Our arrival at Nusa Lembongan

We were picked up from the Tandjung Sari at 8.30am and transported to the reasonably new, and very busy jetty to catch our fast boat from Sanur to Lembongan Island. Prior to the jetty’s completion, boarding the boats for the Islands required accessing the vessels by wading through the waves. All manner of boat tours leave from the jetty now, so it was a crowded place. Hawkers, walked around offering their wares to the myriads of tourists awaiting their boats. The days of ‘hard sell’ by the hawkers that we remembered from 25 years ago, now seems to be a thing of the past in Bali thankfully, so each approach to prospective customers was polite and un-demanding.

An old lady wandered from bin to bin collecting empty plastic bottles, I guess there must be a rebate available for returned plastics. A gentle, friendly dog, riddled with fleas tried to find a cool place on which to lie the patches of skin that he’d scratched bare. We watched the fleas running across the bare skin patches and saw his agonised face as he tried unsuccessfully to scratch away the source of his discomfit. As I remember that little dog scene and write about him, I feel my eyes well up with tears. I so desperately wanted to help the poor creature – I felt so helpless. This is Bali!

We boarded the fast boat with our carry on luggage feeling pleased with ourselves for ‘being sensible’ enough to have luggage that didn’t need checking in. As it turned out, we weren’t that sensible after all, and it was by sheer good luck rather than good management that our belongings didn’t end up getting soaked at the Lembongan end. As the boat pulled in to the beach we realised there was no jetty to alight from the boat, rather we had to climb over the end of the boat and wade into shore – not easy with a 7 kgs of hand luggage. Paul went first with his pack, and said a couple of times he nearly lost his feet and it was only by the boat staff quickly putting out a supporting hand that kept him upright and his pack dry. He deposited the pack on the shore and returned for my pack. I had rolled up my shorts and waded, luggage free, into shore. I had only just managed to keep on my feet, but the sea water had wet me almost to waist height. Needless to say, our luggage will be checked in for our return boat trip, and I’ll be wearing bathers and board shorts for the trip.

We were met by a driver and taken to our accommodation at Palm Grove Huts on Mushroom Bay. We had arrived a bit early so left our packs at reception and went to the on site restaurant for coffee. It was just after 11, so breakfast had finished, and lunch not yet started. Clearly this establishment was a giant step down from our Sanur accommodation with its all day dining, but at approximately 1/4 of the price I’m reminded that you get what you pay for. As there was no all day dining, we managed to get ourselves only a cup of coffee, there were no snacks to accompany it. We drank our coffee, went for a short orientation walk around the immediate neighbourhood, made an appointment for a massage, and went back to check out our accommodation.

Our hut is pleasantly located close to the clear, blue swimming pool. Whilst lacking in the little touches like soft tissues and anything over and above the absolute basic additions one has come to expect now in paid accommodation, it is certainly adequate. Body and hand wash, shampoo, loo paper, and two small bottles of water are supplied in the outdoor ensuite. Some of the boards are loose and in need of repair, so I remind myself to turn on the light at night so as to be able to watch my footing.

The hut has a beachy, white washed decor and is tucked away into a secluded little corner overlooking the pool. The structure isn’t lined, so there are gaps between the boards – a few ants run around over the dressing table, and I think to myself, ‘I hope nothing really nasty finds its way inside from between those gaps.’ The covered verandah is comfortably furnished with an outdoor lounge suite and coffee table.

Inside, the air conditioned room is furnished with a mosquito net covered king sized bed made up with with clean white linen. We also have a day bed in the room, an open wardrobe, dressing table, a TV, and a few other bits, certainly enough to ensure we’ll be comfortable for the next few days and nights.

We spent our afternoon relaxing around the pool with our books. I’m pleased to say the pool looks to be very clean and well maintained, and the water features at either end are working (unlike many of the other gorgeous water features around the property). The Sun loungers proved to be very comfortable, but show signs of dirt and neglect. The wooden boardwalks surrounding the pool and leading the way around the property, in places are in need of some attention. In fact as we wander around the whole place is lacking attention to detail, but I remind myself this is an island slowly recovering from the pandemic and the absence of tourists that it so desperately relies upon. The staff around the premises aren’t yet plentiful, so perhaps it is going to take a full, good, tourist season to see funds return sufficiently to enable the attention to detail the premises are currently lacking – the repair of loose floor boards, the return to working order of the many beautiful water features around the property, the sparse tropical gardens to be made lush and glorious, a restaurant that offers all day dining, and last but not least, the cleaning of those sun loungers around the pool.

We showered and headed out to our booked massage – it was a fantastic massage. Then back to our home for the next four nights, another shower to remove the massage oil, and out in search of a spot to eat dinner. Pork ribs and cool Crystal Bintangs (Bali’s beer) in a casual bar overlooking the waters of Mushroom Bay hit the spot perfectly.

