The days go by

Newhome is almost ready – plumbing is done, tiling is finished, garage doors are hung, the floor coverings go down this week and our Post Construction Inspection is booked for 12 July.   We will probably be in by early August.

A few weeks back the last of my pets from the old life was run over by a car and killed.  Connie, our Brittany spaniel was named after Constance daughter of the Duke of Brittany.   She was about 15 years old and had been ailing since Gambit, her brother, died a few months back.  But she was let out in the yard with the front gate open and wandered onto the road.  She was the most beautiful natured dog and whilst I haven’t lived with her for a few years now it still hurts to think she had to go in that way.   RIP Connie.

I’m halfway through my tenure at work but the boss has asked if I’m interested in sticking around.  I’ve said yes but will make up my mind when I find out what the offer is.  I have a bottomline that will need to be met so that the new mortgage is covered.

Speaking of the mortgage, the CBA is stuffing us around again.  It looks like they underpaid the first of the builders payments by about $2.5k which means we now have to find the extra.  The problem is because of the way the loans were set up I have no visibility of any payments we made or fees we were charged pre March this year.  I’ve asked for a full reconciliation and four days later still haven’t heard a result yet.   We’ll definitely look at moving banks once the settlements are done.

We lay byed  some limited edition prints for the home theatre today.  An indulgence, certainly, but maybe an investment too.   The prints are those below by an artist called Alex Ross.

Erin has left school and started work.  Not something I agree with but no point in forcing her to stay on and waste the rest of the year either.  She has the next couple of years planned out – save for a car, save for an overseas trip, work overseas for a couple of years and then come back and decide what she wants to do.  I’m in fact less upset with that decision than I am with the fact that her mother did not communicate any of it to me.  I found out a week after the fact.  Still, can’t be too critical can we, if I am my kids tend to get all angry with me.


Meat and Three Veg

I’m writing this post on Sunday night with the smell of a beef casserole simmering on the stove in the background and remembering that as I was growing up the food we ate was very much a part of the daily and weekly ritual.

I wrote in the post Of Chow Food and Other Things about our regular Friday night feeds of Fish and Chips but there was a fairly standard menu served in hour house when I was growing up.  One night would be chops, sausages, mashed potatoes and peas, another sausages eggs and chips, yet another spaghetti bolognese,  and of course the Sunday lunch time roast when we weren’t out visiting relatives or having barbecues.

Karen and I had to either set and clear the table each night or dry the dishes. For some reason we used to fight over the former, mainly because it meant we could sit down earlier in front of the TV and watch the Flintstones or Gilligans Island.

Most nights, Dad wasn’t home.   Most nights he wouldn’t get home before we went to bed but would come in some time later, under the weather and smelling of the front bar and any of several pubs he frequented over those years.   But this is a post about the food we ate, not the bad times, I’ll leave that for another time.

Sunday nights we usually had something light, usually toasted sandwiches in front of the telly.    A night without having to set the table was bliss.   I know there are families who share meals around the table and Raels and I try to do that now.   Maybe it was the fact that eating at the table reminded me too much that Dad was absent that it wasn’t a tradition I had with my own kids as they were growing up, but is something I enjoy now when they do come around for meals with us.   But I digress again.

Mum was a good cook, but not an adventurous one and that may have been because we had fairly spartan tastes and any time she did stray from the meat and three veg, like the time she tried to serve us sheep brains and I came very close to vomiting, or when she regularly tried to serve up Brussels sprouts.  To this day I don’t like them.

But the roast potatoes, ahhhhhh, I still haven’t tasted better, even after all these years.   And Dad’s barbecues were as good as anyone could ever cook, charcoaled chops and snags, and best of all, flat round chips fried in dripping over a wood BBQ in the back yard.

Another memory from the kitchen table is of my sister Deb, sitting in her high chair breaking up bread crusts and stirring them into a bowl of ice cream.    She still makes her cakes the same way even today.  Just kidding.

Of Chow Food and Other Things

Shopping was very different when I was a kid.  There were no large suburban shopping malls, no Friday night, all day Saturday nor Sunday Shopping.  In fact it was even hard to find a petrol station open on a Sunday or a milk bar open after midday if they were open at all.

