Saturday, June 30, 2012

After a week of Victorian-type weather, today is still and sunny.  Our slow combustion wood heater has been fantastic.  Today we're letting it go out after having had it burning day and night for close to two weeks.  The ash needs removing.  We've been burning red gum which is incredibly dense and heavy.

Slowly but surely we are transforming our 'new' house into a home.  Yesterday I unpacked our books. Every book tells a story and I felt wonderfully grounded seeing the various covers and topics of our collection.  

Today I'll do a final clean of the caravan that we've been living in for the last few months, and also sort out 'stuff' stored in our smaller caravan.  Doug is building a second ramp which will go from the kitchen back door onto the new concrete back verandah.  The first ramp goes from the laundry door to the clothes line and has an unexpected advantage of being able to hang washing out while standing in an elevated position on the ramp.

Yesterday our local plumber installed a new instantaneous hot water service.  We've never had this type of water heater before, but it seemed sensible to heat the water we use, rather than a whole heap more.  And I can still have a long shower if I want to, which I do! 

The last few days have seen me back walking along the river with Major -- a major step forward after weeks of feeling too unwell to venture beyond home.

At present, lots of currawongs are feasting on the red berries growing on a tree in our front garden.  Some people call the tree a red pepper tree, or drunken parrot tree because parrots can get quite tipsy if they eat enough berries when they are very ripe.  This we have yet to see; however, we have seen tipsy Friar birds, drunk on the nectar from silky oak blooms.

Another touch in creating our home has been to plant a jade at our front and back  doors.  In theory this keeps the house free of bad energy. The plant from which I took the cuttings originates from a piece I took from a friend's plant over 40 years ago.  Pieces of this plant have been propagated in every new home we have lived in. 

I've included a photo of Katie Siamese in her bed in the sun room overlooking the river.  This is her favourite place.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One of life's greatest stresses: moving house

It's a known fact that moving house is one of life's greatest stresses and I have to agree -- especially as I'm not fully recovered from my bowel and back injury.  But I'm improving every day.

Caravans are great for holidays; however, I prefer a house for day to day living.  We moved into our 'new' house four days ago and only return to the caravan for a shower, as the hot water service in the house needs replacing, a task for early next week.

Our new queen size bed is a great success, along with our slow combustion wood heater (the nights are frosty now, with still sunny days to follow) and the space of a house.  There are still things to move, boxes to unpack and flat-pack furniture to put together, but gradually our 'new' house is transforming into our 'new' home.

15-year-old Katie Siamese loved the house immediately, and the dogs, well, they are happy wherever we go.

Yesterday morning --  after visiting the library in Mitchell -- we watched and  clapped as an Aboriginal Lands Right procession marched down the main street.  The Aboriginal population in Mitchell is mostly well assimilated into the local community.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mitchell Hospital: one of the very best

The last two weeks are ones I'd prefer to forget; however, they did occur.  A bowel 'shut-down' and associated back injury meant that I was in a lot of pain and was unable to do almost everything-- including this blog.

The five days I spent as a patient at the Mitchell Hospital left me feeling tremendously grateful that we have such an excellent hospital here in outback Queensland.  The care I received was given in an efficient and friendly manner.  It was lovely to know so many of the staff as friends and neighbours.

The love and support I received from Doug and our friends gave me a warm, humble feel. With the hospital only three minutes (by car) from home, it was easy for Doug to make short, frequent visits as he organised tradespeople and made improvements to our 'new' home. 

Doug's ramp is nearly complete; the new concrete has been laid; and Steve has done a wonderful job building a large wardrobe with lots of hanging space, shelving and baskets.  All that remains to be done is the fitting of sliding doors; installing two more sets of baskets; adding a matching bench top for the new set of kitchen drawers; and a general clean up.

We hope to move from the caravan to the house within the next week. At this point in time I can't imagine how I'll find the energy and stamina for the move, but every day I AM improving -- at a frustratingly slow rate though.

I'd like to thank all my blogging and Facebook friends who've expressed their concern and good wishes to me.  It's yet another layer of friendship that I value.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Music and preparations to move house

Things are moving fairly slowly due to heavy rain, mud and the difficulty of getting tradespeople.  Nevertheless, next week work should proceed on building cupboards indoors, concreting the back verandah area, and the delivery of our new bed and mattress, TV, fridge etc.                                                                        

Our large native garden is studded with Richard's sculptures and rustic seats for contemplation.  The dog's love it, and so do we.

The house is made up of two separate buildings, joined together.  The kitchen is one of these and probably came from a property where kitchens were usually separate to the house, due to the danger of fire from large wood burning stoves.  That space is now our pantry.

The rest of the house includes a lounge, two bedrooms, two sun rooms, a laundry and bathroom -- plus a small sunny front verandah.

It's perfect for us. Small, recently renovated and by the river -- yet it escaped the flood.

Apart from all of the above, music has been a big part of this week.  Last Saturday bands from all over the area gathered together in Mitchell to march up and down the main street, playing, and then performing at a concert in the park, where the Dunkeld School provided lunch.

In addition, our marimba group had two practices this week in preparation for our performance at the Maranoa Races, next Saturday.

So it's been music, music, rain and mud here in outback Queensland -- plus I've hurt my back badly.