You and Jassie virtually swapped Dad duties during 2000, Jassie had met Jorge and they were forging a life together.
She had better and more important things to do than to spend her time worrying whether Dad was walking every day and taking his pills.
The habits and discipline she had instilled, would not fade though. Often it would be me, dragging you out of bed on those cold winter mornings when you would stay over at Redfern. Our walks around the Domain and home again were in some ways, the closest and best times we have ever spent together.
I was proud of the work you were doing with school, but both Mum and I were shocked and very proud, when you decided to work with Aboriginal settlement schools in the Northern Territory
Early in 2001, the little convoy of you and Mum in your newly purchased, four-wheel drive and Bob in his Toyota, set out for the start of your first great adventure.
I wish I could have gone along for the ride but by this stage I was working with an internet start-up, trying to salvage something from Gypsy Queen Imports and, I had Saturday Auctions lined up for the next six weeks.
There are few things I wish I hadn’t done; there have been many disasters but I have always salvaged something from the wreckage. In the end, though, there was really nothing to be salvaged from Gypsy Queen, it was bloody hard work and it cost me a shitload of money which I certainly could not afford.
I did get to see a whole lot of Bali and I met a lot of good people. Rudi and I would drive through miles of rice fields and into the mountains to reach furniture factories in the most unlikely of places. We would sit on dusty floors, haggling with toothless old men and there were days spent wandering markets in tiny villages. It was certainly an experience but a bit of adventure tourism would have been far less expensive LOL.
The internet start-up was another venture doomed to failure, but at least I didn’t have any money in this one. I should have had doubts when in a business designed to change the real estate landscape, I was the last person to be appointed to the team.
I joined a large group of computer geeks and marketing experts in a business which was by now, unclear where it was heading. The fallout from the dotcom collapse was the final nail in the coffin of this little venture.
The demise of this business was sad but was not a disaster for me. I learned a lot, got paid very well and made friends who are still a special part of my life.
I didn’t see you again until September in 2001, when we were to meet in Thailand for another Annie and Dad adventure.
It was terrific to catch up with you, despite the bout of food poisoning which kept us occupied for the last day in Bangkok and followed us to Chiang Mai. There is something endearing in hindsight, about sharing a bathroom with your daughter in these circumstances.
There were some tense times on this trip, mainly due to my insensitivity. Nobody had thought to tell me your romance with Jason had broken up because he had told you he was gay. The times when I tried to show you some of the gay venues in Bangkok were probably the last thing you needed at the time.
Tears and tantrums were overcome though, and I still remember this trip with warmth and nostalgia.
Love ya heaps darling.