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A little lonely

It’s been a weird week here for me. I’ve struggled a little in that I’ve been feeling a little lonely. It’s hard to explain as I’m not unhappy here, I’m enjoying the quiet though some days it might just be a bit too quiet. I have yet to make any friendships, it’s difficult in such a small town where there doesn’t seem to be any women my age that have similar interests.

I am grateful this week that I have started my online course and have filled up a couple of days with study. I help out in the girls classroom a couple of mornings a week and that’s been great too. On Monday I have a meeting to discuss the possibility of me being able to do my voluntary hours for the course at the girls’ school. The teachers I’ve spoken with are really keen for me to get started and there’s been talk of some possible casual work in the future which would be fantastic.

Linden’s been working a lot of nights and weekends this week and I always enjoy hearing the stories of the people he’s met and how diverse his work is here. He seems to be really enjoying the change. He’s even talking about buying a couple of cows!! He sure is embracing this country life. His vege patch is coming along and some of the plants seem to be thriving. He’s got lots of plans for the rest of the garden and I’m sure it’s going to look beautiful in a few months time.

The girls are adjusting beautifully and have made some lovely little friends at school. There has been the odd tear or two when they miss their friends back home, but mostly they are happy here. They’ve started going to swim club on a Thursday afternoon at the pool near their school (about 20 minutes drive away). It’s a great afternoon and not at all competitive which suits us just fine. They are only trying to improve their times each week and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. There are lots of different swimming abilities and it’s so good to see them all just having a go and having fun with their friends. In between swims there is always a game of handball going on. They are loving learning to play handball and have now got all four of us out in the backyard of an afternoon playing.

I took the girls to The Channon Craft Market on Sunday which was a lot of fun. Lucy got herself a henna tattoo and they both picked up a colourful tie dyed shirt (Alice even getting to make her own under the guidance of the beautiful stallholder). We bought a few little Christmas gifts but the best part was the people watching. So many colourful characters to observe.

We’re getting our first visitors this weekend and I’ve been busy stocking the fridge and pantry and cleaning the house this week. My sister and her husband are visiting for 4 days and we can’t wait! I just hope they don’t get too bored.

Until next time x

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November 18, 2016 - 8:39 am

Siobhan - Nice to see you all settling it. Such a huge adjustment for all of you! Hopefully, you’ll find a nice little group of ladies, who can fill those friendship gaps! It’s a time you will all no doubt treasure!

November 21, 2016 - 1:21 am

Andrew - Nice close-up shots, Lucy in the window, sunset (?), and the pay-off on the trampoline for all those hours of gymnastics. Henna is certainly fascinating and tye dying seems eternally coming back. Eliza mentioned to me last week she missed Alice and wondered how she was doing. Perhaps Alice could write to her class, so the teacher, Ms Clark, could read it out, and invite people to write back as a class or as individuals as a writing project. The girls might get a few drawings even! It might take some time to build some friendships, local radio and CDs were my salvation when in quiet places. Now when Ive got a break from passing vehicles, boat motors, dogs barking, and motorbikes being revved, I deeply spend time listening to quiet sounds like leaves in the wind or hundreds of bees in a tree we recently saved. Getting into the community via school and study are effective, or you could join a committee of some kind. I think you had a nice time with your sister. Ive got a friend doing a retreat at the place you were working, Im seeing him next weekend there and before he comes here we’ll get to look around at the cockle shell construction in the old convent. Gwen Dundon wrote that the boys who lived there is the early 1800s calcified piles of cockle shells by the water to make mortar for the building, and celebrities came from Sydney to Woy Woy then by boat to Kincumber to open it when it was finished. Anyway, I thought of you working there when taking to my friend today about next weekend and his retreat this week. Im thinking of paddling there in the kayak across Brisbane Broadwater, then Christie can meet us there in the Tarago and we’d all drive back together. Anyway, let the peace take hold, dont resist it, listen for the sounds of the place, and keep a creative mind in writing and with that camera. Im sure you’ll be fine. Cheers A

November 21, 2016 - 3:31 pm

admin - Oh thanks so much Andrew, that’s lovely to read today. How interesting about the Retreat. I worked there for 18 months and had no idea about the cockle shell construction. Fascinating. I hope he’s enjoyed his time there. It really is a peaceful place. The grounds are lovely and quiet and from what I hear from attendees they always seem to enjoy it there. Hopefully the staff have looked after him.

