Hi pals! The time has come to wrap up this blog and drive off into the sunset. Our time on the inlet has drawn to a close. The moving van is arriving 7 am (urgh) on Friday and we're heading to a different out of town location. Castlemaine will be our new home, and boy are we looking forward to it.
When I started this blog I intended it to be an exploration of a non-urban experience. I had visions of recipes and photography non-stop gardening and all the amazing hobbies I would undoubtedly take up. Here's some of what happened in the last two years:
So much driving. The last six months or so Tracey reminded me about audiobooks and that's been great. If I never see the Monash Freeway again it will be too soon. My butt agrees!
A realisation of what matters most to us as a couple. This has so many layers. We decided we wanted babies, we realised that the wanky city stuff is important to us because it's an expression of diversity. Oh, how we missed good coffee and independent cinema and music venues and a good cheap parma! To go to a place where we didn't stick out like dogs balls. Community was something we ached for. Around here people mostly keep to themselves and when they didn't we kind of wished they would... different values grating on us in ways we weren't expecting. Never in a million years did I think that a friendly person like me would be lonely down here. But oh my gawd, loneliness rained down in spades. How we wished for a friend who lived three minutes down the road that we could pop in for a cup of tea with. Someone it was easy with. But everything was so far away.
Mental health stuff. The death of two far-too-young friends at different points. Solace in solitude but loneliness too. A LOT of television. Not a lot of going outside (killer mozzies and the terrible allergic reactions sending my system into itchy rage year-round). The feeling of low ceilings bearing down on us and the walls of our tiny house closing in. Size does matter - we didn't know that before.
I don't mean this to be a litany of complaints - more an honest look without sugar coating. It's been amazing to be without the city traffic the majority of the time. To have a chicken coop and get to know our lovely chicken ladies, to know what it is to eat eggs from happy birds, and so much beautiful green all around, the smell of eucalyptus such a tonic. My favourite time here on the inlet is during storms - it's so beautiful looking out at all of those gums waving around in the wind.
I've experienced learning to ask for a place to lay my head when the drive back home was too much. The generosity of friends sharing their living space with me for a night or two. We've hosted visitors who loved the quiet and the trees, and we've wished our house was bigger so we could all be more comfortable. There was one night in particular when we found a packet of Turkish fairy floss in the pantry, playing cards listening to Jesus Christ Superstar on vinyl when things went a bit weird. The laughter turning sinister and strange with a life of its own, all of us feeling hungover the next day. Turkish fairy floss - never again!
One night I came home and Tracey had lined our driveway with candles, and when I walked through our front door our loungeroom was filled to the brim with flowers, candles, and the woman I love singing her marriage proposal accompanied by guitar that she'd practiced in secret for weeks. How my heart swelled bigger and more open than I ever thought it would, being known and loved by this beautiful lady.
A phonecall arrived one Friday afternoon telling me Dad was in the hospital following a heart attack, and I reversed out of the driveway and sat with him and held myself together until he recovered.
We fought and made up and sometimes pushed two couches together and huddled under the doona with our dogs when times were tough and we couldn't face the outside world.
All of our whitegoods gave up the ghost at one point or another, even the oven died. I'll miss you most of all, fancy new oven.
A few months ago this house saw me getting my hairs and makeups did and getting all dressed up. Friends and family gathered and we all piled into the car and I met Tracey at the lovely winery under the big pine tree and we got married. We came back here that night and sat up in bed removing bobby pins (a mountain) and makeup (another mountain) as we lay in the rose petals with Clem our mini schnauzer and read all of our cards and cried and smiled and laughed. We felt weird that Taj our photographer wasn't there with us and often do when important things are happening now.
Two months on and I'm still delighted each time I catch a glance of that gold ring on my left hand, everything it means and all the love poured into it.
All of it is tied to this house. This place and all that happened over the last two years. It's been a steep and amazing learning curve. On to the next adventure. A big warm house, with room for all of us. See you there?