Camp Fires & Ascot Hats on a Pallet

Apologies dear readers for the radio silence; we have been up to our necks in a red tape   bureaurocractic and expensive nightmare for the past fortnight of which more later if you can bear it!

Firstly I want to tell you about a trip to our local supermarket a two hour drive away.  Why would this be interesting?  Well I thought it was fascinating because during the whole two hour drive from Hyden to Narrogin I didn’t have a single car in front of me nor one behind. I virtually had the road to myself except for a few cars coming in the opposite direction which was an amazing contrast to the rather busier road across the Nullabor!  Nevertheless it was a lovely drive through the very attractive green and rolling countryside with a large Coles supermarket at the end of it.  Hyden does have a very good “local” IGA supermarket rather like an English Co-Op but one does need to expand one’s categories occasionally!

Several of our evenings lately have been spent round the campfire accompanied with the requisite stubby. We tell each other of the days goings on and discuss our plans for the future.  One night the stars were amazing and incredibly the dogs kept looking up in the sky towards the Milky Way at something moving quite fast and much higher than an aeroplane.  We worked out that it was Tim Peake whizzing through space in the Space Station and we raised our stubbies and I sent him a message saying hello via Facebook – I wonder if he got it?

With the arrival of “All Our Worldly Goods” (AWG) ever looming in Melbourne we left Daphne and Margot at a kennels in Perth which was in the kennels district of the city being the only area permitted to have more than one dog onsite.  The kennels were great and D&M seemed far more interested in their new surroundings than saying goodbye to us.  We laughed as we left as one of the neighbouring kennels was called “Barkingham Palace” (only in Australia!)

We flew from Perth to Melbourne in just 4 hours rather than the 5 days it took us to drive it! Our first 40ft container was by now at a bonded warehouse in Melbourne where we donned high viz (this is becoming a habit) and ticked off 339 items being unloaded onto pallets to await customs and quarantine.

Checking off the list of 339 items


I was amazed to see I had a whole pallet load of Ascot hats!  We weren’t allowed to touch anything so no rootling throught boxes to find stuff I was so badly missing (Mini Magimix being most without).

A Pallet of Ascot Hats and the rest of AWG

The Kiwi’s rifle and shotguns had caused a bit of a headache already and later three burly (2 blokes and a something else of indeterminate gender) Australian Border Force officers arrived to check the guns and take them away.  This was when we met Jobsworth 2 who clearly had no idea what he was doing, he wouldn’t speak to us, he could barely say good morning. But he clearly didn’t know one end of a gun from another and couldn’t work out where the serial numbers were let alone how to put them back together once he had dismantled them. We were then issued with a “Seizure Notice” and the three burlies took them away until the Kiwi has organised his licences.

Then we met Jobsworth 3 who had disguised himself as a Customs Officer.  The first thing he said was “I see from your list that you have several items of Victorian and Georgian furniture.  Anything you have over 100 years old will have to be sent to be fumigated for 2 weeks.”  I turned a whiter shade of pale but the Kiwi was clearly thinking on his feet and said “Oh there’s no need to worry, it’s all reproduction from the 30’s” The Kiwi failed to mention which century!

Miraculously Jobsworth 3 was in a real “can’t be bothered mood” and didn’t worry himself inspecting anything very much and gave us the green light on all AWG. But then he came to our car.  Our much loved Merc and made it to Oz unscathed and was spotlessly gleaming under the fluorescent lights. Jobsworth 3 looked sceptical and ran his finger under a wheel arch which of course came out black.  “Failed”.

We had to wait two days for the Merc to be cleaned and inspected again.  When we saw the supposed second cleaning job we thought we were in for another failure notice as they had done a rotten job and it was now dirtier than when it left England. But joy of joys this time it passed! What a farce! I could have sat next to a chap with Ebola on the plane to Oz having walked across a farm with Foot & Mouth and got into the country with no problems! Yet our car had a spec of mud on it and you’d have thought the world had come to an end.

AWG’s were loaded onto two trucks and left for our friends shed in Hamilton.  They were then transferred to two recently purchased shipping containers where they will remain until The Promised Land is found.  Here’s a snap of me closing the doors – note I did at least manage to retrieve my wellies and trusty tweed Barbour.


Meanwhile the shipping agent had refused to release our car until he had been paid rather a lot of money.  At this stage in the proceedings we have not transferred all our cash to Oz to wait for more favourable exchange rates and given that I had all my cards pinched I couldn’t pay him within the two hour window he had very unreasonably given me to cough up and had to use a bank transfer from Barclays to the shipping agent which would take 5 working days to clear. Shipping agent wouldn’t budge and I missed my flight back to WA and had to stay and wait for the money to clear whilst the Kiwi left without me to go back to work.

So now dear readers I’m sitting on a train back to Melbourne, the money has cleared and I can pick up the Merc to drive it back to friends shed in Hamilton. I then fly back to WA on Thursday.  Not stopping there long, Kiwi has a new job starting next week in Coorow (population 161) 3.5 hours north of Perth which will make Hyden seem like a metropolis (population 400).




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