Finally and at last, treatment is finished. The last scheduled PET scan has been had and the result showed no remaining trace of the dreaded melanoma or any other cancer cell cursing through his body. We are free to travel, returning to Perth for six-monthly PET scans, the next one booked for October. Looking back over my diary entries during the last year and a half, I cannot express how relieved we both are that Roddy is the exception rather than the rule. There was a time when I was quite certain that I was going to be a widow soon. Sounds dramatic, I know, but when you read statistics for stage 4 and if you had seen him when he had ileitis, then you would understand. It was a frightening and deeply unsettling time. Roddy is an amazing person, though. Throughout all of this he has remained positive and refused to let the prognosis get him down. Instead, he has become proactive: being self-actualising and in control of his affairs is of paramount importance to him and losing that control is perhaps his biggest fear, so he has gone about settling his affairs. I won’t detail all the arrangements he has made, suffice to say that now everything is sorted, he feels relaxed and can focus on our trip.
Since the last blog we have bought a motorhome. It’s a VW Crafter, 4-berth diesel van. It’s second-hand and an ex-rental. Initially we thought that buying from a private owner might be preferable, however, having researched, looked and sniffed, we found that private vans are their owners’ babies. They can do no wrong and are beautiful. They have often been altered and sport some interesting DIY additions such as fake grass carpets and 70s style curtains. They are perfumed by a homely cabbage smell and have sometimes been in the family for decades – all qualities that are reflected in their ‘value’ and price. So we bought from a dealer that sells off vans from Britz and other rental companies. These tend to be neutrally decorated, have been checked, cleaned and serviced regularly and, due to the lack of emotion, are priced according to their market value. We managed to negotiate a bit and eventually bought it for just under $60,000 with a new hydraulic pump for the automatic gear shift, new front tyres and some other minor repairs thrown in. And tomorrow we will pick it up!! Over the Easter weekend we will fill it up and do a trial run next week, driving south. This should give us the chance to see what rattles, what we need or don’t need, then fix it when we come back to Perth, before heading off on our circumnavigation of the big continent in clockwise direction. AAAAAAAH! I know! We love it already and it has a nickname – ‘Gecko’ due to its new WA rego which is 1GEK081. As you can see, it will soon smell of cabbage and have increased in value.
I spent the last five weeks working at my ‘old’ school filling in for an English teacher who was away on the famous long-service leave, that splendid Australian invention. Going back was easy and I felt very much at home. I loved the company of my friends, our early morning coffees, as well as the feeling of purpose and belonging. The kids were very welcoming, too and I made some new friends. Even my bank account was happy. Teachers gave me contacts for schools in other parts of WA, which should make working as we travel easier. I am registering as a teacher in the other states, although it will take us a few months before we even leave WA, I guess, due to its enormous size. I have already had an offer for a few weeks’ work next term, somewhere 400km north of Perth so I am not worried about a lack of opportunities.
In order to broaden my reach, though, I have now also created a website for my new translating business called Palaver Translations. Way back in Glasgow, before Paul was born, I used to translate snow reports from Austrian, Swiss and German ski resorts. I would phone and fax those resorts, then write up short reports on the snow and skiing conditions and upload them to Teletext as well as record voice reports for the Ski Hotline – my one excursion into the Hotline business (Now THERE is an idea…) Another time I was approached by someone in Jordanhill College, Glasgow, to translate and record voice-overs in German for a chilled food company. It’s a while ago but Renate translates as ‘Reborn’ so maybe a reincarnation is on the cards. A friend of mine here in Perth encouraged me to go for it. She is a NAATI translator. She mainly translates official documents and is licenced to do so. I am not but I would prefer to translate narrative texts anyway. I have not yet promoted my business apart from starting a new business facebook page but I will approach companies as I go. You just never know! My website is http://www.palavertranslations.com and the facebook page is called Translations German to English @ Palaver Translations. Rolls off the tongue, I know, but I had put Translations German to English in the box, not quite realising it was going to be the user name rather than Palaver Translations. Then again, it does contain the key words and both titles link to the same page…. it’s all very much a work in progress ☺. Wish me luck!