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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ebay win: flywire door

Every so often things like this come up and, if they're conveniently located for collection and in good condition, I take a punt on putting in a low bid. And very occasionally, I win. :-)

We're going to need one of these on every outside door and this is the first I've found so far. You can buy new 'old style' replicas but figured if I can get the real thing for a price of a cup of coffee, why not.

flywire door

From the description:
Antique fly screen door from back veranda - an Australian icon. It's in Kew. It's very heritage, but unfortunately we have no use for it. Pickup only please. It's 765mm x 2025mm.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lovely views

Dave sadly didn't take many photos while he was there but I forgive him: as he said, he was working! (And there's a reason that it's usually me wielding the camera...)

But besides the photos of the fence and house showing their progress, he did get a smattering of scenic views. It's these more than anything which remind me of why we're planning to move there.

View from the hill near olives:

amherst visit - 13

amherst visit - 21

Early morning at the dam:

amherst visit - 34

Dave's visit

Dave got back yesterday, at last. Here's his short summary of what they did each day along with a few photos:

Monday 4th August
rained all way up, got there 2pm, built shelter

Campsite at Amherst
(this photo was taken a few days later obviously, given the blue skies!)

Tuesday 5th August
cold morning, started to strip back panels on side wall, forest side

amherst - old house being painted - 4

Wednesday 6th August
primer coat on stripped wall, continued stripping. Planted lemon tree, blood orange, almond, pecan.

amherst - orchard trees - 2 amherst - orchard trees - 3

amherst - old house being painted - 5

Thursday 7th August
painted first coat on side wall, built scaffold for work on dam side wall.

amherst - old house being painted - 6

amherst - old house being painted - 8

Friday 8th August
more painting and stripping, 5,000 gal tank arrived and installed. drove back to Melbourne in the late afternoon.

new tanks - 5

Saturday 9th August
rest day in Melbourne

Sunday 10th August
drove back to Amherst in the morning, arrived early afternoon. started initial work on olive fence, put 5 posts in

amherst - olive grove fence (ready to be put up) - 1

Monday 11th August
more painting and stripping. forest side finished, dam side half stripped. another 10 posts in

amherst - old house being painted - 13

Tuesday 12th August
30 posts put in am, primer coat done dam side all other posts in.

amherst - old house being painted - 14

Wednesday 13th August
first blue coat on dam side, holes dug for fences round almond and chestnut trees.

amherst - old house being painted - 17

Thursday 14th August
second blue coat, started completing fence with first run of wire

amherst house - 7

Friday 15th August
wiring up fence. finished first run, started top layer.

Saturday 16th August
finished second run of wire (upper) started fences for trees

Sunday 17th August
ran hare fence around olive trees

olive grove at amherst - 5

olive grove at amherst - 3

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talbot market (17th Aug)

Mum went to the Talbot market last weekend and took some photos for me. It looked pretty cold so I don't think they got the usual turnout, but still was quite busy. I'm looking forward to a time when this is where I do my shopping. :-)

market day at talbot - 34

market day at talbot - 28

market day at talbot - 12

market day at talbot - 14

market day at talbot - 48

Saturday, August 16, 2008

house painting update

Dave and Dad have been working hard on painting the old house, with some extra help from my sister Jen who spent 2 days working with them this week. Thanks a lot Jen!

They've made amazing progress. In the end they decided it was best to just get a coat of paint on rather than faff around with replacing and repairing weatherboards. This way they'll at least all be protected until we can next get back to work on them, and it turned out that not that many of the boards need replacing anyway.

I really love how the colour is working out. You can see the ultimate planned colour scheme here. It should look equally good when both green, as here, and in the height of summer when everything is parched and orange.

house painting - 3

house painting - 2

house painting - 5

fences and water tanks

Vida, my stepmum, writes with more news about progress at Amherst, and best of all photos! They've got only one more working day to go after this before they return to Melbourne. Dave then has another 5 days or so to catch up again with his family and friends before finally jetting back to London.

olive grove fence - 1

olive grove fence - 2

I can't get over how big it is. There are over 50 posts in it apparently. They have just one final thing to do to it, Vida said, which is to put extra wire around the bottom to stop rabbits. They're planning to do that tomorrow.

The tanks too look brilliant. I really like how they're different colours and how they've put rocks around the edge, it almost makes them look like sculptures. We had at one stage been toying with getting metal tanks from the supplier Eric recommended but Dad sourced these instead and seeing them in place, I'm glad he did. They stand out, yes, but I like it.

new tanks - 3

new tanks - 5

new tanks - 1

Email from Vida 16th August:

Hi Lyn

I've just returned from Amherst. As it is Saturday I decided to cook Dave and John some decent food and save their time from cooking. I arrived at about 2p.m. and it was time for lunch. I enjoyed watching them eating the food as if they were eating the most delicious dish. I told John not to eat anything for lunch so they were very hungry. Dave made nice coffee for us.

