Monday, June 29, 2015

Time for Reflection

We bought the home in 1982. Its been through several incarnations over that time. This one will be the last in our ownership. With a little over 30 years passing by, I thought it was a good time to reflect over the changes that our home and life have experienced. Our home was a State Bank Californian Bungalow house and when we bought it, it had very few changes. We were fortunate to have bought a very original and sound home. We consider ourselves to be the second owners as the people we bought from were there less than two years and did nothing on the house. The house was built by Mr and Mrs Clarricoates in 1929.

Let's start with the kitchen. Originally it was a very small area, no bigger than the bathroom on the other side of the wall. There was a brick chimney which the gas oven stood in. The brick chimney most probably housed  a wood fired stove beforehand. The bricks today pave the outdoor living area. We cleaned everyone of those bricks before laying them.
We decided to open up the area for family living with an A shaped room to add light and height. Sue could cook while still being part of the family. It's very much a coming together with the hub of the day's living.
Being both a cooking and living area, it has created an interest to our two boys, Andrew and Mitchell in cooking where occasionally they take on their own culinary adventures.

We will move into the past with other rooms over the next few posts as we draw closer to the end of our last and final changing of the house, no "home" for a new young family to make a home for themselves.

The area you see here is the original sink and where it ends to the left is where the original bathroom started.
We lived in the house during renovation. Sue's kitchen became the lounge room where a micro wave and an electric fry pan were her total cooking facilities. I still had the sink to wash up.

Looking to the left of what was become the kitchen was the door leading to the two boys bedrooms and the new bathroom.
Looking to the right is the doorway to the proposed study.
Note the claw foot bathtub. We gave it to one of the builders to take away for himself. We didn't think much of it at the time but they go for a very good price these days. We didn't really care because the builders were very good to us during the build.
Several months later, Sue started to enjoy the kitchen that she designed. It's stood the test of many family meals now but she's already designing what could be her next one. Time will tell.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Te Deck gets its new clothes.

I sit at a desk in front of a computer at work most days - hey, I do that at home, what am I doing now? What did we do before computers? 

A friend popped in today as I was finishing off some work on the house - more about that later. He mentioned that his father passed on a medal that he was awarded for completing the famous and historic 165 mile Warrnambool cycling road race. I looked it up on a site called TROVE which has digitised past Australian newspapers. 
So there, on the spot, I was able to offer some news of the race his father rode in 1931. My friend came around to purchase a book I self-published on motor racing. Back then I spent hours sitting at the Melbourne Library searching through microfiche of old newspapers when I was researching the book. Today I can sit in the study doing the same thing. Amazing isn't it?

So when it comes to working with my hands, its almost like therapy and mind relief.... Those that have been following the Blog full well know that every weekend is taken up with work on our house to put on the market later this year. Our house was built in 1929 and the terracotta roof tiles had 86 years of moss and grunge. Our son Andrew who supplements his income by working with a friend who restores roofs decided that they would surprise us by cleaning our roof last week. It looks like new. In two weeks we have the floor sander coming in now that we have finished painting those rooms.

But I digress - this weekend, we bought the materials to stain the deck - October Brown they call the deck oil and it needs two coats. Today I did the 1st coat. We like the way it is coming along.

I also completed the painting of our side fence today however I did want to get on to the other side border fence but as I was working away, neighbours would stop for a chat which is really nice but it did slow progress. I think they are following our progress with interest. We are blessed to have good neighbours, many that have been in the street as long as us.
No food blog this weekend - we had takeaway tonight!

Oh well, there's always next weekend to catch up.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday on my Mind

It's been a couple of of months since I transitioned to a four day week. The first few weeks I almost felt guilty. Now I'm feeling comfortable. I look at emails and answer the important stuff if I care to. I even turn my phone to silent.

I ride with my friends early in the morning, I have time with Sue, I do projects on the house and I'm starting to feel slightly relaxed. What does it feel like being totally retired - I think this is a world that is still a little way off but until then, Friday is always on my mind.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Time for the Garden

It would seem that our Blog Posts are centered on the house renovations - it's what is taking up most of our life this year. There's so many projects on the go at the moment, I'm not sure if I'm Arthur or Martha!!!!

