blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
One day, quite soon, I hope, we will stop dealing with Moving Issues.

Last weekend was buying a new table, which we picked up secondhand. 'It came into the house like this …' the woman said. 'Are you sure?' I asked. 'I would have thought you'd have to take the door off.'* 'Oh no, no, no,' she said. 'Definitely not.'

So we spent ten minutes trying to get the table out. Mr Brammers came up with four possible strategies, thwarted only by reality. We then took the door off.

At this point – and you're wholly right that it should have been before – I said, 'If we have to take this door off, won't we have to take ours off, too?'

'Oh no,' Mr Brammers assured me, 'Our doors are wider.' This was a lie. But we didn't take the door off. We removed the side gate, instead.

We had one of my fave friends over for dinner at our new table on Monday, which was fabulous, despite the fact Mr B was in bed recovering from carrying a giant heavy table and knocking over and then rebuilding a giant heavy gate. That laid us low for much of the week and we only cooked a couple of meals and emptied a few boxes. So this weekend we were determined to do better.

We did! Garden centres were visited, half a tonne of buiding waste was shovelled out of the front garden and about 150kg of compost slathered on one bed, one more bed to go and then a whole new bed to dig over and form next weekend. Pots were potted, heavy things were lugged, and the cats' climbing hammocks were reassembled and placed against the side of the house in the conveniently hard-to-get-out-of back garden. And then we spent 15 minutes trying to get Rusketus off the roof.

You saw that coming, too, didn't you?

We're still a bit worn out, that's our excuse.

Exhaustion and overwork is also my excuse for missing so many birthdays lately.

[livejournal.com profile] tsosh, I miss you. I hope you had a splendid day yesterday and that this year has been kind to you, which you so thoroughly deserve.

[livejournal.com profile] gossymer, I hope you come back soon, I miss you, too! I hope you have been mugged by the present fairy!

[livejournal.com profile] sassy_cissa, I KNOW you were mugged by the present fairy. You're the loveliest person, thanks for bringing the light you do to fandom!

On the topic of which, [livejournal.com profile] birdsofshore, you are a fandom gem and you bring so much delight! I hope that you are having a spectacular day and that your cake levels are bordering on the ridiculous.

And it's possibly exactly the right time to say happy birthday to the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] meri_oddities. May gifts and cake and joy be even more dominant than usual in your life today.

Sorry to everyone I've missed in these chaotic months, I've thought of every one of you!

* When it comes to spatial awareness, I am staggeringly excellent with things, utterly rubbish with my own elbows.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
We have moved.

Empires have been lost in less time and with fewer aching arms, I am convinced. If you live in Sydney and would like old cooking magazines, New Scientists or New Yorkers, do let me know, I apparently own a ridiculous amount. Let us not speak of the books. And the plants in heavy pots. Nor the actual weights, which I foolishly failed to factor into my thinking … 'Why does this box feel as though it weighs 30kg?? Oh. Because it has 30kg of iron. And a pillow. And a note saying "weights, heavy".'

Many things are still in boxes, which means I cannot find my spare wax for my Barbour, and after being thoroughly soaked several times while lugging heavy objects, it is in desperate need and I am a sulky cold grump, because the weather has turned awful again and it is my favourite coat and all the house is organised differently and there are no good local cafes and the one bus that I can get to work or anywhere really is simply a disaster.

On the upside, there is more actual room, the neighbours are lovely, and the natural environment is a massive improvement on Erskineville, with a lovely rock scree for scrambling up and down just a street back alongside a nice park with reading trees and a 'castle' and then the river with its long cycleways and huge parks only a quarter mile more down the road. There is a good cafe in one of the parks, only a mile and a bit away, and they sell jaffles and hot chocolate in winter, which is a very fine combination. And the organic market is on at the other end of Marrickville every Sunday, with delicious broadbeans and heritage carrots and salmon last week, and I will ride there this week to drop out the horror of the bus. There is a neighbourhood spare cat and we had a kingfisher sitting in the back garden, and all my hellebores and dendrobium orchids have bloomed to cheer me up, which is very thoughtful of them.

