Six months have elapsed since the last blog entry and my fingers feel a little rusty as a type away back home in Australia. While I was drafting this blog, Anne had a friend on Facebook ask what were were doing as they had not heard from us for months. So this is timely.
New York seems a distant memory as all our adventures do with the passage of time. So what have we been doing you may ask, planning the next trip, writing our book, sadly not, but our time has been filled with other activities.
My first act upon returning was to seek an eye examination. It had become apparent to me that towards the end of our travels in 2017 my eyesight was deteriorating, especially in low light conditions. Tests revealed that cataracts were the cause and while we all get them gradually, in some cases like mine, the change can come on more quickly. With each eye needing about four weeks’ recovery time after surgery, the whole process would take over three months. We also had our niece, Deanna, coming to visit in July from the UK. The decision was then made that it would be nice to spend the rest of 2018 at home here in Brisbane.
One must remember that it has been five years since we set off for Europe in September 2013 for what we thought was a nine month stay in Europe, to spend more time visiting our families. We calculated that in those five years we spent 38 months overseas in Europe and travelling on Streak and Storm and only 22 months in Australia, hence the title of this blog.
Since we were to stay in Brisbane for an extended period, we cast an eye over our home and found that a refresh was in order. We had not undertaken any such activity in the 20 years we have owned the place. My pathetic attempts at painting made the decision to bring in the professionals that much easier. Electricians, painters, carpet layers and window shutter fitters have transformed our home and we are very happy with the outcome and completed in a very short timeframe allowing us to enjoy the results so much sooner. Another reason to bring in the professionals.
I guess by this time you are falling asleep, not a motorcycle or travel adventure in sight – have the 2slowspeeds become domesticated and settling into their couch and hanging up their helmets and leathers? Well, no not quite. As we do not ride pillion with each other and only have one motorcycle, the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird, riding options for both of us were limited. Anne had also found that while riding the Thunderbird was fine, the weight of the motorcycle while parking and manoeuvring a 350 kg/770 lb motorcycle on gravel less than enjoyable. A second motorcycle was needed. With Anne looking for an upright riding position similar to ‘Streak’s’ and after much due diligence, Anne whittled it down to a few interesting choices to test ride. With the BMW F700GS in runout and not available in Australia ahead of the introduction of its replacement early in 2019, the shortlist consisted of the:
– Royal Enfield Himalayan,
– Honda CB500X and the
– Moto Guzzi V7.
Quite a mixture. We both test rode the Royal Enfield Himalayan and while the bike was fun, the buzz at highway speeds and service intervals concerned us. With my first eye operation taking place, my test riding days were over. Anne found the Moto Guzzi V7 was too front heavy thus eliminating it. Anne enjoyed the BMWR1200R with all the high tech features that she tried but at three times the price of the Honda CB500X, so the decision was made. Anne describes the CB500X as a “Sweet Ride”, and nicknamed it “The Bee” due to the grey and yellow paint scheme. Over a couple of thousand kilometres have been ridden since purchase and the smile on Anne’s face is barely contained in her new Shoei Neotec1 helmet.
So are we off across Australia next week? Well, no, not quite, Anne has returned to full time employment! Well that was a surprise to both of us. After looking for a little part time work at the local hardware chain “Bunnings”, Anne saw an opportunity to apply for a Project Management role at Queensland Health for a eight month contract. Anne had to dust off her CV which had lain unused for 18 years and undertake a gruelling series of interviews and personality tests over a six week period. The result of which was a job offer as a Project Manager at Queensland health. The end of August saw a boost in business clothing sales in Brisbane as Anne realised the her previous business outfits purchased in the last century were a little dated. With her fashion adviser, me, alongside, we have Anne looking professional and business like.
Anne started work in mid September and will finish the contract in April 2019. She is very brave after being retired for five years and working for herself for the 12 years prior to that with the art business. I do not think that I could go back and work full time with all that it entails, I am very proud of her. I have my own list of tasks that seems to hover in the mid 20’s regardless of how many I complete. Hopefully the list will be finished before the end of Anne’s contract and I can just relax with my feet up.
Our focus for travel has now moved on to 2019. Streak and Storm are sitting in the UK waiting for us. They will need a little work after the exertions of 2017, new tyres are probably just the start. We have a number of ideas but nothing that has coalesced into a trip we want to undertake yet. For now we will just enjoy being in our refurbished home catching up with friends and refilling the coffers with Anne’s hard work for the rest of the year. Let’s see what 2019 will bring, the call of the road for both of us is still out there and will likely only grow stronger with the passage of time.