I did write to Ms Clark when we first arrived and sent through some photos and a story of how Alice was going but I didn’t hear back from her so I’m not sure if she received my email and/or shared it with the class. I hope she did. I can send another one to her and see if she gets it.

I really do enjoy the peace and quiet here. There are lots of different bird species to enjoy. The little blue wrens are beautiful.

November 21, 2016 - 3:33 pm

admin - Thanks for taking the time to read my post Siobhan! We will definitely look back on our adventure with fond memories. It’s really a great place for the girls to spend a few years in. I’m starting to really enjoy it here.

It’s all about the River

This week has been all about the river, trying to find some great spots for swimming or to take the canoe at a later date. Directly behind our house is a dirt road through cow paddocks to the river. There’s a lot of shade and a small swimming hole with little rapids for the girls to play on their inflatable rings. The days have been really warm so it’s perfect to head down there after school or late afternoon on the weekends. Who needs a pool when you have the river at your doorstep!

Last Saturday was the Tabulam Races. It’s a once a year event and brings in hundreds of campers and bus loads of people from far and wide to experience the country race day. The girls and I got frocked up and headed down in the afternoon but it was so hot, we only stayed an hour to watch one race and then headed back home. I’ll know for next year not to get quite so dressed up. I haven’t been to a country race before and while some ‘fashions on the field’ entrants got all dressed up with pretty dresses and fascinators, the majority of the crowd were in summer attire. A lot of the crowd were from the hundreds of backpackers living in Tabulam for the blueberry picking season. Everyone seemed to be having fun and there were lots of free kids activities which was great. However, being there without friends and not being a drinker or gambler, I was happy to leave early and head to the river for a swim.

We did find a fantastic swimming hole down by the racecourse though so that was well worth it. There’s a huge area to swim, with a sandy shore and we can’t touch the bottom so the girls had a ball. Just a short walk downriver is a beautiful rapids area with big rocks to climb over. It’s definitely a spot we might come back to with the canoe and even camp overnight.

We’ve been looking every day on the various pet rescue sites looking for a perfect addition to our family but as yet haven’t found what we are looking for. We’ve enquired about a few but they’ve already had adoption applications by the time we send through our interest. I’m sure the perfect dog will come along soon.

I’ve tried to get out riding but the roads aren’t in great condition and they are very windy and narrow. It’s a bit scary when a car or truck speeds past and the cattle grids get a bit annoying after the 20th one! After dropping the girls at the bus stop this morning we headed out to the road out towards Richmond Range National Park. It was a 6km dirt road along a ridge overlooking some very pretty countryside that had some hills. It wasn’t too hard for me and my poor mountain biking skills but still tough enough to get a good workout.

I hope you are enjoying our updates and photos. Until next time. xx

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November 8, 2016 - 1:39 pm

Ciaran - Nothing like swimming in a river floating downstream 🙂

November 8, 2016 - 2:09 pm

admin - There are a few grazes and bruises from the rocks but they are so happy there. Not quite the ocean but the next best thing.

So many positives

We’ve had a very positive, happy week here in Tabulam.

Last weekend was all about the garden and we spent most of Sunday planting out a vege and herb patch in the backyard. We found a lovely nursery in Lismore on Saturday with some good quality seedlings. The girls helped Linden plant tomatoes, rhubarb, nasturtium, marigolds, shallots, sage, basil, chives, zucchini, beans, carrots and some pumpkin seeds. Since then, Linden has created a bromeliad area under the crepe myrtle tree and is now planting out some indoor plants (he says indoor plants are back in fashion).

After the hot day in the garden on Sunday we all headed down to the river for a swim for a couple of hours. The girls played on their inflatable rings going down river and running back up. I can see this becoming very popular in the Summer and it will be hard to get them home for dinner!

Another positive has been a personal one for me. I’ve been helping out in the classroom and love getting to know the kids and their personalities. I’ve been wanting to do the Teacher’s Aide course for a few years now but have always had been told that I shouldn’t do it for one reason or another – usually because there’s no funding and it’s hard to get work. Finally, I’ve decided to ignore everyone else and do what I want to do. Yesterday I enrolled in the online TAFE course to get qualified. The teacher’s at school I’ve been speaking to have been so positive and I can’t wait to start studying. It’s been many years since I’ve tried to study so I hope that I enjoy it.

