Finally the day was here 24th January 2016, we were on our way to Australia. This trip had been a year in the planning. No way were we travelling half way around the world and not exploring the place! We also wanted to spend some quality time with Corrinne’s brother who had recently acquired his Australian citizenship. This in itself provided us with the ultimate dilemma. For so long now we had covered up any issues that we were living with, but our plans included a ten day stay with my brother in law, and there was no way that we would be able to hide his Sister’s condition, 24 hours a day. Especially as he would want some quality time with his “Big Sister”.
How were we going to disguise the memory problems, the drowsiness and all the other issues? I couldn’t be around all of the time. They were bound to see it if they spoke to her on her own. These were all the worries that we faced, before we even got there. The only solution was that I needed to speak with him and be honest. But first we had 21 hours of flying and a transfer at Singapore airport to negotiate. Everything else could wait.
Packing always seemed to be my job. Corrinne would make piles of clothes on the bed and leave me to figure out how on earth they were all going to get into her suitcase. We were always a good team, each checking over what the other was taking and making sure we had everything we needed. At the time this just seemed like a normal packing session, but looking back now there was definitely a lot less input from Corrinne.
The journey was everything we thought it would be, long, tedious and extremely tiring. You can only watch so many in-flight movies. Whenever we were flying, I always tried to make sure that we got the seats by the emergency exits, not because of escaping but for the extra leg room. I had even remembered to pack those sexy flight socks. As we were flying with Singapore Airlines, I thought it only natural to enjoy the odd Singapore Sling, merely to pass the time, of course. These were amazing and helped us both to relax and sleep.
The break in the journey came at Singapore. We had to disembark, make our way across the terminal and meet our connecting flight, all within three hours. Trying to gather belongings, feeling as tired as we did was a challenge in itself. Unfortunately I managed to leave some valuables on the plane ( Kindle, Tablet, & my Brand new Beats headphones). I only discovered that these were lost when we finished the journey, and when reporting them, my lack of faith in humankind was proved correct, as they hadn’t been handed in.
The transition at the airport was a challenge. Corrinne’s dislike of trains, especially crowded ones, had to be dealt with, along with carrying all hand luggage. We managed it, somehow and arrived at the departure gate, just in time. I’m not one for arriving anywhere too early and having to wait around. The last leg of the flight seemed to pass relatively smoothly, as we knew that next stop was Perth.
Arriving in Perth seemed quite smooth, I guess we had already had a practice run. We gathered our belongings and made our way from the plane to the Arrivals lounge. I knew that this was a moment that Corrinne had longed for, for so long. To visit her younger brother, and see what all those amazing things that he was constantly telling her about, and to take him some good ol’ British tea bags. As we walked through the gate, there he was and it was the magical moment that had been hoped for.
Dale didn’t live too far from the airport, so it wasn’t too long before we arrived at his home. They sat in the front chatting most of the way, thankfully I wasn’t needed to much to cover during conversations. Besides, it could all be put down to tiredness.
We had no idea on day or time, as it all just seemed like a long blur. But we had landed in Australia on Australia Day, so this was not going to be a quiet relaxing day. Corrinne has always needed so much more sleep than me, so after a quick drink and chat, she went off to bed to try and get some sleep. I always keep going through the jet lag to try and keep my body in a routine so I stayed up for a while, drinking and chatting with Dale.
After all the obvious catch up talk and all the updates on Brighton & Hove Albion, and of course the drinks were helping the relaxation. I knew that this was the best time to steer the conversation to Corrinne. I had given this so much thought, what I would say and how much detail to go into. It had to be easier with Corrinne asleep, and oblivious to what was being said. She had no idea that I was going to discuss this. She certainly would have insisted that I said nothing, but that really wasn’t an option, anymore.
There isn’t much I remember about the conversation that followed. I have no idea how long we sat there for that evening. It just didn’t matter. Naturally, it must of felt terrible for someone to hear, that the big sister who is absolutely adored, was struggling in this way. The body blow, was balanced out by the relief that I finally had been able to talk with someone. A very emotional evening, not how you would expect to start a holiday, but absolutely the right thing to do.
Australia Day is definitely the day to be in Australia. The country comes to a standstill and the celebrations are something else. We spent a lazy morning around the pool, before the guests arrived for the traditional barbie. The food and drinks are well thought out and in abundance. The radio stations are all geared up to the countdown to the number one song. Once this had been revealed and heard, thoughts then turned to the evening celebrations.
We spent the evening at the waterfront in Perth. There were stalls and activities everywhere, to satisfy the ever-increasing crowds. The firework display that we witnessed was absolutely amazing. It seemed to last for ever. A truly great evening.
Our plan was to spend ten days in Perth, so that Corrinne had plenty of time to spend with her brother. We would then fly over to the Gold Coast, hire an RV and go on a road trip from Cairns to Sydney. We would then fly back over to Perth for the last few days, before returning home.
Those first days in Perth seemed to fly by so quickly. We managed to see so many of the local sights. Went out on day trips. The number of breakfasts and meals out that we had was insane, definitely back to the gym on our return! It was great to have some lazy times as well, Corrinne definitely needed those, as the medication being taken contained a large proportion of sedative.
It gave me time to confirm the route that I was planning for our road trip and to work out the best stopping points en route. Our plan was to drive 2,000 miles in ten days, so we needed to be organised.
What an amazing place Perth truly is. I always knew that Australia was where I wanted to be, nowhere specific but the culture and setup was always so appealing. The hardest thing for me would be leaving to come back home. Corrinne on the other hand would struggle with adapting to a new lifestyle, so far away from home, friends and family. I don’t think a day passed by without a subtle hint from me, on how we could start somewhere new….
Seeing the love for the country that her brother has, and the enthusiasm that he had as he so proudly showed us so many of the sights. Every trip in the car took an amazing detour, just to show us something else. I know that this would of been done so many times before, for everyone visiting him. But the passion still remained.
All too soon the time came for us to leave and begin the next part of this exciting journey. But, at least we would be back……..