Robinson and I have been in a hammock for a while now but in the haphazard way of our lives we still regard ourselves as unsettled. That may seem contrary. We’ve lived in this house since last century. The house itself has been here since the century before that.
That’s a very slow metronome.
But all it took was a photograph of another house in the weekend newspaper and we were giddy and gone. We love where we live but we could surely love somewhere else.
Like Tuross Head down on the south coast of New South Wales.
We know the area well. Robinson’s dad lived for years at Potato Point, nearby. We drank his martinis on the back lawn and looked north through the sea spray to the Tuross headland. We never thought of living there.
Until we saw that house for sale in the weekend newspaper.
‘That looks good,’ we said. ‘Water views,’ we said. ‘Tuross River at the bottom of our garden,’ we said. Kayaks tied to a tree (000 on speed dial). There’s a wine cellar (000 on speed dial). A small swimming pool (oh alright, 000 on speed dial). Off street parking. In fact no street at all, just a couple of acres of land.
We looked at more photos online. It wasn’t awful, like many places are.
‘We wouldn’t know anyone,’ Robinson said.
‘We’ll take up square dancing, like country people do,’ I said knowledegably. ‘And I’ll start a local newspaper. That’ll have nutters beating a path to our door.’
With Sydney’s mad market we could trade our little house here under the flight path for a lifestyle down the coast. We’d have money in the bank. I could take up water skiing. I could play golf again. (I can’t afford the green fees in Sydney although I get my money’s worth, last time posting a score in the low 150s).
We kept going back and looking at photos of the property all weekend.
‘I think we’re meant to be downsizing aren’t we, not upsizing?’ Robinson asked eventually.
The inevitable drone photograph did reveal a lot of house and deck and steps and lawns and pools and jacuzzi.
‘Don’t be so conventional,’ I argued. ‘We’ll be buying into a lifestyle! Sure we’ll be permanently exhausted mowing and vacuuming and maintaining everything, and miles from the nearest hospital in Moruya. But water views! Just what you’ve always wanted.’
‘Dad died in Moruya hospital,’ Robinson reflected, glimpsing our future future in his past.
I was going to point out that we thought it was a good little hospital, back then, but the fizz was starting to go out of our grand plans.
I privately did a bit more research. If we did buy it we’d be spending nearly $100,000 just on stamp duty and other government fees. A hundred grand!
If we decided to spend that instead on where we already live we could probably get the upstairs toilet leak fixed, and some insulation in the roof so the butter in our summer kitchen didn’t melt, or freeze in winter, and some new furniture next month when Nina turns one and stops shredding everything (according to a non-vet on Google).
We could declutter and live the stylish lives we’ve glimpsed in all the real estate ads we’ve suddenly been reading.
By the end of the weekend Robinson declared the house she liked best so far was our own. Then she went out into the front garden and resumed killing the greenfly on our broadbeans by hand.
It’s a small life but we live it large.