Going home

After much soul searching, we’ve decided to return to Australia for now.

A crystal ball would be wonderful so as we could know for sure if we’re doing the right thing, at the right time. Legally, I have to return now as my visa time is almost at an end. Enquiries indicate getting an extension won’t be easy. We’ve done enough head butting with bureaucracy over the years, and aren’t up for it any more. So, for better or for worse, we’re abandoning Pauls dad.

We have booked our return flight for 29th March, and will spend the coming month putting as many things in place as possible to help dad to manage on his own. We can’t do it all though and he will need to put more effort in to his own well-being than he had been doing before we arrived. Indications are that he’s capable, but living on his own complacency has set in. There’s no doubt that he’s now on a downward slide but with a small amount of determined effort he can manage a better quality of life than he was living before we arrived. Whether or not he’ll put the effort in and for how long, only time will tell. He has a habit of smiling and nodding at suggestions that indicate, ‘yea, not likely’.

So, a few weeks in Tassie getting the van and car serviced should see us on the road again. It’ll be wonderful to get back to living the Life of Riley on Wheels.

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Rain and mud

We’ve now been in the UK for almost four months. I doubt we’ve had more than a week of rain free days in all that time.

We’ve been trying to embrace the cold weather by getting out for country walks. We’ve bought boots, fleeces, warm waterproof jackets, hats and even gatters to protect our lower legs and boots from the worst of the wet and mud.

On Sunday we tackled a 10.5km Pub walk in the Peak District. It was written up as a particularly pretty walk, an easy walk, and suitable for most weathers. The second half of the circuit was supposed to be on a hard dry limestone surface.

We waded through almost knee deep,  squelchy mud for much of the first half of the circuit. At times it felt like the mud was going to suck our boots off our feet. One woman we meet coming in the opposite direction said there was deep water flowing where she’d never seen water in thirty years.

About half way around the circuit I spoke to a couple of people coming from the opposite direction. They both confirmed the normally dry limestone was now a virtual river. They had come downhill through it, but didn’t recommend we tackle uphill in the opposite direction. So we retraced our steps, back through the squelchy, almost knee deep mud to the starting point.

The plus’s for the day were that it didn’t started raining until we were sitting down to lunch in the village pub, and the roast beef we had in the village pub was superb.

We called into Pauls cousins, who lives in the Peak District, on the way home. He told us that by now the ground is usually frozen solid in the deeper layers with only an inch or two of mud on the surface. It’s just that this winter it’s not stopped raining, and there’s been very little freeze.

It’s bad enough having to be away from our lovely warm Australia, but to have to be here during the wettest winter on record totally sucks. We’ll still keep walking, but until the mud either dries or freezes over, I think we’re going to stick to more defined paths along canal banks, or around reseviours. All that mud is just to hard and isn’t enjoyable.

Im now only a couple of weeks off overstaying my visitors visa. Pauls waiting for his English passport, and when it arrives I’ll try to get my visa extended. We’re hoping that with Paul having an English passport it’ll help with my extension. The visitors visa only allows a stay of a total of six months out of every 12 months. It’ll cost me nearly £800 to apply with no guarantee, and no refund if it’s not successful. I daren’t leave the country for any more short European visits, I may not be allowed back in. So, for now I’m stuck in this awful weather with no chance even of a short escape.

Goodness knows what’s going to happen if I can’t get a visa. I guess I’ll stay on until they deport me. After that if Pauls dad hasn’t managed to be rehoused I guess Paul will have to stay here, and I’ll have to find someone who can reconnect the battery in the ute, and get it going for me, and someone who can manoeuvre the caravan out of the tight storage space. I can probably tow it once it’s out at a push. Goodness knows how I’d go though at getting it into a caravan site, and setting everything up on my own. Not only that, but it’s likely to happen just as winters starting again in Tassie. I don’t think I could stand a third winter in a row without any summer.

But i’ll cross those bridges if and when I have to…..