have two lovely smart daughters, and can’t complain. The girls are grown, both have BAs now, and Mata, the younger just turned 21 last month. . I went back to NZ for her birthday. She will probably go back to Uni for Hons next year. At the moment she is in Solomon Islands with her mother, visiting the rellies. Sumana did not go as she has a diabetic cat to look after, and a job to find. It is going to be another odd Christmas as we all adjust to circumstances. I have not had a proper Christmas for years, and probably never will again, although last year with the two girls was pretty good given the circumstances.
Despite an initial bout of depression, which I am now over, coming here was the best thing for me in a long while. I have a good, secure single bedroom flat subsidised by the shire; I pay only $30 a week! So I was saving money in no time. I now have a car (on HP) and a 650cc Yamaha V-Star Cruiser (paid for in cash) which is great for riding the lovely Great Southern roads. I have all new furniture and new kitchenware in the flat. All paid for. And I still saved up enough to fly to NZ for Mata’s 21st, buy Mata a $3k IMac (her Xmas and birthday present) and give a cash sum to Suma for Xmas.
In March next year my two brothers in law; Steve and Jamie, and I, possibly with a fourth friend, are planning a 6000k ride across Australia, from Sidney to Perth, on our bikes. Steve is married to my sister Sue, and they live in Perth about three hours north of me, and Jamie is married to my other sister, Trudi, in Whangarei in NZ. I have the V-Star, Steve has a Vulcan, and Steve found Jamie a Boulevard for the trip. He shall either sell it afterwards, or possibly keep it for other trips.
This is a great country to ride a bike. It is really big with excellent roads. I am keen to do lots of exploring and in fact as I get older I plan to become a grey nomad. That is the term for elderly retired folk who roam the country in caravans or RVs, or the hardier ones on bikes with a swag or tent.
I have a great time exploring, and looking out for the local wildlife, though I still have not found a pet snake. And that is a summary of my life since we were neighbours!
You can see some of my pictures here.
(You don’t need to be on Facebook to see them). Plus:
Stay in touch, and tell me more of your life! Good luck with getting a contract. I am bloody sure a man of your skills could find work out here if you chose to, and believe me, this is a great place for retirement.