SO I think I'm going to take my life into my hands and make a contribution to the Newcastle rail line debate.
I'm insured, so the dog and cat will be able to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed, even if I succumb to the abuse that will come my way for taking a side. Either side, it doesn't matter. We know that. But if I go at least Lloyd and Puddy's salmon and steak dinners will live on.
I can talk about the rail line because I have no regrets, apart from the perm in 1983, an ill-judged meeting of inexperienced hairdresser, toxic chemicals, lack of research and freshly-washed hair. Throw them into the mix and voila, only six months of stunned looks, "Did you stick your finger in a power point?" comments from family, and restricting all outdoor, non-home movements to night time, when a woman wandering the streets with a flowery scarf over a balloon-head isn't quite as freaky as she would appear in daytime.
I said quite.
I can throw caution to the wind and talk about the rail line because I'm ready for the consequences. I've lived a full life.
My bills are all paid up, apart from $20 to a friend after I rashly bet that now that Tony Abbott had delivered the "shirt front" speech he couldn't surprise us any more. It just wasn't possible for him to be more embarrassing, unless he started doing impressions of North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Come to think of it, maybe he already is.
Anyway, I was prepared to risk $20 that "shirt front" meant we'd hit bottom, but then came the G20 summit and Our Tony's opening address.
America and China might have stunned the world by announcing joint climate change goals, but Australia's Prime Minister wasn't having a bar of it. It was his party and he'd boast about repealing the carbon tax if he wanted to.
Then he launched into a general whinge to 19 world leaders about how hard it was to get things through the Senate, before rounding out the presentation with a rant about how the nation girt by sea had utterly failed to embrace the government's grand vision.
Why were people so unkind? Why couldn't we say yes to the $7 doctor co-payment so the government could deliver prosperity to all, said the Prime Minister to the G20. Or at least that's my memory of the speech. Like a couple of world leaders who'll remain nameless - and I'm looking at you, Vladimir Putin - my thoughts did drift during the presentation.
"You were never going to win that bet, my dear," said the friend, a disaffected Liberal supporter who, I suspect, carries a tear-stained photo of Malcolm Turnbull in her pocket that she pulls out when times are tough. Those times, she admits, usually coincide with a prime ministerial speech.
But enough about our favourite guy. Back to the rail line.
I travelled from Gosford to Newcastle and back on the train this week. It gave me time to think. And the first thing I thought was, have I ever taken a trip to Newcastle by train before, in my whole entire life?
There was a trip up north years ago with a bunch of friends for the 1977 equivalent of Schoolies week. Wild? I'll tell you about wild. We didn't go to bed until midnight on at least two occasions. I don't remember eating any leafy green vegetables for the entire week. The Blackberry Nip was a perfect match with the Chiko rolls.
And the bottle of sunblock that someone's mother had earnestly packed to protect our tender skin? It stayed in the Port Macquarie unit for the duration, while we grilled ourselves on the beach and occasionally flipped like a line of sausages, to ensure we achieved that all-over bright red burn so prized by 1970s teenagers, and so regretted decades later.
So I've travelled north on a train, but for the life of me I can't remember whether Gosford to Wauchope in the 1970s included a stop at Newcastle.
Which made the train trip this week feel quite touristy, particularly because I've only just come back from three weeks of train trips in England and Wales. All that was missing this week was drizzly rain and blustery gales, piles of sheep, Welsh accents, and tabloids with headlines like "Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack As Love Slave", "Hubby's Bad Breath Kills Wife" and "Man's Head Explodes in Barber's Chair", and I could have been back on holidays.
And in case you've never caught the train between Newcastle and the Central Coast, I'm here to tell you that a surprisingly pleasant trip it is.
Who knew Dora Creek's creek was so pretty when seen from train height? Driving at road level robs the trip through Dora Creek of its view.
And what about the many wetlands along the route? It might not be as dramatic as the ocean, but clumps of reeds, sparkling water and birdlife are a fine alternative. Even familiar landmarks look fresh from a train's eye view.
So I'll pass on a contribution to the Newcastle rail line debate after all. I've just reminded myself that life is too short.
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