Friday, September 3, 2010

Settling into the new heartland

And so with some sadness, the transformation is complete and the Albion Love Den has been wiped from all but the history books. It's spirit will remain, but now conveniently located in Coburg.

Up until the 71 items were delivered and the boxes were unpacked at our new digs, the whole move still seemed a little surreal. At first it was like an extended holiday, with our temporary North Melbourne abode seemingly like one of the best do-it-yourself B and Bs around. I revelled in walking into the city heart a few nights a week to go the gym; the Tiger became the Queen Vic Market queen; we loved being the surrogate big brother and big sister to 2 absolutely adorable German Shephards.

It wasn't to remain, however, with our short time masquerading as trendy inner-urbanites coming to an end and we had to settle for being trendy-fringe outer-urbanites. Comparing the two realities, it’d be easy to be dismissive of where we’ve decided to settle. The truth is, however, I’ve absolutely fallen head-over-heels in love with this part of town.

The suburb’s got a character a lot like Albion, really. She’s a bit downtrodden, in need of a fresh lick of paint and a bit of tender loving care, and yet it offers up some sweet gems which warm your cockles and makes a place great. In Albion, it was not just the cosy nook I’d created in the Den, but also the little beauties like the cheap eats at Thaiways, Saturday morning boiled bagels from Brewbakers, and late night munchy-runs up the hill to the shops. Here, we’re a stone’s throw from all the amenities (including 2 Coles stores facing the very same carpark... weird), the great Italian coffee shops, fruit and veg markets and a bonza butcher. Nestled amongst it all are the usual array of bits and bobs shops you find in lower socio-economic and migrant-heavy ‘burbs, and the ubiquitous conglomerate of kebab shops.

There’s an unpretentiousness about it - you can almost see the exact line where over-eager local councillors just simply gave up trying to make the place more “family friendly” - and there’s a delightful feel of gentrification being valiantly resisted for just a little while longer. A lot like Albion, really... before the polished concrete and stainless steel brigade barged there way in with their bulging cheque-books. I wonder how long this little gem can outlast the threatening hoards?


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