Our Practise Year

I am so very grateful for my year of practising my lifestyle change, or changing from the lifestyle I was now accustomed to to something more like I had experienced in the 1960s-70s.

In January 2003 I organised some basic things that we would take to our new rental house. Hubby had a job 2 hours away, we felt that was a long way. His corporate job was 2 years in the past, very exciting it was. Followed by 2 years on a factory floor, we liked that too. (I've left the bad bits out, I did forget them after awhile.) One benefit of living here is that you feel so far away, that your bad things get left there as well.

We had visited the area once. We had seen a house to buy on the internet. I felt with children you really don't remember anything about how it feels to be there after you have driven home. We didn't actually choose a place to live right by hubby's workplace but 20 minutes closer to Melbourne. At the time our son was going into Year 10 and I think I was thinking he may enjoy Engineering and we thought her could perhaps study in Healesville I think. If I had know what the road where like to get to Healesville I perhaps would have thought again lol.

On the day we visited we saw a pear tree by the creek and the children enjoyed playing at this stop. There was a road that I thought led to a farmhouse and I thought wow, wouldn't it be nice to live there. Some cows had come by to say 'hi' I think.

I am getting a little mixed up, but I talked to the agent who was from Melbourne, not a country agent, he suggested we needed a large house for the amount of children we had and suggested one for me, and that we should rent to see how we liked the area. I loved how it looked on the internet, I couldn't believe we would get something like that. The thing about it was how many bunks it had in it. We only had to take our bed and the cot. So we ended up taking one of our spare two seater couches and a table that we used to have that Mum used for sewing. No fridge, but I think we did take our washing machine. So we were moved in pretty quickly. On the day hubby got the key he and our eldest did some grocery shopping and that was about it. We took all our extra things and basically left two houses set up.

I have found that the properties that the agents choose, at least for me turn out the best ones. The agent chose the house I am living in now as it wasn't listed at the time.

The rental house we looked at coming from the other end. Later we realised that it was that house at the end of the track! Why did we get it, to other people's standards it wasn't good enough. We loved it though, the space and the trees and grass.

Back to the point at hand. I didn't want to leave my comfortable home. We had been living in it 3 years, never thought it would be comfortable and I didn't want to leave it. So by renting I didn't have to come fully to that decision, but I was baulking, even though it was my idea to pursue this return to previous career line of thinking.

I had just started feeling like I belonged in my hometown. Why would it take that long for me to feel at home there? As I said it a previous post coming from a farm, our hometown was foreign. I was comfortable there, but when I started having school aged children I felt I didn't fit in. Just before I left I had a friend, who it turned out was the wife of a man I knew as a child, and she herself lived in the closest town to where we are now, an hour. So we were a good match. My second son had been involved in choir, I got to sit outside the cathedral with the kids waiting to pick him up listening to the bells. My daughter had asked to start ballet and we had had a good year with that, things were quite settled.

So we came home each weekend, at least for a little while. The first night I was there, hubby and eldest son went home for another trailer load of things. It took longer than they thought so had to ring and tell me they wouldn't make it. Hubby had to be moved in before work started at the beginning of the school year. I got the kids ready for bed, and because there was one room with lots and lots of bunks we all made up a bed each and I put my one year old daughter with me and then the lights went out. It was scary, the customary rental blinds were in the cupboard and there was a scarey but beautiful tulip tree outside. Our hometown rarely had blackouts. Thankfully we all went to sleep and that was that! I remember the next time the were watching The Wizard of Oz on TV and I think one of the girls started screaming. They have changed a lot from that time. One was 6 and the other 9 at the time.

Hubby was telling me during lunch that the reason he had a chainsaw, which is now antique, is that years ago he lived in a house in our hometown that only had wood heating. So during this year he had to get it out (in our first house we threw nothing out). Don't ask me how we shifted into our next home! It was a shock.

The farmer let us cut his wood, the kids, even the six year old I realise now with horror went to help Dad. I used to cut wood with my Dad as a girl.

I didn't put wood on the fire at all until it got progressively colder and I was forced to do it. It was a good heater, but I got good at it as it needed feeding very regularly during the day and the house was cold. The kids didn't get croup or anything because their rooms got the heat from the chimney. I had wood stoves etc. when I was a child but I believed I didn't remember much, but I must have really.

What did I practise? Packing lunches for little one to take on shopping trips. In the end I drove 15 minutes some to the side to get LPG put in the car, the guy there put it in for me. Then back a little and on to an outer suburb of Melbourne to visit Coles. Little one would eat her sandwich in the bag and go to sleep, then shop with me etc. On Monday's I packed sandwiches again to take the girls out of school slightly early to drive 40 minutes or so to ballet. I think there turned out to be a closer ballet school but I didn't hear the details. They would eat their sandwiches on the way to ballet. After ballet we had our only special treat for the week, four pieces of cake from the bakery. It would be dark when we got home. I got used to driving up steep hills. Our hometown was freeway driving only, I had nearly forgotten how to drive on normal roads, in fact I think I did. In the dim dark recesses of my mind I did country driving with dirt tracks with my car I had at 18 and my V6 Monaro.

How many grocery shops did I visit? Outer Melbourne was basic then. I tried 1/2 hour to the north, the town my husband worked in, the one ballet was in, Healesville, Kinglake, Broadford, Kilmore, then settled on Coles Mill Park. Here I have done a similar thing, tried the local shop for a very long time, but settled on another, after trying at least three others. I feel food shopping is my major responsibility. In my hometown I shopped at Coles and I think had done so for years. I remember my two last babies, 5 years apart sleeping while going around in the trolley.

Broadford's tall hills, the echidnas, kangaroos near our house, wearing a jacket, were all practise for my new life here. We even learnt more than was necessary, we had to buy in water and lots of other things, but gave us some country experiences. Though the water came from Kinglake which is actually a suburb of the second most populated city in Australia I think.

It was a high rainfall area (not in a drought year though), but we did have a small tank, and possibly the cows may have benefitted from it, not sure), just like the rainfall of my childhood home and where we live now. The kids and Dad picked mushrooms they saw in the paddock on the way home from school. The school children are very much the same as the ones we have here. That place though was very special, very friendly.

I remember thinking while at the creek one day though, that I really didn't want to go back to my country experience.

We also practised things like frosted up old wooden bridges, watching out for roos on the road, and learnt the value of UHT milk. Our hometown dairy made deliveries. We don't do that here, I am over cheques I think.


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