A pleasant nights sleep, then off to take advantage of the included breakfast in the premise’s tarriff. Yes definitely at around 1/4 the price of our last accommodation, we are clearly getting ‘what we have paid for’. It was okay – just. So that’s our arrival into Lembongan. We’ll look around the Island over the next few days and I’ll look forward to showing you around later……

First impressions from Bali after 25 years absence.

Four days in Sanur:

Our re-introduction to Bali after around 25 years began in Sanur. Our accommodation at the boutique Tandjung Sari bungalows certainly saw us off to a good start with Bali. The food at the restaurant, while not exceptional, is definitely on the better side of passable. Its downside, along with the downside of Tandjung Sari as a place to stay, is the prices. It is on the high side compared to other places around. One thing though that I’m pleased to say is that, talking to the staff, it appears the owners aren’t greedy. From what the staff tell us they’re all paid fairly, and according to Government regulations. From what we can gather this isn’t always the case. Some cheaper hotels seem to be maintaining their lower room and meal prices by paying their staff below what the government regulations require. The fact that our hosts appear to be giving their employees a fair cut from their takings certainly goes a long way to us accepting that perhaps we’re paying the right price, especially taking into account the quality of the place, the high attention to detail, and the biggest plus, the staff seem to be proud and content in their jobs.

Additional to the fact that the staff appear to be happy with their pay checks, is the fact that the hotel certainly doesn’t skimp on staff. This is something that is apparent wherever you are in Bali. On an Island where approximately 95% of employment revolves around the tourist industry, it’s clear that a lower wage structure supports more employment. Where ever we go service is always slow, despite an abundance of staff, yet clearly there would be 4 – 5 times as many wait staff in most eateries than are in any eatery in Australia. We’re here on holiday, as is almost everyone else eating in the food places, so what does it matter that service is slow.

When I look around at the Balinese people and their culture it makes me wonder if wealthy countries such as Australia have it right. Clearly people here in Bali are in general much poorer than the general population in Australia, and in general, most people here work longer hours, and for much less pay. Yet they all seem less stressed, and they all seem to be proud of their jobs and their working status. Ayu, our favourite waitress from Tandjung Sari was absolutely delightful, always happy and smiling, good at her job, and proud of her job.

It makes me wonder if western countries that have have fought for higher rates of pay have done themselves any favours. Clearly if one person is required to take on the equivalent work load of 4 – 5 people in countries that offer much lower rates of pay, then that one person is going to have to work 4 – 5 times harder and faster. Maybe that’s the reason so many people in Western countries seem so stressed and are suffering from job dissatisfaction. Maybe in Western countries expectations of everything are just too high, and consequently, we’re all suffering far more stress than we should be.

Anyway enough of that, here’s how we’ve spent our first four days.

Day 1, we settled into our accommodation and did a little bit of orientation around our digs. Our hotel is situated right on the beach with tables spreading across the beach path onto the sandy shore. The beach path runs for approximately 4 kms down the length of Sanur and it’s well kept and pleasant to walk on, providing one either walks on it in the early morning, or the late evening. Following dinner at our digs on the first night we walked along the path, and also upon rising early the following morning. It was quiet and peaceful on both occasions, however by 7.30am the path was teaming with people and dogs, all out for their morning walk. Thank goodness we rose early!

Day 2, We tackled the main street in search of a Tailor. I had brought some clothes with me from Australia that required a few alterations so had decided to make use of one of the many Tailors in Bali. The footpaths in Sanur on the Main Street are the same as elsewhere in Bali, in terrible repair, crowded, and dirty, and that’s just the way I remembered Bali from 25 years ago. My son refers to Sanur as Snore, or Kuta in cardigan, but the Main Street certainly wasn’t any sleepy little place that could justifiably be referred to as ‘snore’. It was chaos! We found a tailor and left my clothes to be altered. Then later we headed in the other direction but this time down the beach path. We found someone selling tickets on the fast boats that go daily to the island of Nusa Lembongan, so we arranged our boat ride to the Island for the four days of this trip following on from Sanur. Those four days will be spent on Nusa Lembongan. We also found the two restaurants that are listed on Tripadvisor as Sanur’s number one and number two. Both restaurants happen to be at the Andaz, approximately 15 minutes walk along the beach path. We booked for that eventing at Wok Wok, and for Saturday night, my birthday night, at the number one restaurant, The Fisherman’s Club. In the afternoon we lay in the sun on the beach lounges with our books before showering and heading to Wok Wok for dinner. Wok Wok was okay, but nothing memorable.

Day 3, A short walk, then an early breakfast before our driver picked us up at 8am for a big day, snorkelling and a private tour of a water fall. We headed up to the port where all the boats leave for Lombok, this was where our boat met us for the snorkelling. I had been wanting to go on one of the boats that line the shores of Sanur and sit there on the banks looking like giant spiders as the sun rises over the sands in the early morning, so was delighted to see that it was one of these boats that would transport us to our two snorkelling spots.

