Downhill Road

 

 Dear Billy

Somehow enough business kept flowing through 2010 – 2012 to keep us staggering along. We had built up a strong following in the first couple of years and although things were always on a knife edge, we weren’t doing too bad for a business spending no money on promotion and totally reliant on word of mouth.

Annie and Wally had been out from England and we had finally met our third grandchild. This would be start of a series of visits home for the English connection over the next five years and little Otis warmed his way in to our hearts.

Every departure was sadder than the last as the realisation would dawn that this may be the last time I would see the kids while I was still functioning OK.

You and I had our first real holiday together at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. We were in Melbourne for Christmas with Sas and Douglas, Jassie, Jorge and the two kids.

Kayla was back from England and we had driven down in a small convoy as she was heading off from Melbourne to a music festival with some friends.

Christmas was wonderful, it was terrific to see Horrie and Esty surrounded by love and starting to become real people.

You and I headed off on Boxing Day to put the car on the Spirit of Tasmania and spend ten days wandering around Tasmania. It was wonderful to get away and be free from the business struggles and the drama of our court battles in 2010. That 12-month saga had taken much more out of me than I realised.

I was plummeting downhill during these three years, I could feel it and the MRI’s would show the incessant spread of those dreaded white spots at the base of the brain.

The one thing I had done right was to keep paying the insurance on my super policy even after there had ceased to be anything less of the original very modest nest egg.

You would keep at me during this time, to ask the Professor how we would go about claiming the death benefit. I was reluctant to do this because the release was predicated on death being most likely to occur in the next 12 months.

No one likes to think they only have that time left.

Finally, towards the end of 2012, the downhill slalom could no longer be ignored. I was weakening rapidly, I was very tired and starting to lose the feeling in my feet and legs.

Every Auction I would do on a Saturday would leave me totally drained and I would not have been able to keep going if you weren’t available to drive me from Open House to Open House.

You and Lorraine kept the public wheels turning, I could handle the appointments for listings and organise the advertising, as well as handling the follow up after Inspections, but even this would leave me exhausted. At least it was exhaustion in the sanctity of my own space.

Negotiation between buyers and sellers was a constant drain on whatever mental resources I had left, but hopefully; we did a pretty good job of hiding the full extent of what was happening.

We needed to, there were still bills to be paid.

Late in 2012 we set the wheels in place to claim on the insurance money, it wasn’t going to be huge, it had not been updated since before the turn of the century.

The aim was to pay off most of the trade creditors and at least get you back the money you had put in. The original investor funds and the money I had put in, would never be recouped, but there should be enough left over to see me through these last years if we could keep at least some income coming in from the business.

There would be no back wages for the immense amount of time you had spent as an unpaid servant of the business and I felt dreadful about this.

No one could have supported me more through this period.

How many different ways can I say thank you.

Love

Bruce

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