Friday, April 14, 2006

night time in Mark's world

Wednesday night
Across the road from my front door is the train line that freight trains use to get from Adelaide to Melbourne. Luckily we have a dense front garden and small hill to dampen some of the noise but it does get a bit loud from the 15 or so trains that pass every day. Thankfully I've only been woken up by them once.
We knew the trains passed through before we bought the house, we stood outside the house as a particularly loud one passed which rattled doors and windows. But after looking for about 2 years and watching house prices rise out of our reach we threw dice and made an offer. 18 months here we are.
On wednesday night was a town hall meeting concerning the effect the trains are having on the environment. Now I'm not one of those people who moves next to the airport and then complains about the noise; my plan is double glaze the windows and improve the roof insulation and it shouldn't be an issue. But we went anyway.
A number of speakers spoke about the different options (rerouting the train north - through the poor part of town which is a bit unfair - and other technological solutions). It seems like they can't really do anything - and the only thing that will stop the trains is legislation or if they become more expensive to run.
What was fun though was watching 60 year old grey haired activists grill the various politicans and businesspeople on what they are doing about the issue. Starting long-winded stories that never went anywhere, stammering through previously asked questions and generally blathering on. I made Em burst out laughing with the comment "You are the hottest chick here baby" and then a guy sitting/sleeping on a table fell off and tried to make it like he meant to do that.
Though the comment of the night goes to the guy who runs the company that owns the track
"Thanks for the question Frank, before i answer I'd like to congratulate you on the sale of your house. I remember 5 years ago you stood there and exclaimed your property value and plummeted but it seems you made a tidy profit last year".
Even though everyone was essentially against the track owner, this got a good laugh.
Anyway we left early, when Neil from Belair related catching steam engines in his youth.

Thursday night
The new Ikea store opens in Adelaide next thursday, but we got preview tickets for last night (em knows someone in the publicity department), well so did 4,500 other people and the place was packed. As a casual observer, it seems that anything from Ikea with moving parts or multiple 'bits' is essentially shoddily put together cheap looking stuff (couches especially). But then again its cheap so i can see the attraction. The smaller, simpler bits and pieces like bowls, frames, chairs look pretty good. We bought some storage boxes and a new 1.9x1.9 bookshelf for the lounge since the comic, book, dvd, cd collecting thing means i'm running out of room for stuff. We waited about an hour in the line to check out but they were handing out bottles of water and really nice butterscotch chocolates, so we had fun by seeing how many bottles of water and chocolates we could forage for - as you can tell we are easily amused.
Of course i thought it would all easily fit in the excel. And of course I was wrong. I had to pull off the head rest for the passenger seat and Em had to keep her head between her knees because the boxes spanned from the rear to front window.
It'll be interesting what happens with the other furniture places; because its hard to say. Le Cornus, as the cheap furniture store in town will have the competition on a price level but the styles of furniture couldn't be more different, people who like the classic/fuddyduddy style of lecornu will probably stick to them for bigger purchases. Freedom/Casual Living and Ikea share styles but the quality and price point differ significantly so they'll probably take some of the hit but not much. It'll probably the homewares plaes that will suffer the most.
So it'll be interesting, if furniture retail competition can be deemed interesting.

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