The snorkelling was good, but it was sad to see what had clearly one day been a glorious coral reef, now decimated by the interference of humans in pursuit of the tourist dollar. After snorkelling at two spots for around two hours we were taken back to the port for a shower and light lunch, were met by our driver, Ketut, and taken on our private tour to the waterfall, (a thoughtful Christmas gift voucher from our daughter and son-in-law). The water fall was lovely, but jam-packed with people.

Ketut was the highlight of the day, a real gem and so informative. We learned so much from him, the family structure, how life was during the pandemic, and even the meaning of Ketut. (In case you’re wondering Ketut means fourth born, and that’s why there are so many Ketuts in Bali, and it is only a Balinese name. There is another syllable before Ketut if a female happens to be the fourth born in a family). More on what we learnt from Ketut on how life was during the pandemic a little later…… We returned to the hotel, then wandered down the main street to pick up my alterations from the Tailor. All the alterations look to have been carried out well.

Day 4, 27th May, my 68th birthday. A later start today, so our pre-breakfast walk along the beach path was chaotic. We cut it short and headed back for breakfast. Then out in search of a spa for some birthday spoiling. Both Paul and I had a massage, plus I had a facial and manicure. I was going to have a full pedicure too, but opted out half way through the pedicure. My feet were just far too sensitive to be touched, and trying to keep them still was proving to be agony, so I forfeited the nail varnish. As far as massages go, it was okay, but certainly not the best I’ve had. It was very cheap though, only the equivalent of $75 for the 2 X 1 hour massages, plus the facial, manicure and pedicure. We lunched in house. The staff had noted my birthday and surprised me after lunch with a specially made birthday cake, and three of them sung happy birthday to me as I blew out the candle.

Not only that, but when we returned to our room they had placed a huge version of the usual small floral arrangement in our room with a special note wishing me a happy birthday. It’s those little, and not so little touches that turn what could be an ordinary holiday into something outstanding and memorable. What a pleasure!

We walked down to the Fisherman’s Club for dinner which was pleasant enough, but nothing overly memorable. I did love the big boat tables though.

This morning we said good by to Sanur, Ayu, and the Tandjung Sari and boarded the boat for Nusa Lembongan. I wonder how the next place will compare – the gardens, the staff, the room, and the view at Tandjung Sari have left what I’m sure will be a lasting impression. Thank you to Ayu and everyone else for the lasting memories.

Tandjung Sari at Sanur

After several packs, and re-packs for our Bali trip, and despite having a checked suitcase allowance, we finally settled on carry-on luggage only. We didn’t have the Carry-on + allowance so it meant we had to limit ourselves to only one bag each, and only 7kgs of weight each. My Ipad with its proper keyboard weighs in at approximately 1 1/2 kgs so it was tight, but I managed it. We headed up to Perth the day before so as to entrust Mr Tilly into Alices care. After a delicious dinner we set our alarm for 3am and had an early night so as to get to the airport for our early morning flight.

Apart from a 40 minute delay to take off, the flight went off without a hitch, and I was very pleased we’d settled on Carry-on luggage only – no waiting around at luggage turnstiles for us. Although saying that, and Bali being what it is, it still took forever to get through the airport. Our driver from the accommodation met us as we came through the gates, and after a 40 minute drive we arrived at our hotel, the Tandjung Sari, chosen specifically for it’s boutique, Balinese style, and because it’s so different from the big international hotel chains that seem to be the same no matter where you are in the world.

Our bungalow, number 30, is almost next door to the pool and restaurant, and we can look out to the beach for our verandah and private courtyard. The room has exceeded expectations. In the photos we saw on line the green tiled floors somehow looked a bit dated – in reality though they don’t look dated at all. They’re shiny and clean, and have a timeless, Balinese appeal to them. The size of the room has definitely exceeded my expectations, it’s HUGE. No photos can do justice to the size, or at least none I’m capable of taking. Take a look:

Outside the french doors is a small private garden.

This garden flows around the side from the front verandah and courtyard.

There’s a huge ensuite bathroom off our living/bedroom, with twin vanities, a big Balinese bathtub, and a seperate shower and loo.

Leading off that bathroom is door to an outside shower in the garden to the rear of the bungalow.

Plus we have a seperate dressing room with twin wardrobes, and a small seperate study with a desk and our bar fridge.

The Tanjung Sari is definitely not a resort. There is only one modest sized swimming pool, and only one restaurant that caters to all day dining. We were up early this morning to see the sun rising over the bay to the east of our accommodation. The staff were already quietly sweeping up and preparing for the day to come.

There’s no big Buffett for breakfast, although breakfast is included in the tariff. Everything is prepared and cooked fresh to order, which I’m very happy with – no buffets with food sitting out for hours being mulled over by all the hotels guests who arrive before me.