The girls left this morning for their 2 day camp to Coffs Harbour. I must say I’m a little jealous of all the cool things they will get to do – ice skating, canoeing, obstacle courses, circus skills and fencing. It all sounds like so much fun and they were all very excited this morning when they got on the bus. Or as Lucy says ‘nervicited’ (nervous/excited at the same time). After we dropped them off, we decided to go and explore a bit of the area. A couple of days ago, I’d seen a great field of huge hay bales that I wanted to go back to photograph with my ‘big’ camera so we drove out there and then followed the road out to Urbenville and Woodenbong. Another couple of tiny little towns with some beautiful old houses. We love the old glass windows with textured glass and the pretty little cottage gardens.

We’ve also booked a 2 night trip out to Byron Bay in early December. It will be great to get back to the ocean for a couple of days.

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Hello from Tabulam!

It’s been an interesting 2 weeks with no internet or television and very limited mobile reception but I’m happy to announce, we now have internet access and I can update you on our move to Tabulam. I must admit that it hasn’t been easy, there have been a few tears but it’s getting easier each day. As inconvenient as it has been being isolated from the world and not knowing what is going on with family and friends, I’ve quite enjoyed the peace and quiet. Tabulam certainly is quiet and I’ve felt relaxed and peaceful more often than stressed and anxious.

The girls are settling in really well and seem to be enjoying their new school and house. Lucy especially loves all the animals we have seen. It’s been a huge relief to see them smile and enjoy going for bike rides, walks down to the river and seeing cows and calves up close.

Their school is a 20 minute drive through lots of paddocks and some days we have to stop to let cows cross the road which the girls think is lots of fun. We also have to look out for turtles crossing the road and the occasional kangaroo. Yesterday we tried them on the bus home and they seemed to enjoy the trip. The lovely driver has even said he’ll pick them up and drop them back right near the house, rather than having to walk up to the bus stop. That’s country hospitality for you!

There are around 55 students in K-6. Alice and Lucy are both in the 2/3 class which is the biggest class and mostly girls. I went in to help out in the classroom yesterday and counted 6 boys to 20 girls!! All the kids seem really friendly and at lunchtime all the years play together. They usually play Bullrush, handball or play on the playground equipment. Their class is going on an overnight excursion to Coffs Harbour adventure camp next week which sounds like lots of fun.

Our house is a beautiful old house with huge rooms and keeps really cool in the hot weather. We have a small backyard which needs a bit of work to make it look pretty but luckily I have a husband who loves to potter in the garden. The locals have been telling us we have the best house in Tabulam. Across the road are the little shops. We have a small supermarket, a café, a co-op which sells lots of lovely local produce and a post office. There’s also a pub across the road. I’m actually finding it really lovely to be able to walk across the road and pick up some milk, bread or eggs if I’ve run out.

The main industries around here seem to be cattle (both dairy and beef), wheat fields and blueberry farms (we’ve been buying blueberries for $5.50 a kilo!!!!).

Each Saturday, we drive to Lismore (one hour drive) for the girls to do a gymnastics class and do the weekly grocery shopping. We’ve found an awesome Council run library that has a huge range of DVDs and even jigsaw puzzles. These have been a lifesaver since having no TV.

I think I’ve given you a brief look into our new life in Tabulam, I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen so far. Until next time!

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October 25, 2016 - 2:15 pm

Amber - Hey
Can you please send a mailing address
Sounds like you are settling in
Look forward to hearing more updates x

October 25, 2016 - 8:53 pm

Kaz - It sounds amazing! I feel relaxed just reading your post and looking at your beautiful pictures xx

October 26, 2016 - 9:51 am

admin - It’s certainly different to our old home. Miss you my friend x

October 26, 2016 - 11:09 am

Andrew - Hey Kathryn and Lyndon, great to read your ‘bucolic’ adventure. If bucolic was indeed a disease, as it sounds like, you guys have ‘got it well and truly’. The trip to Lismore sounds fabulous and hopefully breaks for school holidays and discovering alternate routes will prevent the monotony of a repeated journey into the future. Let me know when you discover the local cheese manufacturer! No TV is my idea of heaven. As for Your fortune in Lyndon’s ‘garden potterage’ I refer to the defunct Red Green Show for which I will post some reading material on fb for homework!!! The quote, ‘if the women don’t find you handsome at least they’ll find you handy.’ I live by this motto and the man’s prayer. They are truly helpful, Lyndon might see them that way too!

A Fresh Start

I remember talking to my husband early on in our relationship and we joked around saying how nice it would be to move to the country and experience a different part of Australia for a while. I never in my wildest dreams thought it would become reality. A couple of months back he was stressed at work and that stress filtered into our home. The four of us were always rushing from one place to another after school or on the weekends, never really enjoying time together. Tempers were short and none of us seemed happy.

