Goodbye Port Fairy.
I've just left Port Fairy after 33 years and it's been quite a journey. When I came with the partner and the kids in 1988, it was a pretty quiet town - five petrol stations, half-a-dozen milk bars, one bed and breakfast place and house prices under $100,000.
It was run by the Borough of Port Fairy, and there was a maternity ward at the hospital.
There was no child care, no swimming pool, no neighbourhood house, no foreign faces, no film society, no op shops, no U3A. And there were very few tourists and hardly any rich folk.
It's changed a lot. For better or worse.
There's lots I'm going to miss.
For a start, I'll miss the weather - the wild beaches, the clean air, the star filled nights, the south-westerlies, the sunny autumn mornings. The weather in general.
And the wildlife. I've had wallabies, rats, rabbits, echidnas, lizards, mice and a thousand species of birds in my back yard, along with one dead snake.
I've seen foxes dancing in the road, a pelican walking up the middle of Sackville Street. I've seen seals and rays in the river, whales and dolphins cavorting in the sea and a million dogs all over town.
In all that time I only ever saw one live snake - out on the island.
And the people. Ah, I'll miss the people.
I'll miss the nods in the street, the cups of coffee, the drinks in the pub, the meals, the droppings in, the parties.
The friends, the acquaintances, the familiar faces, the unfamiliar faces who say g'day, the good, the bad and the so on.
I'll miss the tourists too - most of them anyway.
And of course, I'll miss the locals - the few that are left. Thank you for having me.
And the meetings, will I really miss the meetings?
There have been plenty of them over the years - play group, kindergarten, school, swimming pool, theatre group, film society, bicycle action group, community group. Loads I've thankfully forgotten. I even stood for council twice. (Thank you for not electing me by the way - I'm not sure I could have coped!).
And I'll miss standing outside the pub on New Years Eve watching the procession go by, the invasion of the town during the folk festival, the smell of fish and chips at the wharf.
I'll miss watching the surfers from the Passage car park. I'll miss the boats in the river - always there, endlessly fascinating. I'll miss the footy on a Saturday.
And I'll miss watching Port Fairy passing by from my front verandah.
And then there's the Dachshund Dash - oh what a feeling!
Good bye Port Fairy. I'll be in Geelong if you need me.