B-log ~ December 2023

Dear friends and followers,

The six months since our last blog have been difficult for Jack and Jude.
Many of you will know our shack along the Richmond River got inundated with flood waters during February/March 2022. The flood event was one of the most severe in Australia’s history, with over 14 million people living in New South Wales and Queensland impacted. In an event of this magnitude, normal services such as transport, trades, and supplies cease to be available. 

With limited funds, under such demanding conditions, Jack and Jude struggled through the clean-up to establish a crude living area. Fortunately for us, our many years of surviving life-afloat, crossing oceans and living in a hundred or more foreign lands served us well.

But the fact is,
“We’re not getting any younger.” Nevertheless, with grit and determination, we did a damn good job establishing a clean, workable outdoor cooking, showering, and toilet area. In fact, the shower overlooking the agriculture and massive Norfolk Pine, which started life as our family’s Christmas tree, is better than the cubicle in the house. And the two burner gas stove; supplemented by a gas BBQ and a new hot air cooker provided versatile meal preps. Washing up, we used three plastic tubs, a chore even Jack could manage. So, we fared much better than thousands less fortunate, who lived in cars and tents through two winters and a summer, cooking on open fires. Nearly two years after the event, many still live rough, their homes devastated.

Alas, it got worse –
Judith, my soul-mate for fifty-five wonderful years, mother of our two fine young men, and my partner on so many extraordinary adventures, suffered a stroke while polishing our kitchen sink before its reinstallation. With her left side affected, she dropped to the concrete floor, conscious but unable to speak. It’s truly fortunate we are Australians living in the one of the very best countries in the world where medical services are good, fast and affordable. Within minutes, the ambulance arrived to whisk her off to the district hospital, where she received lifesaving treatment within the first hour. That began a long, arduous journey for dear Jude. Beggining with months of hospital treatment, followed by months of physio to reconnect her left side to her affected brain. The great news is she survived and can function well, but not up to her old levels yet.

But that wasn’t the end of her pain and suffering.
In the weeks leading up to our fifty-fifth anniversary, she experienced abdominal pains and went off her food. We had planned a camping outing to celebrate our achievement, but on the day of our departure, she felt and looked even worse. So we stopped by the hospital to get a professional opinion before driving into remote country. Best we did. A scan showed a festering ulcer in her colon. By end of day, she was back in hospital, the third time in a year. Poor dear, she has only one arm for needles, the other losing its lymph nodes to cancer. Is it any wonder Jude’s not keen on needles or catheters?

We’re away
Of course, after living afloat on a homemade boat for many decades, she pines for the simple life and exquisite beauty offered aboard the Sailing Yacht Banyandah. So, once again, we are on our way to Tasmania. This time by car, taking our handy-dandy Suzuki 4WD. We have grand ideas of camping in beautiful locations, and enjoying the freedom of mobility. And that fills us with great expectations.

We will no doubt stick to the magical Macquarie Harbour and Gordon River. So if you find yourselves in our area, drop in for a cuppa and chat. Or email us.

Cheers J&J