Approximately three years ago we had a friend check out our little house before we placed our offer to purchase.
“It’s small”, she said, “very small, but the ceilings are high”. “It needs work, but I think it’s got potential”, as she walked through the house giving us her first impressions on each room. After telling us about the rest of the house she entered the second bathroom and told us, “There’s a second bathroom, it’s a ‘funny’ little bathroom, but, yes, there definitely is a second bathroom”.
We’ve now been living in our very small, beach cottage for almost three years, and when I say small, I really do mean small. Not so small as to be classed as a ‘tiny house’, but small enough that furnishing and decorating has been a challenge. There’s been lots of trial and error along the way, but I’m pleased to say we’re getting to the stage now where we’re happy with it.
You may remember on 13 March, only 27 days ago, I posted a few photos of changes we’re making in the garden. We’d just planted a Chinese Tallow Tree. The Tallow is a reasonably small back yard tree with gorgeous autumn colour. Autumn colour is rare in Western Australia.
The tree, in only 27 days has changed from summer green (the photo on the left) to a little display of autumn red (the photo on the right). We look forward to the tree maturing in yearsto come, and providing a more significant reminder that winter’s on the way. It’ll be nice to see it burst into renewed life come spring too.
The greens are growing too
We hadn’t even finished erecting our three raised vegetable gardens on 13th March.
A few days later we’d finished the three garden beds and planted some seedlings. When we returned from our four day break away, some of the greens looked to have grown with the speed of Jack’s Beanstalk. We’ve been picking baby leaves of mixed lettuce for our lunch almost daily now, and have had a few small meals of nice, young silver beet.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had our own vege garden. We’ve planted strawberries, brocolli, mixed lettuce, silver beet, celery, parsley, leeks , garlic, turnips and rhubarb. So far we’re only eating the lettuce, silverbeet and parsley. I wonder if we’ll get any strawberries before winter sets in. They have flowers, so fingers crossed. In the meantime though, what a pleasure it is to be adding freshly picked, young greens to our plate.
Our garden continues to evolve. I’m not one of those people who can have a pristine lawn with concrete bordered gardens. I’ve had houses before that have had immaculately bordered garden beds, and within a few months of moving in, out come the borders and the shape of the garden starts to change.
The Margaret River region is world renowned as a tourist destination. Our home-town of Busselton, located at the top of the Margaret River region has become a stop off destination for cruise ships allowing their passengers to dis-embark and get to see some of this famous region. Yesterday, Cunard’s ship, the Queen Elizabeth paid us a visit.
The previous day the ship was in the port of Fremantle, approximately 2 hours north of Busselton by road. Whilst in Fremantle people drove many kilometres from all over Perth to catch a glimpse of the visiting ship.
We live approximately 3 minutes walk to Geographe Bay. Yesterday when we went for our daily morning walk along the beach the Queen Elizabeth, a beautiful site on a glorious sunny day, was anchored just off shore. How lucky are we, no driving needed to see this majestic, luxury liner.
In the late afternoon we again wandered down to the beach for a cooling swim. The tenders were returning their passengers to the ship ready for departure which was scheduled for 6pm. It was 5.30pm and we were wet and salty after our swim, so walked home to shower, and grab a bottle of bubbles. A quick text message to a couple of friends and within 15 minutes the four of us had walked back to the beach for a relaxing drink. How lucky we were, sipping our champagne as we watched the big ocean liner ready herself for departure, knowing we are fortunate to have this all within just a few minutes walk from our front door.
Just another one of the pleasures of living in Busselton!
We awoke this morning to the sound of battering winds and torrential rain. Winds of close to 110 kilometres an hour battered our coast. The rain was the heaviest I’ve ever seen. At one stage it was so heavy that I could have sworn we had ocean waves crashing over the house. To say it was ‘sheeting down’ was an understatement.
By mid-day the worst of the front had passed over and we were able to take Mr Tilly for his walk. Usually we incorporate a beach stretch for him to have a good romp off his lead. However, when we arrived at where our beach usually is, it was nowhere in sight. The tide was high and we had big waves surging as high as the beach shrubbery.
Several residents were out inspecting the beach damage, with some even braving the elements on zimmer frames and motorised gophers. It was clear what we were seeing was mild compared to the fury of the storm and tides during the morning hours. The walking track that runs parallel to the shoreline showed evidence of the waves having washed over the path. The path was littered with sand and seaweed. Benches had been ripped off their stumps and dumped high up in the beach shrubbery, or overturned in the water.
The fury of the ocean has washed out tonnes of sand, carving away at our shoreline. The normally calm waters were frothing and awash with thick seaweed long after the worst of the weather had passed over. I have no doubt that once the water settles from it’s fury, it’s going to be leaving most of that seaweed where our sand should be.