In the sixties much of the shopping was done at local strip shopping centres.  For us that meant Bennettswood on the corner of Station Street and Burwood Road, well before it was divided and became Burwood Highway.  Everything we needed was there, a Foodland grocery store, a green grocers, a butchers, a newsagent, a milk bar, a fish and chip shop and a Chinese food shop.

There were no supermarkets.  Grocery stores were where you went to buy bottled, canned and packaged food and if Mum didn’t go to Bennettswood we’d go to Box Hill and go to what I think was Permewans in Station Street.   The groceries were brought home either in string bags that Mum had taken with her or in a box collected from a pile inside the store.

It was usually a bit of a rush because the shops closed at 6 O’Clock.  Friday nights were also Fish and Chip night which were always bought at Bennettswood in a store run by a Greek Family just as the Green Grocers was down the road a bit.   Always there was a visit to the newsagent and Mum would buy herself Best Bets and Truth for the form guides so she could study them and before putting her bets on at the TAB on Saturdays and we three kids would get a comic.   I loved going home and scoffing the fish and chips while we watched Zig and Zag on TV then curling up in bed and being allowed to read my comics before Mum would come down and tell us to turn off the light.

Sometimes we would buy Chinese (Chow) food usually just dim sims and spring rolls for me because that was in the days before I liked fried rice and other Chinese cuisine.  But in those days you took your own saucepans into the store for the cooks to fill up.

In the days before Dad went to work at Uncle Ivan’s Stockade Hotel as a second job, Saturday mornings were haircut day.  We’d drive down early park at the back of the shops near the Town Hall and then we’d have a footrace to the shops.  Me and Dad, just the two of us, him striding out like the professional sprinter he had been and me scurrying along flat out keeping up but always managing to beat him.  Thanks Dad for letting me win, but why did you insist I got the “college cut” haircut?

There was always a visit to the TAB in those early days too.  Later on when one opened in East Burwood on the corner of Middleborough and Burwood Roads we would head up there late on Saturday mornings.  Mum would usually also but Dad a dozen bottles of VB and herself a flagon of sherry in the bottle shop that opened near the TAB.  And if we were very lucky we might end up with another comic for the weekend as well.  As I got older and earnt some pocket money, or saved my lunch money from school [and that’s another story] I’d buy a few more myself, keeping in mind that they were only 15 to 20 cents back then.

I remember Dad getting very excited when the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet opened in Station Street Box Hill and sometimes we’d head down there and buy a bucket – no fancy burgers or wraps in those days, in fact, if memory serves me well, I’m  not even sure that you could get chips, so we’d also stop at the fish and chip shop and order a dollars worth there before coming home.  Dad would always say it was finger looking good.

At some time in the 70’s Dad decided to change fish and chip shops after finding a Chinese owned store in Canterbury Road near the Middleborough Road corner.   For some reason it seemed fresher, certainly the batter was different, fluffy and crunchy.  I think Dad may have supplied the store with paper when has was a commercial traveller (or a salesman for those unfamiliar with that term).   Even there though, whilst the food was encased in clean white butchers paper the outer wrapping was always yesterdays newspapers.

Butchers, were different in those days too.   They were the only place you could get meat, none of it was pre-wrapped and the floors were always covered in saw dust.   The cool stores inside the shops held whole sides of lamb, beef and pork.   If you wanted chops or a leg of lamb it would be cut straight of the carcass in front of you.  No hiding out the back, sliced or sawn off, wrapped in paper and carried out in a string bag.

Home deliveries were done.  You could get your groceries delivered at little or no charge, the Loys man delivered lemonade, Mr Peowrie delivered our briquettes.  At some stage in the 60’s, Mr Whippy appeared on our streets and we were often lucky enough to be given some money so we could rush out and get a choctop ice cream while the familiar tinny sound of Greensleeves was played over his loud speaker.  The doctor even did home visits in those days and I can remember Mum being laid up with migraine headaches and needing Dr Hewitt to visit and give her an injection.   On those days Aunty Hazel would sometimes look after us until Dad got home.

