Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I think today was Wednesdays in France

France - its been our destination since 2009 and we've been back often over the years to now count our trips to six. We are actually planning another trip in late 2016 to return to Italy for a Classic Bike Event and then off to Holland, Belgium and France. I hope to have been retired during next year, sold the house and re-established ourselves elsewhere.

We keep saying after each trip that it will be our last. We've made many friends over those six trips and I guess that is what makes France part of our lives. Next year two of those friends will be coming to Melbourne to visit us. Danielle and Michel from Paris, we met them during the 2007 and 2008 World Masters Track Championships. It will be really nice to show them "Melbourne - our home on the bay".

Here's a few pics of our favourite parts of France.
In this case - the Loire

Saint Aignan sur Cher
Thenay near Pontlevoy
Monthou sur Cher
I've missed a few Wednesdays in France so I couldn't help myself - the many photos brought back the flooding memories of good times. Hurry up 2016.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I've Been Working

A few posts back I finished our lounge room renovation and now I've moved to the task of the dining room. While doing this, Sue is restoring a sideboard that will go in the dining room. It's a piece of furniture that I bought many years ago when I had a antique and classic (and junk) shop in my pre-Sue era.

The colours flowing through the house are Antique USA for the walls and white and vivid gloss white on all the woodwork. When we first renovated the house, a 1929 Californian Bungalow, we researched the heritage books and faithfully followed the colors of the era.

Part of the charm of the Cal Bung is the cross over from the Edwardian period.
They call our Dining Room, the Breakfast Room in our period restoration book.
Note my tools of restoration.
All the dark original colours require quite a lot of preparation for the lighter more modern colours.
This is the other side of the door above.
With the plan to sell in September this year, we have been advised that the demographic that might be our market will want a more neutral colour pallet. (that's real estate talk).

The deadline is looming quickly and I have two rooms to complete - the dining room and then the total revamp of en suite to our bedroom. Then there's the garden and a general spruce up of the exterior of the house. We've been here for over 30 years and we have so much clutter. Looks like a garage sale and a few eBay ads could be on the "to do list".
Most of the day was sanding and preparing for the first coats of paint. I actually was able to get some paint on the ceiling straps before returning to real work.

The dining room flows into the lounge room. Once the dining room is finished, we get the floor sanders in to  enhance the Baltic pine floors to a lush honey colour.
We will retain many of the original features such as the light fittings.
And the door furniture.
Sue's resto project - We'll show you the finished product soon.
The clock is ticking away to our deadline of putting the house on the market in September. I may just have to  dive in to the bank account to get some help soon.

Just like me - watch this video

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Well, yes there is a Doctor in the house but he's not that kind of Doctor. Our son Andrew graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy last Thursday. Andrew Cameron Sims was one of six at the graduation ceremony that had the opportunity to wear the silly hat - we are very proud.

His thesis was entitled, "The Very Idea of Psychodynamic Neuroscience". Hey, don't ask me! I have no idea what this is all about but those at the VIP drinks and nibbles seemed most impressed with Andrew's achievements (as we are). His dedication and work ethic has awarded him with an outstanding achievement.

Andrew's life will be as an academic and probably in a country outside of Australia. Opportunities for such minds in Australia are very limited and so he hopes to settle in Europe before the end of this year - most likely in the Netherlands.
Let me be the first to say that Andrew's academic talents come from his mother.
It was a double celebration for us a parents as our other son, Mitchell starts his career in the travel industry after two weeks of training with STA Travel. Both our boys are much travelled and we expect that Mitch has found a career that gives him fulfilment.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kyneton on a Friday Drive.

Since going to a 4 day working week, I start off with an early morning training ride and return home so Sue and I can take off for a destinantion to enjoy a drive and lunch some where. This Friday was no exception. In fact we returned to the area of Woodend, Kyneton, Hepburn Springs, Daylesford and the town that seems to have captured our imagination, Trentham.

A stop off at Kyneton for coffee, tea, vanilla slice for Sue and a quiche for me at a local cafe/bakery was a delight. A little wander around the main street took us back to the car and we found this wonderful wall in the form of a tiled mosiac. The tiles were both creative and moving as they were a commemoration to past bushfire that ravaged the district. February 2009 was the year that Victoria became ignited througout the state.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday

My father Jack on the left, Beryl his sister in the middle and Les his younger brother to the right.
Both Les and Beryl passed away many years back.
My father is now 94 and the oldest surviving member of the family. I guess that makes me the second oldest in our family tree. Scary stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Autumn in Melbourne - Wednesdays in France

You may have noticed the new masthead - its autumn in Melbourne and our big tree is dropping leaves all over our back yard. Never mind, I just remembered its Wednesdays in France so here's our back yard and a past France photo.


