Yes I know yesterday’s was a lot about the journey, but I had been typing for ages so here is more on what we’ve been up to since I got here.
Dan drove home from the airport, mainly because I didn’t know where I was going and also driving after a 22 hour flight, probably isn’t covered by most insurance policies. Dan had taken the Wednesday off, so after we crashed out and went for a walk in the local area, stopping at our one of our delis – Debbie and John did Raisin toast and a ham, cheese and tomato toastie for us with coffees for breakfast, Dan posted some of his ebay stuff of, we went for a walk round the area. We were out for over an hour, he showed me the location of the other flats he looked at, which although 2 bedroom again, was actually smaller than the flat in Portsmouth (how??) and was also not far from a busy intersection. The flat we are in now is in a service lane behind the shops on the Waverley Road, so it is really quiet. It is a new build, hence all the problems with the phone as the line stops in the yard between us and the building the landlord owns. No one seems that keen to connect us, so I am going down to the rental agency next week to get signed onto the lease, and having a word. I will be polite peeps, I promise.
We walked along a creek, which leads right into the city centre if we’d followed it far enough, and the little valley it forms is visible as you drive around Melbourne. The golf course alongside the creek is right beside the freeway, you know you are driving past it as they have fenced it in to avoid flying golf balls. They have also fenced it in round the cycle and footpaths, so you don’t get felled by an errant drive while out for a bimble. We passed, well they passed us, lots of cyclists, runners and dog walkers. We looked out of place in our jeans as they were all kitted out in lycra of some description. We will be getting bikes when I have a job, we have a double garage to keep them in and there are cycle paths all over the city, plus parks and reserves within a few hours drive.
Looping back on ourselves we walked past a multitude of hairdressers, music schools and chiropractors. We live in a salubrious suburb, so all the yummy mummies obviously have their standards to maintain. After the walk I drove to Chadstone, this is the big mall I have been talking about, it’s the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. It took all of 4 minutes to get there. It takes 20 minutes to get to IKEA. And about 30 minutes to get to the City, which has the best shopping in Australia (apparently). We could be in trouble over here you know. While I don’t necessarily like shopping, I do like shopping. Books and stationery are my downfall, so are good kitchen and haberdashery shops. Which is why I adore John Lewis, over here David Jones is it’s equivalent.
We looked at storage solutions; we desperately need to get some bookshelves, as every box (bar the all hallowed cricket bats box) has books in, and we are stuck unpacking things until we can store them properly. Also clothing is a problem as Dan has filled up a wardrobe with ‘stuff’, which he needs to go through. We will be spending months sorting things out, but eventually we’ll get there. We had lunch in Chadstone, I had a salad which was ok, Dan had a roll which again was ok, but they didn’t make you think ‘Oh I enjoyed that’. We got me a mobile phone, I have a Nokia E71, which is a BlackBerry stylee, while I can’t sink it to yahoo emails and my outlook, at least it means I can check them while I am out and about. After Chadstone, we went to Bunnings (B&Q) to look for more storage stuff, brought some house plants and herbs, then to ‘The Good Guys’ which are a discount white goods retailer, and brought a fridge. Dan had brought a ‘bar fridge’ to tide him over until I arrived. It is the size of a normal fridge in the UK, not like the UK beer fridge, that size is what you take on picnics plugged into a battery over here. We looked at beds in Harvey Norman (DFS ish, but not just sofas), gave up then went to IKEA, where we looked at couches, beds, dining tables and shelves, brought storage ‘solutions’ and some frozen Swedish Meatballs and gravy – yummeh.
I did ok with jet lag on the first day, and have done since, although I have woken up at odd times of night, but mostly because I have been hot and rabbiting to myself. We went for dinner in the local pub, they had a quiz night on so we had to leave the table by 8.30, which suited us fine as we were both tired, but mostly because we had done so much during the day. The next day, I got up with Dan when he was getting ready for work, we had breakfast together, something we only ever did at weekends in the UK, he drove to work and I tried to work my phone, added my contacts to it, pottered round the house and went out to the local shops. We have a butcher, green grocer, 2 delis, one is also a little supermarket and bottle shop (off licence), stationers (uh-oh), Laundromat and dry cleaners, Indian grocers, Fish and Chip shop, Thai takeaway (tried that on Friday night, do not need to go there again, if I wanted a long black hair in my special fried rice, I’d have asked for one), two chemists, a charity shop, vintage clothing boutique, vets, bank, post office and newsagent – that is all that I can remember off the top of my head. All within 2 minutes of the flat. We also have a tram terminus outside the flat, we are in the middle of a triangle of 3 train lines into the City and if we wanted to drive, on a Sunday Dan thinks it would only take 20 minutes to get in to the centre. We are in a great spot; he did well Daniel-san.
