Apart from the weather, everything is fine.
We moved to a new city. It seems nice. It's pretty amazing actually, so far.
When I first drove here I was on my own with the kids, so I just drove in the direction of the city centre and as soon as the suburbs started looking more central-like and kind of okay, I pulled over and dropped into a real estate agents'. Seemed like the way to go. It was fine. Nice enough area, nice enough people.
I didn't get us a house there in the end, as the school I wanted to get my eldest into was further away and they have this thing called 'catchment area', which, as I see it, basically means you need to live in a flying castle right over the top of the school to have a hope in hell of getting in. Well, that's how it seemed when I read about London, anyway. I didn't move to London.
The place I found in the smaller city I did choose to move to, is a twelve minute walk to the school, which apparently was just fine cos they rang a few days after we all kissed the application form and posted it, to tell me that there was a place at the school for my girl. Hooray.
Other places we can walk to are: A huge 'Downs' area where there will shortly be a glut of blackberries, that is fabulous for walking dogs, children and old people, flying kites, and suffering from hay fever: The zoo. Which is currently also home to about a dozen animatronic dinosaurs - the first of which threw my dino-loving four-year-old into screams of utter terror, for about fifteen minutes, non-stop: A cool suspension bridge that we've been over once in the car, by accident (once you're on the approach road there's no going back): A gazzillion cafés all serving mediocre coffee and no cheese scones. Bring back the cheese scone. When did England get such a sweet tooth? And such a crisp fetish (that's chips to much of the planet). I guess it was always like this… But we are enjoying the challenge of finding the best mediocre coffee - good excuse to go out for coffee!
A week after I found the flat there was a Harbour Festival in my new city all weekend. It was cool. The husband hadn't arrived from our prior home in New Zealand yet, so I went with my girls and my parents. I loved the harbour area - very cool. The festival seemed amazing. All sorts of arts, dance, food, circus, boaty stuff, music etc. The weather, in a weird glitch, turned summery, and we ate dribbling ice creams and felt the need to stay in the shade.
The rain and cold (for supposed summer) soon returned, but the new city still shines.
I took a train the other day. Wow. Last time I took a train was in Auckland, New Zealand. A friend and I took the train with our children, just to show them what a train was like. It wasn't going anywhere we needed to be - we just went for a ride. When I did need to be somewhere, there was generally no train. Actually in a decade of living there I didn't once take a train as a transport choice. The one time I tried to, it was laid off and I was redirected to a bus. When I was still quite new to New Zealand I thought it would be romantic to take the train from Auckland to the capital city of Wellington for a weekend. Leave on Friday, come back Sunday night sort of thing. Turns out they don't run that train every day, and when they do, it takes twelve hours to get there. TWELVE HOURS!!!! To go under 400 miles!!! Intercity, anyone?! (It's about an 8-hour drive)
So we took the train from near our new flat to near my parents house. Dead easy. And it passed through a inner suburban station that was covered, and I mean COVERED, in awesome graffiti art. Bloody brilliant. Next time I am going to take the train just to there and get off to look at it. There's graffiti art everywhere in this city. Anything dull and boring that needs a big of jazzing up is painted. I love it.
Shame about the weather. But there you go.
I'd quite like a comfy chair to sit on. Something that squashes down when you sit on it, with cushions. That's the trouble with moving to the other side of the world. You either sell everything, then buy everything, or you pack it all up, put it on a ship and wait. Meanwhile you go to Ikea and the Sofa Workshop and think you need to buy all sorts of things that you already own. So you don't. And you sit on the floor and borrow a couple of plates here, a knife and fork there, and an air bed, and wait for your ship to come in.
And while this is happening, and your tv is on a boat on the ocean somewhere, and you're new to this city and have yet to find a babysitter or three, the Olympics is on and you're missing most of it, right when you'd told your four-year-old all about it and how much she was going to love seeing all these interesting sports. Which is frustrating.
I know what you're thinking, you're thinking 'Internet you ninny.' Well, send me the phone engineer who's not over-booked due to…. "The Olympics" and I'll give you a fiver. We didn't get our land line or broadband until the Olympics round one was well and truly done. But we're up and running for the Paralympics - Hoorah!
Apart from the weather, everything is fine.
And aside from an initial glitch, the man and I seem to be getting on ok. It would be nice to find a babysitter and go on a date, but I'm onto that one now, so who knows.
Perhaps even the weather might rally. I bought one of those round-and-round umbrella-style washing lines. The husband said "There's no point, you'll never use it, it only rains here," or something very much like that. I said "I have lived in this country before, you know, it doesn't rain ALL the time." It a week and a half ago. I put it up today because I suddenly realised that not only was it not raining, but it felt warm out and I couldn't see many dark clouds. It's out there now, with washing on it. In the absence of a mallet I found a small lump of wood and a garden spade and banged the spike for the washing line into the lawn with that, and felt most capable and just a little bit Kiwi.
So right now - just this minute, I'd have to say simply, everything is fine.
(c) Naomi Madelin
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