Farewell Manly, Hello Prahran.

Friday.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning with the realisation that I’d forgotten to pack a drawer of cutlery. Why can’t my brain remind me of these things at a relevant time, for goodness sake? I stumbled sleepily into the kitchen and yanked the drawer open, that’ll remind me when I can be bothered to actually get up.

All packed and ready to go

All packed and ready to go

The final few things were cleared up and packed before Silvio went off to work. The removal company called me just before 9am to say they were around the corner, and I decided I had just enough time to pop over the road and find out if they sold tea in the shop. They did – oh joy! – and while I was waiting for mine to brew, the shop owner Michael chatted to me and greeted other customers by name, he was so nice that I felt kind of sad we hadn’t been in more often.

Removal van

Removal van

Out goes the sofa

Out goes the sofa

Our stuff barely took up a corner of the van

Our stuff barely took up a corner of the van

The movers turned up, three stocky guys in an enormous truck, who declined my half-hearted offer to help carry a box or two. I stayed out of the way but couldn’t resist taking a few photos. We’d been worried about whether all of our things would fit – we may have had a “few” more boxes and bags than we’d originally estimated … well, if our stuff took up more than a tenth of that truck space I’d be surprised.

They were done in a little over an hour, all of our things safely wrapped in blankets and secured against the truck with ropes. I was relieved it was done, although much more worried about the delivery the following day, which would involve carting everything from the loading bay to the basement car park to a shared lift … shudder … don’t even want to think about it yet.

I went for a wander along the beach while I waited for the cleaners to show up. It was a bit worrying handing over our keys when they didn’t seem too sure who our real estate agent was to return them to, but hopefully that will all work out just fine.

I dawdled along the beach again, up to Ash’s Table, where I found I couldn’t resist their fish and chips lunch. Time was ticking slowly by, as I wandered back through the Corso to the Wharf Bar. The weather was turning, the sea was choppy and the wind was picking up; the clouds were threatening rain but I really wanted to sit outside in the jetty bar. I’ve had so many fun times there, joining the crowds on sunny afternoons and balmy evenings, but today it was empty apart from me, my wine and my laptop. I found a spot tucked under the umbrella and watched the sea dancing in the wind, and the minutes winding down to the ferry.

Wine at the Wharf Bar

Wine at the Wharf Bar

Perhaps I should have felt more sad to actually be leaving Manly. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was feeling – mostly, just impatient to get the next few stressful hours of travelling and shifting boxes out of the way. I was pretty unsettled – it was the second furthest I’ve moved (after leaving for Australia) and by far the most difficult logistically, but exciting, and sad, all at once.

The ferry pulled away and I watched the wharf recede and disappear as we turned the corner. At Circular Quay, Silvio arrived from work, and we headed out to get our plane. I was delighted to get an earlier flight, but with the heavy winds and crappy weather, all the planes were delayed, so we ended up leaving right about when we should have. At nearly 11pm, finally … we were home.

Saturday.

My phone jerked me out of a much needed sleep shortly after 8am. I tried not to sound like I’d just woken up as I answered it to the movers, who were not far away. We had just about enough time to jump out of bed and make a cup of tea, but not quite enough to drink it, before the van was pulling up outside.

Boxes starting to arrive

Boxes starting to arrive

Sofa in the new house

Sofa in the new house

The bedroom was crammed full

The bedroom was crammed full

They had four guys and a stack of trolleys, and before we’d really even woken up properly, half of our furniture and boxes was already upstairs in the new flat. They were done in just over an hour, paperwork signed, over and out.

We went back to the apartment a bit shell shocked, wondering how our boxes had managed to somehow multiply overnight on the van, or at least that’s how it seemed … the spare bedroom was absolutely full, we couldn’t even get into it, and the living room was complete chaos.

The living room was pretty full

The living room was pretty full

Something somewhere had leaked, there were a few damp looking marks on the boxes and I could smell something like vinegar, so I started with the stinkiest box and discovered a leaky bottle of balsamic. Luckily we’d used a LOT of newspaper so there wasn’t much damage, although it did reek for a while.

Eventually, we burrowed a path through the boxes big enough to rearrange the bedroom furniture, then we cleared a few more until we could put the TV back up. I made seemingly endless trips with bags of rubbish, and we stuffed things anywhere they would fit until the boxes were all empty, and straight away advertised on Gumtree, please, somebody, come and take them away! And on Sunday morning, somebody did :)

Somebody please take them away!

