A little dream of mine, attributable in part to a mid-life crisis of sorts I guess, is a tree-change. Or as near as we can get. So for over a year now, since Kiddo’s wedding was over, I’d been on the lookout for something in or around the fringes of the Dandenongs.
So late on Saturday morning, Tress and I drove out to something we thought we may find suitable. It was a little 3 bedroom sitting on a 2,000+ sqm block in Kalorama. Alas, this too is perched on a steep slope. The house itself sits on a flattish plane but the front slopes down to a very narrow road (we had to stop close to the edge on the way in, to let an oncoming car pass by very slowly). Across that narrow road, a sheer drop of at least 100m follows. The view is magnificent but the thought of managing that slope of a driveway each day was too daunting so our search continues.
We had had dinner with Jason and Mel again the night before, and as always, catching up with friends on a Friday night after a full week of work is always good. They talked about their plans to demolish and rebuild their home, and Tress shared what had gone on back in Malaysia during her visit. I listened for the most part, nursing a cold and running nose.
The weather was not great on Sat – it was cold and very wet – so we lounged around the home before we left to see the property at Kalorama. That was good as I had stayed up late the night before, and caught both the France v Uruguay and Brazil v Belgium quarter final games. I had rooted for France (Pogba was magnificent bossing the midfield) more because I couldn’t stand the Uruguayan forward Suarez. So I was happy the French prevailed. It was double celebration later as Belgium (who had the wonderfully and surprisingly sleek moving Lukaku) played really well to overcome the Brazillians. So the United representations (Fellaini completes the trio) are assured in one semi-final.
When we left the Kalorama property, we decided, since we were in the area, to visit the Dandenong Ranges and took a drive to Olinda. It was only a short drive from where we were. It remained cold, grey and wet all day so we thought we might slip into a warm café for lunch. Miss Marple was chockers so we walked up the street across to a café that had taken over an old church building. It had a very warm ambience with ok food and we stayed a bit, enjoying a very big lunch. Later we strolled through the streets before leaving to return to our usual grocery shopping. The weather made us think of congee for the coming week’s lunches and Tress suggested we visited the refurbished Glen Shopping Centre, which we hadn’t been to for years. It was busy as usual but it appeared less chaotic than I remembered and we got the stuff we needed for the week, got home and walked the little guy before coming home to prep the pork ribs we bought, to make the congee. Tress had returned from Malaysia with some dried scallops and oysters so the congee was promising.
Later that night we settled down to watch the Doggies v Hawks game and the Hawks looked like they would get up by half time. They did comfortably but I had gone to bed early. I caught the other two quarter final games and saw England comfortably dealing with the Swedes to take another step towards their dream of bringing football “home”. The later game, the last of the wonderful quarter final round, proved so much more dramatic as Croatia and Russia fought out a 1:1 draw in regulation time and 2:2 in extra time. The Croats held their nerves better in the shootout and the hosts left the competition with heads held high. With England in the semi’s and Rashford, Lingard and Young in the team, we’re looking at a Man United representation of at least 6 main players in the semi finals. That’s pretty cool.
On Sunday morning, it was good to have Tress with me at St Alf’s again, after a 3-week absent. We were on communion duty and had originally been slated for billeting from Friday night for participants of the Ignite conference in Syndal Baptists. It later transpired the assigned delegates were all housed under a single roof so we were spared. After the service we spoke with a new young family who were seated behind us; hopefully we managed to present a warm friendly face of St Alf’s and they decide to return.
After St Alf’s, we returned to lunch at Penang Flavours after a few weeks’ hiatus and it was wonderful to enjoy Malaysian hawker fares again after a couple of weeks of sandwiches and toasties. Later that arvo we returned to our usual routine of walking the little fellow and preparing the week’s lunches before gearing up for another week of work, while we wait for news from Tress’ sibblings. Tress is on standby to make plans to return again, once her mum’s chemo sessions have been teed up. I could be by myself again come this weekend.
I know recent journal entries have been uneventful and the narratives were more perfunctorily monotonous than I would have liked.
Perhaps that is a reflection of my current phase.
I have come to look at the last 3 or so years as a knuckling down time of some sort. The daily grind of getting through repeated routine – and therefore seemingly monotonous – is I believe and hope, a phase to set me up for some further challenges ahead. I am hoping the somewhat and surprisingly refreshing exercise of grinding things out will arm me with an experience and appreciation that would make me better equipped for further responsibilities.
There is something to be said about having been in the trenches again. I apply those lessons each workday morning too, as I do my 20-minute push-up exercises to “open up my lungs”. The huffing and puffing of push-ups works for drafting grindingly detailed contracts, reviewing detailed tender requirements and negotiating commercial terms too, albeit without the sweat pores opening up. They are all building me up all the same, and I hope, in preparation of something ahead.