-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

email minutiaie - Mum's verdict

Continuing on in the email transcript series... this is Mum's initial verdict on the property. What I find interesting is that on reading this, and in fact in my initial phone conversation with her following it, I'd thought she didn't like it. It was only after talking to Dad on the phone (at this point he wasn't on email yet) that I realised I'd misinterpreted! It is also ironic that at the end she said that both she and Dad wouldn't want it for themselves... yet more recently she has said to me via email that they both love it and really wish it was theirs! I guess it just grew on them. Seeing it green after the rains I imagine would have helped a lot too. Anyway... here's her email.

Mum's initial email report - 14th Jan 2004

Well now I know the colour is bad in this camera however there will be better ones when we process the film cameras and get them to load them onto a cd.

I did not attempt to take inside the house - quite unliveable..

I stood on basically the same spot and roatated round. Dad is in one, fiddling with his camera with the side of the house. Then there is one with the cars in across to the dam. The trees appear to be more than they are in real life though the dam is nice. The "dense" trees are along the road and around the house. Your access to road is along a sort of easement beside the house and you come in at the far side of the dam and drive through the paddock - no drive of any sort defined. I kept clicking, moving round clockwise. The trees in general form your boundaries.. so ALL the land is cleared apart from a few old trees near the house.

There is a natural slope to two places - in one of which is the present dam. Dad says make another dam in the other - about first maybe second after the one with the back of my car in it - maybe a bit in that one too on right edge - doesn't show up well in photos.. By the way, that boundary is NOT defined by trees - it runs up apparently straight beside the neighbouring house to the tree line at back. there is a fence, wire and those metal pickets.. there is a corroded watercourse (no water) starting maybe there, or at least apparent from the hosue there. I think it may be on your land too in the dip where Dad says put a second dam but it is well camouflaged if so - I THINK I saw a vestige of it.

There is a vineyard within a couple of miles, called Amherst winery. It has a website linked to the central goldfields site which has Talbot and Maryborough on it and a couple of other places. The climate is fairly dry.

Electricity is down near that house alonggside the drive and there is a house opposite too. Phone also. You will have to use tank water. There is a high pressure gas main right through the property, not far from the house. You will not be able to tap into a high pressure main, nor will you be able to put any permnanent structure on it or a certain distance each side - and they will have to be able to have access 24 hrs if needed I imagine. However, that is nothing when you look at the amount of land there is. The cost to get electricity and phone on would be huge. It would come only to your gate at best and you may have to pay for even that. From the gate up to house is your responsibility and it must be underground.

Better option is go all solar. Seems lots of sun - more than Daylesford which would be more than Melbourne I think. It took us about 2hrs 45 min maybe 3 hrs to get back by what I think was a pretty direct route, via Clunes to Ballarat which we skirted about via freeway. Find a map of Amherst - I found one online, so did you - and where the road to Lillipur branches from main road through Amherst is all dirt. Good though - we averaged 90k, Wayne was in a hurry it seems! (Dusty too.) With big tanks you would get enough water. Gravity feed is cheaper and maintenance free BUT if you want a good shower.. and then, just about every tap these days is mains pressure adn will not operate under lower gravity feed pressure. It just does not open up the washer - or rather it has some valve not a washer that needs a solid gush to open, and you don't get that with gravity feed. I got them for the kitchen here - limited range, and about $50 extra for a kit which we think basically reduces the pressure of my cold mains pressure so the hot gravity feed gets a chance to put in an appearance. But the tap itself must have a different washer thing too. Shower, using mains pressure taps, was hopeless till Dad glued the washer thing into place - open at all times now. so Dad said probably go pump to get mains pressure from tank like everyone else and do a bit of maintenance on pump etc. that would mean set up your solar system to give enough power...

Soil is good for grazing only though you could in time import soil and build up a good vegie garden with compost and so on. Covered with little sharp edged stones, quartzy things in places - this is gold mining country and on the drive to there from Daylesford along little roads, narrow like the tiny English ones eg to Polkerris but far less traffic on them and flat and open so you can see what is coming mostly. Wayne said it could be left with nothing on it for two years and not change. Said he could arrange with local, maybe next door neighbour, to let his horses run on it for a time to keep it down. The grass is not good food, or so it seemed to me experienced as you know in such things - not!

