The Ghost part 9

What might’ve been?
Victoria Street. The house @ £41,000 in 1995. Almost £29,000 above the candy shop. Simon Gordon and I. Stability and possibilities. No real risk when looking back. I was working at ROCOM. I was banking with Barclays. I had a PEP. No chance with Victoria Street. Not enough space in the second room to rent out. Large enough for a baby, bairn or child. But Crossley Street was a blank canvas. Was an office. 4 large rooms on 2 floors. It’s now 2 flats. Shit we missed our chance there didn’t we Muller?

Why would a young mum of chav nature feed her child crisps: Wotsits to keep it quiet? Manufactured horrible. What will that young body do with all that hydrogenated fat and processed food?
Why are you so oblivious?

This journey to and fro proves to me there isn’t any hope for England.

As Daniel, Megan and I set off for Cable Beach, Broome we were coming towards a road kill with 2 birds picking at the leftovers on the Tarmac. Only as we got close enough to make out what birds they were did we realise how large these 2 birds were. As we got to within 15 feet or more finally 2 huge brown eagles took flight. They both just coasted over the bonnet of Dan’s Holden 3.2litre Ute. They were awesome in their majesty. I am so glad for seeing them that close and I am very glad they took off in time. 
Those two weeks in Broome during the festival staying at the Kimberley Klub were pure and simple. The people who I met from the day I arrived until I finally arrived in Darwin 2 weeks later will be forever friends
My journey from arriving in Perth and eventually getting to glorious Broome was a series of life changing adventures.

I had bought a greyhound ticket that would take me from Perth to Sydney with unlimited stops and a couple of excisions: Kakadu and Great Keppel Island. I had been in Perth and the south west, trying to find work, find somewhere to live and for some reason settle down. Until I ventured to Albany and Pemberton I didn’t know why I was in Australia. It took me a few weeks(6 or so) to do something unique. When I arrived on the 30th June I went about setting up my life in Perth. As though this was where I was going to spend 12 months. I looked at a house in both cottesloe , leederville and finally settled in one in Victoria Park: a run down colonial style town house owned and let by a Maori, with a mongrel dog, who was a rugby player in Perth. I paid very little, including bills, for a room in a termite infested red tin roofed house with a room on a second floor that was inaccessible due to this tragic infestation: their were termite mounds hanging from the celling in all the rooms which shared the same space as that upstairs room. I lived with Paul, his gf from Bideford and one other girl for a month before they bought a misibishi sigma and drove off to Albany with me following behind on the Great Western coach. The car they bought was one of them well preserved 1980’s items that are ubiquitous in oz. I read a lot, worked for a landscape gardener for a few days, tried to set up an Internet cafe for a dodgy wheeler dealer who took $26 from me to find me no work for 6 week even though we ended up socializing together at the jazz bar next to Brass monkey’s (possibly the best bar I’ve been anywhere on my extensive travels).

I arrived in Australia on the 30th June 1999. After 45+ hours traveling to this final destination I came through customs, had my passport stamped and Visas checked. It was 3am and gratefully Emma had arranged for a friend to pick me up and give me somewhere to stay until my jetlag was slept off. Lisa was waiting in the lobby of Perth international airport, we said hello and she told me it had been no problem meeting me as she worked until this time at the Burswood Casino as a crupper, we left for her car(an ancient Mazda) and drove through the deserted streets to her apartment in North Perth. We got on pretty well and she was very accommodating. She’d sorted me out a comfortable sofa bed in the front room. I was asleep almost instantly as soon as we’d got back to the flat. She left for work mid morning and I told her I’d not put upon her more than the one night: I think I was absolutely shattered but I couldn’t stay: I just couldn’t. It was a paranoid self justification. I think the journey had made me psychotic. The next night I stayed at the YHA and I never saw Lisa again. She must have thought me very odd, not respecting her hospitality and leaving after 1 day, but I really wanted to do this thing alone. Unsupported. I had a single terrible nights sleep in the YHA. 

The next day I located a much more laid back and friendly backpacker opposite Perth train station and booked in there for a week. I afforded the luxury of a private room with shared facilities on the third floor. I think it was a hotel backpack, globe backpackers or some such with a travel centre and currency exchange on the ground floor on Wellington Street. It was slightly rundown, but it was popular and more party styled than the YHA   I’d stayed in on North Street. I was looking for work, but also fun.
In those first two weeks of my arrival I thought that I’d made a huge mistake leaving my job, coming to Perth to find work and to be completely undecided why I was in Australia. I had acted on an impulse and was only drawn to Perth as I’d school here in 1987/88. Once I arrived in Perth I had no idea what i could do. I assumed incorrectly I could find work for the energy corporations in Perth, but although I wrote to them I never heard from their HR departments. I worked for a day attempting to sell books of discounts offers cold calling through the Perth telephone directory in an ad-hoc office off the high numbers on Hay Street: I earned nothing and was told I didn’t have the skills to get the deal and this was a good thing in hindsight. I was told by numerous temp agencies it was the wrong time of year (winter) for most seasonal opportunities (even harvest had passed) and all the warm weather jobs were months away: I was offered a job planting trees with the forestry commission down south, but the shear scale of the piece rate blew my mind: 1000 trees for a dollar.

My most vivid recollection of that backpackers is watching the rugby with a bunch of pommes, who’d already done the tour of Oz and were about to return home, public school rugby boys without a care in the world. I was grudgingly accepted into their clique for a few days. Very much on the fringe. That night we all drank copious Carlton cold and Emu lager and I went to bed satisfied I’d never really ‘like’ knobs. I went to bed and woke up around 2am for a urinary movement. I stepped out of my room forgetting where I was, I went and did my business and returned the short distance (undressed) without my door key and unable to get back in my room (self locking dead lock): bollocks. I was on the third floor stark bullock naked at 2am. I only had 1 option. To go down to reception and hope I made it down all those floors without meeting anyone! I am most fortuitous that I arrived at the reception desk without anyone (apart from CCTV) catching me Au Natural! I explained my predicament to the night security guard who laughed copiously and gave me a spare key. Problem solved; on the edge of hearing I could make out the party continuing in the lounge but they didn’t look my way.

After i lived out of my suitcase for some time I decided i needed to ditch it for something more user friendly for backpacking: a Caribee rucksack with day bag.
I got this backpack from the army surplus store further along Wellington street, dumped my suitcase with my step sister up in Heathridge, Joondaloop, i bought a ticket to circumnavigate australia for a thousand dollars and leaving for first Albany and Pemberton in south west and then the pinnacles desert @ Cervantes I started on my roadtrip to Sydney.

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