They are my oldest and deadliest enemy. You cannot trust them.
If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

Monday, August 25


A Perfect Place

Just millimetres from where I am at the moment.

I don't have to move after all.

It would be even better if I hadn't just spent two weeks running around looking for somewhere to live, but I'll take what I can get.

Also, all that money I had set aside for moving expenses?  I'm thinking a 24" monitor and a new PC.

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Saturday, August 23


Consonental Drift

Meanings of words and phrases shift according to location.  For example, in Sydney, the words "ocean views" tend to mean "well, if you stand on the roof with a telescope..."

Outside Sydney, it means that your back yard looks like this:


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Thursday, August 21


South For The Summer

I mentioned earlier how things get a lot cheaper if you're willing to live 50 miles out from the city.  Well, that goes double if you're willing to live 100 miles out.

Last Saturday I went at looked at a three-bedroom townhouse in Hornsby, the suburb where I live right now.  It was a little larger than my present shoebox, but still small, and while it was probably reasonably nice when it was new, it really needed new paint and carpet and to be aired out for about six months.

Now, if I were to move south to Bomaderry, for $10 per week less than that slightly grubby little three-bedroom townhouse, $30 per week more than I've been paying, I could get, well, this:


I don't know what to say.  That's astounding.  The local telephone exchange even has ADSL2, though only from one provider.

Okay, it's two miles from the station.  Okay, so train services are infrequent at best.  Who cares.  It has four bedrooms, four living rooms, an attached two car garage, and a detached three car garage.  And it fits my budget.

Sorry if I'm a bit incoherent, my brain has just been perma-boggled.

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The Castle

Off to Castle Hill tomorrow to see a lady about a house.

I might even zip out there tonight to see what the buses are like.

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Wednesday, August 20


Does Not Compute

Quiet location, close to shops and rail, set in two acres of established garden.

Bzzzt.  Beep!

Where I am right now, that would run in the mid seven figures, and be knocked down and converted into townhouses within about thirty minutes.

Update: Found a nice, big, new or near new (not sure - in the photo it's obviously brand new, but I'm not sure if the photo is new...) townhouse in Castle Hill, a few miles from where I live now.  $30 more a week for a significantly larger and better-equipped place.  (Ducted air conditioning!  Yay!  I had to run my portable air conditioner all last summer because the built-in one, which only cools the ground floor anyway, died and hasn't been repaired.)

Walking distance to a large and quite nice shopping centre.  Only problem is it's not on a railway line, not anywhere near a railway line, so it's buses for me.  I did that for 18 months and lived, but I lived quite close to work at the time.  This would be 50 minutes each way.  Much of that would be zipping along a motorway, but much wouldn't.

If I move down to Moss Vale it would be an hour and 50 minutes each way on the train.  On the train I can sleep, or pull out my notebook and work play games; on the bus either one is pretty much impossible.  (But still, an extra hour...)

On the other hand, if I move to Castle Hill I have a choice of 16 different ADSL2 providers.  (Well, 6 providers and another 10 resellers.)  In Moss Vale, the number is zero.  I should be able to get a basic ADSL service, but if that doesn't work out for some reason, there are no alternatives.  No cable, no wireless, nothing.

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Friday, August 15


Ugh, Part N

The real-estate agent managing the house I like in Moss Vale has their tenancy application form available online.

I just read through it.

Ugh.  Seriously, ugh.

Depressed again now.

Updated: Just found a property very close to where I live now, which will be open for inspection tomorrow.  That real-estate agent also has their tenancy application form available online - and it's perfectly normal.  It doesn't demand - just to take one example - direct debit access for rent payments.

I'm planning to grab it.  It's very close to the railway line and might be a bit noisy, but it's full brick construction rather than brick veneer, which should help.  And there's a concrete wall along the railway line now, which also helps.

Update: I knew there was a catch.  The same house is also listed as being for sale.

Update: The sales guy said it would be taken off the market if it was let.  But it was dirty and smelled - as though a family had been cooking curry there every night for five years without ever opening the windows.  Which is pretty much what I suspect to be the case.

Bleh.  Back to the hunt.

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Tuesday, August 12


North Vs. South

These are the two I'm favouring right now.





Either one is twice the size of the place I live now - and a good thing too.

I'm off house-hunting all weekend, so be good!

And no, I don't make that much money.  These places aren't in Sydney.  There are houses like that available in my area - but they cost to rent more than I actually earn.  Things get considerably cheaper if you're willing to live 50 miles out of town.

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Monday, August 11


Water, Water Everywhere

I was puzzled as to why, in an area where land is obviously at a premium, Bowral west of the railway line remains almost entirely undeveloped.