We really didn’t like Bali at all on our last visit. That was around 25 years ago, and on that visit we stayed in Legian. The hawkers were unbelievable, and totally spoiled any chance we may have had of finding something to like about the place. We have specifically chosen Sanur (or Snore as my son calls it), for the first four days of this trip with the hopes that we’ll find something away from the madding crowd in Bali for us. Everyone tells us there’s something in Bali for everyone. The Tanjung Sari has been chosen for the same reason, its simple, roomy boutique style is definitely appealing to us, and we’re hoping this time that at the end of this two week trip, we’ll have found a piece of paradise in Bali that we’ll be happy to return to time and time again. However, the price at Tandjung Sari may be prohibitive for return lengthy stays, it’s mainly been chosen as something that’s likely to give Bali a head start. We didn’t want to chose accommodation that got us off on the wrong foot.

So far the short flight here has definitely been a big plus. The weather is warm and ok through the day, gorgeous and balmy at night, and we like our digs. The jury’s still out though as to whether or not Bali will delight us enough on this trip so as to entice us back many times in the years to come. We’ll see!

Another completed project

We’re too old now to live with things we don’t love, and whilst we love our Marri floorboards, having furniture made of the same wood just wasn’t doing justice to them. So the furniture just had to go. The Marri soldboard was sold around the same time as we sold our Marri dining suite. In its place an old pine sideboard for up-cycling.

As you can see, neither the Marri, nor the pine sideboard do justice to the floor boards. However Paul has worked his magic – and now we have something we love.

An added bonus – we sold the Marri sideboard for $800, and purchased the old pine sideboard for just $50. I just love seeing old things get a new lease of life.

Here are before and after photos side by side of both the sideboard, and a photo of the dining room with the completed up-cycled furniture. Some people will prefer the wood look, but we love the clean brightness of the white. What do you think?

Are we there yet? Not quite! We still have a coffee table to go (already purchased and waiting for a make-over), and an entertainment unit (as yet not yet found to purchase). After that we have a girlfriends pine dining suite, that we’ve promised we’ll tackle for her. But for now, it’s break time. Next week we leave for a couple of weeks in Bali.

We’ve only been to Bali once before and that was around 25 years ago. We hated it at the time, but we’ve been told there’s something in Bali for everyone. Having sold our caravan last year, we’re determined to find what there is in Bali for us. Of course there are loads of places in the world worthy of a visit, but if we can find something in Bali to suit us, that’ll be just grand. It’s less than a four hour flight to get there from Perth, and it has the perfect climate to give us some warmth and sunshine during our cold winter months. We’re not that interested in sight-seeing, or doing the tourist run around. Just some warmth, a massage or two, and a good book to read around the pool, and we’ll be happy. We’re giving it a good trial this year – firstly 4 days in Sanur, then 4 days on Nusa Lembongan, and to finish off 5 nights in Nusa Dua. Then we’ll go over for another 9 nights in September and try out the Padma in Ubud, which I believe isn’t actually in Ubud. It’s north of Ubud in the misty mountains, but Ubud is the most well known place closest to the Padma. We’re hoping to find our little piece of Bali paradise to enjoy for some respite from our winter in the years to come. I’ll let you know if we think we found it.

Up-cycled Dining Suite

The next project inspired by our daughters constructive criticism of our furniture lay-out has been to replace our beautiful, but dark, solid, Marri dining suite with an up-cycled, lighter look suite. First we sold our Marri dining suite on our local Buy and Sell website before sourcing a Malaysian hard wood suite to do up. Price received for our Marri suite – $2200. Price paid for our Malaysian hard wood suite – $200. Below are the photos of both, and I don’t blame you if you think we’re just a little bit crazy for selling our quality suite, we did wonder ourselves at the time……

Here’s some close ups of the newly purchased table, as you can see it was in terrible condition. There was writing over it, deep gauges, in the top, and a good layer of grime down the edge.

Here’s some close ups of the chairs. As you can see the two carvers were upholstered in different material to the four side chairs. The seller offered us some drapes to match the two carvers – we gracefully declined.

We liked the sheaths of wheat detail carved into the chair backs, and thought it would come up nicely once painted. Firstly Paul removed the table top, cleaned it, sanded several layers from the surface, and then applied a few coats of polyurethane to it. He then removed the seats from the chairs and took the arms off the two carvers. The base of the table, and the chairs had several coats of undercoat applied before applying two coats of semi-gloss white. Some needed to be brushed on, but where possible Paul used small rollers so as to get a smooth finish, with as few brush marks as possible.

We had found a nice off cut of upholstery fabric that would be enough to re-cover all six chairs, so we started stripping the brown material off the seats of the chairs. It become clear just how well used the set had been over the years. Under the brown velvet was a layer of dirty cream, then under that a deep blue floral fabric. We quite liked the blue, so were undecided as to whether we’d re-upholster the seats as planned. We decided to wait till the painting was finished. We could clearly see two more layers of upholstering under the blue layer, and neither of these looked to have been professionally done. This means that the original covering must have at one time been removed, and since then the chairs have been re-covered five times. I’m pleased the person whom we purchased the suite from hadn’t stripped the layers back to the blue upholstery though, as I suspect that with the blue it may have been considerably easier to sell, and perhaps someone would have been more willing to pay the original asking price of $300.