In Thenay - near Montrichard on the Cher.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Trentham - a sleepy little hollow

One of our recent readers asked, "Where are you going?" - that's a really good question. Our minds change constantly, after all its probably for the rest of our lives. We have several friends who live in France, having left family and friends behind to live where they will spend the rest of there lives. Its a big decision.

Our thoughts have been with Launceston Tasmania however we have been to a different area that has been quietly tripping around in the back of our minds as a posssibility.  A previous post has mentioned Daylesford and Kyneton but close by, in that triangle is Trentham.

Trentham is midway between Daylesford and the town of Woodend which is serviced by the V-Line train that runs to Melbourne. By car, Trentham is a little over one hour away from Melbourne via a fast flowing major freeway with a maxiumum speed limit of 110 kph. It has a growing population, currently at 1400 and projections of 5000 over the next 10 years may not be out of the question. It sits at the top of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and on the edge of the Wombat Forest. It is an old gold mining town known more commonly  now as being in spa country. The area is riddled with mineral springs and there are many day spas and health retreats in  the area. Also a foodie mecca. We had a coffee at the local store that sold a good range of local and international wines. The proprietor who had lived there for close to 8 years loves the place and said that  in all that time, he's never had to lock the door to his home. He suggested that we should come back in the middle of winter as it has a reputation as one of the coldest places in Victoria during winter. There is snow or sleet on an average 13 days per year. Brrrrrr.....

Sue says;
If we do this, we're thinking we will build. We have found a house we both love. We like old fashioned charm coupled with modern convenience, comfort and little maintenance. This house has it all, and with a style we like. It has an old looking facade that will fit right in with the other buildings in town.
Here are some pics that Leon took yesterday of parts of it. We had a chat with the builder. Scary!

From the brochure

Walk through the doorway
And you are greeted by the long passageway that leads to the kitchen and family room.
To the left is a formal sitting room followed by the study and library.
To the right is the generously proportioned bedroom.
Looking from the kitchen/family room to the front entrance.
Behind me is a large family area, just perfect for entertaining vistors from the city.

Sue needs a walk in pantry

The bedroom has a walk in robe and to the left is the generous en-suite

Main Street Trentham - 1920s

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Hard to say what year it was,
certainly in the 50s.
Always had a love of the bike
it took you places, gave you a sense of freedom.
Nothing has changed!

I'm several decades on now
but still like to hang out 
with the young dudes on the bike.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Where have we been?

That's a good question Leon and Sue - where have you been?
Hard to say really. one week goes by, then another and that becomes a month. The house renovations and then my father arriving for three weeks while my sister who cares for him went on a well deserved cruise. Jack turned 94 while here, me 65 and my daughter Carly celebrated her 42nd all in the space of 4 days.

While working, house reno, celebrating, the Blog has been neglected but we promise that we will get back on track now that life is settling just a little now.

The House:
The lounge room is now almost completed and then we move on to the dining room update. Once the rooms are all repainted we then can have the floors sanded and stained. Then we revamp the en-suite.
That's pretty much the inside of the house but then it's the fences and garden. The deadline is September so we can put the house on the market.

Although Launceston, Tasmania has been at the forefront of our favourites, Sue has been looking at a rural township of Daylesford. Its the centre of Spa Country and the town itself has lots of eateries (a Sue priority).
The town was established as a Gold mining district around 1852. It's located a little over 100 kms from the Melbourne CBD and today it has a population of 2600. Most of its income is from tourism and its Spa baths and water. The town hosts many festivals and markets. Looks like we may take another visit on my Friday off this week so we'll keep you informed.

April is our busy birthday month and with my father now 94 years old, we treasure each visit. All his compatriots are now long gone and family is his main focus. He's seen many changes over his lifespan, many things he doesn't quite understand or for that matter, doesn't care to understand.
He's proud of his Australian heritage and his family.

Jack 94 - Leon 65
Jack gave up riding his bike at 90 and today does 30 mins on a stationary bike.
So that's our first post in three weeks but we'll be more consistent from now on.