Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Monday, 9 February 2009

Moving House

I must be getting old and deluded.

My understanding has always been that houses stay in one place as vehicles drive past.

I've discovered that's not necessarily the case. Sometimes (in fact very often recently) houses move past, whilst cars park behind them. On my recent journeys west along the Warrego, as often as not, I've come across houses on the move. They have come in all shapes and sizes, from dongas intended as accommodation for miners, to colonial mansions, usually split in two, crawling along the highway.

In my last five trips, I've encountered moving houses three times. That's a pretty fair average.

Today, between Chinchilla and Miles, I crawled along for about forty minutes at thirty five to forty kph. The posted limit road on this road is 110kph, and that's a safe speed on this very good road.

I would have lost about an hour's productive time, because of the initial delay, and then when the rig finally pulled over, the time taken to negotiate the banked up traffic was an issue. There's a real cost to my clientele. The legalities of this are unknown to me, but I reckon a smart-arse lawyer could have a field day.

I guess these things have to be moved somehow, but my observations indicate that some of the people doing the moves are cowboys. Last year I followed one of these moving houses which amputated twenty or thirty roadside guide posts on one slightly narrower stretch of the highway between Morven and Augathella.

The contractors didn't seem even slightly embarrassed.

Today's house was shedding bits and pieces along the way. Perhaps they were being paid on the delivered weight – the building's configuration didn't seem important.

I'm glad I wasn't the owner.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

All Gone!

Today our youngest left home to attend Uni in Brisbane.

She was up at 5.30am, and organised to the nth degree. She left with a song in her heart and her hopes and anticipation high.

She's the last of four to launch, a process that has taken about eight years in all.

Our home, which once sheltered six people, and was always full of noise, comings and goings, music, laughter, mess, argument and the accumulated detritus of young adults is now quiet, ordered and predictable.

I guess I should be grateful, but I will miss them.

Times have changed.

I left home at age thirteen to attend boarding school, and was in a job at fifteen. My dad, a product of the depression, wasn't happy when I resigned this job (a clerk in the Forestry Department) in March 1963, to become effective in December the same year.

To him it was security – to me boredom and drudgery. I left after a year and went back to school. I was able to do so, because I started school at four, and was always a year and a half younger than everyone else. Going back to school was the first (and best) real decision I ever made.

Back then, Uni was free, living was cheap, and choices were limited and life simpler as a result. Not so now. It's a tough road, as most need part time work to live, and living is not cheap. Many finish degree courses with a HECS debt rivaled only by the cost of getting into the housing market.

In that sense I don't envy them.

At least my sons didn't have to register for National Service and run the risk of being hauled halfway across the world to be shot at.

Funny thing is, I wouldn't begrudge a form of National Service, for both sexes, so long as it didn't involve compulsory military service in a war zone, unless of course the country was under direct threat.

That will never happen of course – the political risks are just too high.

For now – we're back to a situation we haven't experienced since 1983; the last time there were two of us in the house. I'm looking forward to it – but it really is bittersweet.

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