A reunion, a dead motor, a farewell…

Hartz Mountains National Park

Exactly 26 years ago I was catching public transport around the various areas of Geelong (Hamlyn Heights, Newtown, Highton, Norlane) seeking out addresses I had been given by the Deakin University Housing Co-op. They had lists of houses available for students who needed to rent in the area in order to attend uni. In addition, they had lists of students that needed housing.

It was through this process that I found myself sitting near the central heating vent in my parents loungeroom trying to describe myself over the telephone to someone called Christine – she had been given my number by the housing co-op – we were both looking for accommodation.

We agreed to meet at Spencer Street Station and get the train to Geelong to look at a house in Autumn Street in Geelong West.

“My hair is red and I’ve just had it cut short,” I told her. “I’m tall….um….”

She thus assumed I was a true redhead and spent her time at the station while waiting for me looking intently at every carrot top, who probably assumed she was some kind of Aryan psycho-killer…

We took the house. We took to each other. She introduced me to David Eddings, Kate Bush and Fairground Attraction. I pushed the Cocteau Twins at her, and possibly the Pixies. We ended up forming a band and shared at least four different dwellings – she always defected back to the other side of the Yarra River and we had to scramble to find someone for her room…

Together we have done roadtrips, band practice, video clips, many gigs, late nights, early mornings and a lot in between. And then….and then…the adulting happened. The last time we saw each other was at Small Z’s first birthday…and then Chris left for London, and I moved house, had another baby and hung in there during the longest boat-build in the world…

But she arrived in Kettering with her girlfriend Chloe on the weekend and HOLY CRAP it was good to see her 🙂 When you only see someones most exciting exploits on FaceBook and know nothing else about how they are going, it’s hard to have an idea of whether they are the same person you used to know.

033/365 . • Chris takes the helm, Chloe scans the horizon - they're both a loooong way from London • . #friends #love #travel #tasmania #discovertasmania #tassiestyle #bellalunaboat #Summer2017 #cruising

She is just the same. Chloe was an unknown quantity…was she going to be some high maintenance English girlfriend who was being dragged on to our boat against her will? Not at all. She is a Chris-ENHANCER! She is funny, she is frugal, she liked my gluten-free hippy porridge – and most magnificently, she gutted and cleaned all the flathead that we caught. She’s a keeper….

Unfortunately for our dreams of sailing the high seas, M was so preoccupied by Chris and Chloe and Coopers Sparkling Ale, that he ran our port motor without checking it was in the water. It was not in the water. And thus, he cooked it.

D E S P A I R ?

We spent one night at Gentleman’s Corner in Barnes Bay (M spending most of the night dismantling the engine) and then – with an eye on a gale warning – we headed back to Kettering the next morning with one viable motor. M flagellated himself so thoroughly that I hardly needed any input.

Chris and Chloe let me tag along when they went for a investigative drive through Cygnet, Huonville and beyond. We explored the Hartz Mountains National Park, saw a distant wallaby (Chloe being on a quest for native wildlife)…

From the lookout - Hartz Mountains National Park

…and then headed to Geeveston where there is a ‘Platypus Walk’. I sent them in search of platypus and instead followed a sign to Geeveston Op-Shop. I had a little feeling it might be a good ‘un. A pair of $1 Converse runners and a $3 woollen blanket later – my suspicions were confirmed. It was excellent!

Sadly, no platypus were sighted. We consoled ourselves with a drink and some chips at the Commercial Hotel in Cygnet, and then headed back to Kettering where we had a drink at the pub and then ate leftover salad and biscuits and cheese on Bella Luna.

Our guests headed off on a roadtrip the following day, while our time was largely spent on engine fixing, propellor sourcing, washing, drying and general domesticity. We were SO lucky to have the assistance of Tom – the captain of Let’s Go – a catamaran that was tied up nearby. He lent M his van to do at least three trips, gifted us some of his very impressive homemade gin and promised to introduce us at the Margate Men’s Shed (an ambition of ours, as they have industrial sewing machines).

Chris and Chloe returned after their night away bearing wine, cheese and biscuits and tales of their adventures. They kindly ate the jelly prepared by Small DB. Another late night was had. On their last morning after their goodbyes to M and the Smalls, I accompanied them to Hobart and showed them my favourite bits of Salamanca. They were very easy people to have aboard and I’m sorry that the motor debacle meant we couldn’t do some proper voyaging…

Saying goodbye was difficult. I hate goodbyes. I particularly hated this one because it came after I had spoken to Small Brother – it was my dad’s birthday, and saying goodbye to Christine (and having no idea when I will see her again) just compounded my wobbliness. I attempted to console myself in bookshops and the library, before getting the bus back to Kettering and medicating myself with “Let’s Go” gin…

At Cracked & Spineless New & Used Books

Thank you for visiting us Chloe and Christine – it was AWESOME to have your aboard….

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