Saturday, September 11, 2010

Curiously disconnected

Will post this today. My big Acer laptop died, but was fortunate enough to rescue everything from the hard drives. Took a while to save the money, but now have a spiffy little new MSi laptop. Also now have the phone connected; but internet is still a drive up the hill away .. heh. At some stage will apply to the Australian Broadband Guarantee scheme to get a satellite dish installed, but that might take some time to activate.

The following was written some time ago. At present am feeding – 1 dog, 8 or 10 King Parrots, half a dozen blue cheeked Rosellas, two or three top-knot Pigeons, several Satin Bowerbirds (female), three or four Pied Currawongs who have a tendency to monster everything else .. and a couple of Kookaburras hanging about. Also have to occasionally feed four ducks, a rhode island red chook .. and a beagle from next door that winkle their way under the fence .. heh. Life is joyous – in a curiously disconnected sort of way - and weekly posting will resume whenever I get a round Tuit.

Monday, 21 June 2010

By a stroke of good fortune, have found self in an interesting cottage in the hills about halfway between Bathurst and Lithgow at an actually mis-named place - should be 'forgotten, frosty, freezing' corner; but that's by the way.

Had parked the van on the "recreation" ground here at the end of January - but "recreation" ground is also not quite accurate - more of an open, very neglected space surrounded by natural bushland and pine forest. Had asked a couple of the locals how long I could stay, and they sort of shrugged. "Whatever", seemed to be the attitude. Suited me, as was 'free' and could busy myself with long walks through the forests. Managed to get the car repaired (radiator problems) and save a couple of hundred.

Am not quite sure how to describe this place. Used to be a thriving gold/silver mining town - 1870's to 1922, then everything collapsed. Not on any major - or even minor - 'through' roads and has been gradually deteriorating ever since. There's an old, derelict, 'mine site' nearby [DANGER, ARSENIC], and the hills around here are littered with old open mineshafts hidden in the bush.

[doubt very much whether the "speculative" mining companies from that era could be located to see whether they could "rehabilitate" the damage - all of them went broke .. heh.]

Though to be fair - the greatest damage to the local area has been done by the NSW "Woods and Forests". Large acreage of pinus radiata - which, on one hand is a "resource". On the other - a feral WEED. Nothing else grows in a ratiata plantation - Except blackberry - another introduced feral WEED. No birds, miniscule animal population.

One of the eerie aspects of walking a pine plantation is the .. uniform .. profound ..silence.["We own this space - totally. We will continue to spread. You cannot destroy the advancing progeny of our cones". shhesh, triffids are small bikkies.]

Can't really call this place a "village". Is now a loose-ish sort of collection of scattered dwellings; some brand new suburban brick veneer; some simple weatherboard with small paddocks of sheep, chooks and horses, and some very few old heritage originals hiding among the trees - no post office and no shops (nearest is about 15 minutes away by car). Has a sort of quirky individuality (but not much in the way of "community cohesion").

Had seen a sort of 'run-down', neglected, very plain cottage on the main street that looked as if nobody had lived in it for some time ( 4 years, have discovered), but which had 'potential' with a little TLC, so asked around to see if anyone knew who owned it and how i could contact them. Nobody knew. I hung about for months trying to think of some way to find out.

However, had met and talked with a bloke who runs a 'free range' chook farm over on the other side of the hill several times previously - so, on the off chance, went round on Wednesday 2 June to see if he knew who owned the cottage. Well!! knock me down with a free range chook feather! "Yep", he said, "me mate Peter lives next door and has the key". It all happened very quickly after that. We went round to see Peter, who gave me the phone number of the owner, showed me the inside (wow! description later). I rang the bloke that night via Skype, then sent him an email with brief biography.

Not sure what I said on the phone or what it was in the email but ... two days later received an email that said, more or less -'move in whenever you like, stay as long as you want to, no bond, rent [reasonable], will sign rent assistance form. If you're happy, we're happy'. Moved in on Sunday June 6.

Rob P ... runs a transport company in Sydney - too busy to come up here to talk to me and, have to admit, was very generous.

The cottage? Ah. Corner block. Quarter acre, fully fenced yard (chookwire, so dog can't get out), 1 old dilapidated freestanding dunny, 1 small corrugated iron 'shed' (falling down), 1 small, plain, paint-peeled, panel-board cottage of 4 rooms (looks home-built).

