While I hardly ever had the need to complain about dullness in my life, recent events have made my existence even less ordinary. In a not very cherished way. In a rather derailing way. In an UTTERLY non-desired way. Life turned upside down, chewed and tore on me, tried to swallow me up and then decided to spit me out…with the strips dangling from body and soul. Not so charming.

Any condiments with that?
Any condiments with that?

So what happened? Well, I moved. Myself, the cat and about 1748293 boxes filled with (mostly) tools of my trades…think PILES of leather, TONS of hand tools, nails and every other material under the sun needed to make fabulous shoes…add A LOT of MACHINERY…beautiful (and darn heavy) metal old-world sewers and grinders to name just a few…Proceed to envisage even more sewing machines…BOXES full of fabulous fabric…6302988 meters of thread, 92746314238 buttons and other useful bits and pieces accumulated over dedicated decades of global opp shop and flea market roaming…and then, of course, the odd outfit one needs for survival in this occasional rather challenging contemporary world we inhabit.

So there. I have done it more often than I care to remember, swapping cities, countries and eventually oceans and hemispheres…never easy, never just a piece of cake, but always somehow rewarding, exciting and ultimately full of possibilities.

My life in a (many a) box...
My life in a (many a) box.

So what went wrong? Apart from arriving in the most disheartening and damp patch of weather even the locals deemed worthwhile mentioning? Leaving the tropics to be greeted by cold, consistent and grey grey grey rain – well, it certainly triggered the first lot of misery. But hell, I survived Germany AND England AND the mortifying chapter ‘living in Melbourne through 45 seasons a day’…

And the cat liked it…

Venturing out into nearby Byron Bay always ‘fun’ – traffic wise, Melbourne’s delightful Punt Road came to mind when crawling into town … Sometimes less than 30 minutes, what a bonus. Buying milk, biscuits and other relevant food groups all of a sudden needed careful consideration. There I was, sitting in rural New South Wales applying strategic traffic avoidance skills honed to perfection when living in London, Berlin or freezing Melbourne…seriously?

But the cat liked it…

Meeting with my potential future employer, NSW Tafe, revealed some astounding and ultimately devastating facts…apart from their genuine interest in offering shoemaking as part of the curriculum, somehow VITAL information such as necessary limits to students intakes must have been filtered out as they offered me a complete Certificate to teach with a surprising number of participants…I remember sitting in that office contemplating Occupational Health and Safety issues and marvelling at the chance to observe all sorts of grinder and heat gun mayhem while dismally failing to supervise despite spinning like a dervish…

All getting a bit fishy by now....
All getting a bit fishy by now…

Great. Exploring my other employment options revealed the mesmerising chance to avail myself to domestic brilliance – apparently three quarters of Byron Bay loves to be tended to by ‘Cleaning Goddesses’ and other fairies. Brilliant. Personally, I chose to not have children and mansions as I simply can’t stand the idea of having to be the human vacuuming up the debris left by other people…I can do the cat hair, but that is about it. Someone (who had to search for THREE years to finally secure her job in the employment agency – irony, anyone??!)…so this someone told me they have pilots on their books who are delighted to be cleaners…as they LOVE the region. And the locals. And the vibes. And all that.

And that’s just IT.

I don’t.

While the cat really does.

Yes, great beaches. Nice to look at. Very salty which is fabulous for skin. Not hair though. And not so good when a hungry shark has a bit of a (deadly) snack as he forgot that as a shark, he shouldn’t be cruising late mornings at the main beach…it’s dusk and dawn for Mr Shark, and humans sort of the rest of the time. Well. A local got eaten about two weeks after my arrival which added to the overall charm I can assure you…

Some beach with some ocean with some big fish...
Some beach with some ocean with some big fish…

And landscape really pretty. Lush (as it rains a lot…) and full of rivers and cows and horses and all that. Pretty, as I said. But me, I longed for ‘stark’ and ‘harsh’ and ‘tropical’…despite having just fled it! What a joke. On me, of course.

But there is more. About 8000 people believing in unicorns, the colour purple and the necessity to inhale as many mind altering drugs a humanly possible. And then wandering the streets muttering away and freaking out the German in the supermarket while loudly and badly serenading the organic honey. Or the gnarled enchanted beetroot. I prefer my vegetable unsung to and my streets less littered with human debris who lost their brains way back in the 70ies. But that is the punk in me speaking. Who copes very badly in hippie land. Who had to make a decision pretty quick and pretty drastic…leave the joint and join those other weirdos up in Darwin…so that is what happened!

Back in Darwin...new chapter, more crocodiles...
Back in Darwin…new chapter, more crocodiles…

And another thing: the REAL reason why it all went pear-shaped: the need to have UGG boots for survival down there. Which is NOT an option. Ever. I came close. VERY close. Thank goodness the shop full of unspeakable footwear was closed…a miracle , really. But some sort of intervention as far as I am concerned. Some (most likely purple) unicorn was looking over me and prevented it. THANK YOU.

For two weeks, my feet were clean. I had to wear socks and boots and more socks and extra socks.

For almost 8 years, my feet needed a good wash every night as they (when not wearing Ideal Husbands!) caressed wooden floors, dusty concrete or even muddy grass…I am happy to report they are now in a safe environment where this can happen again.

And the rest will be well in time…And the cat has to come back as well…she doesn’t know it yet.

Some suggestions as to delectable shoe designer will be postponed to the next post…logistics and displacement my excuse!

Until then…hope you all are happy where you are!

 

 

 

 

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