Manic March, from Felixstowe to Sydney

Cronulla Beach, Sydney


Greetings from autumn Down Under.

From England to Australia, life has recently been a whirlwind. Thank you to all who commented on my previous post about our goal to become more settled this year. That’s still our intention, and we spent the first half of March on the path to our new reality.

On the first of the month, we celebrated final settlement on our new place in Felixstowe and delivery of our belongings from Sydney, both completed before noon.  These momentous events required a quick walk to ‘the shops’ – first to Edinburgh Woollen Mill, to purchase a 50%-off picnic blanket we’d noticed the day before, and then to Marks & Spencer for egg and watercress sandwiches, chocolate eclairs, a bottle of champagne, and the most wonderful discovery of all:  parsnip crisps.


After nearly two months in the Rental Palace, Clive was beyond ready to tackle a few early projects we wanted to complete before we moved in.  Fortified by our indoor picnic, he set to work that same afternoon and dismantled a bizarre, twelve-foot long, coffin-like wooden structure that stretched across  the ceiling between two rooms. 

Two hours after settlement, Clive at work

In addition to being carpenter’s assistant, I roamed around the apartment noting how much cleaning needed to be done (let’s just say the kitchen alone was quite scary) and darted on and off the balcony taking pictures.

Looking toward Landguard Point and Felixstowe Docks

Over the following eight days, we scrubbed our new home from top to bottom (though hired a professional to first steam clean the carpets) and Clive continued work on various projects so we could relocate from the Rental Palace as soon as possible.  These included moving many of our Aussie boxes into the bedroom, where sixteen book boxes currently serve as a base for the borrowed air mattresses that constitute our bed (thanks, R&L!).  Two larger boxes (all still unopened, until we buy proper furniture and/or complete various renovations) are our bedside tables.

In what will eventually become the dining area, Clive used remnants of the wooden ceiling structure, several borrowed pieces of wood, and more unopened shipping boxes to build our temporary desks.  Aaahhhh, a work space of one’s own, shelves, a connected laptop, and an evening glass of wine – what more does a person need?

A perfect present from Clive

Australia in Mind

Always on our mind was the knowledge we’d depart for Australia at the month’s midpoint.  After cleaning the Rental Palace (leaving it the way we wish we’d found it as opposed to the way we actually found it — arrrgh), we managed to move everything into our new home with six days – and six lovely, remarkably comfortable nights of sleeping on top of the book boxes — to spare.  We did unpack a few boxes including kitchen essentials, and I continued my role as carpenter’s assistant and in-house photographer, even before morning coffee.

Morning coffee and the North Sea

During these days in England, we also spent time with Clive’s father and other close relatives and friends.  Before we left for Sydney, we were treated to a memorable evening that was without doubt a major highlight of our first few months in Felixstowe.  A group of Clive’s ‘old’ friends (well, most of them have known each other for approximately fifty – and in some cases, more — years) treated us to a fantastic gathering of friendship, fellowship, and fun at a local Suffolk pub.  I consider myself lucky that, through Clive, I too can now call these wonderful individuals my friends.  This treasured evening was organised by Clive’s friend David and family (thank you all once again!).  For a rather cute photo (actually I think it’s adorable) of Clive and David at the Felixstowe 1959 Bible Quiz, please see my post A Felixstowe Sydney Darien Circle.

New residents (seated) with a group of very special people

We left England on the 15th of March and arrived in Australia on the 17th, four weeks ago today.  In an attempt to minimise moving around too much, we spent the first eleven days at our former home base at Manly, followed by twelve days at Cronulla, near Clive’s daughter in ‘The (Sutherland) Shire’ south of Sydney, during which time we joined her on a 12-mile fund-raising walk.  We’re now near his son and mother on the Central Coast of New South Wales, north of Sydney, where beautiful baby Ebonie is almost six months old.

The path of life is often unpredictable, with unexpected twists and turns.  During our time here in Australia, Clive’s stepfather was hospitalised and we’ve been juggling that particular family emergency with our other family commitments.  Wherever we are in the world, it seems the adage ‘one day at a time’ retains its wisdom.

Winding path by the sea, South Cronulla, New South Wales

Cheers for now and more about our Aussie adventures soon.

9 Responses

  1. Ahh! I was just thinking about you this morning before you commented on my post today. So glad you are checking in.

    The view from your new home looks lovely. A sea view while you wash dishes is a wonderful treat.
    Sorry to hear about Clive’s stepfather’s illness and hope the rest of your travels are peaceful and fun.

    I’m leaving for the US next week and will be back by May 21. We need to compare schedules for a meeting this year if we can. Don’t stay away so long if you can help it. I miss seeing you in my google reader. 🙂

  2. Welcome back to England. Good to hear that you already experiencing friendship and fun in a local pub.
    Hope to meet soon.
    Best Wishes to you both.

  3. So nice to read this update! When I saw your comment on my blog, I said to myself, “I bet Carolyn has a new post” and yup, here it is. 🙂 It is so wonderful to hear about the settling-in process, to see all the photos, and to understand & get a picture of where you are and what you are doing.

    Wow. It’s been six months since that baby arrived, eh? Time flies!

    And hello! I WANT some of those parsnip crisps! They sound fantastic! 😀

    You take care, Carolyn and a warm hello to Clive as well!

  4. Welcome back to blogging Carolyn , you and Clive have been very busy bees .. .. you seem to be settling very well into your life in England … with lots of fab friends already …love the shopping from Marks and Spencers too …

    I must say the view when washing up is fantastic .. 🙂 .. I would be dreaming whilst washing up LOL xx Take Care love Anne

  5. Wow, you have a really great view there in England. I hope to have one too in a year or so. It looks like a great place. I know the moving part is really hard.

  6. Your new place looks lovely! You are such jetsetters… I love reading about your move
    and visit back. I always imagine what I would do.
    Enjoy life, wherever you are in the world.

  7. Elizabeth, it would be wonderful to meet face to face this year, when we are all back in England! We’ll also be in the U.S. later in May so will have to catch up after that sometime, somewhere … (sounds like a song).

    John, thanks for the warm welcome and comment. Friendship and fun at a local pub are without a doubt one of my most favourite (of many) aspects of life in England. I’m looking forward to doing more of it!

    Pariskarin, I’m sure you would looooove those parsnip crisps. I’ve read there is also parsnip wine but haven’t had the pleasure (?) of trying it yet — hope to do so one of these days just for fun.

    Anne, you’re right about M&S shopping. I think it could become quite addictive — oh dear. Meanwhile hope you are enjoying your own travels.

    Linda, thanks for visiting and it’s nice to know others understand about moving. To my mind, having Paris and a place on or near the water makes us some of the luckiest people in the world … I look forward to reading about what you and your hubby decide to do in that regard 🙂

    Nadege, not really jetsetters, or maybe weary ones … everyone seems to travel a lot these days so we’re just trying to balance our time with family in different places. Families are so scattered geographically these days!

    Thanks all — cheers.

  8. Hi C& C,
    Thank you for answering my last comment. I felt that life was still settling down for you both. Little did I suspect that you had returned to Oz! Yes, there will be more stories to share.

    I am glad to see the moving in. It will come stogether bit by bit; you just see…

    I am still here in the burbs, trying to get our situation into order. We have also done a huge amount of work since last year, but more is waiting.
    I can’t get rid of things quick enought!!

    Take care of yourselves and I hope to see you both in Paris one day.

  9. hi..sorry to crash your party,,in Sydney there is 3 ex felixstowe boys.. we used to live in cobbold email is horsey44@outlook .com alan

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