Faraway, Green Gully

A beautiful, sunny Winter's day.

The kind of day that's good for everything, from baking scones to cleaning gutters to making a letterbox and for going for a blat around the neighbourhood in the recently purchased 1975 Mini Clubman.

I only had a few worries before making the move to the country. They started with the actual, physical move and cleaning up or our Collingwood apartment afterwards, and continued with the expected failure to manage to wake up early enough each morning to catch the express train into Melbourne, where I still work. I worried a little bit about the potential isolation, the prospect of buying a car and then of driving as I haven't driven at all whilst living in Australia. I worried about keeping warm because, due to camping at Chopped in Newstead each year, I know how bloody cold it gets out here. And while it's still a few months away, I worried about the prospect of bushfires as, according to Willo's dad, this area is prone to them.

This is the third *actual* weekend I've lived at Faraway (last weekend I went to the Clare Valley in South Australia) and the weekend before that I moved here - so this weekend is the first real weekend I've spent in my new home. I still don't have the internets, so if you're reading this it's because I've transposed my handwritten post into the blog.

First things first

I knew that the travel into the city each day would be challenging. Even if that thought hadn't occured to me, every man and his dog reminded me of it pre-move. I had already decided that weekdayss would be all about commuting, working, eating and sleeping especially during these Winter months as it's so dark when I leave the house and the same when I return. The sun still actually hasn't risen long by the time I get into Melbourne and it sinks below the horizon not long after departing Platform 4A.

Coming home - or more to the point, leaving work - has rapidly become something I look forward to each day. Now you may argue everyone does that, but I'm suggesting I get excited at the prospect of flying out the door to catch my train. I've had to change my hours a little bit to suit the train schedule so now I have to leave at 4:30pm to get down to Southern Cross Station and my 4:56pm express service to Castlemaine.

This is wonderful. No ifs. No buts. No "Michelle, a quick chat?" No. Nope - gotta go. Can't stay. See you tomorrow.

This shift in times at work, sandwiched between two train journeys has also meant that I feel as if I don't have much time. It might also highlight how much extra work I used to do before and after my official starting time. Now I can't stay later, I have to get my work done in the day I'm paid for - so now I have zero time to muck about. I have always had a full plate during the day, and now I'm doing it in an *actual* work day I feel jammed most of the time. While it's not great to be 'jammed' it is a very eye opening situation.

When I leave work, it has left my mind before I hit the pavement outside. For the first time in my life, my work life is staying at work. It's brilliant!

Me time

The tram trundles me down Bourke Street to the train station. I generally arrive with about 8 minutes to spare, plenty of time to find a pair of seats and to text Willo in case he wants to sit with. He's managing to snag this service more often than not too - though his life is far my full than mine will ever be. He works on the train, hooking up his laptop to his iPhone and continuing to work sometimes. Other times he's learning German which is a whole 'nother story.

I spend my time on the train with an assortment of books, audiobooks and podcasts. My iPhone and iPod are loaded up with goodly goodness and my headphones take me away with podcasts that are often about the length of my trip. I try very hard not to doze off so I don't muck up my sleeping feng shui. I would hate to not be able to sleep at 10pm later that evening because I caught some delightful zzzs on the train trip home.

My, that's a big body clock you've got there!

Before moving to the country, I had already figured out I would need to be rising at 5am each weekday morning.

This early routine would be, I imagined, my biggest challenge. I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. I am the quintessential Night Owl (hoot). Staying up all hours, feeling energised at 1am, 2am etc then having to drag my sleep-deprived arse out of bed in the morning - often without a moment to spare for breakfast or anything sensible like that - to get to work on time.

On days I didn't have to meet a work deadline like "showing up", a Saturday or Sunday for instance, I would sleep late. Normally not seen before noon which, in turn, meant I could stay up even later that night.

My disfunctional (to a modern, workerbee lifestyle) has meant that I have functioned as a sleep-deprived person for most of my life and have the physique to prove it!

Hopefully, you're getting a sense of why this change in my body-clock and sleeping habits was deemed my most daunting challenge with the decision to move into the country.

To my absolute bewiderment, this has seemed to be the easiest transition. Each morning I wake up, not with my alarm which is set for 5am, but a clean ten minutes beforehand. While I would be quite happy to note the time, and stay in bed - which I do in the weekends - during the week I am awake and up and in the shower right on time. I'm even having breakfast most mornings - unheard of! Even when we dawdle, Willo and I are at Castlemaine Train Station at 5:55am for our 6:12am service into the city.

I'm still looking at that last sentence - astonishment still abounds. I never knew I had it in me.