Friday, July 31, 2009

Moved at last. It should be a fun house

Moving was not fun.

On Tuesday, the removalists did not finish putting the last bed together until nearly nine o'clock. Then on Wednesday I spent the morning at the old house tidying up the garden and then unpacking.

You can always tell something about people from what gets unpacked first. In my case it was the kitchen and then my key books. The second caused some family controversy - why are you doing that now?!

People who have seen the new place so far all have the same reaction. This should be a fun house.

In normal circumstances in Sydney we would never be able to live in a place like this.

It has a big block - I have my vegetable garden back - that slopes first up the side of a hill and then flattens at the top. It is high, with 180 degree views stretching from Coogee in a big arc out to Botany Bay and then to the Blue Mountains. The views are interrupted to some degree by trees and a fence designed to give some privacy, so they peak out at you as you move around.

The house itself is a large, rambling and somewhat run down single level Federation style house, what I would think of as an Armidale style residence. It has a station homestead feel, and indeed could be plonked down on any of the properties around Armidale and would fit in at once.

We could never afford this type of place in normal circumstances. We are here purely by chance because the owners have purchased it to do up for themselves, and are just renting it in the meantime. We know that we are here just for the lease period, fortunately we managed to negotiate a slightly longer lease than normal, but will enjoy it while we can.

Because it is largely in original condition with only a few modernisations, it would not be for all. The paint is peeling in spots, the electrics are a tad ancient (they had to be fixed the day we moved in), the single bathroom is relatively small and old fashioned and there is a fair bit of work in the garden, but from our viewpoint it's great.

The house we were in before was very much modern Sydney. Small block, biggish house, a paved garden area at the back with trees and greenery, open plan. We saw it in summer and the girls loved it. As time past, we found it noisy and somewhat cold, cut off from the sun. The backyard, the centre at Rosebery because of the sun, was rarely used simply because it was cold. The neighbours were always present. The kitchen was really a toy kitchen.

This house will be cold too in some ways, although it does get sun. To heat the whole house would be very expensive. But it has old fashioned internal doors that allow you to close up parts of the house or, alternatively, open up the whole house on hot days.

As a family we have always had an open house. The girls' friends are in and out the whole time, as is my wife's family. This is a house built for people, outward looking, not inward looking and enclosed like so much of modern Sydney. Yes, I know that my biases are showing, but the reaction of the whole family and of the dozen or so visitors this week has been the same, when's the party!

As I write, the sky to the east and north is lightening through the windows that stretch along the eastern and northern walls in the back room.

Moving has been very disruptive in time and also money. My normal time for reading and writing has been very limited, so I am behind in everything. I am really looking forward now to settling in and catching up.


Neil said...

Sounds like fate has done you a good turn, Jim!

Of course I would call it a Wellington (NSW) style house, after my father's cousin's place (of happy memory) in Warne Street Wellington -- or even a Randwick-style house after my friend Simon's place. ;)

Jim Belshaw said...

We are all marked by our pasts, aren't we?

Kanani said...

Oh... my!
Well, in the short desciption of the peeling paint, the old electrical and the warren of rooms, you've described my house perfectly! Down to a sweeping view.

Yes, I'm afraid I would have unpacked exactly the things you did too!

I think...we're moving next year. We've decided to rent out this old house and rent in Savannah. David will only be there for 1.5 years more, then it'll be onto another post. So I'm looking forward to finding some kind of loft downtown.
It's been far too long since I've stopped by. I will have to run to catch up.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Kanani. Well, you will get to see the country! Re one of your posts on New York, my dream has always been to have two homes too!

Tikno said...

I'm glad finally everything going well.
I ever experience move home 3 times, and try hard to avoid for the fourth.

Jim Belshaw said...

I would do like to avoid another move too, Tikno, but then that's the problem with renting!

Legal Eagle said...

Glad your move went well, Jim. I hate moving too. And like you, I try to unpack kitchen 1st, books 2nd. The latter also causes controversy, and I'm still cross that books weren't properly unpacked and shelved in our last move (yes, I'm a book obsessive).

Sounds like a nice house.

Jim Belshaw said...

Nice to see another book obsessive, LE!

After a week or so, we all still think that it's a fun house.