Time travels fast when you’re having a good time! Not that the last 12 months has been all that easy for many people with the Covid disaster turning our world upside down. But even with all the Covid disruption, the last 12 months has still been pretty busy for us here in Margaret River. Here is a quick update and I hope to produce a few more posts over coming weeks.
We were very lucky in WA to have only minimal impact from Covid with restrictions and lockdowns. In fact, by winter most of our life was back to normal, venues were open , cafes operating normally and Covid was mostly something that affected our families over east. We did have a small lockdown again early ths year, but otherwise its been relatively trouble free. The joys of living in the most isolated part of the country! The chaos occuring elsewhere in the world seemed to be a long way away, but we still felt saddend by the enormous toll it was taking in Europe, USA, Brasil and India in particular.
The biggest impact Covid had on us was the cancellation of our planned trip to Africa in June. Deb had spent countless hours researching, planning and scheduling a dream trip: A 28 day custom planned Safari to see as many of Africa’s wild animals as was possible at that time of the year. We were devastated to have to eventually cancel the trip. We kept hoping that we would be able to travel in 2021, but as it became clear that was not going to happen we reluctantly cancelled. We really hope that sometime in the future we will be able to make the trip.
My work was affected quite considerably as my clients grappled with how best to plan for their business futures. They stopped spending money on new projects which meant my work dried up for the short term. Luckily, they have started planning new projects again and work is starting to build up again, albeit slowly. A bonus was my old employer in Melbourne was suddenly overloaded with work from their food clients and they have reached out to me to give them a hand. Interstingly, much of this new work is for smaller, locally owned food businesses that are preparing to expand: maybe a result of Australians looking more closely at buying Australian Made food products again!
One unexpected affect of Covid for us was that it inititated a big change in Deb’s career. After many, many years of caring for peoples pets, Deb needed a change and decided to re-train as a nurse. She had started volunteering at the local St John’s Ambulane Service and really enjoyed the training and interaction with patients. Here in WA, St Johns are contracted to provide the full emergency ambulance service to all regional areas, so this is the real deal. Whilst much of the work involved patient transport, there were also plenty of interesting call outs to accidents and mishaps which made the work very interesting. This obviously whet Deb’s appetite for nursing and when the calls for more nurses were made during Covid, she decided to step up and apply. She was finally accepted (one of only 15 trainees) into the Diploma course at Bunbury TAFE and has been attending there since June last year. The course is full time and the duration is 18 months, so she is nearly two thirds of the way through. Whilst much of the study is almost identical to the skills she already has from her Vet qualification, there are no exemptions and she has to pass every asessment just like all the other students. She is loving learning again and applying her new skills in the practical placements. Once she qualifies at the end of 2021, we are hoping she can get work in regional WA, maybe eventually in remote communities where we can both travel and experience more of this great state.
As the TAFE course is full time, and Bunbury is too far away for a daily commute, we have set the caravan up at a friends place in Boyanup, just out of Bunbury. Deb stays there midweek, while I look after the pups at home and do my mostly online work. Its tough being apart for so long each week, but after the course is complete we are looking forward to starting travel again.
So that’s a quick summary of our last 12 months here in Margaret River. Of course, so much more has happened in this ever changing world. We both had some major surgeries to hopefully keep our bodies working relatively pain free (Deb had shoulder surgery and I had back surgery), there were more family visits, lots of swimming, Cape to Cape hikes, coffees, grape picking and of course, plenty of wine tasting and exploring the beautiful SW of WA.