Big plans and busy times

Hello. It’s been a little quiet around here, and it’s going to stay so for a little while longer. Life is busy: big plans are afoot.

Last week I found myself a new home: a tiny cottage tucked away in the inner-Hobart suburb on Lenah Valley, neglected gem among ageing flats and renovated grandeur.

The cottage is old, though a thoughtful make-over about 15 years ago has made it comfortable. It’s small, basic, and is going to be a great exercise is living simply, as there’s no other way to make the place work. Aside from a few kitchen cupboards there’s no built-in storage and little room for furniture. There’s a cosy lounge, a workable but modest kitchen, an enclosed porch that’ll be my dining room (under lovely north-facing windows), a crowded bathroom-cum-laundry, a big-enough bedroom, and a teensy “second bedroom” that will just fit my desk and become the study.

I succeeded in getting my northerly aspect and efficient-to-heat spaces but didn’t do so well on insulation. The enclosed porch cannot be insulated and I’m pretty sure the main part of the cottage isn’t either. The floor has been tiled too, which may be a little chilly on winter mornings! Despite this, I don’t think I’m going to be too cold, for the lounge room houses a wood heater, built into the old fireplace. With a fire going the cottage will be toasty warm.

I was a little hesitant about taking a place with a wood heater, I must admit. It is more work and expense, buying and preparing firewood and collecting kindling, and the fire will need some time to get going before the cottage heats up. On top of that, burning wood for heat really isn’t the most environmentally-sound option when your power supply is hydro-electric. Of course hydro’s not a perfect option, but it’s a damn sight better than coal and green enough to make me think twice about lighting the fire.

In the end, the cottage ticked so many other boxes that I decided I could cope with the wood heater. The location is perfect: walking distance to shops and friends houses, a nice cycle to the office and my favourite coffee haunt, on a major bus route and in a surprisingly quiet little cul-de-sac off a main road. Although the kitchen window faces south, the rest of the cottage opens to the east and the north, making the most of the winter sun. Best of all though; it comes with a surprisingly large garden, ripe with potential!

It’s going to take some hard work to realise that potential, but I’m already dreaming about potato patches, beds of leeks, reams of beans and peas and a raft of sunflowers. The yard is fenced, so perhaps I could convince the landlords to let me have a couple of chickens to help keep the bugs down and give me fresh eggs. Oh, my mind is so full of ideas my hands itch to put into action!

I get the keys next week, on Friday the 13th (What better date to start a new adventure?), but there’s much to do between now and then. I’m sorting through and culling my possessions, reducing the amount of stuff I have to manage the lack of storage. The things I don’t need are being sorted into lots to sell, store, throw or give away, with attempts made to re-home as much as possible (I hate throwing out useful things!). I’m tidying the gardens here in preparation for leaving, digging up plants I plan to take with me and collecting seed. I’m refusing to shop, using up the food in my cupboards and cooking up all sorts of unusual but tasty things. Then there’s the inevitable paperwork associated with moving… Oh, and I’m broke. Paying bond plus double rent for a month will do that.

It’s Easter this weekend and the associated days off would be perfect for getting started on packing, but I won’t be here. Instead I’m travelling up to the sunny southern Gold Coast to spend time with family I haven’t seen in over a year. A trip booked in January, long before I’d thought about moving, to soothe the sting of not going home for Christmas. Yep, life is busy.

Wish me luck!

6 Comments on “Big plans and busy times

  1. wood heat is considerably more work. during our years at the old farmhouse, heat for the winter became a year-round pursuit. growing up with a gas heater and a thermostat, I’d never given much thought to winter or to heating. once in the farmhouse, i thought about it a lot, even during the hottest parts of the year. it gave me a deep appreciation for heat.

    and there’s not a winter that goes by that I don’t miss the heat that came from our wood stove.

    (my guess is that your place is going to become a favorite of you and your friends during the winter. you, and they, will love the wood stove heat that much)

    • I think the cottage will be brilliantly cozy once the fire’s lit. Without a fire burning though I suspect it’ll be rather chilly. I’m already scoping out sources of free firewood and kindling!

  2. Oh I’m jealous of your garden and wood heater! It sounds and looks lovely. Good luck with moving 🙂

  3. A proper clothes line too! (All of my rentals except the current one have just had little lines off the side of the house – so hard to get enough sun, especially in winter)

    • Madness, isn’t it? One of the places I looked at had only south-facing windows and a tiny south-facing washing line along the wall in a sunless little passageway. It makes no sense, landlords!

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