Everybody needs good neighbours

22 May

He’s back!

Well, actually, he’s gone again (just for a week) but James was back in Sydney for three full days and officially, the ship is back from a near three-month deployment.

I went down to the Garden Island base to watch the ship sail in to the harbour (a much happier moment than when I was watching it sail in the opposite direction back in February.)

James got home on Friday but as we said hello, we also had to wave goodbye to our neighbours, Alfie and Eden, for James’ arrival coincides with their departure to Cairns.

On Saturday we were invited to their leaving party at the base at HMAS Watson and we enjoyed a really nice afternoon, in the sunshine, meeting a few new faces, chatting to Australia’s anchorman (one of their good friends and a colleague of mine from Channel Nine) and his wife and making the most of the sunny Autumn we’re having with a barbebecue.

They have been fantastic neighbours; always so welcoming when we first arrived, inviting me round for takeaway when James was out one evening, helping James plumb the dishwasher and lending us various tools at various stages of our move-in process and not to mention, of course, mowing the lawn! More recently, Alfie also proved himself as resident cat burglar after I locked myself out. After my several attempts, jumping over walls and trying to get in through patio doors, Alfie came to the rescue, with his tool bag (again) and managed to remove a fly-screen and then get in through the semi-open kitchen window. The positive, is knowing how hard it is to break in, which is reassuring at least.

James and I know our new neighbours-to-be; Mal and Cathy. They currently live at Watson and they met James over in the UK when Mal was on exchange. Cathy is proving to be a regular coffee/mint tea drinking partner with me as well so it is good to know we have friendly faces to replace the old ones. Strangely, it is James and I who are the ‘old ones’ now, with all apart from one other family having arrived in the apartment block since we moved in September. Everybody is very friendly though and you come to accept the transient nature of the job means a regular turnover of residents. The plus points mean if you ever have horrible neighbours, you probably don’t have to suffer them too long, the down side is that you get to know people like Alfie and Eden and feel reassured that they are only a couple of steps away should anything go wrong but then sadly have to say goodbye when the next job comes up.

I am sure Mal and Cathy will be just as nice, although we have heard rumours that Mal is learning the bagpipes. I won’t write what James had to say about that.

As I mentioned, Summer seems to be giving a final push here in Sydney. Although getting cooler in the evenings (we really are noticing the lack of central heating now) we are enjoying lovely, warm, sunny days and the cooler evenings remind us of crisper days back in England, especially with all the trees bathed in beautiful Autumnal sunshine.

I only had a mobile to take photos but walking through Centennial Park at the moment is a real pleasure; so many of the leaves are turning now and alongside the evergreen gum trees, Sydney in Autumn is proving just as picturesque as in Summer. Mind you, being Australia, it was always going to wear green and gold rather well.




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