Oldies at Large – Housekeeping and Holidays

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 7.06.44 amWe are once more turning our noses to the sun, heading north as autumn sneaks around the corner and I must admit it has been an adventure travelling with the flow of the weather. For winter, a time of hibernation usually, we have planned a spruce up for our little mobile home. It is time for some serious housekeeping before we take the Grampie Flat deep into the northern rainforest’s and then out across the Outback along the Savannah Way with a side trip down into the heart of Aus., into the western arm of the Macdonnell Ranges where I can do some research for a book and these are our plans for 2014.

Our caravan/home is several years old now and number one on the list of housekeeping tasks is a weather reseal. Caravans die of many things, but the most common problem is water. There is nothing worse than dealing with wood rot or riding out a storm in a leaking, unstable shelter.

What we hadn’t realized previously until we had the van checked over by knowledgeable men is that vans require a regular round of resealing against the rain, every 6-8 years. This was a sound wisdom imparted by our repair assessor as he reviewed our mobile home and hearth. He advised us that if maintenance, such as a reseal is not carried out regularly then you can expect to void your coverage from your insurance company so we are taking that on-board before we head into the remote heart of Aus.

We took the opportunity to have the Grampie Flat checked out while in the mid coast of NSW at a reputable RV service centre and we are forever glad that we did. They found some minor stress cracks in the frame which were easily fixed and they were able to advise us on a few seemingly small repairs which actually will run into the thousands of $, and also be covered by our insurance company. Love these guys!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 7.50.20 pmSo our mobile home and hearth is going in for a spruce up and we are going off on other holiday adventures in the swag while we are homeless. The Man regularly checks the men things like bearings, breaks, hitches etc but it’s good to know about what the other regular maintenance demands are on a home that will be our residence for a decade or more and that there are people to tell us about them.

I recently had a discussion with a drip kid at centrelink on just this issue of home and lifestyle.

Her:  The government will not support a travelling holiday you know?

Me:  Travelling holiday? This is our life… our home… you may not be aware but it is more economic for us to live in a caravan and travel around looking for work opportunities (in our retirement) than it is to live in a house and stay put. We are  not on a holiday! We can’t afford to support a house because of your lack of support and policies.

The girl was an inexperienced twat with inflated idea’s on life out of the office and a narrow outlook. To me, the swag option is a holiday away from home and it will be a month long adventure. I am after all a ‘cup half full’ person, while the Man on the other hand is a ‘You drank half of it!’ devotee.

I am one of the many non-persons attached to other people in our world and I have been this for several years now due to health complications. A non-person is a person with few if any fiscal rights and is not eligible for any assistance because I have a partner, regardless of who they are or what their opinion is about having  a dependent who isn’t even a tax deduction these days. ie I get absolutely no support from the Government which I have supported for half a century while working, because I have a husband. Hubby also gets no support from the same Government I might add as we decided to pay our debts rather than blow any monies from his severance.

We rely entirely on our wits as we have no income and only a small reserve readily available for life and living. We were told that paying off our debts in a situation approaching where we will have no regular income was not what we should have done. What we should have done, we are told, is use the redundancy money to have a whale of a time as though nothing had changed and then come the end of a year… well… there was no way we could have met any debt commitments we had on the dole… or old age pension… or new start. God knows what we would have done… we don’t.

Centrelink’s suggestion for when we reach this impasse was to sell the home and hearth if you can’t afford to pay it off with magic money. Then have another whale of a time, maybe even buy to a cheaper place (we don’t want) relieving them from responsibilities once more, as we would have more than $10,000 in the bank and they would not have to pay us any pension or assistance yet again. They are a very short sighted and of the twat variety. No wonder so many golden oldies end up destitute and completely reliant on Centrelink with this kind of stupid advice at hand.

Yes it was our choice not to sell the family home we have loved for over 40 years, it was our choice to stay based amongst our family and friends in a town we love and a neighbourhood that will be our home again for when we are beyond travelling. We have no regrets or even doubts about that decision, but the twat’s of the world see only $ and they don’t care where we go to seed anyway.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.37.56 amSo we did the only reasonable thing we could do… we paid off our debts, put boarders in the house to meet on-going costs associated with the house and hit the tar on the leavings in the bank. We are crossing our fingers and praying we will ride through the year until hubby hits old age status and this is as good as it is going to get. According to the government staff, this is not at all responsible.

It is no wonder that our pollies are privatising essential services, selling off the countries assets and funding business enterprise to the point of dependency, if the advice we got is any example of their fiscal policies. The only secure industries in Aus. are Politics and those in Big Business buddy enterprises.

I could have told the twat our life story, but I have told them any number of times, she was disinterested enough not to read the notes on my file. One gets tired of speaking to twat’s with little concept of living outside of an office and life for the over 60’s club where employment possibilities are very limited if not improbable.

