The day had finally arrived when Toby and I would pick up the Nova. Toby had organised a van for the weekend. Since I was working on the Saturday, he and his friend Juan had travelled to Ed's garage to pick up the VAX-11/750, PDP-11/34, and peripherals. When I arrived for breakfast on Sunday morning, Toby opened the van to show me the booty. My jaw dropped. It was the first time I'd seen minicomputers in the flesh. "If you think they look good," he said, "wait until you see the Novas."
Anyhow we quickly downed some maple syrup covered french toast and espressos, and made our way to the storage compartment to empty the van of goodies. It was here I discovered the joy of excessive weight. A scrawny bugger such as myself isn't used to physical labour but now was the perfect time to learn, and with good reason. The VAX was a mammoth and definitely an experience to move. Somehow we managed though.
Sometime later the van was empty and we were on the road, hearts filled with excitement and anticipation. The drive was long and the radio didn't work. We were in a very silly mood. The only entertainment we had was each other but, thanks to the amount of coffee we had drank, we were rather easily amused and hyperactive.
After 40 minutes or so we arrived at Ed's garage. My God, it was impressive. I had never seen so much BIG computer gear in my life. Spools of tape, boxes of manuals and boards, a tape drive bigger than me, and, most impressive of all, the Nova 3 and 4. I was in love.
It was around this time I realised what a rude bastard I was since my mind was so caught up with the sight of the Novas that I forgot to introduce myself to Ed. I shook his hand and finally said 'Hi'. I asked Ed where the machines originally came from. The Nova 3 was used for accounting at a school up until the mid to late 1980's, while the Nova 4 was found on the second storey of a house in Richmond, Melbourne. We then cleaned of some of the cobwebs and loaded both Novas into the van, but not before Toby took some lovely photos of Ed (the guy in the black coat) and myself with the Nova 3.
We drove home very excited and content, with the sort of wide grins found on a toddler who's just been given a new toy. "Man, if people knew what we were up to they'd think we're nuts!" Toby would occasionally say. Then, for no reason, we'd break into song, "WE BUILT THIS SYSTEM ON GCC!!!" Yep, like I said, it was a long drive and we had no radio. The weekend proved that excitement and anticipation can conquer the dreariness of a long trip and physical labour.
The next morning we put the machines into storage and that was the last I saw of them for several months.