So we’re home. Yes, a lot has happened before getting here and I’ll cover that in another post so get over it.
For now, we’re home. The familiar (but surprisingly forgotten) smells – damp garden, wet concrete, damp dog, and of course mould. Our tenant left a few surprises for us. Nothing major, just careless stuff. But I’m getting ahead of myself so lets rewind a bit.
Our story begins with our last night in Paris. The train took us directly to CDG Terminal 2, where it was a short shuttle ride to Terminal 3 and our hotel. Hotels are definitely not our thing, but they serve a purpose and with less than 10 minutes travel time between it and our departure terminal, it suited us nicely. That evening we hung out at the lounge bar, drinking Kronenberg and Grimbergen, whilst being challenged to endless foosball matches by Coraline, which I of course won. It says something about your arcade game prowess if you have to boast about beating a seven year old. After celebrating my foosball victory, we braved the hotel restaurant for an over-priced meal.
I’d like to say the new day dawned with nervous anticipation, all of us giddy with excitement. The nervous anticipation was there, but not for what you’d expect. All of us had a case of the runs. With less than 5 hours until we took off, it wasn’t looking promising at this stage. Yes, if you will, France gave us the shits. We gave ourselves as much time in the hotel as we dared then made a mad dash for Terminal 1. It turned out that we spent more time waiting in line at passport control than we did commuting and checking in. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, but standing in line with an untrustworthy arse and no where to dash to is a thrill I don’t care to seek again.
Once on the plane things seemed to be settling down for us, until during taxiing, I felt the urge. To the alarm of the flight attendant sitting in her little seat, I rapidly explained the situation and informed her that I had no choice. Anyway, the rest of the journey passed without incident and by the time we reached Singapore 12 hours later, we were all feeling better. Well, as better as one can feel after an economy class 12 hour journey. Terminal change, duty free wandering and security check completed, we boarded the plane for the final 4 hour flight to Darwin. As we touched down the captain informed us that it was 28 degrees and cloudy, lovely!
Now I don’t know why, but we are routinely the last people to get our bags from the carousel. It doesn’t matter where in the world we travel, our bags are last. Darwin airport has possibly the slowest baggage handlers on the planet. Last year, at the baggage handlers world cup, they were outshone by the team from Vladivostok which comprised two nearly blind chaps who were both over 70 and a three legged goat. Anyway, the point is we were not alarmed at first when TW’s bag failed to make an appearance. I guess you could call us optimists, but when the carousel stopped, we conceded defeat and made our way to the desk to report the missing bag. We stood behind a chap who had lost a bag/case/child on a flight from Delhi, but was unable to describe the item with any certainty or list any significant contents that might identify it. The young fellow behind the counter was very patient which gave us a good feeling. Our last experience with lost luggage was in the USA and it was one of the most negative experiences I’ve had with an airline. Despite the fact that the airline had lost my bag, I was made out as the culprit. So, we gave the details of what the bag looked like and it’s significant contents and left. Later in the day, we got a call to say it had been found in Singapore and would be arriving on Sunday afternoon. TW was outraged. How dare her bag have an extra couple of days in Singapore without her!
As we pulled up at the gate, Bruce was lying there casually surveying the taxi and the three people getting out. Not until CA had opened the gate and started saying his name (over and over again) did he register who we were. Then he went bunta. I had half expected to get attitude from him, you know how teenagers are. We walked around the garden to survey the results of two weeks solid rain. It was like a jungle, green, dense and to my surprise now the home of two Japanese soldiers to whom I had a devil of a job explaining that the war had finished years ago. Inside, bags down, drink water, walk around house. I’ll spare you the details, but lets say that the landlord experience isn’t one I want to repeat any time soon. Our tenant it turns out, had a pretty lazy approach to cleaning which upset TW greatly as she made sure the place was spotless prior to our tenant moving in. We soon discovered that in addition to having to unpack our entire house from the shed, we had a list of tenant related jobs to do also. It was a list that kept growing as time went on.
Then there was the car. Upon opening the door I discovered the most well cultivated mould garden you could possibly imagine. It was unbelievable. It looked less like a case of mould and more like an entire eco system. I spent over two hours cleaning the car out, not including washing the canvas seat covers. Not only did the seat covers have mould on them, there was mould under them too! And the smell. I’m not sure it’s going to leave completely, I may have to sell the car.
A little over 36 hours later and I’m writing this surrounded by half unpacked boxes and listening to the rain pelting down on the roof. The frogs are singing, the sun is making it’s way up and it’s starting to feel like home again.