QUOTE OF THE WEEK (and some more of last week’s story)

it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world

Mary Oliver

You’re probably thinking I’ve gone on holiday, but no, here I am, back in my old apartment next to the Maribyrnong River and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.

Yesterday, this tiny female House Sparrow (above) reminded me of how lucky we are in Australia and how lucky I am to be content with the simple things in life.

2 apartment moves in 10 days was not easy for someone like me with a  heart condition, severe pain and other chronic health issues.   But I did it and it now seems like a distant dream (except for the packaging littering my lounge floor – the removalist company picked up the empty boxes yesterday).

My move to a south-western beachside suburb of Melbourne was a complete disaster healthwise and amidst a complete lockdown of suburban Melbourne due to a large cluster of COVID cases in several high-rise apartment blocks, I did some phoning and emailing and was lucky enough to just be able to move back into my old apartment block.

I had to move out of the new beachside ground floor apartment as quickly as possible.


Out of focus, but I like the shot anyway

It would have been almost impossible (without a car) and the current lockdown conditions to look elsewhere anyway.

I was welcomed back ‘with open arms’ by both the property agent and the landlord.  When I moved back in on Monday of this week, different tenants/friends I saw were so thrilled I was back.  Seems my occasional chats in this building had endeared me to more than one person.   I never realised how much I would be missed when  I moved out which was a big surprise.  A heart-warming spot in the day on Monday amidst the busyness of the removalists going back and forth making the pile of boxes higher and higher in my tiny studio-style modern apartment.

The first evening in my new seaside apartment, amidst a mound of boxes, I sat at my desk with 2 heaters on high, a coat…….and a woollen blanket around my knees.   I have never, ever experienced such mind and body numbingly cold interior conditions.

Even waking up on the Swiss-Austrian border in 1976 with my tent covered in snow was ‘a walk in the park’ compared to the icy chill that pervaded my bones right to the core that first night (and the subsequent nights last week).

The musty smell in the 2 carpeted bedrooms, which the property agent had said would disappear once the long-empty apartment was thoroughly aired, made breathing difficult at night (for me).   I have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) among my long list of chronic health conditions and am allergic to mould (and damp?).  I suspect the carpets, having been steam cleaned weeks before, had not dried properly in the midst of Melbourne’s cold winter nights.

I had opened all 3 doors and the rusty, stiff window chains the best I could, but the smell never really left in the whole 8 days I was there.

I need fresh air to be truly alive.   I need to feel like I’m Living in Nature now I’m more housebound.

By the second night, my heartbeat seemed weak and erratic.  (I also have intermittent SVT – Supraventricular Tachycardia – which can be a weird sensation when the heart starts beating very fast.   It was diagnosed in 2007 & again in 2009, but seemed to resolve itself without drugs or a procedure to ‘zap’ the faulty electrical function in the heart muscle.

It reared its head last October when I was admitted to the Cardiology ward for 6 days with a mild heart attack, but again resolved itself naturally.   The fluttering sensation in my chest feels a little weird, but not as scary as a serious ongoing dramatically fast heartbeat experienced by some sufferers which requires treatment.

The tap water, of which I normally drink quite a lot, tasted disgusting and a faint chemical smell wafted to my overly sensitive nose each time I filled the water glass.   The lighting in the apartment, which I had expected to be fixed before my move-in, was obviously going to be a problem (even when it was fixed).

I need light.

I need warmth to help cushion my chronic pain and other symptoms.

There were other issues with the seaside apartment of course.   I don’t make hasty decisions in retirement, especially not decisions that cost $$$.   Last week was the most expensive ‘holiday‘ I’ve ever taken   😀   My bank account is still grumbling to itself every time I check the balance each morning.

Besides, I missed the birdsong which I wake to every morning here.   And,  I would have got obscenely fat on the wonderful hot fish n chips in which I indulged last week.

Why does hot fish n chips taste much better down the seaside?

I go with the flow and live my life Mindfully each day.   Enjoying the simple things and ‘stopping to smell the roses’, if not every day, then certainly each week at some time or other.

But my health comes first (in retirement).   I can’t afford to get chilled in Winter (or over-heated in Summer) with a serious heart condition, which was upgraded from mild to severe last October.

