Packing Up…

Packing Up

It’s been a busy few weeks…!

As most of you know, we made the decision to move to New Zealand in January. It has been no mean feat to finish up working, pack up an entire flat of contents and pack for a significant extended time in a new country! Suffice to say there has perhaps been a few miscalculated decisions…!

A lot going on, but now finally a bit of space to allow those blogging fingers to put themselves back into action… (it’s been a wee while, I really haven’t done our adventures in Scotland enough justice!) I thought I would share some Edinburgh packing up tips:

  • It takes you longer than you think to sell all your belongings.
  • We had stuff in the flat listed on Ebay, Gumtree and many Facebook groups. All with their different pros and cons. Always get proof of postage for Ebay in case of a dispute. The benefit of Facebook – you don’t need to pay seller fees.
  • Edinburgh based facebook groups if you are trying to sell (or looking for something) – Get Rid of it Edinburgh; Edinburgh Just Furniture; For Sale or Wanted Edinburgh & Lothians; Edinburgh and Lothians Ultimate Bargains; Free stuff/for sale in Edinburgh; Free items offered and wanted Edinburgh & Lothians; Edinburgh Buy and Sell plus many more. I’m sure many regional variations!
  • These groups need to be treated with caution and persistence. We had some lovely people that came and picked stuff up no problem but there was frequently people who said they would come and collect and never showed, people would ask you to deliver, one guy even asked to post all our kitchen stuff to Haddington (?!), you wait because someone says they will collect and tell two other people who are interested you need to let them know (our advice – just say sold to whoever collects first), people frequently change their minds, you provide location and postcode on the item you’re selling then have a whole conversation to be told sorry no too far away (surely evident from the post itself), towards the end of our tenancy coming up I even offered to deliver two things just to get rid of it for the girl not even to reply to me… When you’ve offered to deliver for only £10 for your items… Persistence eventually paid off and I think we did well. Happy that our belongings have made it into a few different households and the rest went to charity. You will need to be able to find your ‘other messages’ folder on facebook to facilitate conversations though!
  • Bedding, sheets and towels are only accepted by a few charity shops. Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home will take them but if you would like them to be used by people try Barnardo’s on Ferry Road or the Edinburgh Clothing Store.

A very busy 48 hours prior to our departure, still running around cleaning the flat, still trying to pack, see people and try and get some sleep, we flew out of Edinburgh with a little stopover in Sydney. Chai latte’s – how much i’ve missed you. A week down in New Zealand with some variable weather, sussing out the way of the land, having spent the weekend being tourists, I’ll be sure to keep you updated of what we get ourselves up to :-).

Exploring the Savannah Way

I had two days off work. We decided to go exploring. Further west, along the Savannah Way, the familiar stretch of outback before us… Stopping at Croydon, then onto Normanton, we were welcomed by a purple painted pub! Well if it’s purple, you kind of have to have a drink in it ;-). After a Canadian Club and dry (these Australian drink combinations rub off on me) and some confused banter regarding the ‘mangoes’ and ‘no mangoes’ toilet signs, we found Krys the Savannah King! A replica of the largest saltwater crocodile ever caught in the world. Shot in July 1957 by Krystina Pawlowski, measuring 8.6m, an estimated weight of over 2 tonnes, you certainly wouldn’t want to find yourself in the water with that!! Obligatory photo shots taken of course, we headed onto Karumba.

Eagles and cranes flying alongside and the beautiful open road in front of us, reaching Kurumba, finding the Gulf of Carpentaria, it was pretty cool to get to the western side of the tip of Queensland. Time to relax and have a schooner of beer :-). Hot, and not too keen for a night in a tent, we upgraded our night’s stay to a night in a motel cabin. Enough room to fit a family of four quite comfortably, I would have been pretty content with just a bed and some air con ;-). Sunset over the gulf, dinner and some drinks, it wasn’t too shabby a day off at all! Though just staying for one night, packing minimally, I left half my toiletries… Including my bite cream and my pack of tablets. I should have known better. I ended up with five mozzie bites and a very sore leg that missing ibuprofen couldn’t help… Silly… Some Belgian pills that I had never heard of were taken in good faith and along with a good sleep helped a lot.

