Dream house, dream life, yeah right. Dream on…

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I swear this blog is about more than the lawnmower (who was visible mowing away at 4 am under the full moon.)

Someone has become very good at  lurking under my bedroom  window looking  starved whenever I walk past. (Click the pics for a bigger view)

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“That’s cheating, you put the pellets too close to you!”

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“I’m not spoilt –  I’m essential for recycling apples!”

Getting a roundtuit

Honestly, I could be the President of the Procrastinator’s Association, if they didn’t keep postponing their meetings. 

FlyLady has been a big help in making me Do It Now but I still manage to put things on a never ending ‘to do list’ that never seem to get done.

Three years ago a plumber knelt on my closed toilet and cracked the lid. 

Two years ago last Easter I had to replace the cistern downstairs. It came with a new toilet seat which wouldn’t fit the old toilet downstairs. I thought “I must put it upstairs and get rid of that cracked lid”.  So it sat around inside the back door for a few months, then one day, before visitors arrived, I put it in the shedlet.

A few weeks ago the plastic on the seat started to peel. Yuck.  So finally, yesterday, after putting it off all day I went and got it from the shedlet. It actually looked like it might even fit (So many things in this house aren’t standard, I assumed I’d have to much around with pliers and  adjusting bolts and whatever to make it work).

Instead I simply unscrewed the old seat by hand,  wiped down the loo, and installed the new seat. Took all of about, oh,  7 minutes and that included cleaning the hard to get to bit at the back.

Seven minutes! Seven!



Let there be Light(shades)



A friend gave me a couple of lovely tall lamps with wooden bases and shades that pivot so you can tilt them for reading. Unfortunately one of the shades was very watermarked.

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Watercolours wouldn’t cover it, and were too hard to mix to match the colours I had chosen for downstairs, so I ended up painting the shades with the sample pots of wall paint. The light doesn’t come through them now, but with the bases resprayed white they look good, if I do say so myself (see the full lamps in the downstairs reveal coming soon)

The  first design I tried didn’t work so I scrapped it and went back to the beginning.

The shading I simply brushed on without cleaning the brush so it blended from one colour to the next.

Then I used silver paint to freehand a design onto each shade.

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I can’t believe downstairs is nearly done and I haven’t started blogging it. It’s been a hectic 3 months. Hopefully the next few months will be just as hectic with  b&b guests….

I’m not distracted…oooh look sparkly

I need to work out a way to write without looking at the net. I’m sitting here watching Queen perform at Wembley because while writing a post I checked facebook, saw a link to a guy with two kermit puppets ‘singing’ Under Pressure which led me to watching something like five versions of the original. That of course led me to rereading Wikipedia about Queen and Wembley and then to watching more videos and.. well maybe tomorrow I’ll have a new post.

what happens if dynabolts have to be pulled out of old brick and mortar walls

Tomorrows tasks are to put another layer of plaster into the holes I made today pulling the shelves off the wall, patch the ceiling, maybe sand back the skirting boards, and then paint the ceiling. I bought one of those thick one coat ceiling paints. Hope it works, I HATE doing ceilings.

How to blog

First rule, blog constantly. Even  when right at the bottom of the ditch of life.

I still  don’t have roommates. There aren;t any international  students coming here this summer because  of the economy. So I’m  advertising for  independants – but not getting any enquiries.

Meanwhile my  ensuite money is vanishing down the mortgage.  There were a few days when it frankly didn’t seem worth  getting out of bed.  I’ve dragged myself back, although  my  Xmas spirit has vacated the premises. I’ve been unpacking boxes and tidying and sorting. I own far too many books and not nearly enough  shelves at present.

I hve a Xmas party and meeting here on Wednesday night. Panic time! I’ve at least managed to  find the dining table and the sunroom. Spent today making  chocolate desserts for xmas parties –  which  are either burned or tasteless. Hopefully they will  taste alright tomorrow when I chop  them up.

On the up  side I went looking for a cheap  lampshade for the hall and instead of a plain bone one I had planned on found an emboridered one in a teal that matches my  walls exactly, but when it’s on it glows purple.

Renovation Rules

1. Any piece of building that you wish to remove will be better built than an earthquake proof skyscraper.
2. The feature you are determined to keep will be hanging on by the rust on a nail, be half rotten and need more effort to restore than it would take to toss and modernise.
3. Any item requiring removal will have at least 3 screws. One of these screws will NOT turn, no matter what you do. One of these screws will be just out of reach of whatever you are standing on. One of these screws will be positioned so you need to find a shorter screwdriver to access it. Often all these things apply to the same screw.
4. No matter which windowsill you’ve just painted – that will be the direction the sudden rainstorm suddenly appears from while the windows are wide open.
There wiill always be one polyfilled hole on the wall that you haven’t sanded and will only notice as the paint roller hits the bumps.
5. Sample colours and paint sample charts have no relation to each other.
6. The colour can be just what you want but if it’s name is something with similar mental imagery to ‘pig vomit’ there is no way you can put it on your walls.
7. If you own a 1950s double brick home nothing is standard, everything is solid and there are no straight lines.