In October 1960 Chadstone Shopping Centre opened and it was at that time the first regional shopping centre in Melbourne and the largest in Australia.  Myer was down one end and Coles New World Supermarket at the other end of an open aired double sided strip of shops.   The thing I remember most about it was that it had escalators and they were the only ones outside the city.  At the bottom of them, up the Coles end was Tim the Toyman’s, imagine a whole store dedicated to toys.  Karen and I collected little ceramic Disney characters.  I also got cowboys and indians, match box cars and lego on occasions and Karen got clothes for her Barbie dolls.  As I got older I graduated to Airfix models, firstly model aeroplanes and later on plastic model soldiers which I would spend hours painting in my bedroom.

Life somehow seemed less hectic then.  We didn’t need 24 hour shopping.  We didn’t need to have everything in one spot.  You knew the local shopkeepers by name and could find what you needed when you needed it without having to rush, even though things weren’t open for as long.  Explain that one to me 🙂

All covered up

We decided to head down to the house on Wednesday night after work and found this –

Yep – it was fully wrapped in sisalation and the roof was on.  Yesterday we went back down to meet the sparky on site and found that the bricks had been delivered and all of the plumbing roughed in.

Of course we had to take the furkids down for their first look at their new home.

Tomorrow the brickies start and we’re told that will be finished by the end of the week.   Next week we get our first look at the garden design and decide then whether we give the go ahead for the landscaping to be locked in to start in July around the time we’ll be moving in.

Raels and I went to the footy on Friday night.  She is a Collingwood fan and me Carlton.  For people who aren’t immersed in the AFL culture that’s like being Protestant and Catholic, or Jewish and Muslim, Democrat and Republican, Capulet and Montague, Hatflields and McCoys – you get the picture.  Unfortunately for me, my team lost, but it was pretty obvious we had improved from last year.   Bring them on again I say.  Not sure whether we’ll do together again though.  It’s too hard to barrack when you might piss of the person sitting next to you.

First week I went with three of my kids.  Why do girls pull funny faces with phone cameras?

Full Framed

This is one massive house – three times the size of what we currently live in and maybe way too big for the two of us given there is some possibility that none of the kids will actually move in with us.  I’m not sure whether I ever actually wrote about why we came to build what we are building so I might as well do so now.

At the end of 2009, Raelene’s two kids [young adults really] were living with us and my youngest daughter joined us every second weekend.  My number two son was also looking for somewhere to live and so we decided that we would start visiting display homes to get some ideas on how we might extend our current three bedroom hills cottage so that all the kids could fit if they wanted to.

It turned out that to double the size of our current home would have cost roughly the same amount we are spending on something three times the size so we started looking at building a new 5 bedroom place and signed with the builder Porter Davis and bought our new block in Cranbourne North.

Then early in 2010, Raelene’s two moved out and we decided that it was crazy building a 5 bedroom home so decided to downsize slightly to 4 and drop from 2 storey to one.  Porter Davis didn’t have a floor plan for a single storey that matched the rear living area and outside flow of the two storey we were going to build so we dumped them and signed with Carlisle to build a design called the Monaco.  If you follow the link you can see some photos of the display home and the floor plan, or you can visit Raels blog here to see the whole journey over the past year and a bit.

We visited again today and I am glad to report that the frame is finished.  The chippy was still on site [yes on Sunday] and told us that the tiles were due to be put on the roof tomorrow and should be finished bu Tuesday.   The building will then be wrapped in sisalation, insulated and bricked.  So in the next two weeks it may well be plastered and at lockup.

Erin and Glen have both claimed bedrooms but I don’t know if they’ll move in.  It’s a long way from their circle of friends and maybe they’ll choose to be occasional visitors rather than full time boarders.  Still we’ve told all six that if they need somewhere to live while they save a deposit for their own place that they can live with us.  It will be up to them.  In the meantime we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to build our dream home.

This week photos are being taken of our current home getting ready to put it on the market next week and for auctioning in early May.

Brief Update

Two weeks into the new job and I’m getting a handle on things and how much actually needs to be done.   It’s an initial 9 month contract and I’ll have to perform to keep it, but I can do that 🙂

The former company I worked for has an order coming up in the Supreme Court on the 9th of March to put it into liquidation which finally means that we can pursue our outstanding entitlements.  It’ll still take a few months but we should be able to recover some of it by then.   I hope some action is taken to investigate the former CEO and an alleged missing $600k because he doesn’t deserve to get away with that.

By the end of this week the pipes should be down on the block and the boxing done in preparation for the slab to go down on the 23rd of this month.  Seems to have taken forever to get to this stage given it’s more than a year since we bought the land.

