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A Progress Report

. . .  on the house, that is, not the current book I’m working on, though I am working on that, too.

The unpacking in my new house is proceeding, albeit at a slow pace. Weirdly, although I have much more storage in this house than I had at the old house, it’s been hard trying to decide where everything goes. I’m talking mainly about the kitchen, which is where I’ve been doing most of the unpacking. There is plenty of space — it’s the organization that’s the tricky bit.

In the old house I had a walk-in pantry, and everything was at my fingertips. I had a wall of narrow shelves for herbs and spices, and two walls of deeper shelves for everything else. Now I have a cupboard that is called a pantry, and drawers for everything else. And my herbs and spices don’t quite fit into this drawer . . . 

As much as anything it’s a reorganization of my mind. Do I want these plates stored in a drawer in the kitchen or on the other side of the bench in the old dresser I brought with me from the old house? And then, where do I keep the things I used to store in that dresser? 

Decisions, decisions. . . 

But the unpacking and reorganization is helping me continue the decluttering process, and I’ve already taken several boxes to the charity shop.

I haven’t touched the many boxes of books yet. I plan to get new bookshelves built first. At the old house there were two full walls of bookshelves that I built myself (using metal brackets fastened to the wall) and they’ve gone now, so even though I have a number of free-standing bookshelves (nine at last count — four over 6ft), there still isn’t enough space for all my books. So the culling will continue, but not just yet. The books can wait — as can the setting up of my guest room — this is it at the moment. 

Speaking of the old house, I guess I was grieving a bit at leaving it after so long, but the new owner sent me photos of the house as it was a week after I’d moved — and it’s a shell of its former self — literally. So that helped me to let it go. The photo below is of the room that used to be my bedroom. 

Thank you to all the people who’ve commented on this blog and written me emails wishing me well in my new home. I’m very happy here now — it’s warm and comfortable, and beautifully light. Even though it’s been cold and rainy or overcast for days, I still don’t have to turn on lights in the daytime. And my indoor plants are thriving.

As is Milly who is currently outside  on the deck, keeping an eye on the birds sitting in the trees in case they decide to trespass on her territory. 


From the verge

The only neighbours I’ve met in my new house so far were two young guys who lived next door. They’re both very nice (and I was thinking potentially useful, since they looked handy and had trucks and tools and things.) But sadly, they were also moving. I met the first one when he asked me if I had any spare boxes, which of course I did. It turned out he was moving down the coast, so there went my short-lived fantasy of having useful men next door. <g>

Anyway the other one was moving up to northern NSW, and he was putting lots of furniture on the nature strip (verge) for anyone to take, because where he was going was too far/expensive to transport all his furniture. So he was giving it away. So first, with the help of a visiting friend, I first nabbed a low (4ft) narrow bookshelf for my hallway.

Then the following night I was returning home in the dark with takeaway Chinese food, and I saw some nice looking chairs there. I liked them — they had padded seats in oatmeal fabric, and my current wooden dining chairs are hard on bottoms — as my card playing friends often remark. There were three, so I brought them inside, feeling quite like the scavenger of the neighborhood! <g>

Next morning it was pouring with rain, and I saw there was a very nice table there, getting drenched. He had offered me “a kitchen table” the day before, when I’d asked him about the bookshelf, and I’d imagined some battered old thing, so I’d said no thanks. But this lovely table was, apparently, it. So feeling cheeky I knocked on his door and asked him about it, and he said, yeah, take it.

And then, even more cheekily, I asked for his help in carrying it onto my front porch — it was too wet to bring inside. So he did. (That’s it below, in the rain.)

He said, “There were some chairs too but they’ve gone.”

I said, “I know — I took them.”

So then he told me he had the 4th chair inside and he’d give it to me before he left.

Several times I offered to pay — they’re really nice table and chairs — but he waved it off and poo-poohed the idea.

And then he brought in the 4th chair, because he was going out that night and didn’t need it, and was staying with a mate  until he left in a few days time.

So, now I have a lovely table and 4 chairs.

He had some other good furniture, and so I contacted the asylum-seekers aid organization, who help refugees get settled with houses and furniture, etc. I sent them some photos, pointing out that they were in the rain, and they came and got them straight away. So his furniture has helped a lot of people — including me.

My table is now on my deck. Isn’t it lovely? I was a bit worried it would be too big, but I think it works well. It’s close to the window at the moment because it’s bucketing down and I don’t want it to get wet again. I’m keeping my old dining room table inside because it’s round, and is the perfect size for my card-playing friends who don’t have to stretch too far for the pack.

So there are my finds — all from the verge. 

These days I’ve noticed that more and more people are leaving stuff out on the verge for anyone to take. I left a few things out myself, when I was leaving the old house, though most of my stuff went to charity shops.

I’m not sure whether it’s a sign that we all have too much stuff, or whether we’re just encouraged to buy new stuff all the time. My theory is that shopping has become so much of a leisure activity that we all have too much, and yet adverts and “lifestyle” magazines and programs continually entice us to want more and newer — if not necessarily better.

I get several interior/renovation e-zines and I’m often shocked at their “before and afters” when they talk about “outdated” kitchens and houses — when really they’re still very nice and perfectly good — just not the latest thing!

I get mildly offended on behalf of the former owners when they talk about “This outdated and shabby old house/kitchen/bathroom” blah blah. When it was last decorated and renovated maybe 10 years ago. Are we getting too wasteful, perhaps? I don’t know.

Have you ever found something good on the verge?


I’m off to Ballarat in a couple of weeks!
On Sunday 5 June, from 2.30-3.30pm I’ll be in the fabulous gold-mining historical city of BALLARAT, chatting with historical romance author Darry Fraser, contemporary fiction author, Toni Jordan and debut author Tobias Madden. We’ll be talking about love, family and relationships in fiction.

It’s FREE, but you need to Book Here:

Ballarat Library 178 Doveton St N, Ballarat Central VIC 3353, Australia
Hope to see you there!