As some of you may know, I am preparing for the next stage of my life. Retirement from work. It is a few years off yet, however I do like to be prepared.
To this end, we are building a future home at the beach. A new home means a new blog called A Home By the Sea.
If you wish to follow along on this journey with me, click on the link above and you will be magically transported to my blog: A Home by the Sea.
Just to be clear, Something to Ponder About will continue in its present form. The new blog will have more of a personal journalling function.
At the moment, it is in its infancy, merely following our building projects’ ups and downs. But the challenge of transitioning to retirement will bring loads more stories, commentaries and pictures, so that will come later.
Think of the cyclic changes in the tides, the comings and goings of life, recurrent patterns of decline and growth. An awakening, an ageing and a rebirth.
When I think of Ebb and flow, I think of the beach; the sandy shores gently eroding away in the warm tropical summers and returning and reconstructing in winter – a seamless transition.
I am reminded of how ebb complements flow – the yin and the yang; logic versus intuition – opposing forces that unite together. Up and down, positive and negative.
For this Friendly Friday – show me what Ebb and Flow means to you.
Spread the word around your blog community, so others can join in too.
Instructions for Joining:
Publish a ‘Friendly Friday – Ebb and Flow,’ post and include a URL link to this post, and a ‘Friendly Friday’ Tag.
Once published, paste the URL for your Friendly Friday ‘Ebb and Flow ’ post, in the comments here, so we can find you and visit your blog.
Include in your post the Friendly Friday logo, found below, if you wish.
Please note there are no deadlines for participating. New prompts are posted each week alternately at the host blogs.
Be a part of the Friendly Friday Community and visit the links in the comments section. It’s fun and interesting to see another person’s take on the prompt.
Important Notice – As Snow is feeling a little ‘snowed under’ at the moment with everything she has to do, our dear blogger friend Manja, from Manja Mexi Moving has kindly agreed to step in and help Snow out with Friendly Friday challenge on the alternate weeks, for a short while. Snow will tell you more about this next week, but you next week check out Manja’s blog for the photo challenge.
Some people know I’m preparing for a seachange; I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ as they say, in the suburbs, and have already moved, in the interim, to a trendy townhouse in the inner city’s dress circle. What is it like, you might ask?
Think Gourmet ice cream and Vegan eateries, Sushi Trains on many a corner, craft beer bars playing Indie music and a variety of those glamorous shops that sell ludicrously expensive white and taupe furnishings with cushions that are perfectly positioned for looks, rather than comfort. Yep – in a nutshell – that’s Hipsterville. Right at my doorstep.
Imagine little old suburban me, walking the shared bike way in my daggy joggers, being steamrollered by cyclists festooned in those all too revealing lycra bodysuits. [Yes it did happen- several times]. The little Schnauzer was even caught in the slipstream of these semi-pros, who seemingly insist on riding three abreast and stubbornly refuse to ring their bell when overtaking. Grrr.
Or you might visualize me wandering the lazy Sunday markets where the fare on offer includes Triple shot Machiatos, Green smoothies with Turmeric and Kale or a dose of Banh mi with your breakfast falafel.
No – don’t get me wrong. The food is good and I do like it here. I do. In fact, it is easy to love this hipster lifestyle.
I do have a problem with an all too burgeoning waistline and the incessant noise. It took me well over a month to sleep past 4.20 am in the mornings, due to the parade of ‘tradies in Utes’, (tradesmen in utility vehicles) heading to work.
Seriously, who needs alarm clocks when you have the roar of light commercial engines outside your windows, Monday to Friday? These guys are up at the crack of dawn, speeding down the streets, reveling in being able to drive more recklessly due to the absence of other cars and non-existent bumper to bumper traffic at that earliest of hours.
Neither do I relish nearly being run over – twice in one week.
The narrow, horse and buggy style inner city streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint if you are an early pioneer, but the restricted access makes crossing the street after 6am a bit of a death wish. And it is not that I don’t like that cozy European feel. I do, but this isn’t Europe, it’s Australia and it looks and feels like Australia. The land of empty spaces, unless you are in the inner city, of course.
And don’t get me started on the lack of on street parking around here. (Thank goodness for extra visitors park when people come to visit).
Complaints to the council about the aforementioned hazardous intersection fall on deaf ears. Yet the authorities proudly flaunt “Traffic upgrade” leaflets, which were noticeably more prevalent in the run up to elections.
