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Our arrival was preceded by a bit of adventure involving the chucking in of old jobs, packing up our worldly possessions, and travelling across the country.
The plan behind this all began, in earnest anyway, when my grandmother died almost a year ago. An awful time, naturally, on which I won't dwell here. But it essentially made us decide that we would one day have to live closer to our families. Made me decide, that is. Paul was itching to leave Far North Queensland, sire a couple of sons and shack up down south.
To backtrack a little, we had been living in Cairns since 2005. As most of my family as well as his were still in central NSW, moving ourselves a few hours south, say to Mackay, wasn't going to cut it.
So, we moved to Western Australia.
From tropical paradise (effing humid, sticky, economic black hole toilet of a place – Paul’s input. Thank you, Paul) to woop-woop desert. And, yes, I am aware it is further from central NSW.
But there was method in our madness.
Our dream, as the Americans say, is to one day have a little patch of land in the NSW countryside. Where we can live among the birds and sit on the verandah and watch the rain come in. While drinking coffee from the whizz-bang espresso machine I'll have then, which also features heavily in this dream.
To fund all this we looked to the resources boom. Firstly, Queensland's mining industry. But it didn't want us - it kept demanding inconvenient things like 'experience' and a list of tickets as long as a Tony Abbott silence.
So we turned to WA, which was apparently a bit more desperate. But not fond of people who still wanted to live in Queensland. There was nothing for it but to move - much to my mother's "you're going to go and leave us!?" disappointment. A disappointment that allowed her to overlook the fact that our current home was 2200km away.
Subsequent research indicated that my best hope for employment in WA would be as a haul truck driver. For which you needed a HR (heavy rigid) licence. So I took myself off to truck school, which thankfully resulted in nil damage to persons or property, and one shiny new HR licence (bearing a photo of me with a crazed grin as I couldn't believe I'd passed the driving test at all, let alone on my first attempt and was hence maniacally relieved/overjoyed).
Paul only has an MR licence, so was a tad (a lot) smug at trumping him for once. The smile was quickly wiped off my face, however, when I learned how much the removalists were going to cost.
I'd warned myself it wasn't going to be cheap, but when the quotes arrived it was still a nasty surprise. "How freaking much!" echoed around my head for some time.
I felt like declaring "you know I could drive the bloody truck myself rather than paying you lot of extortionists". Well, I could. Because, if you didn’t know, I HAVE A HR LICENCE! But it transpired we needed a bigger truck than I could manage, and I wasn’t all that in love with the idea anyway, so had no choice but to hand over a soul-sucking amount of our savings to the
To be honest, the entire removalist experience was not the best. Having only had two, that would be our 2005 move from Dubbo to Cairns. It could have been far worse, I am all too aware, but I will not easily forget the agent's numerous paperwork mix-ups, discovering that our TV was not even packed in box but just perched in the shipping container, and assorted other dramas.
Nevertheless, after much sorting, packing, fee-paying, organising and farewelling (sniff) it was our departure week - late August - and we drove off. And landed in Mutchilba (approximately 80km from Cairns).
To be continued...
Note: I realise I haven’t actually mentioned where this adventure took us. We are now in Coolgardie, Western Australia. Home to about 800. And, yes, it is every bit as sleepy as that figure makes it sound. Delightfully so. It is in the goldfields of WA. No surprise then that my new job is at a gold milling site. In what is called ‘the gold room’. And, no, that is not as glamorous as it sounds. Paul also works there; he is a fitter on the maintenance crew.