Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Australia Day

We were invited to celebrate Australia Day with a close group of friends. Bet and Nico went all-out to make us welcome with a rather Aussie spread of Lamingtons and Pavlova. Its a tradition with them every Australia Day. The sun was shining on a mild summer day for January 26.

We still live in the Lucky Country.
This platter signifies our multiculturalism and Aussie tradition. Cantaloupe or rock melon, mini pears, grapes with cheeses, salami, olives, asparagus and various dips. A bit of Italian and Greek influence here.
Naturally there's lamb with assorted salads
And Pavlova in the shape of Australia - OK you need to use a bit of imagination.
With rows of mini Lamington lolly pops on our our national flag.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Clearing out the dining room in preparation for painting it, we are then having the floors sanded and polished.

Leon pulled up the carpet today and I removed my Mum's dinner service from the sideboard where it was stored. The sideboard has been dismantled and is out in the garage ready to be restored. It is currently black, but before long will be antique white.

The Skip is full of the timber from the old timber decking, the sitting and dining rooms carpet and other junk. It was a spur of the moment thing to get the skip in but now there is no more debris left.
This is the dining room with the carpet and underlay stripped ready for sanding and polishing. 
Now this I will enjoy doing - a restoration of our federation era sideboard

I have loved this dinner service from when I was a little girl. Why it's mine I guess. I have an early memory of Mum letting me dry one of the soup plates. Soooo carefully! Tea towel handed to me separately.
It is Royal Doulton and Ms Google tells me the marks on the back indicate 1932. Mum and Dad were married in 1935 in the depths of the depression. I have an unsubstantiated feeling that they might have got it as a first anniversary present. Anyhow, it's pretty old. It was always her "best" and subsequently is in very good condition. (Never seen the inside of a dishwasher!) My mum didn't have very many nice things, so this must have been doubly special to her.

The pattern is called Orchids D 5215.  I washed it all today in preparation for packing it away until all is done. I have no idea how many pieces are in it. It has everything you could ever need for 6 from eggcups to tea and coffee pots. It was a labour of love

And as I did it I remembered all the pea soup in those beautiful flat soup plates and all the dinner plates full of mum's unbeatable roast lamb. Could go for a plate of that right now!

Tomorrow is Australia Day. We are going to a BBQ at a friend's house. Quite probably be some sort of lamb on the menu.....but it won't be the same.  And it certainly won't be on a beautiful Royal Doulton plate!

Words by Sue
Photos by Leon

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Colin is a Jaguar Man among other things

Colin is yet to open his museum and we were excited to see his collection prior to it's opening to the general public soon. Being a classic car enthusiast myself, he and I had lots to talk about and we even found that we had mutual friends without knowing each other previously. Such is the world of classic cars!

Col's passion these days is for Jaguars. I've never seen such a collection of parts. His restorations are selective and I will eventually look forward to his current project being completed - a Mk4 Jaguar Drophead.
Colin tells us that cars and parts find him rather than him chasing them. The photos of his parts collection below came from a deceased estate of another Jaguar enthusiast within a kilometre of Colin's home in Mirboo North. Another barn is full of English electrical new old stock that was purchased from an old country British car dealer that was closing.

Not all the cars in Colin's huge barn are his. Other collectors store their cars here and it becomes a revolving collection. This Bentley was a superb restoration and quite frankly I would be dubious about driving out their with the general motoring public for fear of any little mark or scratch spoiling its pristine condition.

From Jaguars to Corvettes - this American classic is so over the top, it actually appealed to me. I'm not an American car enthusiast and yet their flashiness somehow appeals to me these days. Ugliness can transform into beauty in time I guess.

And so the end of the day finished much later than expected after experiencing Colin's passion for automobile history and the collection he has acquired over many years. The presentation of the huge barn with the cars, display cabinets, wall displays does him proud.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mirboo North and a Bloke called Colin

Last Saturday we were invited to visit a friend's brother who has started a motoring museum in Mirboo North. More about the later in the week but first you might ask, where and what is Mirboo North. In all of my 64 years, I cant say that I've been there but I've travelled much of Victoria through my work and my sport of cycling. Mirboo North is in the depths of south Gippsland's hill country with rolling terrain and rain forests.

Mirboo North is 155 kms from the Melbourne CBD but about 130kms from our home. It was a timber cutting village back in the 1870s but today it is more of a holiday home and tourist destination with a population of under 3000. There several hobby farms and boutique farming industries growing out of the district. It even has its own small beer brewing business.

We decided to have lunch at the In-Line cafe which attracts heaps of motorcyclists of the more mature age trying very hard to grow-up disgracefully and spending their kid's inheritance on expensive motorcycle exotica. Yes they were noisy but in a nice way. They were enjoying each other's company.

Like a lot of heritage towns, murals of the town's past add colour to the atmosphere. There were many more that I missed but the day was moving along and we had this VIP tour of the motor museum by its creator Colin.

Colin is a jaguar man with many other interests in motoring as these photos prove. The Jaguars will come in a following post with quite a unique story behind an aquisition that Colin lucked apon within walking distance from his home.

There was so much more in Colin's huge sheds but we'll leave that for another day.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

There's alot happening.

A big weekend with "Melbourne our home on the bay" this weekend. We've finished the outdoor deck so Sunday was a bit of a treat..
We went to a local rural town of Mirboo North in Gippsland south today. What this means is that there will be a few posts over the next couple days. Here's a photo of Mirboo North - is there a Mirboo South?

