I could tell you about the good things. But that would be too easy. Very few people want a tree change for the inconveniences in country living. But they are there. So I thought I’d take time out from loving the country to looking at the things that make it pretty hard to handle at times.
Well there’s the travelling for a start. To school, to work, once those ankle biters get as tall as yourself there’s the late night trips to Macca’s through roo country to pick them up.
Don’t forget the wombats as well.
Defensive driving courses could make use of our natural obstacle courses and save themselves some time and money, building artificial ones. And you don’t need a computer to make it random believe me!
There’s the school bus – can be a real social scene for those who fit in easily.
Can be hell on wheels for those who don’t.
When we first moved we had a great bus and the kids didn’t mind the hour in and hour back (plus the 10 min race to the bustop in the morning) The kids would look out each window and yell ‘KANGA’ if they saw one – I never knew which direction it was coming from or going to but hey that’s what makes life interesting.
We were always late – none of us are morning people.
The last cattle grid was on a bit of a hill and the bus driver used to stop – look up the road – see a cloud of speeding dust – then Mrs Feral would fly out of it in midair, launched off the cattle grid – Yes they’re on their way!
For my daughter who was 6 it was a long day.
At the bus stop at 8am, return at 4.30 pm. The bus driver used to call out to her at the farm gate before our stop, to wake her up, and then pass her all gear (bag, necklace, bracelet etc that she’d made at school and taken out to show him before she nodded off to sleep) and she would stagger off the bus blinking blearily.
Then we moved. Half the distance to travel to school, but the bus used to do an extra circuit to pick up another area, so same pick up time and only 10 mins earlier home. The busstop at our gate – so a mad downhill run when you’re late and see the bus coming.
This bus driver was not so much fun. I asked if he could pull into our driveway on the way home so 6 yo did not have to cross the road between two bends. Nope.
Its true there’s not as much traffic in the country – but they all drive like maniacs! And we have logging trucks going flat out around bus times.
So, instead I had to ask two 10 yo boys (and boys do not have much focus lets face it!) to hold her hands and cross the road with her.
At least that way there was only one group to miss, rather than 3 targets who run in different directions.
So picture this – two 10 yo boys each holding a sleeve of their sister’s school jumper pinched between their thumb and first finger, and leading the hysterical girl between them.
‘They won’t hold my HANDS!’ – ‘I’m not touching HER!’
I’m pretty sure that between the squabbling none of them would have heard a logging truck bearing down on them.
My daughter asked the bus driver to stop the bus the first morning she was on – so they could check the dead kangaroo’s pouch – rofl – wish I could have seen his face – crotchety old b*gger!
Many times he saw the kids running down the driveway – and sped the bus up. My daughter is a nicer person than me – she wanted to give him something for Christmas – so I wrapped 3 Ferrero Rocher’s in cellophane – she said he gave her one back (I’m pretty sure that was to check that I hadn’t poisoned them lol)
Then once I started work and had to leave at 5.45am catching the school bus was even more diabolical.
Phone home to get kids out of bed walking through the carpark.
Phone again quickly to send them off to the bus.
Get stuck into work again and ‘Feraaaal, phone’ OMG they’ve missed the bus again!
Phone all the neighbours, if lucky find one who has seats left in their car, only two?
Make executive decision about which child stays home this time.
Get back to work. It became so routine that if someone rang to enquire about their hospitalised relative at the same time that the kids would have missed the bus the staff would call out ‘Feraaaaaal, phone – It’s NOT the kids.’
I feel like I have been driving forever. I did tell a group of teenagers last year as I picked them up from the movies and dropped them home – One of YOU needs to get your licence very very soon! Yep, well one of them did…then he got an out of town girlfriend! Not fair!
So, should I have stayed where I was? Should I have gone somewhere else? When all is said and done (or not said because there isn’t anyone here to say it to; or not done because I don’t have the time, skills, equipment or money)
I take a glass of wine and sit on the deck with the mossie repellent and the kelpie and just look at the sunset. Just after dusk is good because you cant distinguish the weeds from the grass in that light.
And yeah, it was worth it.
It’s not easy, but then it’s not exactly easy in the city either.
And there’s this.