Phew – back online!!

What a palaver getting online is!!  More of that later – suffice to say that after much faffing about we are contactable again and I have a bit of a catch up on what we’ve been up to.  Might be an idea to grab a cup of tea because this could be a long one!

On Thursday we got up to our last morning at Hughie and Linda’s.  Ruby, starved of toy contact, concocted some strange game using a V-shaped pillow as a horse and dressing it with random stuff from our suitcases

While we were packing our stuff into those suitcases and cleaning up for Linda, Alexander and Cameron had another strange game going on

Who says kids need fancy toys to keep them occupied?!

We loaded up all our stuff into Linda’s car and took it down to the house.  There was a lot of work ahead of us!  We did a bit more cleaning and then went back to Linda’s as she had counted us in for dinner that night.  It is just as well that we are moving out because we’d end up being the size of a house!   Both Linda and Hughie are great cooks and they always make yummy dinners!!

The guy had phoned about the car so Hughie took us out to collect it.  It was signed over and we drove home to our new house, in our new car, in our new country – just the four of us.

We put the kids to bed in their new rooms

Which they were very pleased about …

and then we set about the giant task of unpacking …

This is only about half of all the stuff we had to unload!  Michael and I stayed up until we were exhausted getting it all done.  It was fun setting all our things in our new home!

We finally retired to our blow-up-bed at about 1am, frozen and knackered!

After all that work you would have thought that we slept like babies, but no, I was awake for the vast majority of the night.  The temperature was about 1 or 2 degrees above freezing, inside and out!  There is no insulation at all in the house and no central heating, just a blow-heater in the living room and we were lying on an airbed on wooden floors – brrrrr!  Michael and I were practically glued together all night but there was no body heat to share!  When the alarm went off at 7am we just lay there, unable to move but desperate for warmth!  It was like when we used to live in Edinburgh before the kids were born, we were both hoping that the other would get up and turn the heater on!  The kids had better beds and carpetted rooms so they had slept fine – in fact they were still asleep (or else we would have sent one of them to put the heater on!).  Eventually Michael got up (he’s a good one!) and even brought a cup of tea, a hot water bottle and a fleece jumper back with him!  I made good use of all three and went to sleep for a couple of hours until the kids woke up!

We spent Friday morning tidying, hanging up clothes, putting away shoes etc. then we went to the shopping centre to try to organise a phone connection.  We had tried to do this over the mobile phone but they couldn’t accept our UK passports as ID over the phone, hence the reason that we had to show up in person.  We were assured though that it would just be a formality and we would be good to go – NONSENSE!  We got there to find that the company didn’t service our area and so we had to start again from scratch with a rival company.

We went to said company, found the best deal for us (phone, broadband and cheapo international calls for $108 per month – eeek) we were almost ready to seal the deal when we discovered that they needed proof of address and as we have just moved in we didn’t have anything!  The whole thing had to go on hold while we went to our bank, change our address with them, get a certified letter from them and then it should all be fine.

By this time it was 4pm and we needed to get to Linda’s at some point to sort out our car insurance.  We didn’t want to disturb them over dinner time so we abandoned our phone-wild-goose-chase and went to their’s instead.  While there we discovered a very important fact.  Ambulances are not part of the medicare system – meaning that if I needed to get an ambulance we could be charged anything from about $5000!!  This was new and scary information so we took out ambo cover (local lingo!) for $150 per year for the whole family.  We also organised renters insurance on the contents of our new house.  So we were now free to crash our car into our house and be taken to hospital for resulting injuries by ambulance!!  Sorted!

We stopped off at a furniture shop on the way back to the shopping centre and ordered a mattress – I almost carried it home when I thought of spending another night on ‘the ice-block’ but agreed to take delivery tomorrow instead!  We bought an electric blanket as a compromise – it may melt the air bed but at least we would be lying in hot rubber then!

Back to the shopping centre, back to the phone company.  We showed them our letter from the bank – fine and dandy, now just the ID to produce … oh, it’s a foreign passport?  That doesn’t count as ID.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

It is all done on a points system and we needed 100 points, a foreign passport only counts as 30 points!  Somehow, by emptying every card we had in our wallets (thank goodness we had sorted our medicare and bank as soon as we got here!) and just moments away from offering them one of the kids (guess which one – I’ll give you a clue, it was 8pm and we’d spent much of the day in a shopping centre!) we cobbled together enough proof that we were in fact who we said we were and they agreed to sign us up.  We signed forms, they took copies and then with some finality the girl said ‘Ok, we’ll be in touch’ (by carrier pigeon presumably, considering the reason we were there in the first place!) I asked what would happen now, expecting them to say that an engineer would be out soon, or that a modem would be sent to us, but no, there is apparently a shortage of numbers in the area so we have to wait for someone to default or disconnect their line and then we can get connected – ETA of 2-3 weeks!!

As a matter of interest, I may try to buy a gun next week – I bet it would be a damn sight easier than trying to phone my parents from my own house!

We got home, nicked the kids’ fleecy blankets off their beds, rigged up the leccy blanket and called it a night!

We woke on Saturday morning after a very reasonable night’s sleep – the blankets under us seemed to make a good difference.

