David gets his Australian Learner Drivers Permit. On a drive out around Kyneton ("L" plates and all), we check out the local reservoir (pretty much the equivalent of Bewl Water, for our UK readers). Its looking very empty:
One week to go, and today's displacement activity involves turning a couple of boxes of apples from Jaynee's parents' apple tree into chutney. Using stockpots off ebay, whoopee!
Jo and Ted have a lot of trees, so today's displacement activity is to turn some of them into firewood. Our new chainsaw (from the entry dated 28th Jan) works a treat, as does the generator Jaynee bought at Tunbridge Wells B&Q last year expecting Wadhurst power cuts to hit an all-time high last winter (so of course they didn't), which finally had some petrol put in it, and drove the Black and Decker alligator saw (aka Jaynee's secateurs), last seen pruning half of the 4 Jonas Cottages apple tree last year (ie the one with the star of Jonas in it). Sorry again, Richard and Vic; never did finish pruning the other half.
The term deposit we put the balance of the money in to complete the house sale on Friday matures this Wednesday, and guess what? We've spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to work out how to transfer it into our solicitor's trust account to clear in time. Apparently its pretty unusual for humans to pay for their house themselves, rather than get a financial institution to talk to the seller's financial institution. Banker's drafts take at least 3 days to clear, personal electronic transfers are limited to $100K and even bank-to-bank electronic transfers have no guarantee of clearing within their "usual" time of 24 hours. We finally agree to get our bank to issue seperate bankers drafts to each of the creditors for our sellers' mortgage, and our solicitor has to get the payee names and amounts to us before Wednesday. The settlement is also (unusually, as both party's solicitors are in Castlemaine) to be completed in Melbourne, so we agree to drop off the cheques to our solicitor's agent at the Law Courts in Melbourne.
Drive down to Melbourne to get the bankers draft (many thanks again to Yvonne & Serena at the Commonwealth Bank at Melb Uni), then back to Castlemaine to hand over to the solicitor (in fact, we take it down the street and pay it into their bank account, about 30 seconds before the bank closes).
Back down to Melbourne for Jaynee's uncle Andrew's funeral. Although obviously a sad event, it was a gorgeous day, and actually good to see lots of family members and share good stories. Our love to Jan, Kathryn and Leanne. We hear from our solicitor, who says that completion\settlement is now booked for Monday 11am.
Up to Bendigo to buy rubbish bins (there is no garbage pickup by the council; we have to take our own rubbish to the tip, and it has to be sorted into non-recyclable and each type of recyclable ie paper\cardboard, glass, plastic, cans), a garden trolley, workbench and a greywater wheelie bin. Phoned Marcus to ask if we could drop them off at Green Gully rather than take them back to Kyneton only to bring them back again next week, and he says they've moved out (they got the key early from their sellers), and says to feel free to pick up the key from the estate agent. Unfortunately, the estate agent doesn't want to let us have the key before the solicitors give the all clear on the settlement on Monday, but at least we get to drop the stuff off and shove it under the back decking.
Rather a tall order, today. We pick up a transporter trailer from Kyneton hire at about 8am, including three ramps (which we've carefully organised beforehand, as of course most car trailers only come with two), then start down to Clayton South, a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne. Unfortunately, we hit all the morning peak hour traffic, the first tailbacks of which start just after Melton on the Calder Freeway, so we don't get to the shipper's bonded store in Clayton till after 11am.
Then we have fun working out what vehicles we'll take in each load - we knew that we'd never be able to do it in one trip, but we were hoping to fit both trips in the same day. We've brought our 12volt battery jump-start\compressor gizmo, which is just as well, as both front tyres on the Mosquito are flat, as is the rear tyre on the Triking. Also not entirely unexpected but still a tad annoying is that both the Trking and motorbike batteries are dead flat, and after blowing up the tyres, our 12v gizmo only has enough grunt to turn over both the engines, but not to fire either of them up. Having made friends with a couple of the warehouse and workshop guys, they lend us a battery charger, and we put the Triking on charge - they will swap the charger over to the bike in 2 hours time, which will hopefully charge both batteries enough so that by the time we get back they'll both start. Not too much of a problem for the Triking, which we can winch up onto the trailer (as we have to do for the Mosquito, which is a non-runner, bless it), but much more useful for the bike. Its bloody hard enough to ride a great big heavy cruiser up a trailer ramp, but its almost impossible to push the blighter.
