At the top of this blog should be a photo of my Dad in an Akubra. Walking back down a bush track. Walking away from us. Sunlight hanging in dusty shafts around like in his favourite painting. I can’t remember the painting but I reckon my friend Angus could help. I’ll let you know.
The Hungarians have a phrase: “the English Farewell.” This is the quiet exit. Not a ripple. The leaver leaves. That’s it.
The difficulty is no-one gets to say good bye. Neither do empty promises need to be made about staying in touch and not going changing. I hate goodbyes – I am at my most awkward and wordless. Completely exposed. This is not something to be proud of.
Of course, the English farewell avoids the paps, but there is a kind of pomposity about it too. “I know you will want to say good bye – I can’t bear it, I know it will be unbearable – so I am going to avoid it. I will leave you talking about how I am gone after I am gone.”
What is also avoided is the possibility that the leaver will not be missed.
I am writing about all this – you may have to bear with me for the occasional blog – but please don’t go away. I am writing more on this than I have ever written on anything.
I am going to Australia in a few weeks and that will be to say good bye.
This one is possibly going to be the biggest yet. There are many smaller goodbyes that precede it. So this farewell will definitely not be Hungarian. It is the opposite. I think it is Australian. I’ll let you know.