Below are the chairs showing the layers of upholstery, as well as the upholstery off cut we purchased and had planned to use to re-cover the seats.

The suite is now fully painted, and we decided that, for now, the blue can remain. One day we may use the grey and re-cover then again. Here’s some photos of the finished project. Oh, and if you’re wondering what the reasons for replacing the beautiful Marri suite with this cheap up-cycle is, there are several reasons. Firstly, we have Marri floors and felt the good suite blended in with the floors to much, also we missed our coastal up-cycled decor that we had in our last house, and last but not least, we felt having more white in the house will add to giving the room a lighter feel. I’m pleased to say it’s definitely achieved what we wanted to achieve. We love it. Here’s some photos of the finished project.

Before and after photos together of the chairs and table below. We think the white looks much nicer against the Marri floors. What do you think?

Now it’s on to the sideboard which you can see behind the table. But that won’t be the end of it – there’ll be more to come.

And just in case you’re wondering, our daughter is no longer banned, but I suspect Paul may gag her if she starts making suggestions next time she visits. Really though, we’re both delighted with the changes she has inspired, it’s much easier to ‘love’ furniture which you’ve transformed with your very own hands, and we do love our ‘new to us’ dining suite, and kitchen dresser. (Shush – don’t tell her though).

Before and After

The first, and biggest, of our up-cycling projects is now finished. Below is the original piece of furniture we sourced from a local second hand shop.

Paul took the glass out of the top cupboards, and removed all the wooden knobs and hinges. Because it’s such a large piece it needed to be done in sections. First he sanded the top of the bottom section, and used a good polyurethane to coat the wood finish. Then he painted on a few coats of good quality undercoat to the base and top sections, and finally applied a couple of top coats of semi-gloss white enamel. He used a brush on some parts, and a small roller on other places so as to avoid brush marks. First the base was finished and put into place.

You’ll notice the power points on the wall above this section. He carefully measured where this would sit into the top section and using a jig saw, cut out a section in the top to allow access to the power point before commencing painting that part. We’d decided we wanted flat black handles and hinges on the finished article. Paul decided he’d try painting the existing knobs and hardware first to see how it’d look rather than buying new handles. He purchased a spray can of black undercoat. The knobs were easy to paint. For the hinges he held them up to spray, then used the hooks that we use for putting our Christmas decorations on the tree, and he hung them on the clothes line for the paint to dry. He use and old piece of wood to screw the tips of all the screws into, and spray painted all the screws too.

The top section was completed and put into place making space in the garage for the doors and drawers to be completed. I delightedly placed all my glasses and some small pieces of china in the top section, and loads of bits and pieces in the bottom section. These items have been all over the place, higgledy-piggledy, wherever I could find a space for a few items. It’s wonderful to now have them altogether.

The cut out section for the power point was perfectly placed (he’s a clever man, my Paul), and our IPad used for music sits beautifully in front of it. Yesterday the bottom cupboards went on, and today I came home from my ladies walking group to find it finished completely.

What a difference, it’s barely recognisable as the same piece of furniture.

I think we paid about $350 for the piece including delivery. The paint would have cost less than $50, and it’s good, semi-gloss washable enamel. Yes, it took a couple of weeks to complete with many hours of work put in, but we now have a piece we’ll take pleasure in for a long time to come. If we had bought a piece similar to this all shiny and new, we wouldn’t love it half as much as this piece that we’ve seen transform beneath our very eyes. I love it!

King Tilly’s throne

You may remember in my last blog that we’d purchased a, new to us, 3 1/2 seater reclining sofa for our living room, and we were looking out for a chair of some sort to finish off the seating in the living room.

Firstly I’ll tell you a little more about the sofa we purchased. We had noticed the advertisement on Buy and Sell for the sofa we ended up purchasing. I’ll show you the sofa as it appeared in the ad.

Seriously, this was how it was photographed and offered for sale. The sofa sort of looked ok, but it was advertised for $2000 and, quite honestly – does it look like it was in any way a loved and cared for piece of furniture. We suspected it was probably being advertised by someone who lived in a mixed rental house, a party house. Anyway the same ad kept popping up, and finally they dropped the price considerably. We made contact, and ended up purchasing the sofa.

When we inspected the sofa, yes, it needed a clean and some leather conditioner to be applied, but it clearly hadn’t been neglected to the point where it couldn’t be bought back to ‘as new’ condition. Upon arriving home with it we set about giving it a deep clean. It was clear that one end of the sofa had been the favourite. Down the arm were bits of toys, beer bottle tops, and what looked like the remains of a squashed meat pie – yes you read that correctly, a squashed meat pie. Now, why on earth would someone not clean up an item they were hoping to sell for a good price, and why would they present in in room full of debris. The mind boggles. Anyway it all cleaned up beautifully, but that pie or whatever it was did take a bit of elbow grease to remove it.

