Last Friday we packed up our stuff, left the Airbnb place and stopped at Stillwater for a morning coffee and wander around their providore section (I basically wanted one of everything). As we drove to Grindelwald we kept looking at the landscape and saying, “we live here now!” to each other. The drive from town to where we live stretches alongside the picturesque wetlands and the Tamar River, with the hills on either side. For my Sydney friends, it’s about as far from our place to the middle of town as it was from our house in Blakehurst to Wild Street church in Maroubra, but here that distance feels like you’re out in the middle of the country. To locals, we may as well be, but coming from Sydney a 20 minute drive (at most) is a breeze.
We arrived early, to the sight of a gorgeous bright pink bow on our front door.
How perfect is that? I peeked in the back door and there was a big laundry hamper full of moving day essentials (cleaning products, garbage bags, deodorant, toilet paper, chocolate, chips, beer, sparkling wine…) When I spoke to the agent, Katrina, later she said she wanted to make such a big purchase feel special. She said, “I bought a new car recently and all I got with it was a keyring…I thought, ‘I’ve just spent a lot of money, surely you could make this a bit more special?'” She was glad that we appreciated the lovely gesture!
Settlement was due at 12:30, and the conveyancer said it normally took around 45 minutes. We had asked the removalists not to arrive until 1pm, but of course they turned up around midday and were impatient to get started. We realised the garage door was unlocked but I didn’t think it was right to go into the premises without actually legally being allowed to. Of course there were a few nerves – It’s all been so quick and smooth up until this point…what if something goes wrong now? What if the bank stuffs up? What if we have to tell the removalists to go away? What if, what if, what if…? Stupid what ifs – that’s The Accuser at work right there. But of course, God had it all in hand – at 12:45 our conveyancer rang up and said everything had all gone through without a hitch. The real estate agent seemed surprised it had all happened so quickly, so jumped in the car with the keys and brought them around.
And we were in!
As I was heading down to the shops to get some coffee, I passed our neighbour, Linda. We had met her briefly the day before when she was out walking her dogs and popped over to say hi. She said, “do you guys like pizza? They have great pizza at the resort restaurant. Why don’t I bring some over later? I remember that awful first night of moving when you haven’t thought about dinner.” And she appeared a couple of hours later, not with pizza (as the restaurant didn’t do takeaway) but with pad Thai and a bottle of wine. We had a lovely first dinner in our new home with our new neighbour – that’s never happened to me before!
The next day we set about unpacking and cleaning. The previous owners had left the place pretty dirty – I mean, with all their furniture in there it didn’t seem dirty but they hadn’t really cleaned when they left. I shampooed the carpet in a couple of rooms and collected ridiculous amounts of pet hair. Mum cleaned the bathrooms (“there were whiskers in the bath from a man’s shaving! Whiskers!!!”).
We started to find places for things, delighting in the amount of storage and that we could actually access everything in the kitchen without having to move stacks of bowls or rummage in the back of cupboards.
For our second dinner, more guests! This time, our dear friends the Barrys, who live just down the hill, came round for a simple meal of BBQ chicken and rolls. They also brought us cake and their own welcome hamper, full of delicious Tasmanian produce (cheese, chocolate and wine…do they know us, or what?). Mark opened the fridge and laughed, “this looks like an Eastern suburbs fridge – nothing but cheese and alcohol!” As they were leaving, their youngest wanted to know when they could come back.
Next day, Sunday, we went to St John’s Anglican Church, but I think I’ll write about that separately. In the afternoon, after a trip to Bunnings for bits and pieces, there was more cleaning and unpacking. The TV sockets had been replaced by Foxtel sockets which I couldn’t seem to get free to air TV through, so I hooked up the DVD player and we watched the whole 6 hours of the BBC Pride and Prejudice while we worked and, later, ate (easy pumpkin soup from the Thermomix).
Last thing to do to make the home complete was to pick up the cats. The cattery, conveniently, was down the bottom of the hill, and the owner had advised us to leave the cats there all weekend so they weren’t freaked out by us moving boxes and furniture around. It was good advice, but we missed them! I went down and picked them up, keeping them confined to the garage at first and then gradually opening up the rest of the house to them. Their opposite temperaments immediately shone through – Coco, after a little trepidation, was soon bounding around the house, checking out every nook and cranny. Mattie was obviously very happy to see us, but preferred to hide behind or in boxes in the garage. Even now, five days later, she’s more comfortable with the house but prefers to sleep under mum’s bed most of the day.
We’re pretty much set up now, apart from a few boxes of non-essentials that we haven’t dealt with yet (I’d like to say my craft stuff is not in that category, but, well, there’s just so much of it to deal with). I’m even writing this post at my office desk in my lovely new office! As I look out the windows, a purring cat on the shelf beside me, all I can see is foliage, and if I have no music on, everything is dead quiet apart from the calls of passing birds.
I think we made the right decision.