When me and Anna landed in Tullamarine airport nearly six years ago we arrived with a couple of suitcases stuffed full of clothes. Before leaving England we sold our house and all our worldly possessions, all those bits and pieces we had collected through the years, all of which told a story or served a purpose. It’s a strange feeling to say goodbye to all of those bits and pieces that have been a part of your home and your life for so long, on the one hand it’s sad to see them go but I also appreciate being unburdened of stuff.
Before you could say “g’day mate” we set about filling our 2 bed unfurnished apartment with all the necessary bits that make somewhere habitable. I’ve never had that immediate need for everything before, turning up and having to buy a doona, cutlery, chairs and so many other bits and pieces that day was not a whole lot of fun. 6 years in and our little home feels a bit more like home having accessorised with the little gems that you stumble across at your own pace. I thought I’d share some of my favourite niks and naks with you; they all contribute to the story of our life Down Under.
Type Writer – I found this type writer in hard rubbish, in England there is no hard rubbish and it still blows me away what people throw out, it has to be the most efficient form of recycling? I used to get Anna to drive around the suburbs when it was ‘their turn’ and see what treasures I could find, it was like Op Shopping without the stale smell. I got a new ribbon for it and it works like a dream; I will occasionally sit down and write a letter to a relative or friend back in Blighty. I suppose it’s become more significant since I’ve started blogging, a little tip of that to what I love to do.
Surf Board – I had never surfed before I arrived in Australia and its now part of who I am and what I do. There is something restorative for mind and body about surfing, nothing else matters apart from the now. I won’t go any further without pointing out that I’m not a particularly good surfer, if you were being cruel you might even go as far as to say bad; but I love it all the same. This is my first board, it’s big and clumsy like me but it is symbolic of how much my life has changed since being down here.
Resin Leaf – I got this for Anna for Mother’s Day. I could sell you a line about the leaf representing our love for each other which will never change, but that would be a load of old bollocks. I just think it’s really beautiful. I got it from an artist in Tasmania, that’s where they all hang out and I love it to the point that I think it might actually have been one of those presents that is actually for aimed at yourself.
Chiminea – I picked up this old chiminea at a bric a brac market recently and it’s become my cold weather companion. There is something very evocative about lighting a fire, it takes me back to all those old camping trips and some great memories I shared with friends back home. It extends the evening now that it’s getting dark and we often find ourselves out there in the pitch black under a blanket, staring into the it’s flickering flames and sipping red wine.
Retro Chairs – Another hard rubbish find, they looked ever so sorry for themselves with tatty stained material, springs bulging out of every angle, nasty orange varnish and broken arms. We had never restored furniture and always thought it would a bit of fun. Well it wasn’t much fun, it was a lot of hard work but we sanded, re-sprung, re-covered, re-attached and we ended up with two pieces of furniture that we love and I know will come with us wherever we go next.
Sideboard – Whenever I fancy a Sunday to myself I head down to Camberwell market for a wander and a rummage through the many stalls. Most of it is tat but that makes it all the more rewarding when you find something you love and nab it before anyone else. I saw this sideboard and noticed a lady talking to the stall owner about it. Without knowing how I was going to get it home I stuffed $20 into the stall holders hand and asked him to hold it for me while I went to get the rest. It cost me $150 and some dagger looks from the lady, no harm done. Apparently it came from an old private school; it’s got a beautiful solid wooden frame with metal legs. It might not be for everyone but this is my favourite piece of furniture.
Mixer – I picked this up for $10 at a garage sale which just happened to be on the same day as Anna’s birthday. It’s big, heavy and pleasing on the eye. I copped so much shit about giving her a second hand $10 mixer for her birthday but she loved it and I knew she would, she shares my love for a bargain. Baking has never been so easy and come the weekend there is generally something in the oven wafting just baked smells around the house.
Max’s Hand Casting – I got these done for Mothers Day last year. I did it largely out of panic and lack of alternative inspiration but I love them so much. They came out so clearly and they hang in the garden and serve as a reminder of just how little my little boy once was. The caster offered to inscribe them or varnish them but I love their simplicity and they are very dear to me.
There you have it, our life Down Under brought to you by the objects we have surrounded ourselves with. What are the little treasures that mean most to you?