I’m not really sure why, but co-incidentally I’ve had a few flashbacks to my time in South Australia this week. I lived and worked there back in the late 80s and early 90s. John Bannon was the Premier, the Berri Bridge was still in the discussion stage, citrus prices were low, there was a stupidly parochial advertising campaign called “SA Great” and our local federal member, Ian McLaughlin was touted as a future Prime Minister. I remember interviewing McLaughlin about this, and his reply was that, like Darren Lehman who had just emerged as a very good cricket player in SA, you wouldn’t expect to make him team captain right away, so why would you expect the same of a politician.
Memorably, while I was living there the River Murray was in flood in two successive years.
And the towns in which I lived – Renmark and Paringa – were small places “in the middle of nowhere” with the view from my place in Paringa being little more than a view of the railway track.
They were lovely little towns in many ways, and I really loved living on a fruit block on the outskirts of town. I was shown incredible friendship living there, and many people “took me under their wings” which I really value to this day. In particular, I remember the early morning phone call from a neighbour inviting me to go on his boat to the backwaters of the Murray as the river was in flood. I had a nice time living there, but in all honesty I also had a miserable time in some ways, as there wasn’t a large number of people my age living there, and those who did often moved to Adelaide. This week, memories of SA have come flooding back.
First, I discovered a Facebook profile for the now-grown-up daughter of an old friend from my time there with whom I lost contact many years ago, so I asked her to say hi to her mum for me. I can’t believe the five year old I once knew is now going out to nightclubs and drinking. There again, she is obviously her mother’s daughter!!
Second, I caught up with a former colleague from SA at a work-function, leading to much reminiscing about my time there. Oddly enough, we both had near perfect recognition of the specific occasions on which we worked together. He also gave me an update on another colleague who I was pleased to hear that, although now in her 70s, remained happy and well.
And third, I heard from another colleague who has recently moved there. She came to my workplace as an intern, and has since gone on to get a job working as a journalist. I think she’s great, by the way. In writing back to her, I mentioned I’d also worked in South Australia. And then I realised how long ago it was, and that she was probably only an infant when I was living and working there.
It’s funny, eh (?), how these things happen all at once.
In other news, I have a bit of hay-fever at the moment.