Spoilt Border Collies and home renovation addictions, as it turns out, are both quite expensive. Let’s start with the Border Collie.
There’s nothing pleasant about driving nine and a half hours with a neurotic dog lunging and yelling at oncoming vehicles that he perceives might veer too close to his ute.
After trying various ‘solutions’, which all consequently failed, we simply admitted defeat and bought a van, where Bowie is more than happy to sit on a purpose-built platform behind Nigel and lick his ears the whole trip. Problem solved!
The home renovation problem is taking a bit longer.
First, let me just say in my defence that when you have two houses, the compulsion to redecorate is much stronger. Plus, to be fair, there was no way that anyone could tell how enormously large the swivel lounge was, just from the online photo, until our handyman actually delivered it.
As it turned out we had accrued quite an excess of furniture, even before the lounge (remember the bed saga?).
and so it was decided that we’d do a quick trip to the coast (driving both the van and the ute) to pick up all excess furniture (queen bed, double bed doonas, bedside chest, two outdoor chairs, large wall art, tall timber shelf and a partridge in a pear tree)…… plus the swivel lounge and return to Cobar where we’d install the lounge while divesting ourselves of beds and bedding at our leisure.
Having just accepted a casual position in the Electoral Returning Office for a few weeks, the trip would be a perfect opportunity to purchase new clothing. (with Vinnies at the end of our street, my current ‘unemployed’ clothing has become more second hand, comfortable than smart casual as decreed in the employment conditions).
After blocking in a 5-day booking for the Shack and lining up as many ducks as possible we set off and, despite having to drive two cars, our short break on the coast went remarkably well – clothing shopping, lunch with friends, walks on the beach and even getting all the furniture to fit on the ute and in the van – all tasks successfully completed.
On the morning of our departure, and concerned about impending rain (transporting mattresses on a ute is a surefire way to make it rain) we skipped breakfast and were on the road by 6.40am. All was well until at Jerry’s Plains, the van suddenly decided that it really didn’t want to go up any more hills and could we please pull over…… right in front of Hollydene Winery.
Resisting the urge to set up camp and enjoy the serendipity with a glass or four, we devoured a breakfast of hamburgers (Kaye and Nige) and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches (Kaye, Nige and Bowie) while waiting for Zac, the friendly NRMA man.
Unfortunately Zac’s news wasn’t good and the trip to Cobar was diverted via Muswellbrook ……. Zac and an unimpressed Bowie in the van, Nige in the NRMA truck and me in the ute.
Several phone calls (VW mechanic) and discussions (warning lights and catalytic converters) later, it was decided that the van would be returned on a carrier to our mechanic while we continued to Cobar.
With a ute tray and camper van packed with furniture, Plan B was not without its own challenges, especially considering hire car companies don’t actually approve of large, fluffy dogs taking up passenger seats and so with not an inch to spare in the ute tray, Bowie was relegated to the single cab with me.
Our trip continued almost uneventfully ….. if you don’t count the rain ….. and fifteen hours after leaving Paradise, we arrived in Cobar – grateful to be home safe, if not dry, and glad that we did take two cars because Bowie might have otherwise been forced to hitch-hike home!
Shortly afterwards and in true Murphy’s law style, the upcoming Council election was cancelled and the smart casual clothing has now been relegated to the “might wear one day” area of the wardrobe. Plus, the van repair bill came in yesterday and at $9,208 it actually made the smart casual clothing bill look quite good.
PS I think I might finally be cured of the home decorating addiction…… but look how “worth it” it was!