Met some new neighbours yesterday – young couple called Jason and Sherry who seem really nice people.  It’s amazing that we already know around a dozen people on the estate but don’t even know the next door neighbour here in a house we’ve lived in for nearly three years.   I’m looking forward to putting down new roots away from a place that I thought would always be home.

Land is settled

Well we are now the owners of a new plot of land in Cranbourne North.   Actually we fully own a bit and the bank through a mortgage owns the rest but not forever.

We are still waiting on the construction loan to be approved and whilst our builder has scheduled us to start on Tuesday that will now have to be postponed.  The bank valuer is still refusing to budge on the grounds that houses the value of ours haven’t been sold in the area and therefore he won’t put the right value on either the land or on the construction.    Our broker has been busily tracking down sales in the area and has now gone back to the valuer with evidence of similar sized houses in the area having been sold for between $50k and $100k more than what he has valued ours at.

The other option we are pursuing is discharging the mortgage on our current house and taking that to the CBA as well, thus including the equity we have in this one in the overall formula.  Even if this one is valued at the lower end of the range we will still save $10k in mortgage insurance.  The only problem is this will all take time which will mean delays in building and possibly in our place in the queue.   In any event I am hoping it will be sorted out in the next fortnight.

It’s a long way from the Hills to a cow paddock

It occured to me that I haven’t posted a lot this year about my personal life and what has unfolded do it’s time I gave an update.

At the end of 2009 my lady and I were living [and still are] in a small three bedroom cottage on the side of the hill in Ferntree Gully.    Between us we have six kids, her a boy and a girl, me two boys and two girls, a regular Brady Bunch without the Alice – the three boys are the oldest and the girls the youngest and whilst I say kids they range in age from 17 up to 26.    At the time my lady’s two were living full time with us and my youngest daughter stayed every second weekend.  My second son, having lost his job earlier in the year and having to vacate the place he was renting because he couldn’t pay also needed somewhere to live.

So we sat down and discussed everything with the four who wanted to live with us and said that they were welcome to stay and save for their own place for as long as they liked but we needed to look at extending our place and put on at least a couple of more bedrooms. 

We started visiting display homes to get some ideas about what we could do or what we wanted to do and then made some enquiries with architects about the price of an extension and it turned out that it was going to be cheaper to build a new place from scratch than it was to extend where we are.

The decision then became about finding a block of land to build on and after exhaustive searching around the Gully and around the general vicinity of where we currently are, we came to the conclusion that land was either too expensive in this area or the terrain meant that the site costs were prohibitive.

So after returning from holiday in Narooma in January and after continuing the search for a suitable 5 bedroom home we ended up buying a block of land on a cow paddock in Cranbourne North.   That land was supposed to title in August but as I sit here now in early November we still do not own it but have been told that we will get the title by the end of this month.

We had originally decided to build the Marina 42, a five bedroom, two storey place, by Porter Davis, but in the next few months my lady’s two kids moved out, my number two son moved in and we decided that it was stupid to pursue a five bedroom place when we didn’t need it anymore.   The search continued and we have now settled on a house called the Monaco 36 by Carlisle.

And now we’ve gone from a cow paddock to a full blown housing estate with house popping up like mushrooms and with any luck we’ll start building next month.

The full story is being told on my lady’s blog Destination 3977.  Please drop by and let her know you came from here.

Deb’s Home

So the challenge this week is about Richardson Street and where we grew up in Box Hill South. I’d like to firstly talk about the irony of that. When I married in 1987 to Andrew I became a “Richardson” and now we live in Richard Drive. People always comment on that – when I fill in an application form or put down a layby as if I have never heard the comments before and it is always a first! I always comment back that is was lucky I never called any of my 3 sons Richard.
So, where to begin? Richardson Street Box Hill South was a lovely neighbourhood to grow up in. Mum and Dad always mentioned that when they moved out there it was considered in “the sticks” and Nana and Grandad and Nana and Pa said that they would need a cut lunch to get there. Funny how in later years when I married and moved to Cranbourne, they gave the same comment to me and that they had used places like Cranbourne to visit and share a picnic.
We lived on a corner in Richardson Street, right next door to Massey Street. As Laurie has commented on previous blogs, our neighbors were our “Aunties and Uncles” and that was both sides, both Richardson Street and Massey Street.

