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  • Writer's pictureStjohn Axbey

How do you make God laugh?

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

“How do you make God laugh?……… tell him your plans”

.....Woody Allen, John Cleese, Madonna and many others

It’s not easy moving a home or a business: it’s certainly made more challenging when moving interstate; and when you move a business and a home interstate it is decidedly painful. So if you are a follower of my Instagram and Facebook page then you will know that my partner and I did all of the above very recently: we departed the hustle and bustle of Sydney for the tranquility of the Dandenong Ranges on Melbourne's eastern fringes. Oh yes, and there was something else in the mix too: the Covid -19 pandemic.

It now seems appropriate to bring you up to speed on where we’re at at the present time and how we see our future under the new norm of breaking wind to disguise a cough, sanitised hands, sneezing into your arm, social distancing, and staying at home.

The decision to move

In case anyone is asking the question: "why we decided to move during the pandemic?", the answer is simply: we didn't. All of our plans were cemented in place during the later part of 2019: we purchased our Melbourne property around the same time that somewhere in a seafood market in Wuhan someone did something untoward with a bat, or a Civet, or a Pangolin - no one is quite sure which - and little did they know what chaos they would cause across the globe.

Bats, Civets and Pangolins..... who was the guilty one: or was it all of them?

As settlement of our sale and purchase drew closer the government suspended international travel; social distancing was implemented; cafes and business were forced to close: at this point we feared the entire property sale could be postponed or indeed completely cancelled. Well thankfully that didn’t happen and everything settled in the last couple of weeks of March, but we still weren’t sure if we would be able to move.

After carefully listening to all of the conditions imposed by the government it was apparent that we would still be allowed to move; removalist companies were considered freight and our journey was considered essential. So in what seemed almost a covert operation we packed up our goods and chattels, loaded them into a truck and set off in a southerly direction stopping in at Wagga Wagga for a few days to break the journey.

"Use the difficulty"

.........Michael Caine

So now, two weeks after moving in we are unpacked and settled into our new home and it is exactly what we expected it to be: quiet, secluded and peaceful. But how has the lock-down affected my business? - well, at the moment: not too adversely.

As opposed to meeting my suppliers face to face as was my initial plan, the lock-down measures have meant that I not only save time in travelling but I also save in diesel costs as well. All those suppliers I was hoping to connect with will now be contacted by phone, messaged via Instagram or ‘Zoomed’ (provided Zoom can sort out its privacy issues); and once social closeness is reintroduced we can then meet face to face.

Current social distancing is required and necessary

The only hurdle I’m currently facing is my clients or lack thereof. As the government restrictions came in so my clients put work on hold, and that is a shame, but completely understandable in light of the uncertain times ahead. I do, however, consider myself blessed that I have one project currently that I'm working on - a kitchen in Wagga Wagga - that I will discuss at length once the design has been finalised and installation is underway.

A sneak peek at my latest project, but more of that in a future blog

So let me add at this point that I am ready for business and despite Googles best attempts to tell everyone that I’m still in Elizabeth Bay my new address is:

3 Duncans Lane, Ferny Creek, Victoria 3786

Due to the grounding of all international aircraft my partner Matthew has been stood down from his flying duties, but thankfully due to some serendipitous planning he is officially on holidays until the end of May, after which time it would seem that the government will be stepping in with assistance.

With our jobs in the balance we’ve had to shelve all projects that we were planning on the house until such time as our incomes are looking like returning to normal; so in the meantime Matthew has been busy in the garden: and there is plenty of it (just under an acre in fact) to keep him busy for the next couple of months. So far there has been a substantial reduction in large shrubs, small shrubs, small trees, and reasonably large trees: so much so that we can now see out of the house and down to the far reaches of the garden… and then there's the planning: retaining walls, garages, water features, flower beds, vegetable patches, chook pens, etc etc.

My gardening efforts at there greatest.

There's plenty to keep us occupied in this garden.. well there used to be.

There's always home cooking to try out, not that I'm particularly good at it: in fact I'm rubbish at it. Within the first 24 hours of moving in I had managed to break the oven.

Yep.... best I leave the cooking to my partner.

And then there is also the need to exercise: there’s certainly lots of walking available with the (currently closed) Thousand Steps just down the road, along with many walking tracks and abandoned roads to discover.

A road that never was... It has a name, but not a single dwelling upon it.

With gym equipment - such as dumbbells and benches - being in short supply, we’ve had to adapt and come up with creative ways to workout using just our body weight; it seems that YouTube is awash with helpful videos on how to put your pet to good use and indeed, use it as part of your workout.

There are simply no words to describe this

I didn’t realise there were some many ways to do push ups..... and have you ever tried hand stands?

Handstands: great for strength, balance and, um, many broken things.

Looking ahead with optimism

So far from being a huge hurdle, it seems that the Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted how easily we adapt to a change in the way we live and work - everyone who can work from home is now doing just that - the problem that this has caused is that you cannot buy office chairs for love or money. Supremely, it appears for most suppliers it's almost business as usual: showrooms are closed, but virtual showrooms are open. Traders are still trading, builders are still building: people are getting on with getting on the best they can. The world, thank fully, hasn’t stopped completely.

And in other good news our rescue cat, that was a little psycho in our Sydney apartment, has had a miraculous change in temperament. I’m not sure whether it's the altitude or just the shear quantity of house that he now has to explore, but he has become one chilled cat: and I promise you that I haven't drugged him.

Sparky right at home in his new home.... and not a claw in sight

If I do run out of work, then there is always marketing to be done and suppliers to contact; then of course there is always our new home to occupy my time, and oh boy, do I have plans. Not only is there the outside to make maintenance free and bush-fire resistant: but there is a new design studio to build; a conservatory to add, and a garage to make comfortable for a Citroen DS. But there is also an interior to create that is waiting to be infused and furnished with our own taste and style: preferably mid century and French.

Plans are afoot

But more of those plans later…

"I don’t want God laughing too much… he’s done quite enough of that already, thank you very much."

..........Stjohn Axbey

Stay safe and well, and thank you for reading.


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