Spending the morning in one of Karumba’s main tourist attractions, the ‘Barramundi discovery centre’ we learnt a bit more about the ever popular Australian fish. The name ‘Barramundi’ an aboriginal term, it means “big scale”. We learnt that the Gulf of Carpentaria has five out of the sixteen genetic strains of barramundi. That there’s a distinct difference between Eastern and Western Coast barramundi. That the discovery centre is the only place to breed the southern gulf strain. That the nine day old 9mm ‘baby’ barra are called ‘fry’, then by day 18, named ‘fingerling’. Maturing first as functional male fish, between five and seven years, in the presence of salt water, the males change sex into female barramundi and of the importance of the seasons, in particular of the wet season, in order for these fish to develop. Good to know some facts about Australian ‘barra’ ;-).

A little bit more learned and after one of the hottest chai latte’s I have ever drunk (15 mins and only a third managed she must have actually boiled the milk) we began the 371km journey back. The dry, open road, stopping back in at the purple pub, we took a message from a broken down truck in a mobile reception black hole to the nearest town and also found the remains of a very expensive fridge freezer that had fallen off someone’s truck. The margarine and lasagne still frozen, we knew it hadn’t happened very long ago and that they perhaps had not even realised… Big oops. Clearing it off the road we headed on with sunset colouring the land around us a beautiful muted red with kangaroos bouncing alongside us.

Enjoying exploring as always, posting some job adverts on the way, Ben is now off working on a cattle station. Good effort to him with temperatures in the 40’s this week. I couldn’t do it… More time to myself, I’m trying to use my time to enjoy chilling out, have become quite involved in ‘The Big Adventure‘, I’m making plans for onward journeying and working through my pile of books. Now onto Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, apparently called ‘In a Sunburned Country’ in the rest of the world (perplexing), enjoying his tales, he’s inspired me to travel the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney one day. It is certainly a more enjoying read than the lifeboat, even if I don’t agree with his words about Canberra… Should have hired a car mate ;-).

Certainly very hot, plenty of sunshine and warmth to go around, sending some across the miles for a nice warm autumn :-).

Bikram, Chai Latte’s and Playing the Game…

Things I have learnt this week:

– The Dutch call starfish sea stars; polar bears, ice bears and shooting stars, falling stars
– I love chai lattes. I will need to source a recipe
– Only to ever book a couple of night’s at a hostel you have not stayed in previously… But perhaps to give it a chance and roll with fate…
– A bit more about angry pirates and pigs
– How to play ‘the game’, and henceforth I have lost the game…

With my hostel proving interesting, I was stuck in yet another push/pull debate as to whether to roll with fate and last out my 2 weeks or try and make an early exit… After a couple of days back and forward, and after some helpful words from a friend in the UK, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. The environment at least being conducive to facilitating jobhunting surrounded by people that are working, not wanting to spend a lot of time in the hostel and free wifi when I am, I felt I had some productive days. After two cv walks around the city, meeting up with my Canadian friend, Amanda, we sampled royal arcade’s hazelnut tarts and hot drinks. A speedy update, I was then able to catch up with a volunteering friend. Wandering through the city he showed me the botanical gardens. Not a lot of light left in the day, it will perhaps need another visit to be fully appreciated. Going our separate ways, I went and sat by the Shrine of Remembrance. A spot that I suspect will become a favourite, looking back at the city, with the sun setting, I sat and reflected on my time in Melbourne so far. Considering options, unsure whether to give Melbourne more of a chance to find a job or escape, I decided that Tasmania will be the next stop on the journey.

Sunset over Melbourne

On Thursday I bit the bullet and posted an ad on gumtree. With the only reply from an apparent Melbourne barrister wanting my services for $400 a night, downtrodden, I sought out the company of my corkman buddies on Friday. With unlimited chicken wings, 5 seeds cider, Tia Maria and stories about pigs, angry pirates and ‘the game’, it was an enjoyable evening of banter.

Having walked past a Brikam yoga studio on my walk around Fitzroy, their website told me they had an introductory offer of $19 for 10 days. Having not practised since I left the UK, I felt saturday would be a good time to try something new… Certainly hot, it was good to be doing something familiar. Not quite as well balanced as I used to be and not quite as flexible, it was good to stretch! Different, it will definitely merit another visit. Bikram Choudry’s words on the wall, “It’s never too late, you’re never too old, you’re never too sick to start from scratch again” – it is a good sentiment to echo.