Our house was a modest brick veneer and timber house. It had a lovely timber low fence but one of the outside features I loved the most, was the entry into the house, which was a small gate next to the letterbox that had two hedges growing either side of it that had grown over the top and formed a canopy. We had a little pathway then that wound its way up to the front porch. Our front porch was concreted in later years with a lovely verandah and we spent many hours on the front porch playing with Barbie dolls, talking or just sitting there with Mum and Dad. In years to come, our kids often sat out and played there with us. It did frighten me though when my kids came along as there were no posts or fences to stop them from falling over the porch. It was just a steep climb up and had two sets of stairs going down either side of it. I remember Karen & Laurie and Mum & Dad talking about when it was built and the rats that went running across the porch in their disturbance. Luckily, I’m pretty sure I don’t actually have the memories of seeing them.
Our garden had a couple of special things that formed part of it that I also loved. We had a magnificent tree in the front yard that Dad attached tyres to that we were able to swing in. It provided a beautiful amount of shade in the hot summers that we could sit under and that’s when we ventured off the porch onto the garden chairs of that tree.  It was also one of Dad’s bug bears as it dropped a lot of its leaves and Dad was always raking them up and then setting fire to the pile once he had enough to do so. We also had a gorgeous purple magnolia tree that sat to the side of the front porch; it was always one of my favourite flowers even though it was nude in winter. And then, right up the back of the garden was another of my favourite plants and still is today, an enormous Bird Of Paradise. I always thought that I’d take some of that plant when we left Richardson Street, but we were unable to do so.
The other part of my memories of the outside of our house was the vents at the top of the brick veneer right under the roof line. They lined the whole side of the house and we always had birds nesting in there. I often found baby birds that had fallen out of their nests. Some of them I was able to bring to a healthy age where they could fly away, others didn’t last the distance. But I often remember the shoe box, and the eye dripper that I would feed it from after digging up some worms in the garden as well. The shoe boxes were kept in the outside laundry that was attached to the back of the house as Mum wouldn’t let me keep them inside. She did however let me attempt to raise them, so I can be grateful of that. When it was Winter Time I would rug up the cold laundry and keep the door shut in an attempt to keep out the wind from getting to my creatures. I guess this is where I started my love affair with animals and birds.
So into the house we go. When you walked into the front door, after knocking (no such thing as door bells for us) you immediately entered the dining room to the left and the lounge to the right. A big open plan space. We had terrible brown swirled carpet that was there for as long as I can remember. I was told that Mum & Dad covered up the beautiful timber floor boards and I assume that is probably the first thing that the new owners ripped up in the house. We had white venetian blinds throughout the house. In later years they were covered by very bright, bright orange lace like curtains that sat over the front of the Venetians. It was a very 70’s style house and we were right up there in fashion. We had a gorgeous old brown leather lounge suite that consisted of two armchairs and a couch. They had timber arms, but it was really comfy and I think it would suite my house today if we still had it. The biggest expensive in the loungeroom was the “Parker” brand furniture. Mum was really proud of her Parker furniture and her and Dad gave me the bar when they moved out of Richardson Street. Even though she was dismayed to see that I had stripped it back and painted it (several times) I think she was happy that I had it. They had two bar stools in front of it that matched the orange curtains with orange cushions. Dad would spend many an hour sitting on those bar stools, drinking his VB at the bar. So much so, that for a joke one year he was given a horse riding helmet for the times that he would fall asleep and fall off the bar stools. This was so he wouldn’t hit his head, being that he was such a small skinny man. The Parker furniture continued into the TV cabinet that also was our crystal cabinet and we now have to decide what to do with that now Mum has passed away. We were very up to date with the Joneses and our new furniture.
One of the features of the loungeroom was our gas heater that replaced the old open fire. Again, I’m pretty sure the gas heater would have been pulled out by the new neighbours and returned to its former glory. Beside that we had an open cavity that we used to put all of our newspapers in that in olden days would have held the timber for the open fire. But above the fireplace was a beautiful timber shelf that ran the length of that wall. This was where we would show all of our cards for each occasion, birthdays, Christmas’s etc. And above the fire timber mantle was a painting that Laurie bought for Mum & Dad of an ocean scene. From memory he bought it out of his first pay packet as a special present for Mum & Dad. I remember it having a really heavy gaudy gold frame, but it was a richly painted scene of some waves splashing across rocks. I loved that painting.
Into the dining room and we had a gorgeous antique table that seated 6 of us, so plenty of room for all of us. This was surrounded by some gorgeous high backed chairs covered in an antique furnishing that was later given to Laurie. Also in the Dining Room we had my pride and joy – my Nana Joyce’s piano. Nana Joyce gave it to me on my 12th birthday, on the proviso that I learnt to play the piano. I did and learnt for around 5 years before I gave it up. Unfortunately I think mostly because my teacher was this old fuddy duddy lady living in a house full of antiques (and Toby Jugs that scared me) and if she ever heard me playing anything other than what she wanted me to learn, it was a quick wrap across the fingers and a stern warning to stop “jingling”. The piano is German, French polished, with matching antique brass candelabras. Unfortunately Mum thought it was a great place to hold all of her indoor plants of which there were many. This consequently lifted the French polishing and is still yet to be restored today.
From the Dining Room we had a servery into the kitchen. Underneath that window, we had a cute little hall stand that held our telephone – the old black, turn dial phone and underneath it held the phone books. It had a little stool on it that we could sit when talking to someone on the phone. This certainly wasn’t a time of mobile phones or hands free one’s. if you were having a conversation, you just had to put up with everyone else listening. Mum & Dad would always be spread out on the dining table doing their bets. They loved to have “a flutter” (their words) on the horses, so much so that every Saturday, Dad would be up with the sparrows, having had his breakfast at the head of the table, and then Mum would race up to East Burwood to put their bets on. I often went with her because I would go into the newsagency and buy a magazine.

