I know, I know it’s been AGES since the last update. Times have been hectic in Australia land! So… we’ve moved into our house in Sandringham, been here nearly 4 weeks now and loving it. We hired a van for moving day, you wouldn’t have thought we’d have that much stuff already but we’d taken full advantage of the mid-year sales and had boxes of home stuff to relocate. Got up at sparrow-fart o’clock and we were in Sandringham with a van full at 9am to pick up the keys. The place was amazing, the agent had managed to talk the landlord into fully redecorating, so it looked like new. Unpacked the van and then, as if by magic, the fridge, washing machine and TV turned up with a chap who hauled it all into the house, unpacked, plumbed/plugged it all in and even took away all the boxes. Sweet. Next it was off down to Terri’s house (a new colleague of ours) to collect her old sofa, back to the house for a bit of swearing as we realise our house is quite difficult to get anything into… got it in eventually… then a dash back into the city to drop the van back before closing time. Phew.
Got a fab welcome to ‘Sandy’ that evening from Nick and Kim, who we know from the UK and are now weirdly our clients here in Aus. Went to the Hudson’s Stores, a laid back pub/restaurant that seemed to be the place to be that night. Red drink and more red drink and a little bit of a sore head in the morning!
The following weekend, after what seemed like an age, Steve arrived back in country with Ali and the girls. (Miraculously we’d managed not to wreck the business in his absence.) So we shopped our way over to Brighton to say hello. Melbourne put on a stunning weekend of wall to wall blue skies to welcome them, so they we’re all out in the garden when we arrived. Sill amazed to be drinking coffee outside in t-shirts in mid-winter. And of course the girls were rather enjoying the trampoline, boing!
Left the Stoners to settle in and headed over to Balaclava where we’d come across a rather interesting item in a curiosity shop a few weeks earlier… half a hour later and Mr Mark Barraclough was the proud owner of a 5 foot tall capital R. Happy chap! It’s very lovely, though I think he may have blown the ‘R’ shopping budget for quite a few years to come. (For anyone who doesn’t know, my weird-ass husband collects old letter R’s, freak.)
Went for an explore in the evening and discovered a fantastic little seafood restaurant down the road, bit reminiscent on Cornwall, up in the loft of an old building right by the waters edge. It was called Cerberus after a ship that was intentionally wrecked in the bay to act as a breakwater. It’s still visible most of the time, we’d been wondering what the story was and found out all about it at the restaurant.
On the Sunday I had another work-out on Thumper the Clarab, learning to love him, and afterwards we went to check out the Dandenongs – a range of hills to the east of Melbourne. Really beautiful up there and glimpses of stunning views of the city and Port Phillip Bay. We stopped in Sassafras to forage for lunch, we were a bit late (bit of a false start when we ended up in Dandenong the town rather than the Dandenong Ranges, big difference both visually and geographically), ended up getting cream teas!?! Strange vibe to the place, think Lake District meets Canada. Did a bit of a walk then headed back down the hairpins before dark, yikes! Oooh, and saw some scarlet rosellas in the trees (parroty birds).
Birthday! Had a good one, went out for lunch, had amazing cake in the afternoon and then Mark took me out for dinner to an awesome Italian in the city. Delicious wine, scrummy duck and the best affogato ever. mmmm. Friday brought a little surprise in the form of a trip to Coles head office and a live performance in the atrium of their new TV ad, an all singing, all dancing take on Petula Clarks ‘Down Town’. Cunningly changed to ‘Down Down’ (as in prices are…). The ad has got everyone taking, mostly about how bloody annoying it is, but hey, I think that was probably the plan!
Hired a car for my birthday weekend and had sunny, beachy adventures on the Mornington Peninsular – a land of wine, stunning coastlines and tasty treats only an hours drive from Sandy – result. Did a walk in the morning to a windswept and deserted beach, had to have a little paddle when the tide came in rather quickly and stranded us on a sand spit – whoops! Lunched with the Stoners (who were also exploring) in Sorrento and then made it right to the tip of the Peninsular to take a look at London Bridge – a splendid natural rock arch on the beach. Arrived home to a beautiful bunch of flowers on the door mat, from our neighbours saying ‘hello and drop round whenever to hi’. So we did and ended up staying for dinner of home made pizza and lots of wine. Like.
Last weekend we decided to give the relentless furniture shopping a miss and delve into the art galleries and book shops of Melbourne. This plan was almost scuppered on the Friday night when we all went out with Big Red (the Ad agency we share offices with) and Alicja (our new designer) and well, may have slightly over done it. I’m not totally clear on how we got home, but I must have been drinking magic wine because I managed to get up and leave the house by 9am. Had a fab day checking out galleries, buying books and getting inspired, finished it off with cake in St. Kilda, thank you Melbourne for another shiny winter’s day. Sunday started well with another seat-of-my-pants jumping experience on Thumper, then the heavens opened and we were back in furniture shopping land. Decided, to go to Ikea (what on earth were we thinking, one of us must have realised it was a Sunday, surely). By the time we registered the queues to get out it was too late as we were in. Sigh. Turned out to be really not that bad, had a tactical coffee and cake stop (bad bad cake) to let the traffic disperse and thought we’d done really well until we got to aisle 22, bay 19 and the chairs we’d come for were nowhere to be seen. Swear. So bought some impromptu bar stools instead (yup, we have a bar). So not a complete waste of time. Home for roast chook and stool building workshop. Huzzah – eating at a table!
So, we’re settling in well. The house feels a bit empty still, but there’s no big rush to fill it up. We’ve got a dinning table coming next weekend and with any luck our broadband and phone line will get sorted then too, fingers crossed! Feeling a tad isolated with no interweb, no car and of course hardly any of our belongings. Found out this week that our container has only just left the UK so we reckon it’ll be early September before we’re reunited with everything, yes there was a bit a swearing. Oh well, we’ll make the best of it!
Scarlet rosellas and the Dandenong ranges
Possums – lots on Norwood Street
A poolie – our neighbours odd dread locked dog/walking carpet with attitude
Cockatoos (Mark saw a flock chasing a Coca-cola lorry…)
Pelicans – 6 in a row on a jetty on the Mornington Peninsular