My Project Manager - that would be Sue, suggested that now that I have completed painting one side of the boundary fence, it was time time to buy plants for the garden beds. The colour of the fence was in "Black Caviar", named after a very successful Australian Thoroughbred mare. She never lost a race in her career. Plus she was gorgeous (Sue)
Black Caviar had 22 wins in her career culminating with Royal Ascot .
She is the colour of our fence.
Diacos is where we buy our plants - a very nice bloke helped us select the plants we bought today.
SO! Today we took a visit to a local nursery, plants not children. Diacos is in the back blocks of our local area where the early market gardens took advantage of the rich soil that also is where our house sits. The soil is so rich that I can feel my finger nails growing as I run my hands through the soil.

The red stuff is Australis Purpurea, (Its  a Cordyline, Leon.) I'm told that it is a native of New Zealand. The green stuff is called Blue Fescue. (In other words a native grass Leon)  What would I know, I  just dig holes and put them in the ground. Sue, can I go for a ride now?
The big picture looking right.
The big picture looking left. I've never been one for straight lines. I like paths that meander, a bit like my mind.
We are actually enjoying the transformation of our home of 30 plus years, especially when friends arrive and help with advice. Next weekend will see the front fence framework have some of the restored pickets attached. In two weeks time the floors get sanded and varnished in a low sheen. We can't wait. The furniture can then be moved back into the lounge and dining rooms and we can start enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I think its Wednesdays in France again.

Does this lady like chocolate? I bet Ken knows.
Where in Paris is the shop and what is it's history?

Monday, June 08, 2015

Cooking and home renovations - STILL!

Its been a week since we last posted - its been a long week.We've had a friend that passed away during the week, a good friend in Paris - a cycling friend. We also had a good friend here in Melbourne who lost her father. As we grow older these things will happen around us - its inevitable. Live for the day.

As our regular readers know, we enjoy entertaining and we are in the midst of renovating the house to have the house ready for auction so this post is about both.

Firstly - Sue's foodie Post;

Our older son was working away in Gippsland for the week, climbing up on roofs to restore them. The weather was such that in the mornings there was ice on the roof so they had to wait for it to melt before starting work! Yuk! Consequently it took them an extra day to finish. He didn't get home until Saturday night. He loves German food. Me, not so much. But thought I would give it a go. The cold weather certainly suited it! The menu was roasted pork knuckle, which is really just a hock, potato dumplings and braised red cabbage. These are the dumplings prior to cooking.
Red cabbage, braised with apple, bacon and other things that I don't really remember right now. That could be because I am  under a lot of pressure from Leon! I just want to watch Masterchef, but he has his laptop on my knee and is such a nag! What a bad boy! It was tasty I will say. The cabbage was my favourite part. One thing I discovered is that the recipe for German potato  dumplings is the same one I use for making gnocchi. Cooking method the same too. I wonder which came first? I guess it depends whether you ask a German or an Italian!
The finished, rather unattractive looking plate. The pork knuckle, braised red cabbage, apple sauce and potato dumplings. I cooked two pork knuckles for four, so some got the bones and some not. This one, no bones. The flavours were all good. Our resident German food lover really enjoyed it. It's not my favoured style of food. But OK.

And now for my Renovation Post - Last weekend my "Chippy" mate Greg completed the posts and rails of the front fence. My job now is to cut the existing pickets to length, sand and repaint. This should save a large amount by using the old pickets. Most were in good order which is saying something considering I built this fence 25 years ago.

Just the start - sanded and undercoated.

I finished one side of the fence over the weekend, only another two sides to go.
Note the path that I put on years ago. I like paths that lead you to around corners to hidden areas. I'm  not a straight path person. Next is to do some planting of tall greenery to contrast with the charcoal grey.
Posts and rails undercoated and all the rubbish in the skip.
I've also started removing the top layer of grass so we can re-turf the front yard.
Due to Lizzie's birthday - in Aussie we celebrate the Queen's B-Day in June - with my Friday off and the Monday celebration it gave me four days on the house renovations. Back to work at the office tomorrow.