The kitchen was quite tiny and awkward. It continued the terrible brown swirl carpet into there. I was never quite sure why we did that as the carpet was always filthy from the kitchen cooking. It had laminated cupboards that Mum painted several times over. I think they started out a green colour and then eventually were painted a light brown. There were a few overheads so we did seem to have plenty of storage space. We had an upright fridge, I think it might have been a Westinghouse, and it was black. A very groovy colour that again, I wish we had today. The oven was a standing oven, electric with electric hot plates and I always hated bending over to get things out of the oven. I strongly recall Christmas days where Karen, Shirley and I would be in the kitchen using the mix master to mix up cream for the desserts. I can’t tell you how many times the cream got curdled because we talked too much.

The kitchen had a small verandah off it going out the backdoor and again down a set of (timber this time) stairs into the back yard. When we had our birds, they would always hang outside the kitchen door during the day and then be bought in to live on top of the fridge of a night time.
After leaving the dining/lounge room, we had a door that entered the hallway. Off the hallway was Mum & Dads room to the right, with Laurie’s room to the left. Next to Laurie’s room was the toilet (a separate one) and then the bathroom. Opposite the bathroom was the room I shared with Karen until she got married and then I was old enough to buy my first double bed and have a room to myself. Again each room had venation blinds in them with a lace type curtain over the top. I find I’m struggling to remember the colour in our bedroom, but I think it was green. Karen and I had matching single “Queen Ann” beds – very pretty timber old fashioned style. We also had a matching Queen Ann dressing table that sat in between us with a mirror and two drawers, one for each of us. We had matching green coloured quilts that sat over the top of our beds. In later years Mum bought me a whole new set of linen that was Laura Ashley, pink, frilly with lots of flowers and cushions that I fell in love with. I remember thinking our green quilts were pretty daggy. Our bedroom had floral wallpaper as a feature wall. It had large pink flowers on it. It was a very girly bedroom. When we would spend our childhood years going to the show every year, I would always come home with a doll on a stick and I would hang them from the venation blinds for show. We both had a double wardrobe each, which was pretty roomy, although again I’ll mention I probably spent more time in Karen’s than mine.
Bamby our gorgeous poodle would sleep on my bed every night with me. I had a sliding door to my bedroom to save space and he would “bail up” anyone that tried to pass the door of a nighttime in protection for me. Mum told me he wouldn’t let Grandad Smith go to the toilet one night as he was almost passing my door.
From our bedroom we would go out the back door to the outside laundry and down another set of timber stairs and into the backyard. I won’t mention too much about the backyard as I think Karen and Laurie have already talked about the famous BBQ that Dad would always cook. But aside from that, we had a shed a Hills Hoist clothes line and every Summer an above ground pool for our entertainment. We also had an outdoor fold up table and umbrella and we would venture out there and spend our days in the sunshine. Especially Dad, who would again, enjoy his VB in the sun, and fall asleep in his white singlet (funny they have made a come back hey kids) and with a tied up in the corner handkerchief covering his bald head so he wouldn’t get sun stroke. He did however also have a spot of Savlon on his adams apple placed on almost every day as he was convinced he had skin cancer. Probably as a result of falling asleep too many times outside.
Our friends were always welcome in Richardson Street. They were allowed to have sleep overs and visit whenever they wanted and I think Mum & Dad enjoyed a house full. Christmas was always at our house, with our spindly little Christmas tree, filled with buckets of presents underneath it and always with the spare one’s “in case” we had extra visitors we didn’t know about.