I think you’ll agree that it looks totally different now that it’s been cleaned up, is in a room not surrounded by debris, and has a few cushions and home comforts around it.

Our chosen chair to complete the furnishing of the room arrived today. As you can see King Tilly has taken rather a fancy to it. He’s barely been off it since it arrived.

The little bookcase wasn’t something we’d planned on keeping, but it sort of works where it is. It provides a bit of storage, as well as place to sit my afternoon cuppa.

The main reason though that I’ve kept the little bookcase is so as to have a place to showcase our Royal Doulton, Orange, Chelsea Pensioner which we inherited from Paul’s dad. We had always admired the little man when staying at Paul’s dad’s place in the UK. However, we didn’t want him! We had nothing orange for him to go with, and besides another good friend of theirs really, really wanted him. We insisted that they give the statue to their friends. Paul’s dad didn’t listen, and carefully packed it into his suitcase on his last trip out to visit us. We’ve since had him hidden away in a cupboard. I’ve decided to let him see the light of day, and am planning to add a few orange touches juxtaposed against the lime green so as he’ll ‘fit in’. I have some artificial orange wild flowers on top of the book case, and I’m on the look out for one more little nic-nac for the bottom left shelf (currently we have a red plastic container there full of screws from a piece of furniture Paul’s doing up). Then one orange scatter cushion for on the sofa, and, two throw rugs with some orange in them to replace the grey ones. Sounds easy, but orange isn’t a current in trend decorating colour, so it’s hard to find. But I’ll enjoy looking, and once found that should complete the living room for this round of decorating. We’re happy with it, and King Tilly is certainly getting a lot pleasure out of what he clearly thinks is his new throne. I’ll put him straight tomorrow – it’s my chair!

Why our daughter is banned

Recently our daughter came to visit for a few days. Chatting away she says, “If I had this house I think I’d change the third bedroom/study into a small theatre room, and I’d turn the big sofa around so as to be facing the garden”.

Mmmm!! Our living room has no windows to the north, full sized glass doors and windows that open onto a north west facing patio, and one other window that faces to the west. Living in the southern hemisphere this means the living areas of our house don’t get a lot of natural light shining in.

Our living room set up was certainly compounding the lack of light with its huge, charcoal coloured, L-shaped modular sofa set in front of one of the triple full length glass door and windows opening onto the patio. I could see her point. The sofa was set up for watching TV, and apart from watching TV, we never tended to sit on it. After all, who wants to sit facing a black tv screen.

Alice went home, and I broached the subject with the Mr of the house. “Humour me” I said, “I just want to see what it’d look like”. We moved the TV unit out, swung the awkward and cumbersome L-shaped sofa around, and yes, Alice had been right. The living room immediately was lighter and brighter.

The study/third bedroom was rarely used as a third bedroom, but the Mr decided we should still have that option, so we did our research and ordered a sofa bed that was highly rated for comfort (and came with a 100 day return policy).

Ok, I can hear you asking why our daughter is banned when we appear to be happy with the results of her suggestion. Well let me tell about the events that followed over the following few weeks….

Firstly, we swung the sofa around in the living room. Next Paul altered the bed frame from the third bedroom, you see, our main guest room had the more comfortable latex mattress and base in it, and a not as nice bedhead and bedsides that sat behind the bed but were independent of the mattress and base. We wanted the nicer looking bed frame, but we wanted it with the latex mattress and base. So Paul did some alterations and managed to successfully join the two. We found a new owner for the other bedhead and bedsides. Now we had an empty room to convert to a theatre room. Paul set the TV up with our entertainment unit in the room, crawled around in the roof space fitting and altering the aerial, and did whatever was needed in that department so as to get the necessary media reception. Our new sofa bed was ordered, and in the meantime we used our camping chairs to sit and watch TV at night. In the afternoons we were enjoying sitting on our big sofa looking out to the garden instead of looking a black TV screen.

The sofa bed arrived. We put together a couple of cardboard boxers with a doona on top to use as a makeshift footstool, and we sat on it in front of TV for about a week. We even set it up as a bed one night to try it out. As a bed we both agreed with all the reviews. It was the most comfortable sofa bed we’d ever slept on, however, we weren’t finding it wonderfully comfortable as a sofa to relax on in front of TV.

Paul pulled apart the big L-shape sofa and we moved three seats from it into the theatre and we moved the sofa bed into the living room, with what was left of the big modular. We knew it wasn’t staying like this, we were just trying things out to see what felt right.

Finally we contacted the suppliers of the sofa bed and arranged to return the bed for the full refund – that’s another story, a very good story, but I won’t go into that now as this is already promising to be so long that it’ll almost be a book before I finish telling you why our daughter is banned.

