Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Video Tour of The Old Post Office

Merry Christmas all!

Posting has been a little light on because we haven't had any internet access, beyond the odd bar here and there that allows me to post to Instagram. Anything beyond that will be difficult for a few more weeks. If you use Instagram and are not already following, feel free to search edwinacf for more regular photo updates.

ANYWAY, here's a video tour I took five days ago. It's very shaky and features a slight meltdown from Lucinda. Excuse also my unkempt appearance, I'm sure you can guess at the reasons.

Since I filmed this, Dan has pulled the rest of the kitchen out.

Merry Christmas from the country kitchen of #theoldpostoffice. May your Chrissy lunch be cooked somewhere slightly more hygienic.

Last night, we spent our first night in the house. It was uneventful, even peaceful. 

We ordered pizza for dinner and sat on cane chairs under the trees watching the neighbours on their twilight horseride. We then went over and introduced ourselves and had a good chat, getting some of the latest local gossip. It was a lovely way to spend our first evening there.
We live opposite a horse riding school now. Very enjoyable outlook. Things may be looking up.

Lucinda and I are now spending a couple of nights at my in-laws near Brisbane because Dan has headed back to begin the nasty job of stripping the pressed metal ceilings of their peeling lead paint first thing tomorrow.

Once that's done, we can start to get an improvised, table and dresser-style kitchen set up.

Anyway, I hope you're having an excellent Christmas wherever you may be enjoying it. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A few piccies

I'm very happy to announce settlement has gone through and we are the proud owners of a rundown piece of local history.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words, advice and encouragement through what has been a stressful couple of weeks.

 Soon, the hard work will really begin -- here's a few more photos taken recently, which I think show not only the incredible amount of work needed here but also a hint of what she might be at the end of the process.

UntitledUntitledUntitled Here we go...

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Quick Update

Just a quick update, as I'm laid low with the same tummy bug Lucinda has been battling for more than a week now.

Settlement is due to go through tomorrow and we're hopeful that'll happen. We haven't heard otherwise.

We appreciate all the advice left on the last post. Just to clarify a few things (and put some minds at rest) - we're not actually living in the house yet.

We took an early possession (which was negotiated through our solicitors and signed off by the vendors) purely so we could store our furniture and whitegoods in their shed and get some much-needed cleaning done.

It's not ideal, but not doing it would have meant we would have been without our belongings - including all Lucinda's Christmas presents - until January as our removalist is flat out at this time of year and the things were stored in his lock up.

We will hopefully move in by the end of this weekend, if our settlement goes through as planned and we get all the locks changed in time.

If settlement doesn't go through? We're not sure yet. If this deal goes pear shaped still, I can assure you we're legally more than covered. They've breached their end of the contract in several ways already, we haven't at all.

We've taken precautions the way through - hundreds of photographs and taking anything that could possibly be perceived as having value out of the house and stacking it neatly under cover in case they want to get it.

No harm has been done to our possessions, which my handy husband secured in the shed using a considerable amount of timber and screws. We know the vendors are now staying in a suburb 1.5 hours drive from the house, so we can't imagine them driving by to cause trouble unless they were particularly committed. If they did? It's only furniture and whitegoods. There's nothing of sentimental value in there. Plus, it's insured. I can live with that risk.

In a perfect world,  none of this would have happened and we probably would have moved in by now.

As it is, we're moving every couple of days from friend to family, trying not to overstay our welcome when two of us are so clearly unwell.

I'll be very, very happy if we can get in and start unpacking this weekend. Maybe we can even get the Christmas tree up and redeem some of this festive season before it's all over.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's All Happening

Lucinda is asleep as I write this, still struck down with a stomach bug that has left her absolutely zonked for four days now.

HOWEVER, there is good news - I'm about to finish packing up the car, drive on out of Brisbane and up the highway to pick up the keys to the new house!

We haven't had any progress with the settlement change of dates. Turns out it's the bank's fault - they haven't done what they needed to do to get settlement happening today. Yesterday, we got a call from the agent representing the sale of our house in Brisbane. Same deal with that  settlement - the bank gave the buyer one day's notice they wouldn't be able to complete it.

It defies belief, really. Two banks, two settlements, a chain of people buying and selling on the same day who are now out of pocket.

Settlement is now next week on both deals, and the owners of the post office have agreed to give us early possession of the house.

So, we can get the keys today, get cleaning tonight and wait for the arrival of our furniture and things tomorrow.

We're booked into a motel the next few days. My car is chock full of our possessions and everything we need to survive a few more days of this nomadic life.

I am very much looking forward to getting moved in though, and getting some kind of routine back - hopefully with a recovered child.

Thanks everyone for your wishes, I will be a bit more present with some photos soon and able to communicate back a little!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nasty surprises

Thanks to everyone who left their ideas on living with snakes. I am feeling a little more zen about it now - and fairly confident the system we've chosen (fencing and a terrier alarm system) is the best one for us. But, as with everything, we will see when we get there. 

We moved out of our house in Brisbane yesterday. The removalists arrived, took one look at all our furniture and announced they'd have to do two trips to get it all out to the Lockyer Valley and into storage for a week, where it's now sitting and waiting for us.

Meanwhile, we are staying with long suffering friends for four nights. They have the most beautiful garden, chock full of veggies and chooks and productivity.

