Monday, February 19, 2007

House Shopping and Melbourne

I went to Melbourne this weekend, to spend some time with Fiona B.

The alternative was to spend the time trawling though other people's homes with a view to acquiring one of them. Finding a home ought to be an exciting task; a project of discovery and adventure. But with each viewing I become ever more despondent. I've just realised why I do not enjoy looking for a new house: It's shopping.

I don't understand shopping. It's necessary, because you can't walk around naked and hungry, but I've never grasped how some people, Mary Poppins like, manage to turn it into a recreational activity. A friend once intimated to me the value of her favourite Swedish shopping emporium. "It's cheap, disposable fashion", she exclaimed, " so you can wear it a few times and constantly shop for new things!". Honestly, she thought eternally browsing for that ideal blouse or belt would be paradise. To me it's a purgatory I'd just as soon avoid.

And so my temporary reprieve was to spend a day or two with Fiona as she caught up with pals from her college years in Melbourne. How much better this was than shopping for bricks and mortar I cannot relate. Fi enthused about her town. Beamed as she described her college haunts and marvelled at the changes of more recent years. On Saturday we sat beneath the stars and listen the the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra do justice to Verdi. Not an estate agent in sight.

I was sorry to leave Fiona and Melbourne behind, to return to Sydney and grasping for the bottom run of its property ladder.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Changing the Guard

We are getting a new housemate at our house on Barcom Avenue. This is a good thing because she is beautiful, intelligent and Irish. But it’s also bad because we gain Aoife at the significant expense of losing Natalie.

Natalie is nice. She’s kind to strangers and small animals. But great character strengths can be weaknesses too. And her habit of lending her room to near-random strangers when she was out of town was mitigated only by the fact that they always turned out to be quite pleasant, or at least not actual axe murders. Not being hacked to bits in our beds by Nat’s houseguests, however, was more due to providence than planning. The thing that annoyed me was when she announced that we were now in possession of a puppy.

Now caring for strays is a good thing. They’re not well loved and who amongst us could not benefit from a modicum of tenderness every now and again. But I regard the kennelling of canines as akin to rain during this New South Wales drought. It’s desirable and even necessary but I prefer when it’s happening far, far away.

Seriously, I expect to be asked before a pet is brought into my home. As in; “Hey guys, my friend is going to be out of town and I was thinking of offering to look after his Doberman. What do you think?” Of course, what I’d think would be “No!” and I imagine my thoughts were predictable. That however does not excuse turning up with said mutt as a fait accompli.

Anyway, annoyance at Nat was disgorged in a whispered conversation between the other three housemates. It's really not pleasant to be talking about someone behind their back and unfortunately our whispering was not quiet enough and Nat overheard. She was justifiably outraged and to my disappointment she has decided to leave us. I think the overheard conversation came at the end of a really bad week for Nat (her uncle passed away and she’d been slaving all hours at work). Any other time and we might have been able to gloss over the matter, but we are where we are.

And although no one will replace Natalie, I am quite looking forward to having an Irish girl about the place – especially this Aoife one.