They began their lives in neighbouring Celtic countries. Now, Peter MacDiarmid and Michael O’Donoghue enjoy a firm friendship as neighbours at Providence retirement village in Bacchus Marsh.
The Irishman and the Scotsman have been through a lot together in four years; with an ability to look on the bright side, a game of pool, and a tipple of Scottish whisky helping them along for the ride.
My wife Sheila and I moved here in September 2014 and met Michael shortly after. We discovered he was going to have a cataract dealt with, so I offered to run him into the hospital. One thing led to another and we found that we got on extremely well! We’re from similar cultures… I’m from Scotland and he’s from Ireland.
We talk sometimes about growing up in the country and what it was like, but mostly we tend to reminisce about Australia and life here in the 70s and 80s – how good it was in those days!
We go out for lunch every Tuesday to the Irish pub with Sheila in Bacchus Marsh and play pool at least twice a week with another resident. In my working years, I was employed in the aviation industry, dealing with computers and so on. Michael believes he has “technical deprivation” so I enjoy helping him out here and there with his mobile and iPad problems!
We’re on the same wavelength but we’re radically opposite in politics. We don’t shy away from sharing our opinions with each other. It doesn’t get us anywhere but we’re constructive and it’s a bit of fun.
We got to know Michael’s wife for a brief period of time before she passed away. She was a bit of a character in her own right. Michael didn’t want a lot of fuss (after she passed away) so we just kept up the same routine with him.
Michael’s a very honest and honourable man, and he’s got a hell of a sense of humour. Some of his stories from way back are a scream! Dear me, he’s a bit of a lad.
Life here at Providence wouldn’t be quite the same life without him. It’s easy enough to make acquaintances but to meet someone who you’re really friendly with is very rare.
I moved to Providence with my wife Rose about four years ago. One morning I was talking to my neighbour about getting a taxi to go and get my cataract done. Then half an hour later Peter banged on my door and said, “I’m your taxi”. I barely knew the man. From that day to this we’ve been best of friends.
My wife Rose was in (co-located) aged care for three years. I’d go over there every day and bring her back here for afternoon tea. After Rose died Peter and Sheila did everything for me. I spend every Christmas with them now. Whenever there’s anything on, I’m classed as one of their family.
Peter’s got a great sense of humour, otherwise, I’d have nothing to do with him! Nothing seems to bother the two of us; we just take life as it comes.
If you wake up in the morning and you’re still able to get out of bed, then you should make the best of that day. I don’t argue with people about anything, but I’ll argue with Peter from morning to night all in good fun!
When Rose died the staff at Providence were encouraging me to go home to Ireland to see my sister. I hadn’t been in nearly 40 years and said I’d never go. But Peter and Sheila joined in with the insisting and I’ve been there twice since then. It made me very happy. Peter arranged my flights and transport and everything – nothing is any trouble to him.
My sister and some family are coming from Ireland soon to celebrate my 90th birthday. Peter and Sheila keep going on about it (my birthday), but I’m not fussed. Peter’s helped with my relatives’ accommodation and things.
He’s a great man. To be quite honest, I suppose I’d be lost without him.