Saturday, September 01, 2012


Ten years ago last month, we moved in to the Highrise. From a one bedroom flat in Elwood, to a two bedroom house in East Malvern, to a three bedroom house in Glen Iris, to a two bedroom unit in Burwood, to a two bedroom house in Balalcalava, to the Highrise. We have lived here longer than we have ever lived anywhere else.

R at times mentions how nice it would be to have an outside area, apart from the balcony. Somewhere he could potter in the garden, let a dog have a run. But essentially he likes living here.  I was very reticent before we bought. I was not confident in my ability to adjust to living in a flat, but we chose well.

We had half looked at apartments in high rise building over the preceding years but I was never keen. While we made our last house quite satisfactory, it really needed the back end pulled out and rebuilt. While it was a Victorian workers cottage, it had been, and there is no better word for it, bastardised over the years. There was nothing original Victorian about it, except perhaps the stumps. We had renovated every place we had been in and we just did not have the stomach to do it all again.

As soon as saw the Highrise, I loved it. It was so clean, spacious, modern and with great views. We were just so sick of old. Even before Balaclava, we had ditched our antique decoration and furniture. We moved on to our modern and contemporary period and have not looked back. I may have a fantasy for one day having an Art Deco period, but I don't think it will happen.

When I am not working, my car just sits in its parking space, unused. I don't need it unless I have to go to see family, who live in all directions of the compass. When R is not working, he doesn't use his car either. I can see no reason to own a car when we no longer work. We can easily rent one or use a Flexi Car, or taxis, should we need car transport. Trams, buses and trains suit us very well.

If you might think where we live was a wise investment, it was not. It is our home. It is not to make money. In fact the more its price rises, the more council rates we pay.  I never get the glee of people when they say much the house where they live is worth. Maybe the beneficiaries in their will should be gleeful, but short of a reverse mortgage, you can't eat your bricks, concrete panels or weatherboards. (Dina and JayLa, do you know what weatherboards are?)

So ten years later, I just love living here. I suppose in a way I am lucky, but this is all I have to show for years of working a crap job which I hate about half the time. All I care about is that we can always afford to live here at our current standard. We can at this moment, hope to be able to in the future and one day it might be, I can, or R can.


  1. Anonymous10:20 pm

    Happy 10th anniversary! You should be happy there, it's a lovely apartment. V.

  2. Weatherboards....I would guess they'd protect you against weather??

    Congrats on your anniversary!

  3. Sounds like you have found the perfect spot Andrew. I must admit sometimes the appeal of inner city apartment living is strong, especially when I'm trying to tame the jungle that surrounds my house.

  4. Congratulations. Excellent choice. If you are going to live in a city, the city proper is the proper place to live - especially if you are permitted to keep a furball of some sort.

    You only hate your crap job half the time? You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din...

    Is clapboard the word?

  5. Hello Andrew:
    Of course we do not know what weatherboards are!!

    But we totally understand how you feel about living in an apartment and we are delighted that you are both happy to be where you are. In a similar way, we gave up a house and two acre garden for apartment life and would not now change it for the world. And, we sold our cars and go everywhere by public transport, both in Budapest and in Brighton, only occasionally taking a taxi if it is too late for the buses, trains, trams or Metro.

    As for what one's house is worth we do not, like you, give a jot. We have no children, or family, so will surprise our friends one day!!

  6. Cheers V. Gone quickly hey.

    Dina, I wonder what you call them. They are timber boards placed horizontally on the outside of a house and overlap each other to make the outside weatherproof. Then they are usually painted.

    Grace, I've done my share of that. Fun at the time, but history now.

    FC, yes, we can have a dog or cat. There are many in the building. I think clapboard might be the word for the US.

    JayLa. I can't remember seeing weatherboards in England. They have poor insulating qualities and so would be inappropriate for the climate. But wait, a site tells me weatherboarded cottages are very common in rural west Kent. Both of your abodes appear to be very fine and in well chosen locations.

  7. It's a lie encouraged by money lenders.

    You never make money from the roof over your head, if you sell it you have to buy some other inflated place. Or go live in a caravan or a tent. My sister Mad Lynette owns five houses and sits all night giggling in a tin shed.

    Apa-a-a-artment living would be dreadful for me but if you like it well and good.

  8. I know a few people who say renting is cheaper???. Since i paid off my unit i only have to pay my regular monthly/yearly bills and no landlord to hassle me or the fear of being told you have to move or the rent going up every year.

  9. Seems pretty obvious to me RH.

    Windsmoke, I don't believe that. Even back when we bought here, we could not have afforded to rent it. Now it would rent for over $800 pw. Who can afford that? Well, many can, it would seem.

  10. You've moved house almost as much as I have. I never lived anywhere for any length of time except for my previous unit, where I stayed for eight and a half years. then the rent and other rising prices go to be too much. it was home, and I liked it well enough, but it had never been updated on the inside, still having the original carpet and kitchen from the 70's when it was built. My current flat is older and smaller, but better maintained, with regular maintenance scheduled.

  11. River, the only problem being it is not as convenient for work, but you won't work forever I guess. You are slowly improving it and you have housing security now.

  12. $800 per week? Never. You'd be lucky to get $450.

  13. RH, don't try to teach granny how to suck eggs.

  14. Read my comment at Sixth in Line to see how granny ends up.

  15. The joy of Deco was that the furniture and architectural fittings were designed to fit the house and to maximise the space. The cupboards are as flush against the wall as humanly possible, the nesting tables can be stacked when you have finished using them, the trolley can be rolled away etc. Even the club chairs and beds look aerodynamic.

  16. I sometimes wish I didn't have to rent anymore, but unless someone rich dies and has me in their will I doubt it will happen again. My work simply doesn't pay enough.

    Ten years is awesome!

  17. Happy anniversary!! Agreed about gloating over property values - they're only meaningful if you are going to sell AND move to a much lower cost area. Hope you enjoy your dream residence for many more years!!

  18. Good comment RH. Quite true.

    Hels, I just love Art Deco. Its symmetry, cleverness and lines are wonderful.

    Fen, there are a lot of people like you. For me from the age of twenty, I wanted little more than my house to live in and a partner. I got both. I lived life after that, as I could afford, or mostly couldn't.

    Thanks Red. A weird thought just came to me. Is your house red?

  19. It's not like I haven't had the pleasure of a house and mortgage, I did it twice, but sold it all to live in London. I'm happy with the decisions I've made, just wish it wasn't so unaffordable now for a single person.

  20. Well thank you Andrew.

    And I love Art Deco too.

    Little Fenstar is being ingenuous. I'll refuse to say more.