Cookie and Monster keep giving us the look of 'Well, this has been fun, but when are we putting everything back in our normal house and getting the cat run back?' Oh cats, I hear you. Building a new cat run is a high priority! And a garden. This house has a single cypress and 'lawn'. I'm thinking of viburnum for a hedge, but may need something faster growing if Mr Brammers wishes to continue his lifetime habit of no trousers unless there's company. Or, just wait till summer and let the neighbours opposite plant a hedge instead …

We have the big bookshelf in the bedroom in this house, it's about 2.5m at the top shelf, and I've not yet found all the history books that are meant to go on it, so Rusketus the kitten/cat keeps leaping onto it from the top of the giant dresser beside it and using it as a Place To Survey His Minions. This is all well and good when he goes back the same way, but last night we were lying in bed and watched him look at the dresser, look at the bed, then jump out into empty space.

I tell you, I have never been so grateful for the fact that I am often too slovenly to put away the spare duvet – he used it and the pile of clean blankets that I had carefully washed, dried and folded then not been arsed to get the stepladder to put away in the top drawers of the dresser as a crashmat and landed without a problem.

Why we decided to get the kitten whose life mission is to understand the workings of gravity is something I have never been clear on. 
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It started on Friday: what felt like the entirety of a cold descending upon me in 30 minutes. I bargained with my body: 'Body,' I said, 'this is moving weekend. You need to be in tip-top form! None of this near-death for you!'

'I don't feel at all well,' my body replied.

The magnificent editorial assistant of fandom excellence (who is going to be in Florida in a few months – all tips re Harry Potter tourism will be gratefully received) dragged me out of the building to look at Harry Potter pyjamas. In a febrile fit, I managed not to buy a Hogwarts sleeping shirt (old gym gear will keep me in cold weather sleepwear for at least the next three years!), but I did buy the first two series of Once Upon a Time, and I am not ashamed! At the end of my wander round the shops and a spot of lunch, I had perked so considerably that I began to hope I had dodged the lurgy.

I had not dodged the lurgy.

Saturday saw me wake without a voice. We had to take the train up to the mountains to borrow a car from my magnificent boss, I sat and shivered and read Caitlin Moran's new novel (startling amounts of masturbation, on the whole funny, convincing and very Decent Human) on the train up and then peered anxiously through walls of rain on the drive back down.

Happily we got back to a sunnier city than the one we had left, and picked up the keys without incident.

And drove the first carload of bags and boxes to the new house.

And were horrified.

There was one thing wrong with this house when we inspected it: one of its rooms had been remade into a sound studio, with thick insulation on the walls. We had an agreement that this would be fixed before we moved in.

It's now worse. The landlord's own condition report lists the state of the walls as 'stained, scuffed, mouldy …'

The good news is that NSW law is very clear and that a mouldy premises is a clear violation of the tenancy agreement on the part of the landlord. There is ample precendent for this situation, all of which agrees that the tenants can walk away if the problem isn't fixed. So I have written to the agents and sent photos, expressing disappointment and dissatisfaction and asking that the situation be remedied and the room re-walled (it's just painted plasterboard, so this is not a huge expense). I'll also compromise and take a rent reduction and agreement that we can remedy the situation ourselves. Otherwise, we're back to bloody house hunting! ARGH!

Hoping for the best, we took some more boxes over today. At one point, I noticed that Mr B had left both the front door and the gate of our current house open. I shut the door and ran through the house conducting a quick cat census. Two girl cats. No boy kitten cat. I looked in the cat run. I looked through the house again. Mr B came back in and I whispered to him that Rusketus was revisting his Houdini impersonations. He told me that there was no way the cat could have got past him and went to find him.

Five minutes later, he accepted that there was indeed a way, and that Ruus had found it. He then abandoned me to take another carload over to the new house. I did a few laps of the front lane, talking to several pedestrians and a cyclist. This was made more difficult by me not having a voice.  A man walked by with two big dogs: I consoled myself with the fact they looked like nice big dogs … I peered into my neighbours' yards, no neighbours and no kitten. I checked the Thai takeaway on the corner, where cats have been known to beg for chicken. I squinted at the road and the railway: no still grey-and-tan forms.

