Originally, I had some narrative accompanying the images above, but the text wrap function in typepad is so appalling, I gave up. You can see what it's about: moving house.
I went back to Alice for about five days over last weekend to pack up my place, turn it into a semi-furnished rental unit, then leave town. I left so quickly, I possibly had too little time to savour the loss.
I've many regrets about leaving so quickly, but how can you best leave a place? Perhaps it's best to pull the plug swiftly. While I was back in Alice, I had passing thoughts about how it was probably my last time standing behind Aboriginal people in an IGA in a good while. About how 'filmic' much of Alice was, especially driving down the gum tree-lined boulevard towards the Gap at sunset. I had hopes of riding a different mountainbike track every evening, but only got in a couple of rides. Still, how many last times can you climb Mt Gillen or ride the Simpsons Gap bike path?
Moving house itself was hard labour. I found my hands and feet aching at the end of each day, possibly from packing so many books and walking up and down stairs so many times. Many of my muscles still ache, and I'm too tired to go to yoga, swim, etc. I know I'll be equally exhausted when the rest of my stuff arrives next week and I whip myself up into a frenzy unpacking it (as I will).
I'm surprised I managed to pull the whole thing off (with the help of my friends), but these things always do happen in the end. I only felt I truly lost my cool once. Qantas requires that you transport bikes in simply huge boxes that you must buy from them. The boxes are much bigger than anything a bike shop would provide. The upside is that there's enough room for accessories. Apart from it's not fitting through airport doors, unless you take it off the trolley and carry it side on, the box blocks visibility when you pack it in the back of a small car like mine. When I got the box at Melbourne airport, I tore it to strips in the car park, unable to stand its unmanoeuvreability any longer.
When I arrived in Melbourne, I found that the axle of one of my wheels was bent, I suspect from the box being dropped on its side. This is despite me packing the bike carefully with bubble wrap and using cat-beds for padding. So you can never plan for every eventuality.
And how did the cats take the move? Lulu was hysterical, once the house was empty, making various attempts to escape into the neighbourhood, at one point getting a paw stuck in the closed cat-door. I've always thought that her owners left town without her, probably dumping her in a local car park. Now I think she might have shot off by herself. I let her have her own cage on the plane flight and packed the others into a hired crate. Lulu made a nest of newspaper around herself so you couldn't see her, and regressed to her kittenhood ways on arrival, jumping on benchtops and howling, and trying to squeeze behind the back of the fridge and stove. Otty made strange honking sounds like a goose when I put him in his box, then went deadly silent for the rest of the journey. Jessie travelled best of all, but then if you're deaf and demented, you're probably pretty oblivious to what's going on around you. She was greatly admired by the freight people as the cat who was still travelling by air in her 18th year. But as I said on FB, none of them pissed in their boxes during the entire three-and-a-half hour flight (in fact, the whole 6 hours or so of travel).
Since then, Otty has taken up residence behind the TV, Jessie is perhaps happiest of all, ensconced on my bed, and Lulu is watching Other Cats from the balcony. I'm sitting on the balcony myself, with some of my staples: my bike, my cat, my laptop, my swag and a cup of coffee.