So the order is decided for us - Mosquito on first run, Triking and bike on second run. We load the little red darling (during which we receive a phone call from the solicitors saying that the sale has now completed - yay), and trundle back through Melbourne, up the Calder and across into Castlemaine to pick up the house keys, then down to Green Gully.
|At Green Gully, we winch the Mosquito back off the trailer, doing the three ramp trick (the third ramp can only be put in place whilst the front wheels are at the top of the other two, or the front of the vehicle won't clear the third ramp). Now you can't see it particularly well in the photos, but the ungravelled drive down to the temporary carport (which is on the right of the photo next to this paragraph) is actually bloody steep, and its not till we're both manoeuvering the little darling down into it that we realise that the handbrake is about as much use as tits on a bull (and I can't even reach it), and the Mosquito starts heading for the rock wall at a fair old lick. Sterling effort by David, who just won't let go, digging his heels in until he's pretty much horizontal, and incidentally ripping the arse out of his jeans (and smalls, and, errr, well, not to put too fine a point on it, his arse as well). None but the brave deserve the fair, eh?|
We take a small break to sit on the terrace (rather gingerly, on David's part), have a drink and wait till the heart rates get down to merely dangerous level, then check our watches. By this stage its about half past three, and the shipper's close at five, so we start back with the empty trailer, but it becomes apparent that there's no way we'll make it in time, so we head back to Kyneton, phone the hire firm to book the trailer for another day, and phone the shippers to say we'll be there tomorrow morning instead. We are really rather tired.
We leave Kyneton earlier this morning for the second vehicle transfer trip, 'cos we don't have to wait for the hire place to open, so we miss some of the morning peak hour traffic, getting to Clayton at about quarter past 9. The Triking starts OK after having its battery charged, but as I drive it out of the warehouse, I realise that the brakes (probably in sympathy with the Mosquito - they must have been chatting together and thought "Here's a lark - why don't we...") have decided they don't feel like doing anything much today, thank you. That would be OK; I could judge the speed so that it made it up the ramps and stopped before trying to crash through the front of the trailer and into the back of the tow car, except for... have you remembered about the three ramp trick? Yep, on the way up, you put the 2 ramps on, drive up till the front wheels are on or almost on the trailer, stop, put the third ramp in position, then continue on up. And the magic word in the previous sentence is "stop". And yes. I know I started both those sentences with a conjunction. English teachers may bite me.
Instead of winching it the whole way, which involves muscles, and ours have been working too hard, I drive up for the first bit, kill the engine and let the gearbox stop it in position, then we put on the third ramp and winch the rest of the way. Now for the bike, which also starts OK, and, wonder of wonders, has functioning brakes. It was transported in its own crate, so probably didn't get to chat with the Triking and Mosquito, therefore missing out on their dastardly brake plan. We work out where it has to be postioned behind the Triking, put all three ramps together so I can put my feet down as I'm riding it up, decide that I have to go slow, and I start up the middle ramp. And stop pretty quickly, cos as the front wheel rises, my legs just can't reach far enough down, even with the bike leaned over (and leaning any further is not an option, ta).
David has longer legs, so he get's the unenviable task of riding it up. Well done again, that man, particularly as he's not all that au fait with jugglinging hand controls for throttle, clutch and brakes (he doesn't have access to gears and foot brakes, as he's steadying the bike with his feet), and you need to use quite a bit of fine judgement on that sort of a job. We head back up to Green Gully, stopping at the same motorway service station to check the load and grab some petrol and lunch that we stopped at yesterday, and can you believe that they actually remembered us? Fancy that.
Unload at Green Gully, David hangs on to the front of the Triking while I sit in, steer and pump the brakes (just for the look of it), and we roll it backwards down the slope and into the carport without any incident. David rides the bike down, and there they are, in their new home.
A longer sit on the swing on the back patio, a bottle of rose, and back to Kyneton. We are now rather more tired. Then Jaynee went to orchestra rehearsal, and faked her way through the first violin part of Webern's Passacaglia Op1. She did mean to practise it, but... so many leger lines, so little time...