After lunch I walked around and took some pictures. Dave's parents brought two olive trees so I helped Dave plant them to replace the dead ones and later we loosened the wire enclosure around every olive tree to let them grow wider. Dave has done colossal work building the big enclosure around the olive grove.

When I was there, a man brought the second water tank. I was lucky to be there at that moment so I took the pictures of them. Enjoy the photos.

Love Vida

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ebay win: stained glass lampshade

At last! I've lost track of the number of these I've bid on over the years. Finally I won one. It's an old stained glass lampshade, which will be perfect to have as a little feature light above the front door of the cottage.

Stained glass porch lampshade Stained glass porch lampshade

From the description:
Here we have a traditional period antique exterior stained glass Canopy Porch Lamp shade from the 1930's. This beautifully shaped shade comes in very good condition for age. All stained glass panels are intact and display no cracks to the coloured glass

Sunday, August 10, 2008

even more news

From Dad's email 10th August:

Work proceeds well at Amherst. This week we will focus totally on painting and preparation. If the olive tree enclosure doesn't get done it will have to wait for another trip, but I will continue to hope for completion. I am very pleased with the state of repair of the old weatherboards despite the peeling paint. The old paint comes off fairly easily with the grinder. Dave has done most so far because I have had to build the access scaffold for the other side. I will do more of preparation and painting this week however.

Dave has been fairly warm. The chiminea has performed well, especially since I removed the heating plate because of the damper effect it was having, causing too much smoke. I need to make more space for the firebox to vent so will add spacers and see if it has both draw and is close enough to effectively heat water. At least it is a great comfort for Dave to lounge in front of at the end of his working day... I will repair the door of the little van this evening so he can properly close it and make better use of the small gas heater which Dawn provided. My antique kerosine heater has performed really well for my van and adds to the candles to provide adequate heating even when it is below freezing outside.

It was good to come home for a respite as we were very exhausted. Dave has taken a few pictures for you. Dad

hunting for the Crown Title

I got in touch with my solicitor in the vain hope that they might still have the original Crown Title (after learning last weekend that the previous owner, Steve, didn't).

Sadly, when they checked their files, not only did they not have it, but they had no record of having ever received it from the Titles Office.

Given that the Titles office would have sent it to them, if anyone, we are now hoping against hope that it's still sitting in the Title Office files. Mum is going to go in there in the next few weeks to see what she can learn.

According to the solicitor, the normal approach when an electronic title is issued is for the original to be stamped "obsolete" then sent on to the new owner as a keepsake. We're just praying that for some odd reason it fell through the net ... it will be awful if they just destroyed it.

Keep your fingers crossed. :-)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Photos of the campsite

Dave is staying on-site at Amherst while he's working up there. It's the middle of winter so absolutely freezing, so Dad built him a great shelter. Dave has the little old caravan that used to belong to my Gran, which Dad restored, and Dad built an annex alongside with a fireplace, so he has somewhere to cook and keep warm. (Dad is staying in his caravan a bit further down the hill).

Here's some photos Mum took when she visited:

Campsite at Amherst

Campsite at Amherst

It's hard to see but the pots are on top of the chiminea, Dave is using it to cook on. I also love the bricks, Dad laid a little patio floor!
Campsite at Amherst

This is the view from the front of the annex. You can see the poles laid out to build the Olive grove fence. (The dog is called Angie, she's my Mum's)
Campsite at Amherst

more news on progress

From Mum's email 7th August:

Amherst has more work than they will get done this time, even Dad said so. Dave’s van and annex is lovely, very cosy, good views – I rather wish I could stay there sometime! It has apparently rained quite a bit – more than here anyway. All is green though short grass, dam is fuller than it was but far from full, and the drive is very slidey. I almost did not get up the hill to the house. Jess and Tony went up, staying overnight in Maryborough and going home this afternoon. Big tank coming Friday, 5000 gallons I think they said. Huge, 12ft in diameter? Ir 16?? Hope the truck gets up OK.

I went off for a drive to photograph ruins etc – Asked Dave if he wanted to come for a drive but he wanted to get the work done. I lucked on Talbot museum open (normally only Sun afternoons) and dropped off my family names; ordered pies for lunch; drove about Majorca and Red Lion and got photos of about 8-10 “ruins” and decrepit houses in Talbot etc; went back, ate, and came home. I was back by 5.25pm having missed the worst of peak hour by using the ring road which was slow but not as slow as coming through the city.

