09 September, 2010


So. The move.

It was torturous. My notoriously unreliable friend had promised to help me but I was feeling less than certain that she would appear. An enquiring text elicited a favourable response and I felt slightly easier. At 09.05am a the removal team arrived. Two men with limited English arrived to remove my copious belongings from the flat and secure them in a van. They had left the van outside of the driveway, which made it harder for them as it was a fair distance to travel back and forth but the apparent senior of the two managed to communicate that he didn't mind.

The notoriously unreliable friend rang at 09.10am to say she was in a suburb on the other side of The Bridge (the Anzac Bridge, not the one you see on the TV) to collect a tumble drier that someone had kindly donated to me. I screamed internally. She was bound to get stuck in traffic. Fortunately she didn't and burst into the flat in full Technicolour, roaring with delight at the scene of carnage.
"I thought you were soooooo organised," she trilled. "You're wearing rubber gloves! Not ready at all! I love it!!!!!"

I immediately sent her to get coffee from a local cafe. The man carried on packing. The place was an absolute bombsite. We did a carload of fragile stuff as well as things I couldn't be bothered to pack properly. We came back to find the men had finished. Off we went.

I felt sorry for the removalists when they realised that not only had they dragged all my possessions down a flight of stairs and up a driveway but that now they needed to get them across a road and down a narrow flight of stairs. The now reliable friend left me to collect her daughter and catch up on a few jobs. The men finished, I paid them and collapsed on my recently relocated settee.

The friend returned to take me back to the old place. That was when I did it. Locked the keys to the new place inside it, that is. We had to drive to the letting office, run in, collect the spares and go back. The friend left me with a cheery wave and a promise to return on Friday.

I went back to the old place to do some cleaning. I managed an hour and a half before the headache that I'd been brewing all day finally caught up with me, which wasn't surprising seeing as my days dietary intake was limited to one cup of tea, one coffee and a banana. I got a taxi 'home' and collapsed on the settee. I didn't have the energy to make a cup of tea, instead just getting up every now and then to take more Paracetamols. I finally dragged myself up this morning - still with a headache - to go to work. All set. But where were the keys?

In the lock. Outside. Where they had been all night.

It can only get better.

06 September, 2010

On the move

Me again.

I'll spare you the excuses. Your correspondent is currently sitting in an apartment which resembles an explosion in a department store and wishing for some petrol and a box of matches.

You may remember - that's if I mentioned it - that I returned from my UK trip to the news that the apartment I rent is being sold. I finally managed to find a new flat to rent less than five minutes drive away. Not that I can drive, of course, but if I could....well, you get the picture. I've had the keys for over a week and still haven't moved in, mainly because I'm lazy but also because I had to pay rent on the current place for two weeks anyway. So, being stubborn - and lazy - I left it till the last minute.

I take no pleasure in moving. I don't know anyone who does, really, but I can't stand it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'd lived in three different houses before I was eight. I'm a creature of habit. I like to stay put. Strange, you might think, coming from someone who lives 12,000 miles away from the country of her birth, but there you go.

I bought a lovely flat in London and lived in it for some years until I moved to Australia. I think about it sometimes. I miss its large living room. I miss its massive kitchen/diner. I miss its quiet back garden. Most of all I miss putting the key in the front door and knowing that no one can tell me to move out of it.

I've moved a lot more since coming to Australia. Not counting the house in Canberra I've lived in seven different flats in the last 12 years. Sydney is a hard place to live. Renters can't afford to buy and so we live in other peoples flats, paying their mortgages and looking wishfully at the For Sale section of the newspapers.

The New Flat will be number 8. I'm looking for something to buy and am hoping that Number 9 will see my last foray into packing boxes and purging of book collections.

So, here I sit, surrounded by detritus and half packed boxes, waiting for a kind friend to come round and take some odds and sods round before the removal people come on Wednesday morning to shove my goods and chattels into the back of their van before depositing them in The New Flat. I've liked living here, not loved it, but liked it a lot. It's a small flat and The New Flat is much bigger. It's not as close to the beach but still walking distance. It's on a different and less frequent bus route. I just want to get in there and turn it into home.

They say moving house is one of the most stressful things that can happen to you in life. Aint that the truth.