Residents were chatty as they inspected the damage sharing stories of previous storms. One resident said they hadn’t seen the ocean so high and wild since when Cyclone Alby hit in 1978. Others said it’s just winter as usual.
Usual or not, it’s going to take a while for our beautiful beaches to return to their normal pristine condition. Will Mr Tilly care – not one bit, just as long as he gets to romp along the shoreline. As far as he’s concerned, the more seaweed on the beach, and the smellier it gets, the more fun he has. A messy beach, while not my cup of tea, is a joy to our Tills. He’ll be prancing around and charging after seagulls just as soon as there’s any visible sand to romp on. To him it’ll enhance his beach experience, he’ll be jumping for joy amongst the seaweed, and thinking to himself – what a pleasure!
House renovations are progressing, not to schedule of course, but we’re nearing completion.
Four days for the initial part of the kitchen stretched to two weeks. The floor, that was scheduled for between the two kitchen stages had to be postponed, as did the second part of the kitchen.
We’ve been doing a lot of camp style cooking in the garage whilst the kitchen’s been out of order. Fortunately, being campers, we’ve managed to roll with the delays reasonably well. The delays weren’t that unexpected, as anyone who has undertaken renovations will attest to – they rarely, if ever go to schedule.
The kitchen has now been operational for almost a week between stages, and today the floor’s being prepped for the laying of the planks. The second stage of the kitchen (the splashback) is now scheduled for next Monday. Fingers crossed!
With tradesmen coming and going through the days and weeks, there’s been many days that we’ve virtually been confined to the back yard on puppy minding duties. We can’t really leave Tilly in the back garden, shut out of the house with strangers indoors, and expect him not to bark persistently. It’s also been one of those renovations where one of us at least has needed to be on hand for any queries that arise as the work progresses.
Only a few days more now…..
With time on my hands you’d think I’d be well up to date with all my reading, gardening and blogging. Not so. As is often the case when one is out of sorts with usual routine, and with too much time available to do required tasks, I’ve been stretching things out to fill up my day. The result is I get to the end of the day and there’s a multitude of things I could have done, and haven’t.
Instead I’ve succumbed to a virtual reality home staging website. In it, I’m given a painted bare shell of a room, and have to furnish it.
All of the rooms are judged by fellow participants and scored. The highest score available is a 5 (I’ve come close, but not there yet), but anything scoring more than a 4 wins virtual prizes (more furnishings and furniture to add to my available stock). The more rooms you enter, the more furniture stock you receive as prizes for future rooms, and as you progress, you go up in stages unlocking extras, like table decorations, pot plants, and wall art to add to your future rooms.
Of course, the people who have attained the higher levels have more items at their fingertips. I’m up to level 10 now, and I think it goes up to around level 40. It’s good fun, if you have time to waste. Have I been wasting to much time on it – you betcha!
Anyone who knows me well will know I love buying and selling houses. Goodness, we’ve bought and sold more than anyone I know…. I love staging the house, the declutter, the strategically placed pot plants, the quick visit to a the local cheap homewares shop for a couple of the latest trend items to add to the house, the last minute big bunch of fresh, scented lilies for the table – Paul’s not so enamoured with it all, but I love it. To have found a virtual reality home staging website ap – I’m hooked.
The fire bans have finished for the year. We don’t have an inside fire so we’ve acquired an outside fire pit – perfect to sit around for our finger food Friday nights.
As the flames took hold a hose came over the fence – Our friend and neighbour had seen the smoke and decided he’d better come to the rescue…… LOL! Now Brian’s starting to get a bit of reputation with flames and fire (or perhaps he’s always had it) – so rather than risk him completely dousing our flames, we thought he and Kaye had better come over to share a glass of red and soak up the ambience with us. Anyway, what’s better than sitting around a fire pit in your back yard? Having friends sitting around it with you of course!
On a recent camping trip Brian took some amazing photos of flames through a glass of red wine. Paul copied…. I couldn’t post these next two photos without acknowledging the inspiration.
We had our sausage sizzle, then we toasted marshmallows to celebrate the first fire in our new fire pit. There’s an art to getting a marshmallow toasted perfectly. Sometimes I hold them to close to the flames and set them on fire. And sometimes I get them to perfect only to wait a second to long – and they drop off the fork into the fire. But when they’re just right, all crispy on the outside and warm and gooey in the middle…… Yum!!
I’m definitely more a summer person than a winter person, but when I sit in front of glowing fire I start to have my doubts. Each season definitely has it’s place.