Monday, June 18, 2012

The First Week

Two ladies, one sea/tree change, one blog. Here we go.

I'm Jenny, my partner is Tracey and we've moved to a little fishing village a fair ways out of town. We still commute for work a few days a week but have a decent amount of time at ye olde homestead to kick back, stare at the potbellied stove and take walks with our dogs.

We're both pretty similar in that we love the latte lifestyle of Northcote. The music scene, the hipster watching, the farmers markets with fancy cheeses, our friends, but by gum we get a bit cranky pants about the traffic. We are both overstimulated by the city. We are both exhausted and constantly craving holidays by the seaside, where it's quiet and you sleep a long heavy sleep and wake up feeling all bendy and ready for things. Things like reading all day or slow-cooking some shanks. Sometimes if we're feeling wild and crazy, combining the two. That kind of stuff is the business.

A few days after the decision was made to go ahead with the big move there was an article in the Good Weekend all about how sea changes and tree changes usually go bad, people get all excited by a few weekends away and make a big move that sees them living in Bumbonk Idaho with no friends, no prospects, shonky educational options for their kids, ignorant backward-thinking hicks on every paddock and broken relationships.

Here's why I think it'll be different for us:

- My lifelong obsession with Little House on the Prairie
- We both grew up in vague proximity to where we've ended up, so it's not unfamiliar and we have family nearby
- Blind optimism
- Articulating what we want has often led to each of us individually finding good pathways in life. We wanted trees and water and quiet and a garden. Hey presto!
- Did I mention the potbellied stove?
- We're not going out at night folk, unless it's out for dinner somewhere with nice wine and the word "foam" somewhere on the menu, so zero nightlife apart from the local open mic night is not a problem.
- I've got a two year membership to the Diggers Club, a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens, and yesterday I bought a $10 flanellette shirt from the supermarket

Wish us luck, will you?

We've been here for about a week so far and it's lovely. Every day I find myself saying (out loud to anyone who will listen) how amazing it is to be able to live here.

The house has a fresh coat of paint on the inside to give a new look to the holiday-house primary colour explosion of bright blues, pinks and yellows. (We went with Dulux Cottontail from the multitude of whites on offer, with our front door painted in a bold Porpoise Place peacocky turquoise in case you're interested). It's small but open and has a friendly feel to it. There's a great bushy garden with a massive gum in the front and an olive tree and herbs in the back. We're looking forward to welcoming friends down for the weekends to have a bit of time out. There's a spa! And I just won a woodfire pizza oven on eBay.

There's still a fair bit to do but I'll save that list for the next installment. I bloody love a list.

(Gingko the cat is very pleased to be living here)

Moving day was pretty exciting. Exciting in that 'first anxiety attack pre-8 am' kind of way! We had the greatest moving guys in the world, who did their best to cram our entire huge household plus shed full of stuff tetris-like into the too-small truck the lady on the phone organised for me. Thanks lady! Maybe send a bigger truck next time like you said you would!

Tracey's bro and mum took a round trip and filled a trailer up, Beverly Hillbillies style. That and a few carloads and we had it covered. Bless em! They even brought the gross worm farm that leaked worm wee everywhere. We had a great first night with a roaring fire, Superman III on the telly, homemade lasagne and garlic bread supplied by Tracey's mum and our friends Ange and Shannon, who were absolute champions with the unpacking on moving day. Slept like the proverbial on new flanellette sheets and did a big cook-up brekkie for everyone.

Shannon decided to go for a run with Clem the schnauzer by herself, so after she got back Trace, Ange Happy Jesus the pomeranian x, Clem and I went for a walk along the beach. This beach is an inlet beach so it's not a wave festival, but a calm little mangrovey beach. It's really sweet and Trace and I had paid the beach a visit a fair few times before moving down here but had never been for a long walk along it.

It was a nice winter day, a few clouds and quite grey, a little breeze accompanying us on our jaunt. It is so peaceful, we didn't see another person and it was great to stretch our legs and shake off the stiffness and stress of moving day. We came across a sweet little rowboat up on the sand, and I think it was at this point that I casually asked if we should turn back (Shannon needed to get home that morning and Ange was catching a ride with her) or keep going. "Let's keep going! I want to see the pier," Ange said. I think we'll all look back on the moment and remember for years to come, the turning point.