In what must be some of the world's worst timing, Lucinda has fallen ill with a nasty stomach virus. I'll spare you the grizzly details - let's just say I've been giving the washing machine quite a work-out. 

As I was just getting to the bottom of this post, about to say we're looking forward to getting the keys on Friday, my phone just rang. 

It was our solicitor -saying the owners of the post office have advised they won't be ready to settle on the 13th as planned. They have asked for a five-day extension to the settlement date. 

We're getting more information on the situation this afternoon, but who knows where we'll go for another week if we can't sort this out today. Or where the two loads of furniture waiting to be delivered Friday will end up. 

Deep breaths.

Friday, December 7, 2012

On snakes (again? Really?)


Have I mentioned them before? Have I mentioned them in the last five minutes?

We've got a fairly expansive (and expensive) system planned to allay my fears of Lucinda strolling over to one and trying to pat it. Call me paranoid, but I'd rather not take chances and I don't want to keep her cooped up inside all day because I'm worried about what she'll find waiting out the back door.

Our first line of defence is to snake fence the entire house block, which includes both houses and the area where the herb gardens will be.

It's an expensive exercise but we've budgeted for it and it's pretty much priority number one as far as I'm concerned.

Having met a few people lately here in Queensland who've moved off acreage specifically because the snakes were too constant a problem, I think it'll be money well spent if we can at least keep them off the house block.

Our second line of defence is to get a couple of fox terriers to keep away vermin and hopefully raise a ruckus when they get through the snake fence (I say when, not if).

We already have one dog, a red and white border collie called Maisie.

She's about as ferocious as she looks, which is not at all. Maisie spends most of her days trying to catch her shadow and chasing leaves. If she ever met a snake, she'd be a goner. Let's hope the new terriers watch her back for her.

Our third line of defence is a small fence around the main house, inside which will be turf for Lucinda to play on. This fence will also have snake mesh.

We've heard mixed reports about snake repellers. Some people seem to swear by them, others reckon they make no difference at all and some even say the vibrations attract snakes.

So, that's our grand plan. Sounds like overkill but if it helps me sleep a little easier at night then it's got to be worth it.

I'm very interested to hear from anyone else living on acreage (or snakerage, as Dan calls it) about how you manage snakes, particularly if you've got young kids.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tipping Point

Over the last few weeks, as I've explained our decision to move to people in my life, I've had a few people asking why we've made the call to leave our world in Brisbane.

The only thing I can put our decision down to is that we reached some sort of a tipping point.

We've spent the last seven or so years as a couple idly daydreaming about living on acreage. We've spent hundreds of hours exploring pockets of countryside around Brisbane on weekends, examining real estate listings and attending the odd open home.

We'd always come home to our house in the suburbs afterwards, put a load of washing on, get up and go to work again the next day and move past it. Not in an unhappy way.

Just because, that's life.

2012 brought our tipping point and, to be honest, I can't even put my finger on quite what it was.

A stressful financial period after Lucinda was born and the company Dan worked for went belly-up certainly didn't help.

One too many evenings when I came home exhausted from work, hastily fed Lucinda something from the freezer and then put her straight to bed - frustrated and worn out - didn't help either.

A new job opportunity in a new part of town for Dan. A trip too many to visit friends in the country.

An increasing, murky, sinking feeling that you must be living someone else's life for them.

None of these are enough to make you pack your bags and head for the hills on their own, of course.

But cumulatively, they're enough to bring about a certain introspection. Enough to make you step back from your day-to-day life and look at whether this is what YOU want. Not what society recommends for you, or how your friends or family live.

After all, they have their own wants, needs, temperaments and goals to contend with.

Sometimes in life, we  all just live to survive for a while.  Breathe, eat, sleep. There's nothing wrong there. It's just the way the world goes.

On the occasions we're lucky enough that opportunities present themselves to extend beyond that and we're able to take advantage of them, then why not?

That was our tipping point, I guess.

Why NOT?

Life is a journey. This is the next stop on ours.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Smell of Smoke

It's stinking hot in Brisbane at the moment.

It smells like smoke, a smell I love after a childhood in Tasmania sniffing the ever-present fumes of thousands of wood heaters.

For Queenslanders, smoke is not always a smell that evokes such fond associations.

One of our first priorities in the new house is to put in a wood heater for Winter. A big, old house like that is sure to bake three quarters of the year and freeze the rest. Insulation is also a priority. Solar panels are on the list, too, although would eat up such a chunk of our first year's budget they may have to wait a year or two.

At our place in Brisbane, we're knee deep in boxes and cold drinks and memories.

Monday-week is when the removalists will arrive to whisk everything we own away. Then, we're staying at friends and motels for a week until we get the keys to the new house, rip out the carpet and curtains, scrub it down and learn to call it home.

We've been living a reasonably transient life lately, visiting friends and having adventures. Lucinda sleeps in her porta-cot at least once a fortnight and has no problems adjusting to unfamiliar places and people. That will be a useful thing over the next month.

I drove past the new place a couple of days ago on the way to Toowoomba to see friends. It looks gorgeous out there. Recent rains have brought the place back to life and it's exciting to know we'll be moving in at the time of year when it looks its best - jacarandas and poincianas in bloom and enough rain already to change the colour of the landscape from brown to the most vivid of greens.

For now though, it's back to the boxes.