Swimming Out of The Rip

We had been married for so many years the anniversaries start to go by in a blur. It’s dusk, my two boys have since been coerced from ipads and headsets to go to bed at the usual time of 8.30pm on a school night, and  I grab a wine, open up the full length glass doors leading out on to the deck overlooking the darkening ocean. The dog sidles out and slumps down under the table, well used to our nightly routine.

How many nights are spent alone on this deck, the external lights downstairs illuminate the slightly unkempt garden in the front, hard to maintain manicured gardens when you live right on the beach on the site of sand dune some 10 metres above sea level.

I see the flash of the lighthouse over the sea, it lights up about every 30 seconds my husband had told me once. I think of him in Sydney working. He would be home in three days, on the Friday night, working away and living during the week in town, then doing the 3 hour commute down south to come home for the weekend.

Loneliness falls as I realise yet again I just can’t keep doing this anymore. Something has to give. Was it me, was it our marriage? I think of the children. Everything is about them, we had moved down to this idyllic location from our busy corporate lives in Sydney as we realised after buying a block one crazy holiday that our lives were spiralling out of control and we had little quality time with family, friends and our children. It was all about the money, the beautiful house in the right suburb, the right cars and the whole consumerist conspiracy to keep you mired in debt and consuming.

Sometimes life can be like being caught in the middle of a rip, being swept out to sea in a way you can’t control, and you know to save yourself you have to do something that seems insane but just make the change.

You have to swim like hell at 90 degrees to the direction the rip is taking you and fight to get out of the vortex, either that or wait to be swept out then try and make your way back if you are lucky.

In our case, on yet another rushed Easter trip, where it takes you a good two days to try and shake off the stress, we stumbled across this small seaside hamlet.

It was like stepping back in time, I had rented it sight unseen through the newspaper when our other booking at a known place turned out to not be a good choice a friend advised me.

So we turned up 7 years ago, took the main highway down south from Sydney and found the turn off promised by the owner…we find ourselves stepping back in time to a place of predominantly holiday shacks right on the beach, driving through a state forrest to get to the one main road that leads into the small community, right on the southern basin of New South Wales.

It is a beautiful place, near Nowra right on the coast,  quiet, lots of peppermint trees, peppered with some new beach houses, mansion like in the newer part.

But our address was a basic beach hut, an old fibro 2 bedroom small house nestled amongst peppies and only 100 metres from the beach.


The boys were young then, 5 and 7 and loved it. We spent every day at the beach, relaxing in the pristine waters, but noting some stingers in the water. Has to be something to foil the other wise perfectly calm family beach that stretches for miles in each direction, with few holiday makers on it.

It was a well kept secret that the well heeled in Sydney knew about….they would take holidays there at their holiday homes if they weren’t going overseas that year, I would find this out later from a friend I would make during one of my campaigns about changes planned for the area.

As we sat back after a day of exploring the countryside and sampling lunch at an idyllic winery, the boys happily watching tv, I looked at my husband and say I want to give up our life in Sydney to look at moving.

I know it is perfect, but you know what they say about buying places where you holiday.. he notes

I know, but there is a reasonably large town on both sides of this, surely we could get work there. There must be good local Catholic schools here…

The words hang in the air as we both ponder the enormity of making the change, the selling of the house, the move away from family and friends.

We pour another wine and silently contemplate a new life.

I suppose we could just look at some blocks say around here, say as an investment for later..he proffers

We could.


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