The next three weeks saw that big, cumbersome, hard to move, hard to dis-assemble, and hard to re-assemble sofa dismantled and re-assembled at least six times. I say at least, we lost count, it was probably more like ten times. Our beautiful Marri wood floors have suffered a good amount of scratches in the process.

We found a rather nice, and comfortable 2 1/2 seater Nick Scali Leather electric reclining sofa on the second hand market for the theatre room and arranged for a local delivery company to pick it up for us. We purchased a rug from Au Rugs that’d go well in the room and we moved a few pieces of wall art to the room. Paul patched up holes in the wall where things were removed, and drilled new fixtures into place for the items that would decorate the walls. We still have to find nice side tables, but generally we’re very happy with the room. The nights are drawing in now as winter approaches, and the room has a cosy feel to it. It’s our little snug I guess you could say.

Mmmm, I can guess you’re still thinking that doesn’t sound bad enough to for us to ban our daughter. That was just the beginning……

In the meantime we finally decided to buy a full sized kitchen dresser for the end of our kitchen. Our kitchen has always lacked storage, and we’d thought about a full sized dresser many times. We love the up-cycled coastal vibe of old pine dressers when they’re painted up, but since moving nearly two years, we’d come away from that look. We bit the bullet, and purchased an old pine dresser to up-cycle.

Nothing to do with our daughter’s suggestion to change the living room – I know. However, we were enjoying the lighter, brighter look of the changed around living room. The, new to us, kitchen dresser once done up will be sure to set a precedent for more of the same. Things snowballed, we’ve sold our beautiful Marri sideboard and have purchased an old pine sideboard for up-cycling. Then I broached the subject of replacing the Marri dining chairs with a more modern, coastal white chair for around our big, beautiful, Marri table. I thought it would help with creating a lighter look in the room. Much to my shock, “What about the table” says he. So we sold the table too.

So now we have a big Kitchen dresser in the process of being up-cycled, a new to us, old wood dining setting to up-cycle when the dresser is completed, and following that, and old pine sideboard to up-cycle.

Ah, but that’s still not the end of it. Without the TV unit and TV in the living room, the room looked a bit bare. We purchased a second rug from Au Rugs – another big job to get the rug under the feet of the big L-shape lounge. It was looking good, but we had to admit – neither of us liked that big modular.

Another 3 1/2 seater electric reclining, leather, Nick Scali sofa came up on the second hand market. The price was amazing, but it was in Perth and the sellers wanted it gone within three days as they were moving house. Perth is three hours drive north of us, and we no longer have a car that will tow a trailer. We didn’t have time to go and look, then, if we decided we liked it, to come home and arrange a transport company to pick it up for us. We asked lots of questions, before taking a leap of faith by transferring a deposit on line, and arranging to hire a van big enough to fit the sofa inside. Once all the arrangements were made we advertised our big modular. There’s a lot of sofas listed on the second hand market, so we put what we thought was a fair price, well I thought it was fair, Paul thought I was dreaming. However, dreams do sometimes come true, and within a few hours it had sold for our asking price.

We picked up the second, new to us, Rick Scali sofa yesterday. It was very, very dirty, but nothing permanent. We’re delighted with it, but now we need some sort of occasional chair to complete the room. Not sure what that’ll be yet, but something will turn up.

So, there you have it – a seemingly innocent comment made in passing, “If I had this house I think I’d change the third bedroom/study into a small theatre room, and I’d turn the big sofa around so as to be facing the garden”, resulted in an almost complete change in our living room and all the furniture in it. It’s involved a considerable amount of work and heavy lifting for both of us, but more so for Paul. I mainly just supervise! So that’s the story as to why our daughter is now banned!

As a footnote – It’s been a long, long time since I last posted a blog. Since selling our caravan I seem to have lost enthusiasm for blogging. I’d been hoping something would ignite my writing mojo once again. This not so little re-make of the living area in our home has helped me realise something about myself. You see, I tend to change our decor quite often, something I’ve always felt a little guilty about, and I’m sure more than few people must think I’m never satisfied. This latest escapade has helped me put this into prospective – it’s not that I’m never satisfied. I just simply love decorating. It’s a hobby, a hobby I love. So, no more guilt trips, I’m going to continue decorating, and re-decorating, enjoying it as a hobby, and I’ll enjoy recording the results of that hobby here. Read along if you choose to, but if decorating, and re-decorating is of no interest to you at all, feel free to unfollow me. I promise I wont be offended.

If you do choose to follow along, coming up soon will be a fair amount of before, during, and after images of up-cycled bits and pieces, so watch this space….

No committees, and no meetings!