Jo and Ted head up to their block today, and drop off Kanga kitty, who seems to quite enjoy communing with nature from the inside of a few carefully selected hollow logs, then (sterling chaps that they are) come on over to Kyneton to give us a hand with a load up to Green Gully. There's much too much for us to do ourselves, so we'll be getting a removals firm to do most of it next week, because we've located our 6'x3' shed in Bendigo, and we'll be picking it up on Friday, and erecting it then (we need it up to fit in the overspill, 'cos there's too much stuff to fit in the house!). We take up a bunch of kitchen stuff which hasn't been unpacked, a flat-packed tv cabinet thingy, the fourposter bed, one of the pedestals (the pale sandstone coloured one, which looks reeeely good on the patio), the 2 chairs (but not the table) for the back decking, the silk rug, and an esky with champagne, wine and cider.
When we unpack the boxes, we realise that we haven't got any champagne flutes or wine glasses, but we do have 2 pint jugs and the 2 plastic glasses we always carry in the car, so all is well. Thanks to Ted for the photos; Jaynee was a bit tiddly, as perhaps can be seen from the putting-up-the-bird-feeder dance.
The sunset is beautiful, and so similar in colour to the rosť we're drinking...
A day orf from moving, as (did I mention?) we're really quite tired. As an interlude, here's a piece of deathless verse from Jane Spurr:
Hope your house'll be just right
Not out of mind - tho' out of sight
Wishing you much Christmas cheer
We'll drink your health in cans of beer!
Which is so much better than the measly "Hope you will be very happy in
your New Home" which her card had in it originally. Case of unexpected
capitalisation, there (he he - I said "Case of" - geddit?) Also while
I think of it, our new postal address will be:
97 McMillan Road
but don't use it yet, cos we've got to buy a letter box to put down the bottom of the road. As we're weally wather wuwal, the postie doesn't deliver to the house.
Anzac Day, and to my shame, I'd completely forgotten that nothing is open on Anzac Day, so my plan to pick up the shed from Bendigo today and erect it over the weekend was a bit of a non-starter. Instead, we take over a trailer load with the dresser, 2 chests of drawers, a flat packed computer desk, the other pedestal, another box of china, the esky refreshed with wine and cider, and lots of tools. Normally it takes between half and three quarters of an hour to drive between Kyneton and Green Gully, but with a loaded trailer its a bit longer, and uses more petrol, too, so this isn't exactly the cheapest way to move house, but we're constutionally incapable of just sitting in the house in Kyneton doing nothing, and maybe we're getting addicted to the endorphins released by exercise. Sorry, I had to pause then whilst I had a minor fit laughing my head off.
The first thing I do is to crawl underneath the house (like most Australian houses, this one is up on stumps, which on a sloping site like Green Gully, gives you quite a bit of storage space underneath the house instead of in a loft) and try to work out how the little section of white balustrading seperating the dining area from the lounge is fixed onto the quarry tiled floor. I want it removed not only because I think its an unecessary obstacle, but because I'm thinking of putting the dresser against the bit of wall it comes out from. Have a look at the first photo in the 10th Jan entry above to see the bit of railing I mean. We work out how to remove the railing pretty quickly, but the post is positioned through a hole in the floorboards and bolted to a floor joist below, so we leave that in for now.
We put the dresser against that bit of wall, then decide its better over on the side wall of the dining area, so we move it there and I unpack and get some of the china into it. David puts together the tv cabinet thingy, which takes forbloodyever, and I unwrap and reassemble the fourposter bed. Annoyingly, the standard size for wooden dowel over here includes 9.5mm and 12mm, but not 3\8" which is the standard canary-perch size in the UK, and what I used for all the peg holes in the fourposter when I made it. Maybe its cos budgies have bigger feet, so the 12mm is standard here. I dunno, but 9.5mm is half a mil too small, so the bed wobbles a bit - I'll have to either redrill all the holes to 12mm or find some 10mm dowel. Can you believe that we don't even get around to the esky contents, but we do manage a very nice cup of tea. I still can't work out where the rugs are going to go, but we think we have the future orientation of the telly and 3-piece suite sussed.
Shed depot in Bendigo still not answering calls so presumably not open. Jo pops over to Kyneton from her block, so we load the dining room tables and chairs, wine rack, and a few more boxes, and tootle over to Green Gully. David puts together the flat-packed computer desk whilst Jo and I unwrap some more china a glass and reaarrange the dresser display. A few times. It currently looks like this (that's Jo):
Big news; we finally get some decent rain* which is great news for gardens everywhere in Victoria, and allows David to dash outside and play with the manual tank-fill-overflow-flush-system-thingy, designed for diverting the first flush of rainwater after a long dry spell, cos it will be full of dust\dirt\twigs\leaves\bird poo and gawd knows what else, which you'd rather not have in your tanks. This is our drinking water, and although its filtered from the tank, we figure we may as well keep it as clean as poss. David reports back that he doesn't think its been used for a while, so a good load of gunge has been flushed out.
