Blogs by Vena McGrath
Saturday 5 July 2008 - 10.15 am
7/4/2008 4:09:53 PM
Winter in Sydney Australia and thoughts for the month
I can't believe how fast the months fly and we are into the second month of our winter season already!
The weather has been mild, with a few cold mornings where the cars have been covered in ice and the water in the hose in the front yard coming out as crushed ice. The days themselves haven't been that cold with probably 17c the lowest during the day.
I'm gradually getting used to not having my wood burner fire but it's just not the same standing in front of a reverse cycle a/c to warm up instead of a glowing hot fire. However I do have to admit that the a/c warms more of the house than the fire did, which means I have a window open or a door. Stupid hey? But I really don't like a/c and work in it all week. A bit of cool air is refreshing and after the long hot months we have here in Sydney, it's nice to feel cool and more inclined to get up and do a few things around the house.
My daughter scored the wood burner for her home as the one she had reached the end of its working life. When I visit I love the see the fire burning and feel the warmth from it. She is stoked ... her home has never been so warm and she has to have a door open to cool off a bit. So at least it went to a home where it's carrying on the good work of probably 16 years here. It will be interesting to see the difference between the cost of electricity for the a/c and what I paid out each winter for wood, something that's not cheap in Sydney.
My youngest son and his partner have rented a house at Forster, on the mid north coast of NSW. It's a lovely place, on the sea and the huge Myall and Smith Lakes. My ex husband's house that was left to our children in his will has been sold so my son had to move out. He always wanted to live near Forster so now he is one step closer.
Yesterday afternoon his brother and a mate arrived with a borrowed truck and helped load it up with my son's belongings, and his partner's. They have all set off from here this morning to travel the 4 hours to Forster to unload the truck at the rental house. It's an old place but the rent was reasonable - $200 a week and it's a pet friendly house so their beloved labrador will be living the good life with them come next week. She is here with me now, having a grand time with my golden retriever, Shaye. He will miss her sorely when she goes, as he always does after she spends time with him. They are the best of friends and I'm sure Shaye hopes, lovers, and it's a pleasure to watch them playing together and just being pals.
Finding a rental home isn't easy when you have pets. Most of those up for rent have a total ban on pets and I find this very harsh. We are after all a country with most homes having some kind of pet or pets. It's part of the Aussie tradition. There is no way I could abandon or give away my treasured canine or feline friends for somewhere to live unless of course I had no option. It would tear me apart though to be separated from them. That's how my son felt, although he knew Lizzie could live here with Shaye. He wants to take her to the beach, take her fishing, take her on walks around the water, let her run and swim freely. She is going to be one lucky puppy :)
Eventually my son hopes to buy a few acres on the mid north coast, hopefully near the water. He wants me to go and live with them but being so independent and used to my own space, the only way I would go at this stage of life would be if I could have a granny flat built. My independence is very important to me and my life and I don't want to lose it unless I have no other option. I am used to my own space and a degree of privacy and I treasure those things. I also believe my son and his partner should have their space and privacy too. So it's all in the future as to what happens or doesn't happen. With my thoughts firmly on retirement next year from robotic work, moving out of Sydney is the next priority. Time will tell all.
I have a feeling of sadness now that our family home has been sold. I wondered last night if my ex was somewhere around us in spirit watching what is going on and I know he would be upset to have the house sold too. Although I haven't lived there for almost 20 years, it had 22 years of history with us as a family living there; bringing home 3 babies and raising them in the one home isn't something everyone has the luxury of doing. Mind you it was a humble home, but it was ours, and when we purchased the house it was new and never been lived in. We went without a lot of things to have that home and yet it seemed to us as the most important thing we could ever do and going without wasn't a hardship that we couldn't find ways to live with.
I know that my daughter and sons feel a sadness too that their father has gone from their lives and now the home they knew for a lot of years is going as well. But life moves on and change has to be accepted for what it is. The new owners intend to knock down and rebuild in a couple of years and that's hard to swallow too. Homes today just aren't built like they were in the 60's and the timber floors and the structure of the house are like new. Oh well, such is life, as they say. The world today is a throwaway one with little respect for anything at all by most people.
I am facing change too due to the relocation of my workplace from where I've been for 13 years. The government has decided in its wisdom to sell off most of the assets it owns and put its workers into rented accommodation. So the wonderful acreage where I work is going under the hammer, so to speak. We have no parking problems, a one level building, and lots of trees and grass to look out at. We also have a barbeque area with seating and it's been used many times just for staff lunches and other functions. At the new building we won't have any of that as we will be on the 4th floor of a complex within a huge light industrial area.
At this point in time, two months away from moving out, there has been no arrangements made for parking for those that have private cars - only for the government fleet. Typical. I look upon it as a way to cull the malcontents. Anyone that isn't happy with finding somewhere to park in the street or changing to public transport is welcome to just leave and be replaced by people that are happy to comply.
It takes me approximately 20-25 minutes to drive the 17.5kms to work each day. The move will increase that drive by probably an extra 1/2 hour due to where the new location is. Right smack bang in the middle of congestion, morning and afternoon. There is no railway station and if one chooses to travel by public transport, it means getting to one of two railway stations to catch a bus. I have been told that if you miss the afternoon bus at around 4 pm you then have an hour or so before the next bus leaves. I imagine the mornings would be similar. I don't live near a railway station; in fact the closest is about 7kms away so I would either have to catch a bus from home, then a train, then another bus, or else drive to the station and try to find a parking space to catch a train and then a bus.
I'm figuring that if I was to take public transport I would be spending probably 3 hours a day travelling to get to and from work. As you can probably imagine, not many people are happy at all about the move, except of course those that live in close proximity to the new location and they are in the very low minority. Most of our people live either to the south or the west of where we are presently located. I guess in one way I am happy that I won't have to put up with the travelling for too long, as I can retire at the end of next April. I also have annual leave and long service leave so I could probably finish earlier if I choose to. It will depend on the best way to do things re taxation and probably staying until the end of April and then taking leave that will move my actual retirement date into July would prove to be the best option. Again, time will tell.
Must stop whining and get to the washing - oh joy of joy.
Until next time, smile :)
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