Thursday I also did a load of towels and took them to the Laundromat to dry, $4 dropped 5 items of dry-cleaning off $26 and collected the towels at the end of my shopping spree, and the dry cleaning on Friday afternoon. I cooked lamb chops with vegetables, much to the bachelor’s shock ‘What are they?’ and we sat at the breakfast bar talking over our days and continuing to catch up. The fridge was being delivered Friday morning, I took him to work and drove back to the flat, I had to be back for 11:30 so I did the ironing to Demolition Man and In Her Shoes. I finished in time to gather together our ID so we could change our address with HSBC and we could open our individual accounts.
Remember the problems we had with them opening the accounts in Australia from the UK? We got the £100 admin fee paid back as they made such a cock up of it. We changed our addresses no problem, but they wouldn’t change my country of residence as I don’t have my tax code yet, they also wanted us to open to individual accounts but deposit $2000 within a month. Now I am expecting to be working by the end of September, but I may miss the payroll so may not get paid until the beginning of October (you get paid every two weeks over here). So if I hadn’t paid any money into the account by then, they would close it. When he wouldn’t tell us about any other accounts we could use, we told them what they could do with their accounts, and went up the road to Bendigo Bank at 4.45 on a Friday, Gavin opened us individual accounts and a joint account there and then with $10. FFS. HSBC are just diddling themselves out of customers. The World’s Local Bank my arse, they could not have cocked up our accounts more if they had tried to.
Anyway, after the day that Dan had, (which started with a phone call from his work at 4.40am, so he staggered bleary eyed in, then came home for breakfast at 9am so I could drive him back to work – I need to start learning my way round as soon as possible), he was only in a fit state to order a takeaway. We settled in in front of the TV with a beer to watch the footie (AFL not soccer – if I don’t want to I don’t ever have to watch another football match in my life again. I don’t want to.) About an hour later we ordered it, it was going to take 25 minutes, so we walked up the hill to the next block of shops and found a bespoke furniture maker, and decided that it was worth coming back there on the way back from the supermarcado on Saturday morning. We picked up the takeaway, I had good chicken on a stick, Dan had a noodle soup that he ate less than half of, I opened up my special fried rice and green curry and had a long hair in the rice. We rapidly lost both our appetites.
I blogged all night for your reading pleasure, we crashed out, woke up at 8ish this morning, had showers and breakfast, then went to Safeways, owned by Woolworths, all very confusing as both labels were on display throughout the store. We had to buy all the spices, pantry items, fill the fridge and freezer, brought some more household things like a couple of knives and smellies etc. It cost $400, about £180, not bad we had budgeted for about $600 for the first shop, and we think it will take about a year to get everything into the store cupboard that we had in Portsmouth, but we found like for like throughout the store.
We drove back via the furniture store, and fell in love with the stuff they were making. We did try to work out how we would get an 8’ table into the flat we were living in now, and also could we justify spending $4000+ on the table? If you had seen it, you would understand why we would be happy to go without food for a couple of months!
We unpacked the shopping and were putting everything away when Matt called, he was just coming off the freeway. Dan gave him directions to the flat. He was coming down to Melbourne to visit his family, and popped into see us for lunch. We went back to the pub, where I managed to cut my hand on some glass, but we had a great lunch, Dan had a chicken kiev that looked like it had been fed on steroids, Matt had chicken parmigian, I had lambs liver and bacon, I know most people don’t like it, but I love it every so often.
We chatted and as Matt needed to buy his niece a birthday present, walked into Carnegie, which is a big Asian and Korean district, but I did find a fantastic second hand bookshop, I only brought two from the tables outside, and kept my eyes front when I went to pay for them. We brought the bread Lachy asked us to for the BBQ tomorrow, then walked back to the flat. We watched the back end of the VFL match, while I made a rice salad for the BBQ and typed this out for you.
I think you are all now up-to-date. Let me know if you want any more specific info, I will try and blog every day for you, although this may change when I get a job obviously. I am starting looking from Monday, so my job will be to get me a job, as promised I will keep you posted.