“Tuesday” Tour

Isn’t it amazing how you get used to the sound of technology? The house is so quiet, (well it would be if there weren’t elephants clomping all over the roof and gnomes with hammers mining beneath my floor boards.) The power is off while they upgrade my mains to support my power habit. Apparently it is unreasonable of me to want to be warm, have hot water AND run a computer at the same time as I cook dinner. It was unheard of in 1950 of course – when we moved in there was one power point in each room and none at all in the bathroom. I remember being very surprised to see Dad shaving in the bedroom – he had a newfangled electric razor, something this house was obviously never expected to see. Suddenly I’m cut off from the world (for several hours they predict.) Of course I’m sitting here on the couch with the laptop on my lap typing posts, but still there is a slight sense of being unable to do anything. I need to phone the parents of an old school friend – but I need the electronic white pages to look up the number (heaven forbid I actually try reading through the paper copy sitting on the floor behind me.) I could I suppose look it up on my mobile, but I’m not paying mobile rates to call them, and… all the phones in the house are dead.

I had a huge list of things to do while waiting for paint to dry (I put the third coat on the floors today, so half of the house is a no go zone.) But I can’t mow – it keeps spitting with rain. I can’t sort the shedlet because they are pulling the circuit box apart and that is right outside the shedlet. I can’t pack up the study or empty my wardrobe because they are drilling and hammering into those walls and it’s not pleasant. So I’m sitting here, staring at the view that will soon be my everyday view – the Mountain, my garden. After so many years of living at the front and side of the house it will be strange to be at the back. This view, which I love is almost a full 180⁰ mountain panorama. (Except at the moment a few of my  trees are a bit overgrown –  lopping them was supposed to  be someone else’s problem when I thought I’d be selling the house so they haven’t been  touched for  the last  couple of years. Guess whose problem they are now!)

I’ve been meaning to start a Tuesday Tour on this blog, and I guess the reason I haven’t yet is I couldn’t decide where to start. Since the house is currently a disaster area (electricians are the messiest tradies) I think I’ll start with the backyard. I can’t imagine living without a view of ‘the mountain’. If you want to know what the weather will do look at the mountain. If it’s wet it’s raining, if it’s covered in snow it is cold, if it’s swaying it’s an earthq… ok, no, really, most of our weather comes up over the Mt, so we seriously can predict a great deal from what clouds are hanging around it. But really, just watching the play of light and cloud across it is mesmerising. I haven’t been in the habit of coming out to look at it in the mornings, and I must say I’m looking forward to having a bedroom window that will show me the weather before I get dressed.

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So, welcome to my back garden. On the right the fence extends down beside the unit, then through the next house and finishes at the highway – a walkway access, not big enough for a vehicle unfortunately. I have great plans for this garden now I own it. Because if the sideways design of the house the back door is actually closer to the front fence, and the front door is closer to the clothesline, but neither of them lead you into the back garden. So it really has never been used. It’s very nice to sit inside and look at, but bbqs etc in it are impractical and tend to gather in the front. So I want to break it up into some ‘rooms’. I figure I can make some little paved and even roofed nooks to sit in with a laptop or a book (going to have a heap of students living here). I also want to be able to drive into the back to deliver soil, mulch and remove green prunings etc. At present every bit has to be hand wheelbarrowed from the front…and it’s a long garden. However to do that it looks like I need to sacrifice the mock orange on the right. I’ll have plenty of plants to regrow, but it will take a while to get to the size it is now. I’ll have to reconsider it once it is not in bloom, at the moment I’m inclined to say ‘who really needs vehicular access?” (I DO!!!) The other thing that needs to move or change is the Hills Hoist. Lots of ideas spinning (haha) around in here at the moment. One big problem is much of the yard is shaded, either by trees or the units next door. The best drying spots put it in the middle of the best views – the main reason I want to move it. Secondly it is currently in the best place to put a vegetable garden. Of course I can’t move it too close to trees or gardens, it can’t be too shaded, it needs to be fairly accessible to the doors (which are on the wrong sides of the house…) So far the only really useful thought I’ve had is that a) it doesn’t have to be a rotary clothes line, a retractable would work just as well and b) I could put it in the middle of the ‘drive’ area that I’m creating – I’m not going to be driving down more than once or twice a year and the poles could be removable. So, back to the trees. There’s a few bottlebrush, a variegated xmas bush and a golden conifer (all of which may go…) on the left hand fence as you  come past the house. Then there’s Nanna’s wisteria photo added of  it in flower  last year). The original is still growing at the house where my father was born, the story is that it was given to my grandmother as a wedding present, brought out by a sea captain from China especially for her. (I’d love to get it DNA tested in comparison to the one in the Botanical gardens (1857 planted I think) and the one in Kew gardens from which most in cultivation in the pioneer times were supposed to have come.) Then the past veggie beds, now full of flowers and, temporarily, some vegetables. I tossed a heap of old seeds in last Winter and it’s amazing what has come up. Sweet peas, cosmos, larkspur, beetroot, carrots.

Then  the red dogwood, maple and  horizontal  viburnum in what is known as the peninsula bed. Conifer corner behind them, a NZ lacebark beside the tallllll  almond, then  a  variegated  liriodendron (tulip tree), a cantua (pink bell flowers), a dark leafed viburnum, the lemon tree and  a bunch of  buddleias and things on the right hand side including the  mass of white of the mock orange and a white flowering cherry.

Now, where can I fit a summer house?

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