Accepting he was lost, I went over to the vet to report him missing. We do have a good system here, and microchipped cats are often returned. The vet nurse was reassuring and talked me through the report steps, then suggested I walk the whole block and doorknock as many people as possible so the word would spread and more sets of eyes would be looking. This was my plan, but as I walked back to start, I saw a jaunty little creature padding his way up through the nature strip that borders the railway, very pleased with himself.

'Ruus!' I whispered. 'Come here and have a cuddle!' There followed a few minutes of muppetry, which ended in him being caught. I decided to shut the gate as I brought him in, he took advantage of my one-armed hold to fling himself upside-down and sink his rear claws into my face.

I can apparently whisper 'You fiendish little fucker!' really loudly. The nice lad walking past was very sympathetic.

To top things off, last night, laryngitis morphed into ghastly plague, so I have spent the whole day packing, shaking, writing cross but reasonable letters and berating myself for not spending less over the last 10 years as I could easily have bought a house with what I have spent on travel, books and quality moisturiser alone. Well, at least a third of a decent house in Sydney, but a whole house in Tasmania or parts of the mountains!

GAH!

Jul. 9th, 2014 02:03 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
A far too quick for the pages of love she deserves Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] oldenuf2nb! From the first time I met you, I was pleased to know you and that has naver changed. You are so talented, kind and brilliant. I hope this birthday is one of your best and heralds a year of things going exactly as you want them to or only enchantingly awry for you and those you love.

And now to bed. Two hours late. Because we noticed there were some new local houses listed, so we donned coats, gloves and beanies (it is actually cold in Sydney at the moment!), stealthed our way to a few nearby addresses, then enacted the ritual of me standing with one hand up at one end point of a structure, while Mr B stood at the other and shone the glowing red dot of a laser measuring device at my hand.

We had done this twice when I caught his eye and saw him starting to giggle. 'That's right,' I said. 'We are hardcore. Nighttime Ninja househunters!'

And then we had to run away before anyone thought we were either burglars or assassins. Or, more likely, he woke them with the cackling.

One prospective is 40m from here. We could finally move via handtrolley and cargo bike, which has been a lifelong dream of mine! Soon. Soon it will be done!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
We had plans to be in Canberra this weekend. Alas, househunting it was! But only three, because we had pre-culled our list of potentials.

The first place ticked a lot of boxes: quiet streets, four minutes from the train, three minutes from the bus, lovely big verandah to sit on at the front, sunny garden at back, front and side, plain but large rooms. The current tenants were still there and we had just started to chat with them about their magnificent dog when a plane went overhead. The house shook. We looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a peak in … no, hang on, with abject horror. Yes, that's the one.

Seeing our expression, he leaned forward and whispered, 'ALL DAY!' His partner checked to see the agent was well out of earshot and added, 'And the next-door neighbours shriek and stomp.'

'Oh dear,' I said. 'We are a quiet people …'

'Us too,' they replied. 'That's why we're moving.'

So no to that house, but I would have loved to take the dog: Great Dane crossed with black laborador. Huge and huggy!

The next house was brilliant. Classic Edwardian with leadlight glass, mouldings and railings throughout. Good garden filled with epiphytes and woodland plants. Small kitchen and bathroom, but wholly usable, second lavatory, a glassed-in verandah at the front that would be perfect for the cats, a mad warren of rooms that would fit in all our bookshelves and allow for everyone to have space for everything – and every one had doors opening onto each adjacent door, so endless games of Find the Cats or Human. There was even a massive reception hall, which baffled Mr Brammers: 'Why is this room tiled?' 'It's a reception.' 'What do you do in a reception?' 'It, er, receives!' Now that I think on it, they are not an Australian 'thing'. But ample room for three or four bikes on top of everything else!

The one downside: transport. The nearest train station is a 17-minute walk, with the nearest shops a minute beforehand. I know this sounds like nothing to most people, but we don't have a car, and on days when my foot is bad, anything over 10 minutes at a time can be a bit of a struggle. Normally I would just ride, but it is on a very busy street, without straightforward alternatives.

I'm still on the fence about that one, though Mr Brammers has it as a no. But there were several couples with young children there who would adore growing up in such a crazy, wonderful home. If we decide against it, I hope it goes to one of them! Especially to the nice ones who clued us in to the presence of the Light Rail nearby.

