It's all happened so quickly but my sister and her man have finally found a good house and moved in. Yesterday as I helped a little, I said goodbye to one of my favourite views. I used to enjoy this panorama every time I approached their old house; the sky, the flats and the big yellow chip that marks the end of the freeway.
Betty said today that she thought that I was more anxious than she was about the possibilty of not finding a house in time. The owners of their old house are planning to put it on a truck and move it to the country and then redevelop the block. I have to say I was pretty worried. Partly because it makes me feel insecure thinking that there might be no good houses to rent in our suburb at a reasonable price. And partly because even just the thought of having to put all your stuff in storage and find somewhere temporary to live just freaks me out. Bigtime. Even if it is not me and my little family but people in my bigger family.
Anyway it has all worked out rather well. The house is charming, the timing is perfect and it is closer to the tram than their last house. When Betty first told me about the new house, there were two main concerns. One was that it smelt a bit musty and the second was the kitchen sink.
The musty smell is already being chased away by a flurry of cleaning and movement and open windows. The sink kind of illustrates kind of how I feel about some of the features of old houses. Charming, but is it practical? I love the original old cabinetry (which continues along the wall) and the old lino and the kooky retro wallpaper behind the sink, but it is rather small and there isn't much space for stacking either clean or dirty dishes. In my house (which I have rented since the late eighties) I committed an act of vandalism to make my scullery workable. I ripped out some of the cabinetry and built shelves and it now works really well. But our house was in such terrible condition at that time, that I think all the landlord has noticed on his inspections has been improvement. No doubt Betty will figure out how to make it work, she's very clever like that.
The house is in pretty original condition and looks like it has been well loved. It even has old tools and bits of ephemera to discover. Inside the linen press I found this, old sticky tape and all.
It has been fun exploring the new house, oohing and ahing at each new discovery. Imagining how it might look with furniture and decor. Making endless useless suggestions that probably drove my sister batty by the end of the day. Part of me craves the thrill of a new house and part of me is terrified of having to pack and unpack all those boxes and the ensuing chaos. When I moved into the house I live in now, I vowed to stay put. And I have. For about 18 years I think, which is a long, long time for a rented house. I think I've been lucky but maybe also a bit chicken.
They also have a delightful old Hills Hoist in the backyard. At lunch today, I shyly mentioned that I had written about her clothes line in Mrs Washalot and that I hoped she didn't mind. She said I could write whatever I liked as long as I kept in mind that she'd probably read it. I think I'm being nice but sometimes I worry about boundary issues (as in telling the stories of others). Anyway, I am so glad they found a good house. Phew.