The mooted traffic upgrade did nothing to address the potentially deadly corner, but detailed adding another, to my mind, slightly extravagant, turning lane for cars, 400 metres away from the aforementioned deathly bottleneck. There is no common sense in Hipsterville, it would seem.
And by goodness, neither do I welcome the many bruises appearing on my body. In particular, on my shin when it connects with the bedpost. Our former suburban house had sprawling bedrooms (thanks to the MOTH’s randomized house design from his single days when he built the old house with his father). The Inner city digs are about half the dimensions, yet we have the same number of people living here.
To its credit, the pygmy like size of the Hipster house has its advantages. It’s a dream when it comes to cleaning. Every room is so small, it takes but a jiffy to clean, but of course there is a catch, isn’t there? Not immediately obvious, the downside to this small “castle” is that I kick my toe on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair on an almost daily basis.
Furthermore, my dressing table now doubles as a computer desk, because only one of these things will fit in the bedroom space. By contrast, the new house will have two study areas and embarrassingly, I was supposed to downsize! His and Hers study areas? Works for me. Woohoo!
The Schnauzer concurs with me. In the teency weency townhouse yard, she has no place to bury a bone and must jump into a raised garden, in order to dig up a prized potplant or effect her border patrol for illegal infiltrators, such as lizards or a random Scrub turkey. But she is a little depressed. She protests strongly each morning that we must walk out on the grassy footpath, as the astro turf just doesn’t cut it, when it comes to an appropriate place for Schnauzie wees and poos.
For the minute though, I’ll relish the short walk to the shopping centre and library. I’ll swing by the bakery for freshly baked sourdough and pop around the corner for a Pizza and Peroni with the MOTH, at happy hour, without the worry of who’s driving home or being over the allowed alcohol limit for driving a car.
Running out of bread or forgetting the eggs is now batted away by me, as a minor inconvenience. Despite its shortcomings, the inner city hipster life does have its heady attractions.
Excuse me whilst I go sip some Chai or perhaps it’ll be a triple shot Mocha. Heavens, I might even take up cycling! It is all Something to Ponder About.
My husband has built a house before, with his father, so for him, this is not so special.
For me, this is my first and last time to decide how a new house might look from the ground up. I will never do it again. This is it.
There are so many things to decide. We have to chose absolutely everything – colours, tiles, mortar, grout, locks, window frames, cornice, shelves. For every part of the house and every single thing in it, there is a choice. A good thing, right? But it makes my head spin, just a little bit.
A Block of Land
First things first.
We recently purchased a block of land in a new development that was close by the water’s edge. We wanted to be near the water. Two people, done with raising a family, growing old in a house by the sea. Sunset walks along the water’s edge. Cool breezes in the sub-tropical summer. Sounds idyllic? We think and hope so.
Selecting a block of land wasn’t as easy as we thought. I was very fussy about micro-climate and orientation. After living for many, many years in a house that was like a furnace in summer and a freezer in winter, I knew I was going to be particular about aspect. And I was lucky. I found one that ticked almost all the boxes.
The block in question was already registered with the governing body, as opposed to buying a pile of dirt way behind a barbed wire fence and shown only on a paper plan to prospective buyers. Whilst I was particular on the right environmental aspect, my husband was definitely not going to buy anything he couldn’t step on and feel, with his own hands. So we were lucky. We found it. First step done!
designing A house
Next we had to find a design we liked. Will the design we picked fit on the block of land, we wondered? My idea of this, might be a little different to local councils and also the idea of the land developers which is different to that of the builder. Negotiations await a pen pusher’s whim. We wait for that.
Our land has two frontages, that is: it faces a street on one side and a smaller lane way on another. This is great because it gives us uninterrupted sea breezes and views.
However, there are certain rules about how close the house can be situated to the street and neighbouring houses, called setbacks. They don’t want you to build your house right next to the road, as they did in years gone by.
What colour and materials will the exterior of our house be? How many windows? What type of fence will the garden have? How many plants will we get? The developer has a say in that too. It is called the covenant.
The developer in its wisdom, wants to keep selling their land for a good price and thus, they want to maintain certain standards for the houses getting built in their community. But when is a house really your own to design?
The land was previously low lying land that was filled and raised by creating an artificial lake that opened to the sea. This is coastal land – a tidal area now filled in with soil and a lake.
This means the soil test showed the soil is saline and highly reactive. That translates to more expensive foundations for the house and raised garden beds. But who wants their house walls to crack when it rains, or doesn’t rain? It has to be done that way.