Over time Kath has developed a total phobia of being left alone - even for a few minutes at a time.
Initially after my father's death in August 1985 things went along as normal. She lived with me in Cambridge until Christmas and I worked as usual. The next year I brought her up here and she lived alone for about 8 months on the property while a builder completed the house. I drove up whenever I could at weekends and holidays, but continued living in my own home about 5 hours' drive away while working out my lecturing contract with the Waikato Polytechnic until the end of 1986.
Once I moved up here, I travelled from time to time on Dairy Goat Council business, being away sometimes for several days on a stretch, without any problems whatsoever. I also took the Certificate in Business Computing (a 6 months' course) at our local Polytechnic in 1993 and lectured a semester in Business Law at the same institution the following year - all of which involved working in town on a number of weekdays. I left her at home without any problems. In 1995-96 I became a central figure in our district's fight to save our hospital, and that involved meetings once or twice a week in our local village - again, no problems.
The change, when it came, was quite sudden. Over Christmas 1996 - 1997 I had two good work opportunities - few and far between at that time in this part of the world. One was with a law firm in a town about an hour's drive away. The other was the chance to open my own computer graphics business in our nearest small town about 20 minutes drive from here. My mother's reaction to the first proposal was a flat, "Well, I'm not going to be left here on my own all day." The reaction was so strong and abrupt that it surprised me.
This coupled with the prospect of at least two hours' drive every weekday made me choose the second option - which I have to say was closer to my heart. It was probably the best decision, because it wasn't more than a couple of months before I had to arrange things so I could take her with me to my own office daily, and only a matter of time until, due to redevelopment of the premises and likely changes in the adjacent tenants, that option wasn't really viable either. So early in 1998 I brought the business home - forfeiting all the advantages of having a presence in the town's business arena.
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