When first spotted some months ago, yard full of feral vegetation 6 ft high and fruit trees gone wild, the grass was 2 ft high - but then later noticed that someone had put a small flock of sheep in the yard which were munching their way down to ground level.

The BIG surprise was the interior of the cottage. While still very "home handyman", someone had spent some time repainting, but - joy of joy - there's a professionally installed brand new bathroom and inside toilet, hot and cold running water (courtesy of an Onga electric pump) as well as a brand new electric side-by-side stove and oven. House has been professionally re-wired electrically. The "back room" runs full width of the house and is the "kitchen/ dining" area, the central part has a bedroom and lounge (with slow combustion wood heater – rusty, but functional) and there's a fully enclosed "front verandah" room.

Was a little disconcerted at first, since all of the interior walls are a sort of stark "daffodil" yellow .. but the back of the house (kitchen/dining) faces east - and the interior takes on a warm glow when the sun comes over the hill - and believe me, very welcome; since the average winter temperatures around here run between minus 0ºC and 10ºC - and have now added a few bits and pieces to relieve the stark yellow . Another stroke of good fortune was the discovery of a fridge. Had dropped into one of the Op-shops in Bathurst and spotted an almost brand new Westinghouse fridge/freezer. Label price $150 - but the bloke let me have it for $95-00.

Have to say that am having trouble believing this good fortune. Living in a 16ft caravan here and there for the past couple of years, while had its moments, has been a bit .. um .. uncomfortable.

About the only slight niggly annoyance at the moment is that am in a small valley, and have lost signal for the Telstra USB internet modem (have to take the laptop about 1/2K up the hill to get signal). Am considering getting the phone connected, but have been quoted $180-00, so that might have to wait a while. Have, actually, been very busy in the garden and with a few .. um, "refurbishments" so haven't thought much about "writing" - even though have 24/7 240V electricity for a change. In the meantime, will have think about writing longer posts at leisure, then driving up the hill to post them.

Cheers to all,


Jayne said...

The house sounds wonderful, get the vegies planted and you'll be set for a lovely summer :)

Vest said...

I am not sure how to put my feelings into words but I really feel happy for you and your finding of this magical cottage and new environs.
Reminds me of Chalgrove Oxford shire in 1932 as a six year old. 350 yr old thatch and stone near the brook, Well water no electricity dunny out the back and the piss pot under the bed,. The good old days.

John L said...

Sounds great.

Davo said...

Jayne, thinking about veges. Haven't really been here long enough to understand the local seasons or where the sun hits. have planted a few callistemons and grevillias .. doubt if I'll be around long enough to see them in full glory, though.

Vestie, am used to digging a hole in the dirt with a shovel; so pristine, brand new porcelain with push-button flush is still a novelty .. heh.

Hi John.

Vincent said...

This is great news Davo. For you a home again, other than a gypsy home. For your readers, the hope that you'll write more longer pieces like this and fulfil the various hints of telling more on various topics. there comes a time when the creative impulse thrives on a bit of domestic stability.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Glad things are working out for you. I think I would enjoy the situation if Janet were a little more mobile.

If you get a chance, show us some pictures of the menagerie.Some of your critters are completely out of my sphere of knowledge.

GreenSmile said...

This place you have wound up sounds similar in a few ways to my present haunts.

Where I am was once farmed but subsequently abandoned to logging companies and hunting clubs who keep it mostly as unmaintained woods.
Scattered between the tracts are the relics of two communes that briefly flourished in the 60s or 70s and then either got religion or prosperity...ruined 'em near as I can tell.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Hey wombat, It has been over a month. You are getting a sporadic as me. ( and , I think, more missed)

BBC said...

I'm still living in my little dump but I'm cool with that, it's free and clear and that is a good thing.

Got a virus in my computer so bought a new cheap one with Win 7 on it, it seems fine and Win 7 is a big improvement.

Anyway, things are great for me here even though I love to bitch about a lot of things.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

hey 3 score .. yep, still around. The bloke came to install the satellite dish yesterday - but the roof is too weak, has to order in a pole of some sort. hang about, will have decent connection soon. cheers to all.