Since the departure from Bellingen, I towed the van to Newcastle .. and that's pretty much where we've stayed. It was quite an experience driving the van for such a long drive.. exhausting to say the least. A great experience nonetheless. Aaron's hand is so much better - he is now only weeks away from working again, which he's very excited about.
So a brief rundown of our last 6-7 weeks. We arrived into Newcastle and were fortunate enough to be able to stay with Aaron's Godparents for a few days before we were able to get into a caravan park. Being peak season and school holidays, we were finding it really hard to find somewhere to stay. We finally found somewhere that would help us out and we ended up in Belmont at Spinnakers Tourist Park - complete with 2 pools and a little gym. It was a lovely place and super handy to everything - Aaron was able to walk up to the shops and over to Lake Macquarie. I started looking for a bit of temp work, to bring in some money. I got a few jobs, which was great to get out of the van and into the workforce again - my eyes and shoulders definitely didn't think so though! We have done a few touristy things - like Australia Day down in Newcastle - we bought a duck for the Ducks for Dollars race, which I've seen for years on TV.. so was quite excited to be able to see if for myself. We didn't have much of a chance of winning - there were 7000 ducks!! I'm pretty sure ours was one of the ones that snuck out the back and didn't end up racing.. hehe. I got ridiculously sunburnt - one of those glow in the dark type sunburns.. ouch. We did the walk up to the lighthouse and around the Newcastle foreshore.. lovely.
Fast forward a few weeks and we were meeting up with some good friends of Aaron's - Steve and Vicki. They own a house in Charlestown (conveniently located just a 2 minutes drive from a Robina Town Centre type shopping centre.. ) and were looking to rent it out... with Aaron being super comfortable here, having grown up here, and me falling more and more in love with the area everyday, we thought the only option was to rent the house and stay here for a while and earn some money and do some trips from here. There are sooooo many options for trips away from here - so we've got a lot planned already. It took us a few weeks to get into the house, as Steve and Vicki were doing a bit of work on the place and their son was still moving out. So Aaron started helping out a few days a week to work his hand at his own pace and to keep his days busy - so he didn't get cabin fever. There's still a bit of work to do, but I think Aaron's really happy that he'll have a few projects to do at his leisure - and it will give Steve and Vicki a chance to have a rest on the weekends. They live on a vineyard about an hour and a bit away, so I can only imagine how they'd be feeling every Friday night after a week of work, to have to come down and work on the house for the weekend.
Aaron's showed me a few new surf spots - one complete with a nudie beach.. as you can imagine I was a bit shocked when we first arrived - Aaron didn't even tell me where we were going!!! Me being me, couldn't stop looking, I was mesmerised! And I don't mean in a sketchy way. There were "situations" that had me a bit perplexed.. like a couple walking on the beach - full hats, zinc and shirts on, then no pants - letting everything hang free.. umm, I don't get it. Nudies aside, it was a beautiful spot and there were plenty of peaks to surf .. the water was very fresh - and so much heavier than the Coast. It definitely felt more sharky. And speaking of sharky, I was surfing on the same day as that Newcastle local was taken by the shark at Redhead - surfing a beach about 2km away... scary stuff! Hasn't stopped me though :)
As we were starting to think about moving into the house, we realised we had no furniture. Steve and Vicki were going to throw out the sofa, fridge, washing machine & dryer - so we were able to keep those, which has saved us lots of $$. We got to thinking that we didn't really want to spend a lot on furniture, in case we didn't end up staying longterm... and as we were talking about this, we started noticing a lot of "hard rubbish" (of bulk rubbish, as they call it down here) on the sides of the road... how convenient! So we took a drive around the suburbs and started picking up bits and pieces ... and in the meantime, became ridiculously addicted to "scabbing" as we eloquently started calling it! We have scored some of the most amazing pieces and pieces that you would pay a fortune for in shops.. so as you can imagine, we are so happy with how the house is coming together. It's amazing what people throw away... we have a few favourite pieces, one of which is a round, bevelled edge gold mirror (not a silver mirror like the majority of mirrors) and it's stamped from 1949!!! Score!!
Here's a few piccies of our picks so far... and a few other things... just to keep you in the loop on our travels :)
The sunrise this morning.. we got a super early start for our 'scabbing'
Table picked (funnily enough from one of Aaron's old schoolmate's houses...we didn't even know!) Chairs from ebay
Cool retro cabinet thingo..
Old wooden crate and an umpire's board (not sure which sport)
Close up of the umpire's board .. so cool~!
This is a tin car we found.. minus one wheel - I think we'll respray and then find some old-school wheels for it
I've already started to paint the lamp base (left) - going to find a cool shade for it, and it will move to the studio
Aaron's temporary table - from an old door.. this will be our dining table until he finishes the other one.. a bigger door - it's going to be AMAZING! We'll spray the chair white and sand them back a bit
Details of table... complete with keyhole and lock
Our gold mirror.. so cool!! With a sneaky view of our kitchen
One of the ladders we found..
Cool retro chairs Aaron found
We found 2 of these - bedside tables.. complete with stickers of the original builders of the drawers.. very cool! And only a wipe over needed.. even better!
This was our load this morning.. we needed to change cars and go back for round 2!!
3 of the 4 suitcases I found.. I have one more that is a bit of a pink colour
The cabinet we ended up finding late last night .. and went back for this morning, cause it didn't fit in the car and we didn't have rope.. in really good condition - very similar to the bedside tables
Found this really cool catalogue of old "how-tos" .. some really awesome designs and patterns - and in great condition!
A bookcase we hadn't gotten out of the car yet.. solid timber.. going to look great painted! Maybe another one for the studio
Aaron's T scar.. it's starting to fade .. starting to come really good
With all the rain we had down here, I managed to get bogged in the caravan park.. yep, I'm very special
Aaron had to pull me out..
Australia Day - lots of ducks!
I'm not sure I'd be swimming with that swarm of stuff out the back there..
One of the borders on the walk up to the Lighthouse.. a pencil!
Roadkill... I couldn't stop laughing when I came up with this joke!
I didn't know pelicans flew like this!
Can you see our duck in there??
Our lunch on Australia Day - pizza out of the back of a van.. out of the pizza oven - only took 5 minutes to cook!
Az very excited about Australia Day
Another of the ladders we found today.. in mint condition
Barstools we found today - great condition, just a little bit of a re-spray needed
We found a whole pile of clip-flooring in really good condition .. thought we might lay it in the kitchen until we tile it.. very nice!
Our pile of flooring
The table we found for the studio - such a great view too! Another ebay chair (I got 4 in the set)
This chair started our addiction ..