Our Diary Australia - April 2019

After several weeks exploring the Sunshine Coast region, including the hinterland and the coast, we decided that our preference was to be close to the coast - now that's not so surprising, is it? We spent 4-5 days each at various places along the Coast and decided that we liked the southern most part best - only about 20 minutes drive to Mooloolaba (and its yacht club) and about an hour and a half drive to Brisbane. We treated the house hunting as a full-time occupation and drove miles looking at houses and then exploring their environs, getting to know the area. And we talked to people at every opportunity to find out what they thought of the areas.

One particular house gave us both an immediate feeling of "home" - a typically Aussie-style single story house with a lovely swimming pool, a large outdoor living area with a leafy outlook over the pool and a small park opposite. The house didn't quite meet our wish list - we were looking for a property with 3-bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a double garage, as well as providing access alongside (to store a caravan eventually) and a garden for Keith. Although the house in Currimundi only had a single garage and no side access, we kept going back to look around. (The Real Estate agent had given us permission to explore the outside of the property and peer through the windows, as the house was vacant.) So we kept on looking at other properties and finally narrowed it down to two - the other property had 4-bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a separate media room, a double garage, and side access. But it was located in a relatively new area

a bit far from the beach.

We enlisted the help of Murray (a good friend of Pippa's who we knew from our earlier time in Australia) to come and look at the properties with us - Murray & Toby have done a bit of local property renovation in their time. It was really useful to get another viewpoint on the houses. Murray was concerned that the larger house was a bit dark - so large that light didn't penetrate to the living area very well. The smaller house was for sale by auction as part of a deceased estate. Neither of us had ever purchased a property at auction - a daunting prospect. On Murray's advice we attended 3 auctions as observers to get a feel for what actually happens - an exercise we found interesting and encouraging.

Finally we decided to try to buy the smaller house at auction - and if we were unsuccessful, we'd put in an offer on the larger house. The day before the auction was wet and overcast - so we decided to check out the larger property on this dull day - and boy, were we glad we went there! The heavy rain of the previous couple of days had left the lawn and gardens awash with water - and when we peered through the windows the house was dark and uninviting. So we drove back to check out the other property and it was light, bright and airy.

We had discussed our budget - and what we thought was a realistic price to pay for each of the properties, but when we decided to go for the smaller house at auction, we decided to slightly increase our ceiling price. The auction date was 28th March - just a week before we were due to vacate our holiday rental premises. Murray agreed to join us to provide moral support at the auction and it was with great trepidation that we signed up as potential bidders. The auction was being held in some function rooms at a local business hotel and there were 8 properties up for auction. Ours was to be fourth on the list. With nervous energy we waited until someone else had started the bidding and only put in our first bid when the price reached what we considered a "bargain" - but another couple were also bidding. At $5,000 below our ceiling price, we reduced our bids to just $1,000 increase each time and still the other couple matched us! Eventually the bids reduced to $500 each time and we managed to out-bid them - and we were still under our budget. Success!

We paid the deposit and the trustees agreed to complete the deal in 14 days and that we could move in immediately! We promptly contacted the company who had shipped our goods from the UK and arranged for them to be delivered on the 5th April - and went shopping for things like fridge/freezer, washing machine and microwave oven - and a bed! So within a week we were ready to move into our new home - a mere six weeks after arriving in Australia.

The house has been repainted throughout and is light and bright. New air conditioning and ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and living areas. Terracotta ceramic tiles throughout. The dining area has a built-in bar as well as sliding doors to its own small patio. The lounge area is huge and has double sliding doors leading to the front of the house and the large under-cover patio leading to the pool (approximately 9m x 4m). The master bedroom has a walk-in robe and ensuite bathroom as well as sliding doors to its own small patio. The other two bedrooms also have built-in robes. There is a separate laundry/utility room with sliding doors to the outside area. The gardens aren't quite as large as Keith would have liked, but big enough for him to grow some vegetables and fruit trees. We'll post some photos on the website!

We had an email from Roz and Kev, cruiser friends who live in Darwin to say they would be in Brisbane on the 4th April, the day we needed to vacate our holiday rental, but the day before our furniture would be delivered - so we arranged to stay at the same hotel as them and enjoy a catch up. We drove down to Brisbane with light hearts and celebrated our purchase with a great Thai meal with Roz and Kev - it was a fabulous evening.
So now we are setting up home and gradually furnishing our new home to our tastes. And unpacking endless boxes of stuff and wondering what to do with it all!

In between all this hectic activity, we made several day trips to Brisbane for Keith to undergo a bone marrow biopsy and a CT scan. The results indicate that he has "moderate" involvement in his bone marrow (meaning 40-60% diseased cells) - but the remaining bone marrow is producing healthy cells which indicates a good recovery from the effects of the chemo treatment 10 years ago. We have to go back in early May to get the results of a second set of blood tests and the CT scan - but if all of these indicate a good state of general health, it will continue to be "Watch and Wait".

Now that we've got an address, we both feel more settled and are working on losing some weight and getting fitter. Christine has even started "Couch to 5K Run" fitness program.

The spare bedroom is ready for guests - so if you're in the area, we'd love to see you!