Vida is going up Friday evening to get Dave so he is back for the weekend and he will go back with Dad (who is coming back Sat) on Sunday. Everyone seems to be working out how we can spend time with Dave! I have said I will go up to the market next Sunday – not this one – and Dave MAY be there then. Peter has said he will come with me if Dave is up there to talk about what he wants done. He almost took the day off work yesterday but I said it was not a good idea without prior arrangement if he wanted to keep his job.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ebay win: stained glass bird windows

So these were a little bit of a splurge, but it's rare to find two handpainted sections of this size and (almost) matching... plus I really liked them. :-)

They're even nicer in real life, I'm using them here just propped up against one of the conservatory windows, but at Amherst I can see these could work well either side of a door perhaps.

ebay bird windows

From the description:
Two beautiful and lovely traditional hand painted and stained glass panels, depicting two different birds. These would have been made using traditional process of hand painting, staining and then kiln fired to make all work permanent. They could be incorporated into a stained glass or leaded panel, as decorative glazing or enjoyed just as they are as light catchers. All glass is intact. The centre glass is a clear rough rolled texture and the border is a blue/green of a similar but slightly different texture. Size of each panel is approx 28.2cm x 23.5cm

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

update from Dave: progress!!

Dave is actually *on the ground* in Amherst for the next 2 weeks. I am SO envious.

He's working with my Dad to get the house stripped back, weatherboards repaired and painted. From his voicemail today:

"The guy called as he couldn't make tonight, so we're going to see him tomorrow instead. (This is the structural engineer Jeff he's talking about).

We had a fair crack at doing the weatherboards today, I got the side on the right hand side of the house as you come out the door half stripped, while your Dad's been doing bits and pieces. We'll get our way through it, it was a really good day today, so hopefully the weather will hold and it'll be fine"

I am just so happy to feel that real life physical actual tangible progress is being made on the house, with more to come. It's just brilliant to be getting properly stuck in - I just regret I can't be there to help. :-(

Monday, August 04, 2008

Old miners certificate for Talbot

I just stumbled across (thanks to google alerts) an image of an old Miners Right certificate for Talbot.

You can see it online here (including ability to zoom in close) but just to make sure it doesn't get lost I've also copied below.

Beautiful old document, I wish they made official documents as pretty as this today.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

researching our property's past life

I've always been curious to find out about the history of our property, so today I took the plunge and starting researching, starting with the previous owner, Steven Kingshott.

I found his address from the purchase documentation, looked on Whitepages.com.au and lo and behold there was still a Kingshott living there! I called, it turned out to be his Mum, and she gave me Steve's new number. We had a great chat where he filled me in on what he knew about the property:
  • From memory he thinks the date on the original title when the land was subdivided was 1881, and it was owned by a guy called Fisher.

  • Steve bought it in the year of the really bad drought (1983?) when it didn't have a blade of grass on it. It was never as bad as that again. He was 23 and single when he bought it, with the intention of it being a weekender. But what happened was he got married and had kids, and just didn't have the time, so when they needed to do renovations to their place in town he was convinced to sell.

  • The house that's on there came from Williamstown and he moved it up. It was an old double-fronted Victorian house that his Mum found for sale, not too far from where she lived. He pulled all the lathe and plaster off and found a fantastic guy to cut it down the middle and move it up on the back of a truck. The guy who did the relocation was brilliant as unlike the others who'd quoted who used chainsaws, this guy cut it up using a handsaw to ensure it could be put back together with only a very small gap.

  • The guy Steve bought it off, Lance Dunstall, was the one who enlarged the dam. He was a friend of Steven's brother's and had owned it for about 10 years before (so from early-mid 1970's). He'd kept horses on it, he used to go to horse shows, etc. Before Lance, not sure of the owner but thinks it was one of the farmers.

  • Lance had lived in Williamstown and his family owned a dairy there. He was engaged to the daughter of the people who then owned the property in front, Mick Pentreef (sp?), who owned a newsagent in Williamstown. The Pentreefs sold the property in front and moved into the town of Talbot about 15-20 years ago. Their daughter also moved up there and worked at one of the schools. She was also involved in the community regeneration work.

  • Back when Lance bought it he had the property surveyed and found it was 5 acres short. When they'd built the fences sometime over the past 100 years they'd put them down wrong: it was supposed to be a rectangle but it wasn't. (Aha, this explains the old fenceposts in the far corner!)

  • There had been some beautiful old wooden sheds that dated back to the turn of the century on the property in front. One of them extended halfway into the road! There was also an old sunshine harvester there in brilliant condition. In 1987 the bushfires went through. The house in front didn't get burnt but unfortunately the sheds did. Amherst town had been a great little place before the 1987 fires. It had a number of old houses and the old school, but it all got burnt down.

  • The neighbor across the road (who's since moved) used to run his cattle on the property when Steve owned it. So he never had luck growing trees there because the cattle used to eat everything. He did however once use a rotary hoe in front of the dam where the fence is and planted corn(!)... it grew but didn't survive long.

I'm so happy to have got in touch with Steve and to have found that he loved the place as much as we do. I'll keep researching and try and track down the missing Crown title - I'd thought it was with Steve but he doesn't have it, so it must be with the solicitor still... Also Steve is going to dig out some old photos and any other documents he can find, so fingers crossed... it'd be brilliant to see how it has changed (or not).