On a couple of occasions Margaret held a get-together for the Samaritans and attending these saw where and how she lived. We also attended a training seminar on personal development run by a couple from out of town, a young Doctor and his wife, a social worker. One of the things we were asked to do was to draft out our ideas how we looked at things and picture these, in essence our life plans and explain them. It gave an interesting insight in the people there, I have a vague image of Margaret's plan, a forest played a big part and a lost thing, but whatever she portrayed was not clear to her or anyone else, the Doctor questioned her somewhat closely but could not get a clearer picture.
Being more relaxed with strangers was another aspect of the course and involved touching and holding hands; this sort of thing with strangers was a new experience to me. Holding Margaret's hand caused me to think that her hand was more like a man's hand and rougher that I would have thought had I thought about it. I did have the feeling that she was seizing me up at that time.
Being a bit more familiar with her I invited her over to my place for company and listen with me to records and talk. We found being at ease with each other and spend several hours that way on a few occasions. I well remember sitting her on the low green chair in the living area while playing a selection of records during which we did not speak much for long periods of time.
She invited me over to her place also where I met Paul and Michele, her children. Paul was quite chuffed to have me to talk to me then, on the second occasion shook hands in the way good to see you mate. Later his attitude changed. Michele was relieved that Margaret had someone else to concentrate on. Their relationship was at a low, and full off tension, cautiously she immediately adopted me and felt that I was good for her mother, gradually Michele's relationship improved with her mother from that point onwards.
I was tickled pink to see Margaret's bottle of gin and us having a couple of gins before dinner. I had no thought about anything other than the enjoyment of female companionship but that changed as time went on.
The dogs were interesting, not being used at all to the small ankle biters but I did not mind them. I did find it strange that they slept with Margaret in her bed. We went for walks at the beach, the lower end away from the main beach, talking our heads of. I was trusted to hold the lead of one or other of the dogs while we walked along, one of them had the nasty habit of tripping you up trying to get between the two of us.
Margaret was very concerned about her job as Accountant and financial controller for the national rural aero company and its future, or lack thereof, as she was constantly faced having to fend off creditors. It was a relief for her to be able to unload her frustrations and feelings each night.
As the children were fast growing up she had started to realise that she would have to fashion her own life as they rapidly were going their own way.
The first real outing was to Wellington and halfway down we called in on the car museum I had never been to and we started to wander around inside the building looking at the cars on display. Without realising it we were wandering around hand in hand, a most curious, pleasant feeling.
We developed a close relationship and were seeing each other daily. One Sunday morning when Margaret was over with me in Harrison Street I received a call out of the blue from Jeanette, my ex, for no apparent reason and short of being rude had a great deal trouble to get her off the phone, according to Margaret my demeanour was icy indeed. On another occasion I received a call from the Convent Sister about some financial investment aspect (I was acting for the Catholic Convent as Investment broker and consultant), we laughed about it but Margaret did wonder what was going on.
After a few months Margaret felt that she could leave the house to Michele who was keen to organise some flat mates to live with her. Margaret was diffident about who would be living there with Michele but was very relieved to be introduced to a young lady there as one of the new flat mates which turned out the be a fellow Samaritan, a very nice young girl with her head screwed on. Michele had no idea of her background and we never told her. Michele did not want Paul to stay in the house as he was very untidy. By that stage he had started University at Massey in Palmerston North, boarding there. Under sufferance she let him sleep on occasions in the converted garage, the rumpus room.
Not long after Margaret moved in with me I agreed to give Paul the spare bedroom to study in when he was in Wanganui between semesters, being upstairs with access there to the bathroom and toilet we thought we could carry on with our own life and he with his, so we thought, but we were wrong there. He was used to manipulate his mother and being very spoiled resented that this did no longer work with me around and turned antagonistic, he acted as if I was the guest and not the other way around. He pulled out all stops to break up our relation ship playing on Margaret's guilt by making a song and dance that he wanted to see his birth mother, he thought that would do the trick. Margaret pulled herself together and arranged for him to see the Social Security people to start proceedings for him to persue this course. This was not the re-action he was looking for and soon dropped that idea.
His attitude to me changed gradually for the better and now we get on very well.
Not to cause complications because of my appearance out of the blue in the family I kept a low profile but wondered where all this was heading. Emotionally Margaret was very much up in the air that with the problems at work and wondering was she was doing the right thing leaving Michele in the house by herself.
She had been offered help by one of her ex bosses, since living in Surfers Paradise, Queensland for some time, offering her the use of one of the rental units in his investment property if she wanted to move to Australia. Both of us being in the same mind to leave Wanganui behind and making a new start we ruled out Auckland as to expensive to live, likewise Wellington for its climate and decided to take the bull by the horns and take an extended holiday in Australia, Queensland in particular, which seemed to me as good a place to try as any. As a number of my business friends had moved to there I thought that I might catch up with one or two of them.
Margaret had been to Brisbane and Surfers Paradise on a couple of occasions thus had a better idea about the place. We decided to give ourselves a six months period to see if we liked it there starting with Surfers and move on to Sydney if we felt like it or jobs required it.
Tony Anderson had got the wind of our intentions, at that stage he lived in Burley Heads, being over every so often back to Wanganui and offered all the help he could to get us established.
I cashed in on some of my investments and the plan was to travel to Sydney, see the Les Miserables show, look around for a modestly priced car and after looking around in Sydney for a week or so, slowly travel to Surfers Paradise.