*not that indecent stuff that just falls about willy-nilly anywhere, drunk, naked and telling rude jokes.
Up to Bendigo to pick up the little shed, some timber for slats for the 4-poster bed, a 3.5m length of 12.5mm dowell and a 12.5mm drill bit to repeg the same.
We've decided to put up the little shed on a patch of hardstanding to the left of the house and immediately in front of the water tanks. It won't stay there permanently, but will be handy for getting boxes from there and into the house to unpack after they've all been delivered and put into it. It all goes quite well for a bit. The little shed has an interesting construction; the only "frame element" is what they call a "portal frame", which is basically 2 posts and a matching pair of principal roof rafters bolted together into one unit, which sits inside the middle of the shed. It also has a ridge pole, but doesn't have any other frame, as the walls and roof panels are the principal structural elements.
The panels are constructed by laying out flat the appropriately marked sheets of corrugated steel with a single corrugation overlap, then snap-fitting top and bottom channels to hold them together and screwing self-tappers into the pre-drilled holes in the corrugation overlaps.
We get the 2 gable end and the rear panels together pretty quickly, but come to a grinding halt when we start laying out the front panel, which contains a double and a single door in it. Try as we might, we cannot find 3 of the 4 door jambs, and as the panel needs them for rigidity, and the next step is putting the wall panels together to make the main box structure, we're a bit stuffed, as the turkey said to the goose at Christmas. And its started to rain, which is good news in an overall-kind-of way, but a bit depressing for shed-builders. After checking off all the other parts on the packing lists, we give up and have a cuppa, and go back to Kyneton.
Still no email from the shed company, so I phone again, and ask when they think that the parts will arrive, so that we can make sure we're in Kyneton to receive them. The answer is "probably Friday", so I ask for a confirmation email. I also phone the store in Bendigo who is making the matresses to order (different bed size to standard Australian), and they also say that they won't be ready till Friday at earliest, so we decide to feed the pusses up big, then take a puff-up mattress, some bedding, the little telly and some food to Green Gully and spend a night there. Off we trundle without the trailer, which feels odd, as we've been doing a lot of towing recently, but rain is forecast again, and there isn't anything else waterproof that it would be easy to take over with us. We stop at the Gallery on Piper Street in Kyneton, where David saw a picture he rather liked in the window. Jaynee quite likes it too, so we ask the gallery owner to measure it for us, as we have to check what wall it might fit on (its 1.58m high by 1.88m wide).
When we get there, David makes up a flat-packed 4-wheel garden trolley that we bought a while back, then does some wood-chopping until its full. Jaynee lights the first fire in our wood burner in the living room (Marcus and Tania very kindly left us some firelighters and matches, bless 'em, and a Peace Lilly to say "Welcome"), and finishes unpacking the boxes of kitchenalia which we'd already brought over. Hmm. Jaynee seems to be having a bit of a 1st-person/3rd-person crisis here, but its not enough to make her rewrite anything, and I'm sure you all get the gist anyway.
David cooks up the spag carbonara packet we'd brought with us, but Jaynee declines, as she scoffed the last bag of chips from the shop in Newstead which we popped into to get some paracetomol tablets just before it closed. It has taken the compressor in our little portable 12v power station ages to puff up the queen-size mattress, but finally its done, and we settle down in front of the fire to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on the telly (its time to dust off and re-broadcast all the old ones before the new one comes out next month). Bliss. Well, for a bit, until David, who has been feeling not particularly kosher, starts being violently ill, and spends the rest of the night throwing up. Negative bliss.
We've worked out that the only wall we can fit the painting on is the one which currently has the dresser against it, but we couldn't be arsed moving it now, so we damp down the fire, lock up and we head back to Kyneton to placate the pusses with food and cuddles. No email from the shed company, but Jaynee couldn't be arsed hassling them again either - we'll just wait and see if the bits turn up tomorrow. If they do, we might hire the large covered trailer we had before to transport stuff up from Cape Paterson, and use it to take over the painting (which certainly won't fit in the car and we're not trusting it in our little open trailer), the fridge, 2 comfy armchairs, at least one mattress and whatever else we can stuff in. Then we can finish putting the shed up over the weekend, which is the only time in the next week when rain isn't forecast. That's the current plan, anyway.