At the same time, growing up also had its fair share of some sad moments. Mum and Dad were notorious for arguing. Big, loud, strong arguments that would send me to bed with a pillow over my head as they would yell so much. Mostly it was about Dad drinking too much. I was always scared that I would wake up and find that Mum had murdered Dad over night over one of their arguments. She certainly ruled the house.
Then when boyfriends came along, they would go to bed reasonably early to ensure we had some privacy. But it was only a matter of time, before Mum would decide that they had been there long enough, and we had been on our own long enough, that would start the knocking on the loungeroom/her bedroom wall. We would have to excuse ourselves and go down and see what she wanted. Inevitably we were told “that’s enough now, it’s time for so and so to go home”.
Mum was a very strict Mum in Richardson Street. We had curfews even though I ignored most of them, particularly when I became a policewoman and tried to tell her I had grown up enough. Dad however, would always ensure I had money. He would follow me out to my car, whenever I was going out and put his hand out and hold mine and slip in a $10 or $20 note. He would tell me that he had “had a win love, here’s some petrol money!” These were the wins that he wouldn’t tell Mum about.
By the time Mum & Dad were moving out of Richardson Street, the place was falling around their ears.  It was hard to believe that a lifetime of smoking had seriously changed the colour of the walls and ceiling. They were cream when they should have been white. Again, days of smoking inside were totally acceptable.
As pensioners they had no money to do the much needed renovations, rewiring should have been doing, plumbing fixed, a bathroom and kitchen renovation that was never going to happen whilst they still lived there. So they sold up and moved into Karen & Gerry’s. Little did we all know that instead of the $110,000 they got for the sale of Richardson Street, would have turned into nearly a million dollars had we have waited and held onto it. Who knew Box Hill would have graduated that far?

Busy Times

Again it’s been way too long since I wrote but life has been very busy.  Work this year has come with new and challenging duties and one day I might be able to talk about them openly but not now.

We currently have 2 and a half kids [read young adults] living with us and another who will and that has meant that our little 3 bedroom home is way too small.  So we’ve spent a few weeks deciding on what to do and with the cost of extensions way too high for what we’d get we’ve decided to bite the bullet and build a new house with 5 bedrooms.

It was a long and often fruitless search for land and with little available where we currently live we’ve decided to move out to Melbourne’s south east in a brand new estate that is currently a cow paddock.   Used to being surrounded by trees that is going to take a big adjustment for me but that’s a compromise brought on by the size of our budget and I guess I’ll get used to it.

For the first 49 years of my life I only lived in two places but since separation and divorce have moved twice with the next being maybe the penultimate one.  One day I intend to retire to the south coast of New South Wales.

Went and saw Rob Thomas Friday of last week – bonus was the encore with INXS – sensational

Mum was admitted to hospital yesterday after bleeding from the bowell for a day without telling anyone.  She will be having a colonoscopy at some time in the next couple of days so we cross our fingers.  She will be 80 later this year so any operation is a worry.

That is a very brief update just in case anyone is stil interested.  I won’t promise to get back to writing regularly although I would like to.  I have started keeping a hand written journal again just to record some of the unpublishable stuff so that my kids will know a few more things when I shuffle off the old mortal coil.

Hope that all my blog buddies are still well 🙂

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