So I’m now back online with 101 seagull images to share – well not quite 101, but I did take a lot of photos of them in the 3 wonderful short walks I did last week.   They had to be short walks due to pain levels, but they were definitely ‘sweet’.

Oh, it was glorious to live beside the sea.   The smell of the sea air outdoors was a heady balm to my senses.   The screeching of the seagulls as they dived in when I threw my rapidly cooling chips in the air was really a delight. Twice, they even lined up on the old weathered pier edging waiting to pounce each time I lifted my arm.

But now I’m back home.   There are still all the issues that made me leave this riverside multi-story building, but I’ll just have to overcome them and make this tiny apartment ‘work’.

The beachside apartment never felt like home.   It felt like an empty freezing cold concrete shell to me (that just happened to reside in a fantastic location near the sea and 3 nature reserves).   Anyway, at least I now know how to get there in the summer via a (long?) 2-bus trip if I wish to.

I have some ongoing health issues to investigate, but I’ll be back online more regularly soon.

I’ll leave you with some wonderful images of a mural that was visible down a tiny side lane in the main shopping area.   I only had one camera over my shoulder – the Sony a6000 with its 55-210mm kit lens, so couldn’t fit the whole mural into the one shot.


29 thoughts on “QUOTE OF THE WEEK (and some more of last week’s story)

  1. Despite your various heallth conditions you did it, Vicki, and you got some fabulous photos to boot. It looks so idylic beside the sea there, and that would be a place I would like to live if I could. It is nice to have you back and to see you pushed through the move and are now out the other side, and hopefull you can now settle down some and take in that sea air. Spring will be there before you know it! Take care there, and be safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Pete. I amazed I did 2 apartment moves in 10 days. But the first time from here beside the river to the beachside was packed by a professional ‘packer’.

      When you say ‘take in the sea air’, you do realize I’m back living beside the river, not down the beach (like I was last week)? 🙂 I’m back in my old 1st floor apartment in the 6 storey building.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Talking of fog, about 10 days ago I had to come back to this apartment to let the cleaners in early on the Monday morning and as the taxi was coming down my hill, this deep river valley had the most beautiful low-lying fog below me I have ever seen. Even beat the day I was in Austria (Jan 1978) skiing and coming down a cable car into a valley and the valley floor was filled with cotton wool-like fluffy clouds.

      I really must get early one day and take my camera outdoors. 😀 It was magical.


    1. It certainly was an adventure. I could list all the weird issues I experienced in that apartment but maybe that would be overdoing the story. I guess the apartment just needed a hardy body to live in it for a few weeks, airing it each day and heating it at night to build up some sort of comfort level, but that hardy body was not going to be me.

      I’ve had the most extraordinary luck with rental properties. Who would have thought that the one I didn’t like could so easily be replaced with ‘moving back here to the riverside in one week. Luck?

      I requested the same 2 removal guys to do the 2nd move and I believe the story has gone around the whole removal company about moving this 60+ lady twice in one week. I can certainly see the funny side of the move in/move out in one week from their point of view. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Peggy. This apartment may not be perfect, but it was good to get back to a warm space. I’ll have to ask if the landlord will agree to me putting up some curtains too. I never really knew how much I depended on the familiar until I didn’t have it. Not just the good heating, but the light indoors, or lack thereof last week, really was frustrating. In the end, I watched lots of movies via SBS on demand.

      Hope you’re doing ok up in Canberra. I didn’t watch TV all last week due to a missing wall connector and lost track of what was happening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my! I’m glad all ended well, but, wow! As you can see, I have a bit of trouble finding just the right words, here…. I’m glad you’re back, and safe, and done with all the moves. Love the images. Thanks for keeping us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alina.

      All done with attempting to move to a larger space for the time being. I think I better just get used to our new stronger restrictions and lockdown. Very quiet around this street at the moment as the stricter restrictions came back into force a couple of days ago.