The kids had watermelon and then Milo cereal (bought before I realised it was made by nestle – bah!) as their first Aussie brekky

(note the layers that Alexander is wearing!)  We had borrowed some stools from Linda & Hughie thankfully because otherwise we would have no-where to sit!  Our furniture is due to arrive in Melbourne on 29th July so kids’ beds, sofa, dining table etc is all still on the sea somewhere!

First job of the day was to fit the washing machine.  That went without a hitch and our first load was done and hung within an hour.  (With new all red pegs 😉 simple pleasures!)

It was only at about 11am that I realised that we were supposed to stay in all day for the mattress arriving but we had made plans to meet Jeni and Dave.  Jeni is one of my very best friends from high school and, very thoughtfully, she and her husband moved here in September last year.  This is the closest I have lived to her for over 10 years – madness!  I phoned the furniture shop up the road and they couldn’t say when it would be delivered so I did the only sensible thing and went out!  You must have had that happen to you before, you wait in all day for a parcel and the minute you go out they arrive.  It works with people who smoke when they are waiting for a bus too – the minute they light up, the bus arrives – I used to love that when I lived in town!  Anyway, I tricked them you see, Ruby and I went out to see how long it took to walk to school (13 minutes) and we also got some rolls at the local shops (20 minutes away) but we left Michael and Alexander in the house.  Sure enough we were just past the school when the driver called to say he would be there within half an hour!  We got home from the shops, the mattress had been delivered and so I made up a picnic and we were on our way to Williamstown to meet Jeni and Dave!

It was LOVELY to see them.  Slightly weird to think that we are all in this place so far from where we started, but very glad to have them near us!  We had our picnic – I had totally forgotten that Jeni is vegetarian and had made all meat rolls – doh!  We also had some chips from a FABBY fish and chip shop, we’ll be going back there!

Williamstown is a really nice wee town about 20 minutes drive from the centre of Melbourne.  You can see the Melbourne skyline behind us there.  After our picnic we went for a walk along the esplanade.  We passed loads of quirky shops, restaurants and pubs.  I took this because I love the phrase ‘Fish and Chippery’ it sounds so much better than ‘Chip Shop’!

This was one of the pubs we passed – we weren’t sure whether it is a terrace up on the roof but if it is I can only imagine the number of people who have done the standing at the front with their arms up thing!

We bought some ice-creams from the grumpiest ice-cream seller in the world.  He should have loved us, we bought four ice creams in the middle of winter! 

Cool, sprinkle covered ice creams!

My fancy chocolate dipped cone and Jeni’s somewhat classier pistachio gelato!

(note the mugger behind us!!)  We are in front of the Time Ball Tower here – we tried to find out more about it from the plaques that were around it but it sort of assumed that everyone knew what a time ball was for – and none of us did.  As it happens, it wasn’t really that necessary because the chap who had been working it for about 50 years died, no-one replaced him and nothing bad seems to have happened.  Odd!

The authorities here in Victoria have very kindly put signs up everywhere welcoming us …

I must learn to smile better, I always look totally goofy in photos!

We stopped by a restaurant and had a glass of wine (no pics of that, the drinking of the wine took priority!) and then we said ‘goodbye’ to Jeni and Dave – lovely that this would only be for a week or so, not for months as it has been for the past few years!

On the way home we stopped into the supermarket and did a big shop.  We had been spoiled at Linda’s for the last week, now we have to make our own food!

Sunday started with Ruby appearing, as if from no-where, at the side of my bed at about 9.30am – she gave me the fright of my life!  I got up got some fruit for her and pottered about waiting for everyone else to get up.  No-one did for AGES!  I tempted the boys out of their rooms with breakfast (this only worked on Michael, I just had to order A to get up and dressed!)

We faffed about for most of the morning and then went out to try to get a mobile broadband dongle.  The prospect of being offline for another three weeks was not something we were happy about so this was the only option.  We also went to Bunnings (like B & Q) and got the last few things on our list, rubbish bins, waste water buckets, towel rails, carbon monoxide detector (not easy, or cheap to get here).  They had a play area for kids so we left the Parklets in there while we did our shopping and it was a much nicer experience for all concerned!

I am so over shopping!  We have done nothing but spend money for the last week and I am past being excited about it!  We only really have our bed to get now and then we will have ticked everything off the list.

When we got home I made an ‘Auntie Carol dinner’ to celebrate 4th July.  Carol is my American sister in law and while I am sure she has a fine repertoire of meals, this is the meal that Alexander and Ruby associate with her – tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches! 

After dinner we had ‘Family Film Night’ with the kids.  We all snuggled up on our bed (mattress) and watched ‘The Cat in the Hat’.  Then it was supper and off to bed for the kids.

We set up our new broadband and had a look for some sofas because I don’t think we’ll last until the end of the month with nothing to sit on and I think we may just get something cheap from the local ads.

While I was typing up this EPIC blog entry my Mum called in on Skype.  It was lovely to hear from her and yet another reason why we had to get connected sooner rather than later.  I am used to speaking to my parents every day or so, it is really odd and not very nice to think that I have to wait weeks to be able to speak to them.  Thankfully, when we finally do get connected, our international calls are so cheap that I can call any time (hee hee, there’s something for you to look forward to!)

Well done if you read this all in one go!  You will need another cuppa now!

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One Response to Phew – back online!!

  1. Fiona says:

    I spy Rainbow Olivia in that 1st picture 🙂

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