Mr Brammers later took said Light Rail out to look at the outside of another house near that one. 'Let me know how it goes,' I said. 'Maybe it will mean the crazy house is possible?' He texted me shortly after. The tram he was on had broken down. Oops.

Today's third option was clearly designed for Oompa-Loompas, as the stairs were too small for even my feet. Easy no.

I have found the perfect place in theory, but it is yet to be shown and we have no details for its opening days. I am, therefore, acting as though there is no hope of us getting it. Obviously, I am still hoping like wild!

And now, off to pack a few more boxes. Oh my fascinating life!! (I am so sorry! I promise to write something interesting as soon as things are more sorted!)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I have remembered why we have spent the last 13 and 3/4 years not moving. If only I had spent the same amount of time not buying books!

I have packed four boxes, culled another box-ish of books I can let go of, and wrapped up all the kitchen pans we use rarely so they can be tossed into a box easily.

And looked at SO MANY HOUSES! As yet, there has been no perfect house. There was one that was rather good, but it is expensive, and the kitchen is frankly rubbish. The genuinely pleasant agent is  wooing us: they are redoing the kitchen and the rear decking, we should commit! But Mr B is balking at the price despite the fact I will cover most of it. Probably wise: my spare dollars should be spent on travel! (And possibly the occasional book.)

The places we are looking at this week are all further away from Erskineville, which makes me sad when it comes to my beloved village, but they have room for vegetable gardens and perennial borders! Which is one hell of a compensation!

Naturally, it is now that my snowdrops have all burst out in the front garden here. I wonder how they would cope with me digging them up and slapping them in a pot?

House-hunting does make you worry about your fellow human beings. There was the wonderfully converted old shop that had a magnificent bathroom that you reached by going into the main bedroom. It is a three-bedroom house.

'Sorry, guests, no weeing for you! We are shagging and while you will be protected from the view by a bit of wall, the sound effects will forever destroy our friendship.'

Then there was the one where every large room had been transected by a fresh wall. MORE ROOMS! With, er, less room in them. And a piano in one. Which is staying.

I admit, it was a tiny bit tempting.

The 'huge entertaining space' that would not have allowed for the kitten to be swung, let alone either of the cats.

The beautiful period masterpiece that had a splendid garden and sensitive renovations that integrated smoothly and was open to the idea of pets, but $100 a week more than even I could really think sensible. I really should have just rung around to find a regular freelance gig for that one.

The 'close to transport and shops' location, with 'inner city vibe' that is in the suburbs, and admittedly five minutes from the train or shops by motorway, but about half an hour by foot and 20 terrifying minutes by bike.

Anyway, we are in no rush and have several good prospects with no need to leave here before late September. Which gives me WEEKS to offload some more books.

And if you know anyone 5'10" in Sydney who wants to buy a late 1980s Miyata for around $300 (less for friends of friends), do send them my way!

I've just remembered that I owe a great deal in the way of kitten posting …
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
We are house hunting.

Surely there is no sentence that evokes such a combination of life-enhancing hope and soul-destroying horror?

Sadly, this means that my life outside work is filled with viewings, and the subsequent gentle chastisement of agents: 'No, I am an editor. The word "spacious" definitely has a different meaning to the one you are giving it. Let us not speak of "affordable".'

But, [livejournal.com profile] pollymel and [livejournal.com profile] sinden, Summer Hill is on our list of possible/probables, so more regular ukulele dates could be a thing!

And I watched White Nights for the first time in about 28 years. I saw a video of a recent Mikhail Baryshnikov performance and he is still grippingly brilliant, but back then he was simply astonishing.

It occurs to me that of the best male dancers of the 20th century, he is the only one we were able to see really grow old. Nijinsky died far too young and Nureyev was not strong in the last years of his life. Misha onstage as a man in late middle age changes what you think a dancer should be, and expands our definitions. I need to hunt down the name of that filmed performance: it was less than four years old and contained a table and a wonderful mature ballerina. Sounds less than thrilling, I know, but I was spellbound.

Back to the packing. Stay well, you lot! 

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