Dad says house has a good frame - is restumped yes but on wood stumps and the victorian building code says must now be concrete stumps. Wayne said council will probably turn a blind eye if that is so (he hadn't heard of it) as they would probably just want it finished! you have two good windowws - well, they should be retained and restored. The sort with a central double hung sash and a smaller side panel each side. Somewhat falling to pieces but mendable if done reasonably soon. No glass of course. A front door - with missing leadlight panel in top. The coloured glass surrounds - all missing but the framework, needing restoring and mending, is there. Good baltic pine floor through at least the passage and front four rooms. 12 ft ceilings if not higher said Dad - you could put a sort of loft arrangement in to make it double storey if you liked, well mezzanine anyway and have the sloping walls upstairs from about 3 ft up. The bit that was probably kitchen bathroom laundry back veranda is rubbish though restumped - Wayne nearly fell though floor as it is not attached anywhere, just dangling! Dad says demolish that. (A good shove might do it if several men pushed together int he right places.) There is a big hole in the floor of one other room too, looks like the size for a very large bath. Inside - well, you can see the frame for the walls. And a few lathes from the old lathe and plaster.. holes in walls for windows, and breezeways where the outside lowest weatherboards are rotting and detaching from floor/ bit at bottom of wall side of floor.

Dad took photos inside with flash camera.

It would take about 40 minutes to Ballarat I think. Talbot is not far but then, Talbot is a place that you blink and miss - not even sure if there is a primary schoool anymore. Mullock heaps about... Amherst, well if the sign was not up you would not realize, I think. We never went near Lillicur - it is about another 10 k further along the dirt road from Amherst! I think you have to go back to Talbot to go to Maryborough. Wayne said that was the long way round to Ballarat so we never went there. Clunes - now there is a rich goldmining place now sleepy hollow. Lovely magnificent old Post Office, public library, and so on. Msut have been built with no regard to cost - they picked up gold on the ground, why would you? about 140 years back. Dad swore post office was a pub, to give you the style of architecture!

And someone not far from Talbot is traditional - the hay was stacked in handbuilt rooks. Not baled, not rolled, but neat rooks neatly sort of bound round with a twist of hay! We would have stopped for photos but Wayne was burning on and I would have been lost, so... We both though it looked like it had been hand cut too, with a scythe. Not large paddock, maybe an acre. I would not like to do it, myself.

Wayne can be emailed... daylesford@doepels.com.au

I asked him the quyestions you sent

1. He will ask if the horses can graze there sometimes but there will be no money in it, in fact the neighbour will be doing you a favour not the other way I think. (Lots of very nice horses there Lyn, looks like he may breed Arabs or at least thoroughbreds.)

2. how long owned and why selling? - how long he doesn't know and why selling, well just look around!

3. Money - he operates on a verbal agreement - if you say yes you want it then he will send over papers.. you can send over cheque, we can bank it and get it cleared, give him the money - oh yes, he supposes bank transfer is fine, quicker he has never done that but then never sold to overseas either!

He quoted land a bit closer maybe to Daylesofrd, 5 acres for $75k with mud brick house on, worse condition than yours if that is possible.

Daylesford is so expensive (just an hour now to Melbourne, about 20 mins off freeway) now people are moving into these further out surrounding areas says Wayne, The Daylesford is so expensive bit is certainly true anyway.

No public transport within a bulls roar.. didn't see signs of a bus even where we were. Maybe a bus Maryborough to Ballarat. There is a train line not too far away, looks like it still operates ie no trees growing through tracks. not far is about 10 k??? Talbot, I think, memory is vage. Station is derelict. It may be at Talbot, maybe somewhere else.

Dad will no doubt contact you too - or you can ring him.

He thinks it would suit you he said to agent - but to me, said for him he would not be at all interested. You are different so may well want it. Dave not driving may make him a prisoner though. Daylesford has pay TV but via satellite. In the area of Amherst, well now that is for you to find out. Capture your electricity first I think, but you will want internet of some sort, so phone maybe? and mobile phone coverage may well be very patchy if existant at all.

Love Mum

My reply

Thank you so much for doing this. We are not thinking about this tonight. Have had some very very bad news, Molly only has a few months left, have spent the evening searching for other rabbit specialists in UK to get 2nd opinion. Dave is distraught, it's very upsetting. I will write properly tomorrow.

{I didn't properly reply to this via email ever, it was superceded by a phone call. The tragedy was with Molly our little pet rabbit who had a problem with her tooth roots that were growing upwards, into her tear duct etc. We ended up finding a specialist veterinary dentist, he works with all the animals at London zoo. He was based in Scotland but did a day a week in London and we managed to get her an appointment. But, there was nothing he could do either. Molly rallied for a bit but then a few months later went really downhill and we had to let her go. It's over 6 months ago now but it still hurts to think about. Poor Molly, we still miss her terribly, but that's another story}

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