The day has come. Not only is this my first proper blog post in years but, after 8 years away from Australia, I'm returning home. I made the decision in December last year, as work had been stagnating for a good 18 months and I felt I had reached the top of a very short career ladder. I spent a lot of the latter half of last year applying for other jobs without much success. With rapidly rising fuel costs, life has steadily become more expensive in the UK over the last couple of years - and my salary hasn't budged in 3 years now -  and while once I had a little spare change at the end of every month to stash away in nest egg fashion, it is reaching the point where I'm having to budget for basic car journeys.
I gave myself a lot of time - around 5 months in total - to get ready and spent the early part of 2012 sorting through all the junk I collected along the way...boy, it's amazing how much moss gathers in 8 years, even with all the house moving. I have now packed up all that I can't bear to leave behind and it has departed on a truck - so I'm alone with a mildly anxious dog in a mostly empty house and a couple of days of remaining internet connection . Quite an odd sensation to see all the fragments of your life in a few labelled boxes being entrusted to the salaried fates, with only a hope that everything will arrive intact on the other side of the world in around 8 weeks time. For the next 2 weeks, it's just me, the hound and a hire car packed with everything I'll need for the next 6 weeks.

Despite the epic preparations (both for myself and for my dog - luckily I have a bit of experience in how to go about transporting live animals and goods to other countries or the stress of doing everything by myself might have done me in), it was all still a bit skin of teeth territory. The removalist truck turned up three hours early, and caught me in the middle of last minute packing - including trying to figure out how to pack the final overflow of items that could not be squeezed into the other crates. Unable to find any box large enough to hold my beloved antique chair, and having slightly underestimated how much crate space I'd need, I called on my powers of problem solving under pressure and cobbled together a makeshift box out of some leftover cardboard, some rope, some prayers and some tape. If it makes it over intact, it'll be an absolute miracle.

Goodbye Kent, it's been a pleasant 5 years. I will miss your woods and summer cricket matches, your dog friendly pubs, quiet country lanes, autumn wild food banquet and gentle rain.

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