With national unemployment at the high levels that it is, taking a youngsters job for few years seems wrong somehow even if we were at the peak of health. We have only a few years of working life left in us in the best senario, our health is not robust and the youngsters are still struggling to make a life and income for their families. Is it more practical to put a young family on unemployment support long term, or a near pension age couple into government subsidized employment? Nope.. the answer seems to be import skills, let the oldies starve and the young Aussie families subsist while business employs short term overseas workers at a cheaper cost. The only one gaining in this equation is business interests, it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Australia in the long term. The 457 visa is already open to abuse and it won’t solve our underemployment or unemployment problem long term. Even if it is a step up from arriving by boat from Indonesia and a fast track down the immigration queue.

The Government, it seems to me, should be doing much more for young Aussies and less for business. Where skills are concerned it is train and gain… or import and rort!  Relying on grey people to work until they drop is not in anyones interest and a short term strategy at the best. I personally think they are trying to kill Aussies off and keep the business sector supplied with cheap labour … sounds like the colonial times does it not? This seems to be the preferred scenario for the Government.

But we do have a plan and little faith in Government or Centrelink. So far for the first 4 months of our 12 months in limbo land, it has worked.  I hope the twat realizes one day just how much of a twat she was and how dense their concepts and advice are. It is teenage thinking if ever there was a thing, how it became government policy is beyond me.

CampfireIt is fortunate for us that we have planned our retirement and had begun to equip ourselves with the modest means to enjoy a retirement. I would like to tell the twat that retirement is a life style, a necessity of health and a privilege gained in working for what is an accumulative 100 yrs supporting the government, the same government that pays her wage. It is not a holiday!

When you see grey nomads on the road, they are not on a holiday… it is their lifestyle. Some have sold their homes and invested in a mobile home, they have no fixed address and they are not on a holiday. Others live with a child, use this as a fixed address and travel because it is how they wish to live. It is not a holiday.

Many travel and engage in part-time work… to offset travel costs. It is not a holiday. It can be an adventurous and enjoyable lifestyle and I can honestly say that you meet some wonderful people. However for anyone over the age of 60 who is unemployed and travelling full time, or even intermittently for whatever reason it is a lifestyle NOT a holiday!

You take a holiday from a working base, if you don’t work because of health or age… it is a lifestyle not a holiday. You take a holiday from a permanent residence; if your caravan or mobile home is your permanent residence… then it is not a holiday! Seriously … it is not rocket science.

Some Locals

Some Locals

There are also many occupations that people engage in while they travel, so travelling full time is not a holiday and if you are a non-person who is attached to another who travels because he is no longer employed full time, who lives permanently in a RV or caravan then it is not a holiday. I have to go where hubby goes because he feeds me, something the government doesn’t do and has never done.

Is this so hard for people to understand this simple reality, which is a reality for thousands of grey nomads and traveller’s. I’m not homeless, I have a home and a permanent place of abode, just no fixed address. In this digital world this should not be hard to accommodate, nor understand.

To the twat’s of the world… there comes a time in life when work is not life, why must you make life so much hard work!

Consolation… some of the work you don’t mind… it is blackberry season and tonight after our forage yesterday.. you guessed it. Blackberry pie an’ cream. Once it might have been rabbit pie.. but catching those beggars is a little harder than it was fifty years agoScreen Shot 2014-02-27 at 10.10.21 am!

Jan is an Author and writer, you can find more postings on the Oldies at Large dedicated page.

Information on where to findJan’s books can be found on her Web site, be sure to check out the discounts available there.

Happy travelling!

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5 thoughts on “Oldies at Large – Housekeeping and Holidays

  1. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it,
    you may be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and
    may come back in the future. I want to encourage you continue
    your grat work, have a nice morning!

  2. On ya Darlin, you tell em mate….Kindest regards to you both. My mum who i hold very close to my heart as she holds mine is reaching 70 this year and her life is so tuff as a renter. Centrelink cut her pension off late last year as their records indicated she was still working from 3 years ago a measly four hours a week…….This put her threw undue stress as the cost of renting ect takes all her pension. They quickly re instated her. She owns half my bus which she lent me some money from her fathers will……My opinion centrelink is already privatised non for profit ect !! I suggest to everyone don’t bother with these twats, demand to talk to their manager and if they won’t help ask to see a counciller as their options are giving you undue stress, this falls under the protocol of Duty of Care to us Australian Cits…I know i had 3 girls in Townsville Centrlink back 2011 broke this Duty of Care to me in one day and it sent me into a spin…..without going into it i demanded to see a shrink for what they put me threw. their manger asked me to see her each time i visited there enterprise in the future !! it’s been about 20 or so Centerlinks i have frequented since then and each one takes me very seriously. Just remember your interviews are recorded and this can be used as evidence for both parties…..Happy Free Camping Australia and kindest regards to you all. Glenn.

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