It’s now been 16 months since we moved into our little lifestyle village, albeit with many reservations at the time of moving. We made a promise to ourselves – absolutely no committees, and we promised we wouldn’t attend any of the meetings. As anyone who has ever been on a committee will attest, it’s often a thankless undertaking, an undertaking that’s often associated with much bickering and squabbling, as can be the case with General Meetings too, sometimes subjecting the poor members to much angst and frustration.

The ordinary general meetings within the village have come and gone, without us attending. Last years Annual General meeting took place without us in attendance (much to the disappointment of more than a few residents who felt it was our duty to attend). We decided the price we would pay was to accept whatever was decided at any of the meetings without complaint, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Everything has been going along brilliantly, and we’ve not had one complaint.

We participate in many of the events and activities in the village. In fact my life has become so full, both in and outside the village, that I no longer have any completely free days in a week We both play Bridge in the Busselton Bridge Club on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

I play Majong in the village on Tuesday afternoons. Then there’s bowls in the village on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and on Wednesday and Friday mornings I walk with my ladies walking group. Paul’s schedule is similar. Our calendars are full.

We love the special events, the dances, the occasional dinners, and things like Melbourne Cup day lunches. For my overseas readers who may not be familiar with Australia’s Melbourne Cup Race, it’s the horse race that stops the Australian nation, the biggest event of the year on the racing calendar.

Since Covid took the world by surprise though, I believe some of the special events within the village have diminished somewhat in both quantity and possibly to some extent, vibrancy, with the Melbourne Cup lunch being no exception. For this years event for the Melbourne Cup, a special lunch was scheduled in our main hall. The tables were booked, the menu organised, and people delegated to take care of the sweeps. The day was scheduled to commence at 10.30am. Most ladies would take the opportunity to dress up in their finest dresses with matching hats or fascinators as befits a big racing day. Most of the men would don a tie and possibly even a hat.

The sweeps would be organised, and the big screen lowered for the watching of the race. The day was to have prizes for best hat, best dressed lady, and best dressed gentleman. The race would run at 12 noon, after which we would all eat our lunch, and then the day would be over. A few weeks before the race, in a moment of madness I may add, I convinced Paul to assist me in adding some foot tapping entertainment for the afternoon by way of a music quiz. We approached the Social Committee with our idea, an idea which seemed to be very welcomed.

We organised our questions. Paul sorted out an app that would allow him to select a small segment of all the chosen songs on which our quiz questions were based – What’s the title of this next song? What’s the next line in these lyrics? What is this piece of music the theme song too, etc etc…. Paul worked out how to use the sound system to play the questions in the big hall, and had several practice runs in the quiet of our own home. We arranged people to collect and deliver the questions and answers for each round, people to mark the answers, and we arranged prizes. We had no idea how many people would stay on after the lunch.

I’m pleased to say almost everyone stayed on after the lunch and made a full day of it. Although some of the answers to the questions may have alluded some participants, the songs and music chosen, almost without exception was clearly well remembered. I noticed many a foot tapping in time to the music, and knew the purpose of our moment of madness in volunteering had well and truly been successful. Despite our nerves at getting up in front of a rather large audience, I think both Paul and I enjoyed our first real moment in the spotlight. I say first because……

Your remember I started this blog by saying we made that promise to ourselves – no committees. Well, as you’ve probably guessed – our little stunt of volunteering put us in the limelight. So much so in fact that before we were aware of what was happening, the current members of the Social Committee, many of whom had been looking to step down, seized upon the opportunity to snap up some new replacement members. Before we knew it, we had both been seconded to the Social Committee, and Paul also to the Residents Committee. By the end of the Melbourne Cup lunch it seems that not only are we to take our places on the committees, but Paul has been suggested for treasurer on the Social Committee, and I for president. (I’m not sure the suggestion of me to be president is that flattering actually, I think it’s more a recognition for my ability to be bossy! – yep that’s me, Miss Bossyboots). The Annual General Meeting is coming up soon, and that’s when I think the new committees will be announced. Of course, it’ll then be up to the committees to choose the roles for their members, and they may decide someone else will be more suited to being president or/and treasurer. Either way, it’ll be ok with me. Whether or not we’ll be regretting all this remains to be seen, but for now, speaking for myself, I’m finding it all rather exciting, and anyone who knows me well, will understand that. I love entertaining, especially I love organising fun times.

The existing Social Committee will continue on with their plans up to and including all the Christmas functions. The new committee with take over from there, starting with the New Years Eve dance. The entertainment has been booked, but we’ll need to organise the posters, tables, decorations etc for the night, and it’ll be up to us to ensure the night is a success. Wish us luck, I’ll let you know how it goes.

That’s not all though. Recently our ageing Bridge club called for new committee members, advising that the club was in danger of having to close if new members were not forthcoming. You guessed it – We’ve both put our hands up for that as well. So 16 months after our promise to ourselves – absolutely no committees, and no meetings, and now Paul is to be sitting on three committees, and myself on two. Our already busy lives have suddenly become even more busy. It’s all going to be a big learning curve, I hope we manage to do a good job.