Journal for 8 November

Moving In

Life feels pretty good in Freo, even if a swimmer was taken by a shark at Cottesloe Beach yesterday morning. Certainly the weather is a lot better than in the UK: warm days but with a sea-breeze to stop it getting too hot.

We arrived in Fremantle last Monday and almost immediately went to see our new house even though we weren't moving in for two days. I hadn't seen it before, so was keen to find out if it lived up to Katie's billing. I'm glad to say it does.

It's an 1870's limestone house with a tin roof, about a 10 minute walk back up the hill from the Fremantle Sailing Club. It's got shady verandahs on three sides - and I'm determined to get a front porch swing:

"Playing my six string
On my front porch swing
Smell those shrimps they're beginning to boil

It's in a pretty typical Freo suburban street, with a mixture of new and old houses, in a variety of styles. On one side we've an almost Provencal house, and opposite us is a very modern Italian house - very neat and tidy (we suspect the owner of poisoning our tree because of the leaves blowing onto his lawn). On the other side, half the block is used by a local cray fisherman for storing his pots.

There's plenty of room for the two of us (at least until all our stuff arrives from England). It's got high ceilings and will have wooden floors when we've stripped off the carpet and lino covering the boards. We don't need to do very much work - more bookshelves and CD storage being a priority! We could have sea views if we built up at the back, but we're not planning that yet.

Katie's studio will be in what's now a double garage. There's existing planning permission to build a pitch tin roof to match the house, and Katie plans to extend it to give her more room. Her presses arrive from the UK in a month or so, but it will take a bit longer to get them assembled and working.

There's lots of garden for Katie to develop - the block is nearly a third of an acre. Quite well maintained around the house but the back needs work. It's got lots of trees - lime, orange and olive as well as gums. There a tiny pond which Katie immediately set to work clearing. She was devastated a few moments later to see a kookaburra swoop in and make off with a goldfish!

We've been doing a fair amount of unpacking and organising our new life. But have also had time to catch up with friends. I crewed a Dragon on Saturday with John Longley and Mike Lefroy: great sailing in 12-18 knot breeze. We came third, only to discover we were over the line at the start - especially frustrating since we didn't in fact get a very good start.

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day, so we took a picnic out to Ascot Racecourse with a big crowd. We watched the local races, and the Melbourne Cup itself on a big screen at the course. A storm rolled through soon after lunch so we beat a hasty retreat.

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