      With the large outbreak in the high rise apartment buildings to the north of the city, just goes to show how quickly this virus can suddenly take hold after Melbourne had such a good run of no, or minimal, victims. We’re all locked down again indoors so I can’t even catch a taxi to the beach for some more seagull shots. 🙂


  3. Sorry to read of your difficulties Vicki, I had high hopes for a better life for you. But I quite understand. That housing agent needs a good kick up the butt!
    So much more I could say……But am feeling relieved that at least you could return to your original place.
    Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Annie. I didn’t even attempt to look elsewhere, although the (new) agent was very keen to find me somewhere else. She was actually wonderful (although I really think she should have gone ahead and remedied the broken back door, missing or broken lights and garage roller door problem as soon as I highlighted them on the condition report. After all, they needed to be done for anyone living in that property, not just me.

      My old place is not perfect, but I’ll start working on some of the problems and in light of the lockdown, move forward in working out how to resolve them myself. One consolation is that the construction crew across the road have been much quieter now they’re working on the top of the hill, not my immediate area.

      ……and the birds have recognized my few plants on the balcony already and have visited.


  4. Wow, that is impressive to move twice in such a short time frame! You will have to sit back now and take a rest after that, and enjoy the birds that visit 😊👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe I actually did it (in hindsight) Kellie. But once I realised I needed a much warmer apartment and much, much better lighting if I was to continue using the computer and doing photography, it was just a matter of a few phone calls and some emails to organise.

      Oh, and fortunately, I had the money in the bank to do it too. 🙂 I paid the removalists to pack (as well as move me) as my health wouldn’t have been able to take the physical strain, let alone the anxiety. I did the repack with the second move, but I’d only opened about 8 boxes and hadn’t put away much of those box contents either.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That beachside location was absolutely fantastic, Eliza. The very fact I managed 3 short walks in a week tells you how close the sand, shops etc were……and flat footpaths…..no steep hill like here near the river. I didn’t get time to visit the nearby wetlands. My constant headaches went away completely and now they’re back since I moved back ‘home’ to the riverside. Wish I knew what caused them.

      Not much I can do at the moment now we’ve gone back to strict lockdown in Melbourne and closed the border between my state of Victoria and the state of New South Wales to the north. If we can isolate the new large virus clusters and get back to zero new cases in the next few months, I’ll have the opportunity to sort out a few ongoing issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gorgeous photos! Glad you are back home and back online. I was diagnosed with SVT as a teenager and still have issues off and on but am not longer on medicine. I hope all your other issues are resolved soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa. Good to hear you no longer need medication for your SVT. I was initially offered drugs or a procedure to ‘zap’ the faulty heart muscle, but it (the SVT) always disappeared before I had to make the choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good gosh. Here I am, happily taking a hot Saturday to finally catch up with blog posts, and I discover you’ve been Marco-Polo-ing all around your area! I certainly laughed when I got to the detail that you had the same movers twice in such a short time. I’m sure your story was retold a number of time, and with amusement. To be honest, that’s just a plus in your column. Anyone who can bring a smile in this Covid-crazy world has done the world a good service!

    Well, I’m glad you’re settled again, or as close to it as is necessary just now. In your absence, my three squirrels have become at least seven, the cardinals have had two clutches of babies (or, perhaps, a second cardinal family estblished itself) and there are fledged bluejays, chickadees, and wrens at the feeders –as well as a pair of young possums. The world goes on.

    Your beach photos are marvelous, and make me want to go to the beach, but it’s just too hot at present. We’re going to be hitting 38C or so today and tomorrow — and next week — so it’s a day for indoor chores, and a little grocery shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear I brought a smile to your face, Linda.

      Yes, we all need something to smile about especially since Melbourne has once more gone into strict lockdown again. Just goes to show we can’t afford to be complacent about COVID. Even the other states of Australia have shunned our presence as they’re scared of another cluster in their own states. In the last day, the states of Queensland and New South Wales to the north have just got 3-4 new cases too.

      I’m horrified to read of how many cases you have in your state/country. It must be a very scary situation over there.

      I hope you’ll have some photos to share about your new chicks and the squirrels. I especially love photos of squirrels as we don’t have them in Australia. They are such cute little critters.

      It was absolutely wonderful down the beach – I haven’t been in about 4-5 years now, so the sea air was a real boost to my mainly indoor life. It was a rather nondescript length of sand, but I could see in the background of some of my images what I think must have been the Cheetham Wetlands slightly further down the coast.

      All those wonderful nature reserves and wetlands all within a very short drive of my home – if only I had a car and could drive.


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