Something had to change and when he came home and said he’d found a great opportunity for a transfer with work to a small country town, we thought – why not? The girls are still young, it’s only 3 years so if we really don’t like it, we can come back to our home. He applied for the position not believing he would be successful but maybe it was being in the right place at the right time he was offered the position the next week. He visited Tabulam to see if it would suit us and came home to paint a beautiful picture of country life and how we would love it. We could rent a residence right next to his workplace so no more commuting to Sydney for him. The house is an old country house that is bigger than our current home. There are cows at the back fence and a river to explore and swim is only a short bike ride away. The town is between Tenterfield and Casino and only a couple of hours drive back to the Coast at Ballina. It sounded too good to be true but he has accepted the position and in less than a week, we will be living our very own “Tree Change”.

I’ve decided to write a regular Blog of our adventures so family and friends can keep in touch and see what we are up to and I’ll be sure to add lots of photos from our new home. I thought the title “A Fresh Start” was a good name for the Blog. Not only are we having a Fresh Start in the Country but I plan on making some personal changes too. I’ve always found myself distancing myself from social situations and have lost many friends over the years. I’m hoping that I can reinvent myself and start fresh with making friends and hopefully keeping them. I hope to be less negative, less paranoid, less jealous. I don’t want to be like this, but my thoughts get in the way and I end up becoming a bit hermit like.

Having lived in one part of Australia for the past 45 years, it’s very daunting for me to move to a town where I know not one person other than my family. I’m hoping I can overcome my mental barriers and make some new friends and learn new things. It will be difficult for me to find work straight away so I plan on studying, writing my Blog, spending more time with my family and hopefully becoming fit again.

Our girls are scared about moving and leaving their friends, moving to a new school and having to make new friends but I’m hoping they both adjust easily and embrace the change. I’m sure we are making the right decision for us all.

We’ve had so many people tell us that they would love to have a change like this but are either too scared or it would be too hard to find work, housing etc. We are so lucky that my husband’s work has given us the opportunity and as much as we will miss family and friends, we thought we couldn’t not try it.

So this time next week we will be driving north to our new home and hopefully having a wonderful adventure for at least the next three years. I think country life may just suit us. I’ve even asked Santa for a hammock and good book for Christmas.

See you in Tabulam!

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October 5, 2016 - 4:36 pm

Mel - All the best to you & your family, Kathryn, it all sounds wonderful & I am genuinely excited for you! And Im so glad youre doing this blog so we can still say g’day & see how you are all going. I hope you all find immense happiness in your Treechange, lots of love to you! X x x

October 5, 2016 - 4:43 pm

admin - Thanks for your kind words and love Mel xx

October 5, 2016 - 4:58 pm

Jodi - Sounds like a wonderful adventure Kathryn and I am actually jealous, though admit I would have a lot of the feelings that you do 🙂

It sounds like you will have a little time on your hands to start with. I highly recommend this, it was recommended to me and I love the positive messages:
http://www.booktopia.com.au/learned-optimism-martin-e-p-seligman/prod9781400078394.html

Enjoy the change and embrace the learning experience xx

October 5, 2016 - 5:39 pm

Janelle Tyson - Congratulations and best wishes to you all. It’s scary but kids are very resilient and adapt well and as adults, we need to get out of our comfort zone to experience life. Face your fears, soak up every moment, enjoy the stress-free life style and be ready for lots of visitors who want to “have what you’re having”. You will have no regrets. Cheers,
Janelle.

October 5, 2016 - 11:15 pm

wendy - Fresh starts are always scary no matter how old we are! I’m excited for you all for all the possibilities, new adventures, growth and connections you will make. Seems like as a family you are following your hearts so Spirit will continue to provide the right opportunities at the right time. Relax into it, you are so being taken care of. When I was 13, our fam moved to to Tokyo (where noone spoke English!) then Hong Kong. A four year adventure that forever shaped me. Blessings to you all and I can’t wait to follow the journey!
Lots of love!

October 7, 2016 - 3:26 pm

admin - Thanks for your kind words Wendy, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment x

October 7, 2016 - 3:26 pm

admin - Thanks Janelle definitely no regrets!

October 7, 2016 - 3:27 pm

admin - Awesome thanks Jodi, I’ll check out the link when we settle in! It sounds perfect.

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