Monday, May 9, 2016

Musings from Mosman

Welcome to the latest update from the Yorkshire Expat, where we will spend some time talking about how the year is progressing so far (very well, since you asked), what is on the horizon (quite a bit actually), and whatever else springs to mind as I'm writing.

If you didn't know, but I will assume you do, it is May already.  We have passed the fourth, so no Stars Wars jokes here.  Or is it Star Trek?  I can never work out the difference between the two. 

Looking in the rear view mirror, at the calendar, it never ceases to surprise me at what is already in the dust behind us.  Where did the previous 4 months go?  A full third of the year over already.  Only 230 days to Christmas.  Did any body else buy some Christmas crackers (bon bons in local parlance.  No, I don't understand either.  They are crackers for gods sake) and cards in the January sales?

The biggest story of the year so far is the recent move to a new apartment.  When I say move, I use the word loosely.  More of a shifting.  Just up the road.  About 500 meters.  Why would you do that you ask?  Well, certain criteria had to be met.  A second bathroom, for the overseas visitors bringing chocolate from the UK each year.  Tick.  A larger balcony to be able to make the most of the weather, allowing for al fresco dining.  Tick.  Still within walking distance of our favourite caf├ęs, restaurants, and bars.  Tick tick tick.

Now, as we weren't moving far, in our wisdom we decided not to hire a van like normal people.  We would use a car we were hiring for a trip to Mudgee (wine country, which was amazing), and just make a few trips.  The hiring of cars is made very simple with the concept of "GoGet", where you join up, receive a magnetic card, check the website for a car parked near you, book for any duration starting from 30 minutes, then turn up, swipe the card on the windshield, get in, and drive.  Simple. 

Driving through Mosman with a mattress hanging precariously out the back of the car, avoiding police cars, and looking a tad ridiculous.  Multiple trips were made either side of Easter weekend, by which time we thought we would be done.  We weren't.  Being only about 500 meters away from the new digs, we figured we could easily move the remaining bits on foot.  And it would be easy.  It wasn't.

We looked at each other on a dark Tuesday night, with the dawning realization we still had lots to carry.  And thus, doing what needed to be done, we traipsed through the streets of Mosman looking like Syrian refugees, carrying gas bottles for BBQs, mops, clothes horse, vacuum cleaner, and lots of other detritus.  What happened to the so called de-cluttering, before moving?  As always happens.  It gets left til it's too late, and all your shit comes with you to the new place.

In the lives we now find ourselves living in, the necessities are somewhat different than they were for our parents generation when they set up home.  Their "wireless" was probably a big, dusty, brown hunk of a thing that sat on the mantlepiece, spitting out weekly episodes of the Archers.  Or stirring speeches by Churchill.  Ours is a little white box with flickering green lights.  When it works.  Which is another story.

We took the opportunity when moving home, to move broadband providers.  This was driven by the fact that the rights to show the live English Premier League games (every single one of them) have been bought by Optus, with Foxtel (the local SKY) losing out.  In readiness, a move to Optus broadband followed.  Quickly followed by nothing but problem after problem with the reliability of the service.  Our wi-if is patchy, at best.  I am going to get very annoyed if the same problems start occurring during live football matches.  At godforsaken hours of the night.  If I was a project manager, oh, I am, I would be flagging this as my biggest risk to Optus being able to satisfy the thousands of subscribers wanting their weekly fix of the beautiful game.

Recently, we had a public holiday (you would call it a bank holiday in the UK), ANZAC day, where we took the opportunity to have a long weekend in the country again.  This time in the Hunter Valley, where, conveniently, there are shit loads of wineries.  This makes me happy.  Also, like Mudgee, we booked somewhere quiet and remote.  This time, very remote.  The weekend involved lots of wine tasting.  Lots of cheese tasting.  Peace.  Quiet.  And a hot tub.

This (not the hot tub) got me thinking what it would be like to have a tree change?  If this is not a term you are familiar with, I would usually call it a sea change.  Up sticks, quit the busy city life, and move somewhere quiet, living a life far removed from the current one.  Maybe make cheese.  Keep animals.  Open a little coffee shop.  Etc, etc.  You get the picture.  One of the challenges is picking the right place.  Getting the balance between social and solitude right.

For example, as much as I like Darwin, a very small place on the northern coast of Australia, I'm not sure I'd want to be ensconced there for any length of time.  Subsisting on a diet of titties and schnitties may not be everybody's cup of tea.   And whilst Gulgong, near Mudgee in central NSW, does the best Rogan Josh in the whole of Australia, could I live in a place that only has one street, and you had to eat curry every day?  Well, thinking about it...

So for now, the sea change remains a pipe dream.  One that I continue to percolate on.

Maybe it will brew into something on my upcoming holiday, or vacation, as they like to say where we will be heading.  A road trip up the west coast of the US ticks some long held boxes personally (Big Sur anyone?), as does finally getting to Canada.  A place I have been threatening to visit since making friends with a Kelowna local, whilst travelling Australia many years ago.  This year I will finally get to Canada.  More specifically, to Vancouver.  This is a trip that fills me with great excitement.

Will there be pics?  You bet.  Will there be a few American cheese burgers involved.  Without doubt the burger spreadsheet will be getting updated.  And will it all be captured in a future blog.  You can count on it.  Just keep reading.

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