No Place Like Kent('s)

Trip Start May 19, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sometimes in life, you find Nirvana.  Often, it shows itself in little that pint in the pub after a long hard day, winning a tenner on the National Lottery, or hearing that Cheryl Cole has contracted malaria.

In this instance, I was about to find a little slice of heaven thanks to Kent W Hodgson.

I'm not going to pretend that bidding farewell to the caravan was easy.  In fact, the day Soupy came and drove her away, I may have shed a chavvy tear.

But then the caravan didn't have a movie room with a flatscreen and surround sound.  Kent's place, just outside Melbourne, did. 

I'd met Kent in LA a few months back.  Although travellers throw around (usually drunken) invitations for everyone they meet to stay at their homes, I'd often wondered how many of them actually meant it.  Well, Kent was a gent.  Cat and I arrived dishevelled and exhausted, and with a slight pong of cow, but within a few hours we'd been wined, dined and plonked in front of the plasma.   

Apparently, the way to a woman's heart is Dolby, as it was enough for me to fall deeply in love with Kent and suggest to him that he could do worse than make me his wife.

Alas, Kent didn't show great enthusism for my proposal, but at least I had a diversion.  On the night of our stay, Kent had another visitor; a friend who Cat and I referred to simply as "green T-shirt".  Cat and I admired his dry wit and hint of arrogance...and the fact he was disarmingly handsome didn't hurt either.  I bet that he was 27 and worked in either architecture or graphic design. 

Before we'd had time to find out, we hotfooted it to Melbourne to attend to more pressing matters, not least a removal of body hair that I suspected I'd have to get a deforestation team in to handle.  (Well, you try working in a dairy for two months and caring about your appearance.)

It was also time to bid farewell.  After what must surely qualify as an era spent together in Australia, and with some incredible experiences shared, Cat and I were again going our separate ways.  We'd managed, in the large part, to keep it together in Murray Bridge, despite the odd row, Cat's obsession with liquid-based weight loss and my gradual decline into a mice catching maniac

Well...we almost kept it together.  Until we reached the YHA in Melbourne.  There, we found ourselves in the company of a number of Indian families staying for the night.  When Cat strode into our room and exclaimed "God!  This place is like Slumdog Millionaire!", I wondered if I'd left this goodbye a little too late.  Sometimes, enough is simply enough. 

So, I spent the best part of the next two days with green T shirt who, incidentally, is called Marc, is 27, and works on the railways.  But then he did study architecture and work in graphic design for a few years.

Reflecting, I realised that two months of constant rain and cold had left Murray Bridge and Melbourne feeling more like Macclesfield.  Fortunately, Australia is so vast that it not only crosses time zones, but also climates.  Surely a foray into the sunshine of the East Coast - for me, the last frontier of mainland Australia - was well overdue?

Leaving Melbourne, I thought of Kent, and felt grateful to everyone who'd helped me out so far. 

Then, I thought of Kent, England, wondered how many people I'd met who had my address back home, pulled over, and made a swift call to my parents.


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