Mirboo North is just under a two drive from home that takes you through underlating hill country as you are near your destination. The town is decorated with murals throughout the village - tell more your later.
We were invited to visit our friend Alison's brother. Colin is a car enthusiast who has set up his car museum in this delightful town. It has yet to open but we had a special tour.
Time for bed for me now but I'll be back tomorrow with more photos of the museum and a bit of history of Mirboo North.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Soft Drinks during the 60s and TV

Tarax, like Schweppes, Coca Cola was an iconic Australia soft Drink. It no longer exists but in its time it was just as popular as the others. Tarax sponsored the fast developing Australian television world and sporting events. I even went on a kid's program called the Tarax Show in the late 50s which was hosted by Uncle Norman and also the Happy Show with Happy Hammond and Princess Panda - I sent a request to go on the show and was selected as a contestant - think I may have been 7 or 8 and very dumb. I failed miserably in the quiz and was scarred for life.

AND a 16 year old Olivia Newton John gets her big break.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

House in the Country

Today, Saturday - we decided to look at a house in the country. Well its a country town about 60 odd klms from the Melbourne CBD. Strangely enough its closer to work time wise than where we live now.
In the long term, work is not the issue with a little more than a year before retirement looms.

Not the house we inspected however it does have that. "Renovator's Opportunity" look about it. Seen on our travels today

It must date from those early 1851 gold rush days and possibly may have been an Inn for those walking to the diggings further up the track. Many of Victoria's towns were founded on a day's walk from each other for those travelling to make their fortune in gold.
The house we inspected is in Kyneton which is halfway between Melbourne and the large regional city of Bendigo. Kyneton has a foodie culture and a thriving tourist industry that sustains it today in spite of the main freeway bypassing the town.

Established in 1850, it predates the Victorian Gold Rush era by one year. Today it has a population of over 6500. Even with its modest population, we found it difficult to get a parking spot in the historic Piper street as the monthly Farmer's Market was in progress. The town runs its annual horse racing carnival, the Kyneton Cup and is central to many other historic towns in the region.

Built in the 1880s, the cottage retained many of its original features but lacked the modern amenities that we have grown use to in our more discerning years.
It did have charm but more suited to a couple with young children that would have the energy to bebuild the service areas of the house. The kitchen lacked the spark that a foodie like Sue would be happy with.
The house we inspected was a Victorian home circa 1880. It had heaps of charm but certain things let it down for modern living such as a cook's kitchen which is high on Sue's list. Nevertheless, the town itself does have endearing features and maybe, just maybe, we'll keep the area on our list

In the meantime, I have work to continue on our existing home. The outdoor deck is now coming to completion and the internal floorboards are being prepared for sanding and staining. The photos of the Kyneton house gives an example of how our floors will eventually look.

We return for four days in Launceston, Tasmania in February. It's their wine, food and arts Festivale and that should give us a more definite feel for the city that seems to have captured our imagination. Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Wednesdays in France

Rodin's Museum - 2006 and our first time in Paris
Certainly not the last...

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Polished Floor Boards

Today I could not continue working on the outdoor deck due to the extreme heat. It reached high 30s or possibly 40 degrees. It was just too hot to be sawing, drilling and nailing. The inside of our house is air-conditioned so it was much more comfortable to work in.
So I started on our other project. Our home was built in 1929 and has these lovely honey colored Baltic floorboards. Rather than relaying new carpet, we will have these beautiful rustic boards sanded and polished.

Our Californian Bungalow was a State Bank home built in 1929.
Back then I expect rather than carpet the floor, the sides were painted or stained with carpet runners on the walk areas.
In the early years after acquiring our home of 30 years plus, I did the kitchen floorboards however after a few years, we renovated and the floor was tiled. Baltic Pine is a soft timber and utility areas do not stand up to it very well.
Notice where the carpet runner leads to a blank wall -  we blocked off the wall to add an en suite to our bedroom.
Previous to renovation it lead to the bathroom and the second bedroom.
It wasn't fashionable to have polished floor boards back in 1929 I guess but now it is. The wood  is Baltic Pine and has a rich honey colour after sanding and varnishing.
It does however have a wow factor as you open the front door and those rich honey colours hit you. So with the decking almost drawing to completion, the restoration of the floorboards are next on the list. Sounds simple doesn't it!!!!

Firstly you pull up the carpet, then the underlay. After that you pull out the staples, nails and then start punching down the nails, filling the indentations in the timber before the sanding and finishing the boards in a rich varnish.
I may be busy for some time to come. There's still our lounge and dining rooms to have the same treatment. Never mind, I have this great supervisor looking over my shoulder to keep me on track.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Deck Saga

It was only last Monday morning I ordered the timber decking which arrived the same day. These photos are from New Year's Day 2015 - where did 2014 go?
By the way, Happy New Year to those that occasionally drop in to see what's happening with "Melbourne our Home by the Bay." It may not be our home by this time this year. Things are being put in to place for my 65th year. I could say our 65th year but Sue is still only 62.

So far the house preparation for sale has included;

  • Painting the bedroom and re-carpeted
  • Painting the hallway
  • Having the family room, kitchen and laundry painted - not happy with the so called professionals.
  • Painting the study
  • Full revamp of bathroom
  • Two other bedrooms painted but they belong to the boys and probably need repainting when they move out - if ever!!!!
  • And now the rebuilding of the outdoor rear deck.

Australians enjoy entertaining outdoors during our spring, summer and autumn and we are no exception to that. There's nothing better than enjoying friendships over a glass or three, BBQ meat and salads on the backyard deck.
A backyard deck opens up living space - adds an outdoor room. Ours was built 15 years ago in preparation of my 50th birthday bash. After 15 years, it was suffering from the ravages of time - a bit like myself.

Anyway I'm now on the home straight with the deck nearing completion. Just to make sure I keep up the momentum, Sue has invited family and friends for this coming Sunday evening so I'm under pressure to finish.
I think I might just make it in time. Not too bad for a common office boy, is it?