Somebody please take them away!

I dug Quackers out of his box, the poor thing had been packed fairly early on, and I don’t think he had a very comfortable position :( His head isn’t quite straight anymore, which gives him a permanent rather quizzical look. He’s now safe and comfy again, back in his old spot on the shelf.

Quackers in the new home

Quackers in the new home

In the afternoon, we were starving – we’d barely had time to eat anything for breakfast before carting boxes around. Luckily there’s a pizza shop right downstairs … I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a pizza quite so quickly, or enjoyed it quite as much, except possibly that one time in Byron Bay :)

Dinner. I was too hungry to take the photo before.

Dinner. I was too hungry to take the photo before.

On Sunday morning, we took a trip over to Prahran Market. It isn’t as big or as cheap as the Queen Victoria Market, but they had some nice food stalls, and we picked up some steaks to get the barbecue going again with – yum!

I didn’t want to spend all day on Sunday unpacking, I had a new job to prepare myself for on Monday morning, but it felt pretty good to get things organised. By the end of the day, everything was unpacked – the wardrobes are full, and we still need more storage, and definitely some extra shelves for the gazillions of photos, but that will get resolved over the next few weeks. The walls look wonderful, especially with the sofa, and with softer lighting the living room is really cosy and comfortable. Home sweet home!

Moving to Melbourne, part 3: weekend visit

I slept like a kid at Christmas the night before we went to Melbourne to get the keys for the new flat, waking up at regular intervals only to be disappointed it still wasn’t yet time to get up. 5:30 still felt too early when it came, although watching the sun shine pink and gold over the city was nearly enough on its own to make the tiredness worthwhile. I braved a chilly wind on the front of the ferry to take dozens of photos.

Sydney opera house

Sydney opera house

From the quay to the train station to the airport, I was impatient to get to the lounge, where a yummy breakfast of pancakes was waiting! I was so disappointed to find that the machine seemed to be out of mix, until one of the staff pointed out that there was another one – yay, pancakes! I topped off my healthy breakfast with some raisin toast (what? It’s got fruit in it) but failed miserably to get the coffee machine to dispense any hot water for tea, so I had to wait until we were on the plane for that. 

Pancakes!

Pancakes!

In Melbourne, suitcases collected, we got on the Sky bus into the city before finding a taxi to the developer’s office to collect the keys to our new home. It was so exciting (despite being about ready to fall back to sleep again) – Silvio went in while I waited in the cab, it seemed to take forever, but finally he was back with an enormous white box and two giftwrapped packages, which was all very exciting. 

At the apartment block, we buzzed ourselves in to the rather posh looking, clean and sparkly lobby (wonder how long it will stay that shiny?) and squeezed ourselves and our cases into the lift (hope the furniture fits …) On our floor, at the end of the corridor, we found our door and looked at each other with huge grins: our new home! 

Having already seen the photos, it wasn’t a big surprise, but my first impression of the new flat was how lovely and light it was inside. The floors had been replaced since Silvio’s initial inspection when they’d fitted the wrong ones, so the living room and bedrooms were all finished with beautiful light wood. Everything in the kitchen was new and shiny and clean and the entire place was empty apart from our two small cases and the bag of gifts from Caydon (that wasn’t going to last long though!) I wandered through opening cupboards and wardrobes and inspecting everything, while Silvio sorted the keys and unwrapped the presents: two coffee cups and an engraved keyring. I immediately assumed ownership of one of the mugs, which got plenty of use that weekend for tea. 
We didn’t have much time to gaze around though, we had a van to collect, things to buy, storage to empty. At the van rental place, we were told to our dismay that the van was 2.2m high – our basement parking spot has a max height of 2.1, and our internet research had indicated this van would fit! I wasn’t looking forward to trying to find on-street parking in Prahran on a Friday night, that’s for sure. 

How do I get in to this thing?

How do I get in to this thing?

