Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Old News - Newletter January 2006

Greetings all from Sydney!

This is going to be long, so the summary is:
Milord and I are getting on well.
I have not been for any interviews yet.
Life is good ;-).

I have been here more than three weeks now, and I love it. I haven’t been in much contact because every time I sit down at the pc during the day I get distracted, and in the evenings we are either busy or Milord needs his computer.

Milord and I are getting along well now, although the first week was a little difficult. We’ve both been living alone for a long time, and it is hard to adjust to living with someone you don’t really know except on email! We seem to have gotten over that now, and have had an excellent couple of weeks since and are able to talk about the future a little bit.

So, what have I been up to? Mostly I’ve been getting Milord’s house girl-friendly. He’s been single a long time, and if his wife ever decorated this house I can’t find a sign of it ;-). Luckily he has a cleaner who comes every fortnight, so it wasn’t really that grubby, but I still needed to scrub every surface, shelf and cupboard before I felt comfortable. Things in the fridge were years out of date and there was junk crammed everywhere! I’ve been systematically cleaning and de-cluttering each room, cleaning windows, washing curtains and hiding trinkets (if he hasn’t missed them in 6 months I’ll ditch them!). I’m also quietly replacing the bed linen and adding cushions and vases of flowers. It is starting to feel like a girl lives here now! Sadly it is a rented house, so there is only so much I can do.

It is a 2 bed detached little house, with front, side and rear gardens. There is a lounge that we have turned into a lounge/diner, and an open plan kitchen/living area which opens onto the side and back gardens. It is a very old property, and it seems to have last been decorated in the ‘60s or ‘70s, which drives me a bit crazy. I don’t know how long there have been tenants in here, but it needs a lot of love and restoration... oh well, not really my problem! We are talking of buying a place of our own in a couple of years – not sure where though.

The suburb we are in is called Balmain. It is 15 min west of central Sydney over the Anzac bridge, very trendy and packed with restaurants, pubs and boutiques. Kind of the Hampstead of Sydney! Very expensive, but a nice lifestyle ;-). We’re torn between staying here or getting something closer to the beaches.

It has rained almost every day since I arrived, and today is cool and overcast again. Apparently this is unusual weather and I’ll miss it when it goes. I suppose so, but I have exhausted my wet-weather sightseeing options, and just wish it would stay sunny for me to go walking and go to the beaches! It is far more humid than I expected, but I don’t know if that is a side effect of all the rain! We’ve had a couple of hot days, but it has been mostly in the mid 20s. The place sure is green though!

Milord took a week off when I arrived, and we spent time exploring Sydney and Balmain, and also went diving. I am afraid I have been very spoiled by my Thai and Red Sea diving, as diving off Sydney was not very exciting! The visibility is less than 10m, and I kept having to strain for a flash of fins to see where the guide went. On the upside, Milord is a great dive buddy! We are talking of going for a quick dive after work next week with friends, followed by a barbie on the beach – it’s a hard life!

We went to the Hunter Valley for a long weekend after I arrived. The Hunter Valley is the closest wine region to Sydney – about 2 hours north, and Milord has a holiday property (that he is trying to sell as it is a joint property with his ex) and friends there. We stayed with his friends T and N, who were lovely. Milord and I spent a day wine tasting, he had a game of golf at dawn one day while I slept in, and the rest of the time we ate, drank and socialised as it was T’s birthday and they had a number of friends staying! A very nice introduction to the area!

I watched Milord at the golf driving range one morning, and he was startled at my knowledge – seems all those years of accompanying Mountain Man has rubbed off. I was able to say “did you mean to slice that?” which for some reason he found impressive! I might have a go at taking up the game again, but at the moment I prefer watching. If his next game is not too early I’d like to walk the course with him. He plays off 7, so will be worth watching.

Last weekend we borrowed a friend’s property in Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains. They are about 5 hours south of Sydney, and in winter have some of the best skiing in Australia (not sure what that means!). As it was summer we went walking instead, and Milord christened his first ever pair of hiking boots by summiting the highest peak in Australia! Sounds impressive, but actually it is a 300m climb over 7km from the top of the chairlift! It is such a popular walk that they have replaced the path with a raised metal grid walkway, and anyone from 5 to 75 can do it easily ;-). Still, I am very impressed that Milord is making the effort to learn my favourite land hobby! Now I have to get into cycling in return… I’m using the excuse that we have no-where to keep another bike, but we’ll be asking the landlord for a bigger shed so I might end up having to do it! Oh well, compromise is everything ;-). He’s even mentioned giving dancing a bash, so I really can’t complain!

While we were in the mountains Milord had an afternoon of fly fishing. I kept him company by finding a large rock in the shade and reading my book and watching him, and the beetles and lizards. He seemed to appreciate it though! I might give it a go sometime ;-).

In between all of this I have been exploring Balmain and Sydney. I’ve been into most of the shops in Balmain now, and am slowly getting my bearings. I haven’t driven alone yet, but will probably do so soon. That’s when I’ll really get my bearings as I get lost and go in circles for an afternoon! I’ve popped into Sydney a couple of times on the bus, gone to museums etc and met Milord for lunch. I spent much of a morning in the Sydney Tower with a map, working out where everything is, and that helped a lot!

We’ve been out a lot, either to friends or just out on our own. We hosted a dinner party last week that went remarkably well. I have annoying habit of falling asleep suddenly at dinner parties here though, and it’s not because I’m bored! I don’t think I’m really sleeping that well yet, it takes more than a few weeks to get used to a snoring partner, but I’m getting there. In the meantime my wheels fall off from time to time! Milord finds it cute…

I’ve not been looking very hard for a job, but is starting to push me. He’s sent out my cv to people he knows in the industry, so I am waiting for the phone to ring. I have a fair bit of savings yet, so there is no urgency. Of course, if I haven’t swung a visa within 3 months I have to go out of the country and come back again… Maybe a quick weekend in Auckland!