Legend has it that on the day I was born, while my parents were living on the coast in a tent, my father bought a big patch of bush on the edge of a hamlet called Cabbage Tree Creek. On it he built a hut, and eventually most of a mudbrick house. This was on the South-East Coast of Australia in the 1980’s and my parents were not local. They were, I suppose, hippies looking for that better life. For my brother and I as small children, it was a very good one – bush to play in, rivers to swim in, the beach just down the road and a school where everyone knew your name.
By the time I went to University in Melbourne my parents had divorced, my father had died too young and we had moved multiple times.
On reflection I have always been an in-comer. Though I did not always know it.
These days the question people ask me is how I came to be living in Scotland. I tell them that after University, from which I graduated with a BA, First Class Honours Degree in Creative Writing, I had a number of jobs, the longest of which was for a small company manufacturing bags. Aside from writing my other big-love is working with textiles – and it’s funny how often this has been my meal ticket — but somewhere along the way the travel bug bit me. I saved my annual leave, booked a ‘big’ trip and planned to fly to Tanzania, then Egypt… then ? After another month or I would return to work in Melbourne.
Life had other plans.
The company I worked for went bankrupt. My boss told us to take a walk to think about it. I didn’t need to. I had just turned thirty, I was single, renting a room in a share house and very soon I would be without a job. My ticket was open and so, suddenly was my life.
I started a blog, had business cards made up, said goodbye and set off.
I travelled to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. On a hot, hot August day in Umbria, Italy, I realised I was sick hot climates. So asked myself where was not hot and doing so I made a fateful decision.
I booked a two-week walking holiday in Scotland and Puck laughed uproariously as he sprinkled fairy dust over me — an Australian sick of the heat! I fell in love with my tour guide married him, and have been living in Scotland ever since.
When my first son was born we were living in a rented one bedroom flat in Edinburgh. A long way away from the mud brick house in Cabbage Tree Creek.