Living out of suitcases

Living out of suitcases

Much needed bed

Much needed bed


In the meantime, we were off appliance shopping – yay! I love shopping, any kind of shopping, although Silvio would probably have been happier with a nap instead. Despite that, a few hours later, our new fridge – complete with a rack for wine bottles :) – was ordered for delivery on Saturday. It was late afternoon when we finally made it to Silvio’s storage unit, where we had to at least pick up the mattress, bedding and bed base to be able to sleep. We didn’t do such a great job of packing the van, I’m sure the rather sour faced lady in the office was secretly sniggering at our efforts as we tried to push the mattress in before remembering there was a side door, then tried several different ways to fit in the bed base before we finally got there. 

No more room in the van

No more room in the van

Back at the apartment, we looked at the height of the barrier in the parking lot against the van, and decided it was worth a try. Silvio inched it forward and luckily it fitted – carrying all that furniture to the lift would have just about finished me off. The building manager set up a lift dedicated to us, which was great – it just stayed where it was with the doors open until we had filled it and took it up to our floor, where it stayed until we emptied it and went back down for the next lot. I just hope we’ll be able to book the lift and do the same for the big move from Sydney …

The final trip of the day was back to the storage to fill the van with the rest of the stuff from storage. It all went in, just about, and we left it in the car park and headed out for dinner, feeling exhausted and grimy, but too hungry to wait any longer.

Hooked!

Hooked!

Dinner was awesome! After pancakes in the lounge that morning we’d survived the day mostly grazing on the go, but Silvio had been talking about “Hooked”, a fish and chip cafe just around the corner – I didn’t need asking twice. They brought us a salty, steaming carb fest, which I doused with malt vinegar – MALT VINEGAR! I don’t think I’ve had that before in Australia – and then we devoured it, with a glass of wine, before crawling home.

I couldn’t wait to try the shower, and it didn’t disappoint – lovely hot, pounding water. Just one minor problem though … it had a major leak, spouting a stream of water on to the ceiling! Hopefully that’ll be fixed before our next visit, but in the meantime we made do with a fix using a sponge and a hairband :)

There, I fixed it

There, I fixed it

Saturday morning, we had time for a lie in since the van was already filled – yay! But then the long job of emptying it via the lift – it was a lot harder than the previous night, since most of the stuff was in smaller boxes. By the end, I was running up and down the corridor between lift and apartment, desperate to get to the end of the pile.

Before we got too into the unpacking, we had a visit from Dennis, to look at some blinds and drapes. He spent quite a while explaining the different options, it was all kind of fun really, like shopping without leaving the house. The rest of the day we mostly spent unpacking and trying to sort through a mountain of stuff, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, and then trying to figure out how to get rid of it – some things were too big for the (miniscule) garbage chute.

We had time to go out for lunch before the fridge arrived, where we got free drinks (yay) when the food was slow! It was good too, I’m going to be so spoilt when we move here.

Back in the apartment, I got the sample paint pots out :) It was so much fun – I slapped reds and oranges on the walls in the living room, blue in the main bedroom and a light green in the second one.

Painting a rainbow

Painting a rainbow

Later, we headed out to IKEA for yet more shopping, we didn’t end up buying much except a bin, which we definitely needed. When the fridge finally arrived, the poor delivery man had to wheel it all the way through the car park to the lift. As we were walking down the corridor, I joked, “it’s just a few stairs once you get inside …” He didn’t seem too amused though, I think he might have believed me.

Later that night, Silvio set up his keyboard and a retro bar stool, and sat practicing while I drank red wine and squinted at the paint colours, trying to imagine what the room will look like painted. The music was pretty relaxing so I hope he keeps it up :) I’m not sure where on earth the keyboard is going to fit though, maybe on the balcony …

Calm in the chaos

Calm in the chaos

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

Chilling with the keyboard

Chilling with the keyboard


On Sunday morning, we went early to a local paint shop to buy the paints and find another sample while we still had the van, then went to Tusk for brunch. I had a craving for eggs with hollandaise sauce, it was really good, although we couldn’t get a table in the place we’d really wanted to try – maybe next time.

For the rest of the afternoon, I tried to sand a table so that I could paint it with some outdoor protective stuff and use it outdoors, while Silvio played the keyboard again and we tried to tidy up before heading back to Sydney. We both wanted to stay! It already feels like a home. But it won’t be long now, that was last weekend and next weekend we’ll be going back to do proper painting – I can’t wait!

Sunrise from the ferry

Sunrise from the ferry