Large level expanse of land, there for the taking.

Large level expanse of land...  At a lower elevation than the rest of the town.


It's a floodplain.  The floodplain of the Wingecarribee River, I'd guess.

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The Pain Takes My Mind Off The Other Pain

Almost forgot!

So, I'm heading down to Mittagong and Bowral and Moss Vale by train, and I'm starting from Hornsby.  My destination is out to the south-west of Sydney, and my origin is in the north-east corner of Sydney.

So my trip has three legs: Hornsby to Central, Central to Campbelltown (the last major suburb as you head south-west out of Sydney), then Campbelltown to Bowral.  There are some peak-hour services that run direct from Bowral to Central and vice versa, but they only run to Sydney in the morning and from Sydney in the evening, and I'm doing the opposite today, so that's of little help.

So I catch the 6:47* service, which zips from Hornsby to Central in 35 minutes, giving me 10 minutes to transfer to the train to Campbelltown.  Only...  Not today.  Today it gets stuck behind a local service, and instead of having 10 minutes to get from platform 9 (or thereabouts) to platform 23, I have 3.

But I make it.  I'm not sure I even have the right train, but then they helpfully announce "change at Campbelltown for Moss Vale".  Perfect.

Zip out through the new airport line and onto the East Hills line, and then, and then, we get stuck again, behind a train that has broken down completely, and sit there, just a couple of hundred metres short of, um, Panania maybe, for twenty minutes. 

I have eight minutes to make this connection (which is easy - it's the other side of the same platform), now reduced to minus twelve, and an eighty (eight-zero) minute wait for the next train.

But then, while I'm still considering calling the trip off and heading home, we arrive at Campbelltown to find the Moss Vale train still awaiting us.

That really surprised me - at least until I got aboard.  Without the main connecting service, there were only two passengers on that carriage.**

* Did you know there's also a 6:47 in the morning?  Amazing.

**  And there's only two carriages, so I guess it made sense to hold it.

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Age Is Catching Up With Me

But hasn't caught me yet.  Not quite.

Went house-hunting in the Southern Highlands today.  Because maps can be misleading, and real-estate agents just plain lie, I decided to find out where the nice-looking properties were located and actually walk to them from the nearest station.*  And also walk around the shopping centres to find out what was there and what was where, that sort of thing.

The difference is, I'm only going to live in one of these places, so I'd only be making one trip each way to the station or shops on any given day.  So I probably wouldn't be walking something like 20km in a normal day...  Which is what I just did.

So, things I learned today:

1. If it's nice, and affordable, and it's in Bowral, it's further out of town than you'd expect.  For reasons partly topographical and partly inexplicable, Bowral radiates out south-eastward from the railway station.  And pretty much only south-eastward, which means that for a given distance from the station, there's only a quarter the houses available that you'd find in a more sensibly planned location.

It's partly the topography that makes Bowral such a nice place to live, so part of that I can accept.  But why the town stops at a knife edge on the railway line, and there's nothing but empty fields west of that, remains to be explained.  It looks like a property boom just waiting to happen.

2. The nice part of Mittagong is to the east of the railway line.  All the shops are on the west.  (Except for, as far as I can tell, a pottery shop.  An immense pottery shop.)  The useful shops that sell stuff like, oh, food, are way-to-hell-and-gone over the west side of town.  So a very nice house that's half a mile from the station is appealing until you factor in the extra mile every time you need to buy some groceries.

3. Moss Vale gets cold in winter.  It's fine if you're dry and in the sun and out of the wind, but if you do something silly like wash your hands, brrrr.

4. There's really great bakery on the route from most of the places I was looking at in Moss Vale and the station.  Except that their apple turnovers are far too large and filled, apparently, with lead.

5. I can happily walk a couple of kilometres lugging a notebook bag.  It's no problem at all, as long as the terrain is not outright vertical and there's some sort of footpath.

6.  I can happily walk a couple of kilometres lugging a notebook bag twice in a day.  Three, four, five times even.  Around trip number 8 or 9, it becomes apparent that this is no longer the case.  And if trip number 8, say, leaves me two kilometres from the station so that trip number 9 is unavoidable despite the growing unpleasantness in my right knee, then I find that after dragging myself back into town and waiting at the lights to cross over to the station, said knee will start showing clear intentions to cease functioning.

7. Elevators at railway stations are a blessing.

8. After resting up during the long trip home, I find that while sore, I am not actually crippled (though stairs still hold little appeal).  So as I said in the beginning, it hasn't caught me yet.

* I also took a pointless two-mile detour around Mittagong for reasons that are too complicated to fit in this footnote.  That didn't help.

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