At home in Doreen

Another week, another place to live. This time in somewhere called Doreen, which, until recently, I thought uniquely was a woman’s name. As it turns out there’s a suburb called that too.

In my mind at least Doreen is a homely name, a good Catholic girl, possibly a spinster, who thinks the old church is better than the new. In suburban terms it might be an established suburb just outside the inner city, broad roads, red brick homes, rose gardens and churches. This Doreen is nothing like that. For a start is miles from anything meaningful to me. It’s what I would call semi-rural – glancing out the window last night while watching TV I saw about 30 kangaroos hop across the hill over the back fence. Everything is new. It’s basically a housing estate, comfortable homes built based on different variations of the same plan, well laid out streets, parks in between with walking tracks, lots of roundabouts, and a shopping centre that almost smells new. The residents seem a combination of retired folk – like the aunt and uncle I’m house-sitting for – or young families – like my cousin living just down the road apparently. And it’s about a 40 minute drive to the nearest place I know.

In actual fact it makes for a pleasant change. For a start I’ve got the place to myself and a month of being able to relax a little more than I’ve been accustomed too. Certainly there is the potential for social isolation, but at the same time it’s a distraction free area. I can focus without interruption on the things I’ve set myself to do. Above all I can rest and recoup.

I never realised how tired I was until I woke up yesterday morning at the Cheeses. There was a sense of relief knowing that soon I could properly relax, but also an overwhelming weariness. I made my way here and almost heaved a sigh of relief walking the door. I’ve been uncomfortable living in other people’s pocket, weary at the effort, and also immensely scruffy. I hate that.

I had a hot bath yesterday afternoon and for the first time in weeks properly shampooed and conditioned my hair. I looked a lot more presentable after that, and felt a lot more human. This morning I shaved for the first time in a fortnight. I trimmed and tidied first, and looked in the mirror thinking I could keep it like that and look perfectly dashing. I have a job interview later though, so dashing doesn’t cut it. So I shaved back to the conventional style, and feel again as if I can take myself in society without looking like a bum.

I’ll comment on the job interview another time, though I will remark on a typical alarm this morning. I took both dogs for a walk at about 9 (Rigby and their dog Chilli). We walked through a nearby park while I struggled to manage them both – going at different paces, one charging ahead while the other stops to sniff at something interesting, getting their leads tangled, crossing around and back and through the scrub, and so on. At one stage I had to follow Chilli into the scrub to untangle him. As I brushed against a branch I felt a sharp sting. The sting persisted, and back at the house I found a swelling about the size of a 20c piece, and I began to feel a bit wonky and bilious. It passed I’m fine now, and figure I might have been bitten by a white tail spider. That’s life in the sticks though.

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