Secrets, Lies & Chat

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Catch Up Time :)

It's now 9.35 pm in Sydney Australia, Thursday 4 August 2005. How hard to believe that winter is 2/3 over already! I personally love winter, love my fire at home and the different heat from that of artificial heating that I have to spend 5 days a week in at work and then another kind in my car. All drying heats, so different to a wood fire. Yes I know all the arguments against wood fires and yet the stacks spew out their gases 7 days a week all over the country with never a whimper. So, whilever I can burn wood of a winter I shall continue to do so as I firmly believe that human beings found how to use fire for many reasons, and one was to keep warm by and another was to cook by. As in most things fire was a natural progression, something that was put there for early man to find and respect. The so called better alternatives line the pockets of those that produce them and at what expense to the world as a whole?

I managed to sneak away 0ut of Sydney for a week to God's country, Queensland, last week. I had some family obligations, mostly to visit my mother who suffers from dementia and is in 24 hour care in a nursing home not far from where my brother and sister-in-law live. I trek up there two or three times a year to see my mother even though she doesn't always know who I am and forgets I was ever there as soon as I walk out the door. I used to come home extremely depressed until I realised that she doesn't seem to know a thing is wrong and the family are the ones that are suffering, not her. My greatest sadness is knowing how my mother would be totally apalled if she knew what she looked like now and would feel so degraded. She was always proud of her appearance and never went without lipstick, was always repairing it after a meal. Now I rarely find her with her teeth in her mouth although once the people in the nursing home know I'm around the teeth miraculously appear in her mouth each day after the initial first toothless visit. If she would touch me, say hello, just show some recognition I would feel better about things, but then she may be distressed when I leave if she knew; now it doesn't matter whether I go or don't. I usually sit and stare at the walls as trying to talk to mum is like talking to a brick wall. She either stares at anything but me, or focuses on the television set, or rolls over in the foetal position and goes to sleep. But is she asleep or is she just ignoring me? I wonder about that as sometimes I catch her out and she knows only too well what I've said to her. I tried to make her acknowledge me, to look at me and not the television set and eventually I stood at the end of the bed where she had to look at me. She stuck her knees up in the bed so she could look up at the television and not at me. Clever mum, well done! I took a copy of my book to show her on my last visit in February. I wanted so much to hear her say 'well done, I'm proud of you'. How insane of me to expect that. She stared at the book showing no emotion or acknowledgement that she even knew what it was. I wanted to leave a copy with her but there wasn't any point, it would have disappeared for sure.

This trip to Brisbane was different to all the others I've made since mum moved up there in 2000. I was going to fly up as per the norm and meet my man, Bryan, and go together to visit my mother then spend a few days out in the mountains with him. However plans changed and Bryan moved to Sydney, to me, before my holidays and we drove from Sydney to Brisbane together. How neat it was, after 17 years solo, having someone to carry the bags, load the boot and unload it, to fill the petrol tank, open the door of the car for me and do all those loving things a lover does for a lover :) How neat to have someone to visit my mother with me, to hold my hand and know why I felt like I did after being there with her. Sharing mealtimes, wake times, just being together times. It was a special week for me.

We left Sydney on Monday and drove to Coffs Harbour and found ourselves a bed for the night before driving on to Alexandra Hills on Tuesday where we stayed in the Alexandra Hills Hotel for the next 4 days. We spent the days busily visiting the nursing home, my relatives and Bryan's daughters and friends from chat who live in Caloundra. After leaving Brisbane on Saturday we idly drove to Nimbin but arrived after dark and decided to mosey on to Lismore for the night with a planned return to Nimbin the next morning. It was so dark out there driving on narrow country roads. As Bryan's night driving vision isn't too good I did the driving and I was pleased to arrive in Lismore and find a bed for the night. We went to town to find somewhere to have dinner and ended up finding a takeaway place. After placing our order we thought we would eat there but were told they were closing and we would have to take the food away with us! So much for country hospitality. Next morning we drove to Nimbin and spent an hour wandering amongst the locals and visited a marketplace where I bought some jewellery for my daughter and grand-daughter that was made by the locals. Nimbin is like going back in time to the 60's - flower people. They still wear clothes like we did in that era and everyone is very layback. The air is thick with the smell of incense and ..... leave the 'and' to your imagination :)

We left Nimbin and went on to Lismore once more and then headed south, ending up in Port Macquarie on Sunday night where we managed to get a motel room overlooking the beach. We had our last dinner away from home (thank heavens for that I was sick of takeaway and hotel and club food). The motel in Port Macquarie is built on the site of an old gaol and has a wishing well. We both tossed in some coins and made our wishes, climbed in the car and headed south once more, this time to Forster/Tuncurry. Bryan had never been to either town and I had wonderful memories of Forster, having spend some happy holidays there when my children were young. We initially stayed in a caravan and then when I was back in full-time work I used to rent a two bedroom unit for us near the beach. I found a Forster I didn't remember, with the exception of the beautiful waterway where the bridge crosses from Tuncurry to Forster. There are so many apartment buildings there now, so many houses, cars, people. I'm glad I have memories of it when it was a sleepy, lovely place for a holiday.

After lunch on a cliff overlooking the rocky beach below, we set out once more, this time for home, Sydney. We eventually arrived back here just on dark on Monday evening, unpacked the car, lit the fire, unpacked our bags, had a shower and hit the sheets for a while to recoup. (It gets like that when you get a bit ragged around the age edge :) Tuesday and Wednesday were the last two days of my leave and I spent them catching up on washing, ironing, a bit of shopping and washing my car.

Today was my first day back at work and it was nice to have a few people tell me I had been missed and everyone seemed pleased to see me back. The fact I wasn't all that happy about going back didn't matter after a while, and I got stuck into the work that had piled up on my desk while I was away. I had a tree to organise to be removed from a part of the work site so I look forward to perhaps a boot full of firewood for next year. The tree has been marked as offending a neighbouring property by ripping up the sewer pipes continuously over the last few years at the cost of a few thousand dollars to the house owner. Our dry weather has caused this kind of problem all over Sydney with many householders finding their pipes clogged with roots from trees. One thing about it, the plumbers are never short of work and builders must be getting plenty of work as well repairing cracks in ceilings and walls and concrete slabs. I have noticed in my own home that there are a few cracks appearing and it's probably time I contacted the builder as I have a 25 year structural guarantee on the house due to the fact I had 35 piers sunk under the slab and two huge concrete beams built into the slab at a cost of $7.5K in 1990. Time to call them in and see which way they dance.

So, until next time, for anyone who cares to read this, well done! Take care and see you soon :)



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