Soon after this the sand started to get a wee bit muddy. What an adventure! How fun! Various nieces and nephews will love this! Wow, my foot is slightly wet! This never happens in the big smoke!Just some of the thoughts bandied about.

Then I started getting that sinking feeling. No really, my feet were sinking in the the mud. It was a bit Bog of Eternal Stench from Labyrinth (complete with the farty noises the mud was making in the mangroves), a bit Artax sinking to his death in The Neverending Story. I focused on my left foot and wiggled that one out eventually, then needed a bit of assistance.

We could not stop laughing. Was it the laughter of fun or hysteria? We'll never know! But my right leg was in past the knee, then suddenly mid-thigh. Oh dear. Ange and Trace were yanking my arms to try and pull me out, the dogs were having a great time playing in the stinky mud, and all of us were absolutely cacking ourselves. After awhile of getting nowhere with the arm yanking, besides Trace saying in a rather deep voice that I hadn't ever heard before "SO MUCH PAIN. SO MUCH PAIN", I gave up any illusions I had of not being completely filthy and got on my left knee and hands, and asked the girls to give my pants a good hard yank.

We got there eventually, sweaty and muddy and in fits of strange laughter. Then we realised we were surrounded by this stuff and couldn't actually turn back or the same thing would happen again. Looking forward we were probably twenty metres or so from sand so we decided to go forward, and ran as lightly as we could across the muddy quicksand and found the sand was just as sinky. The only thing for it was to crawl out of the mangroves on  hands and knees, as we didn't sink as far that way.

There was a lady fishing on the pier who watched the whole thing and was clearly finding it very entertaining.

I had my phone on me (grabbed at the last minute with whimsical notions of documenting our first walk after moving in) and had given it to Ange to stuff in her bra while they were yanking me out of the mud to try and save it from falling to its doom. She still had it, so we decided to try and swim across the inlet and call Shannon to come pick us up. I looked at the maps function (bless you iPhone) and it told me it would take two hours to walk back. We were all wet and cold by now so it was a bit of a recipe for disaster.

I went first and found the water to be pretty much what you'd expect in the middle of winter, but could walk across and only get wet up to my neck. No worries! When the water hit my lungs I had a bit of difficulty breathing but outwardly and loudly remained cheerful cos I thought Tracey was quietly freaking out a bit and didn't want her to worry about any possible hypothermia or death. My vocal communication consisted of "yep it's ok! Ok! A bit deeper! Deeper! But Ok! No worries! Ha! Pretty deep! Haha! Ok! Oh good, shallower, shallower, shallower, shallower, Yay!!!!".

Clem had swum out to hang out with me while I took this detour from our walk, but I knew Happy would be well, unhappy to have to swim so I shouted out to Trace that she'd have to put him on his lead. She met me halfway with the phone held over her head, and I turned back to my side of the shore and called Shannon. No answer.

Kept calling while the girls were coming over with the dogs and broke the news there was no answer when we were all safe on the much less sinky sand.

I tried Ange's mobile, Trace's mobile (both left back at the house where Shannon was) and our landline a few times. No answer. After a few minutes Shannon called back and came to find us (we sat on tarps in her car, bunch of stinky ladies). It took awhile as she got lost but we were home within an hour or so.

(Happy, Tracey, Clem and Ange after emerging from our swim. RIP Ange's boots and my runners).

Shannon and Ange took off and Trace and I had hot drinks with a good glug of Baileys in them, watched DVDs on the couch with a few million blankets and cracked up at regular intervals over the corker of a joke "remember when we got bogged in the mud?"

Yep. Good times.

We met a local a few days later who told us about some people who had to be rescued by police after a similar thing happened so we didn't feel like such giant dorks.

This is just a (long and rather wordy) snapshot of our first week in our little house on the inlet. Other fun things like chatting with the owners of the local store and hearing about how there used to be some "bad eggs who did wheelies on their bikes" but are "no longer a problem" have given us a feel for this quiet place.

Stay tuned for shopping lists for Bunnings and talk of rosehip syrup making! Thanks for reading xo

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