Monday, 25 April 2011

Brickwork early beginnings

It has been great to have time off over the Easter break, but it has really slowed things down with the building. Also the granite Termite proofing took some time to do so you will see there has not been much progress. With a short week, (Monday and Tuesday are holidays here) we are not sure how much next week's pics will bring. Ciao for now!

From front right looking up the driveway

Front looking at entrance and to the left Carmen's study
From front left

From left side
From rear left
From rear right

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mount Annan Botanical Gardens

A brief break from the building posts. About 2 or 3 kilometres from where we live, is the Mount Annan Botanical Gardens. Nothing special I suppose in terms of Sydney - there are literally hundreds of parks around the city. Anyway, with the new Liberal State govt now in power - (thank heavens those Labour clowns are not in power anymore even though we have to suffer them and the fanatical Greens on a federal level, but that is another story) entry is now free to these gardens - we paid about $9.00 previously. Every year they have a gathering with a concert in the gardens and where the local restaurateurs sell their fare and thereby promote the local businesses in the area. The weather was a little overcast but not too cold and the day was very mellow. I guess one can't help but compare how nice it was when you looked around as it got later in the afternoon and the lawns were still clean as everybody put their lunch wrappers and litter in the bins provided - so unlike the picnic spots in South Africa.

The lawns by the lake. The tent 'domes' in the background are the stalls for each restaurant.

No I don't know who they are either. Just random people.

The foot sticking out from underneath all of that belongs to my niece Abi. Lights out.

The little tent is a stage where the bands played from.

I would love to have this view from my study... imagine!

Check the bench on the hill - so evocative - Jane Austen?

Monday, 18 April 2011

No update

The plumbing and gas works are being put in at the house so no pics this week for changes. I am hoping that we will have some brickwork to show by the end of the week.

Unrelated this prayer was found in Auschwitz concentration camp. (Almost 2 years ago I visited Dachau - see: so it really struck me. It is unclear if it was written by a Jewish person or a Christian:

Lord, remember not only people of good will
but also people of ill will.
Do not remember only the sufferings
that have been inflicted on us,
but remember too the fruit we have bought
as a result of this suffering:
the comradeship and loyalty,
the humility and courage,
the generosity and greatness of heart
that has grown out of it
And when they come to judgement,
let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Er... 4 weeks 2 days

I am only supposed to post weekly, but I received an email today advising I should pay the next progress payment - which is at frame. I was like - but we were there on Sunday - and if you see the pics in my previous post - 2 days ago - well it didn't look like they would be up till next week. Well .... see below. This builder - hy vat nie kak van kabouters nie! It is difficult to try and navigate through the house on a post like this but if you refer to the plan, it helps. Here goes.
Front looking up driveway into garage

From front left

From rear left

From back right - vertical windows are diningroom windows

Ok inside now - view from front door.

Standing in kitchen looking towards lounge left and alfresco (patio) - there will be no pillar in the middle.

Looking in from patio across to kitchen - diningroom on left, lounge on right.

Outside view across patio

From patio down hallway towards front of the house

From edge of lounge looking into kitchen - diningroom area on left

Dining area - you can just see the step down to Alfresco / patio on left.

I hope you can follow all of that!
PS: the windows aren't blue - it is just plastic protective covering.
C u later.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Week 4. Trusses delivered

Well no advance on the building front, as the slab lay to cure, but at least the frame and trusses are there, so hopefully next week we'll be able to show you some progress. Till then. Bye!

From front right looking up the driveway

Midway from the front

From the left front

From right at rear

From left rear

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to a little place in the South West of New South Wales called Tumut - about 4.5 hours from Sydney, West of Canberra. It is a really pretty little place and is at the foothills of the snowy mountains where you can go skiing in winter. Our truck driver, Pete told me that it is where the legend, The Man from Snowy River originated. I never had my camera so apologies for no pics. I got the picture above from another website, When I go back there in a couple of weeks, I will take my camera with. Anyway, Pete was telling me that he took a large street sweeper out there for a demonstration with my predecessor - this is only about 2 years ago and while they were busy with the demonstration in the main road of the town, a hearse turned into the road followed by a funeral procession. The rough, unshaven council guys asked Pete to turn off the noisy machine and they stood quietly on the side of the road out of respect as the funeral cortege passed. Once it was safely out of sight, they indicated that Pete and the salesman could proceed with the demo.

Pete, thinking it was somebody important, asked him: 'Who's funeral was that?'
The council guy shrugged - 'I don't know.'

The people of Tumut and so many other little places in the more rural areas here in Aus still pay their respects to the ones of their communities who pass away. Regardless of their status in the community, their loss is felt. It is just so poignant and .... I don't know... civilised. What it must mean to the grieving family to see the people of the town / village pausing in such a visible way to mark the passing of their loved one. This country is not without its faults, but there is so much to appreciate here.

No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. (John Donne)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Week 3 Slab laid

From right front looking up 'driveway' into garage

From Left front

From left rear - the step down at the back slab - is the covered braai area - called an Alfresco.

From the right rear
Today we went to check on progress and the slab was laid. The last photo - across the slab -looks impossibly small until I asked Carmen to walk towards me and pace it out. Not huge but confident we can now at least fit our bed in the bedroom! If you look at the last photo again on the left bottom you see the slab ends and then the concrete ledge one brick wide - this is for the external wall - you have the external brick and internal timber frame, insulation and Gyprock. No double brick walls here - well there are, but it is not common. We have the thickest insulation possible in walls and roof to keep aircon bills down. C u next week!

Week 2 - foundations dug

Weird humps -looks like a whole lot of graves - creeped me out! A foam of some sort gets poured on this and then the slab. We have mines within 50km so certificates have to be issued for all builds by the mine subsidence board. Slabs cannot be over a certain size so that is why some people have garages separate to their houses. Luckily ours is small enough not to worry about that!

From the front right looking up driveway

View from left front

View from left back corner

View from right back corner

Week 1 - Cut and fill

View from front left of plot

Also front left

Left of plot near rear

From left rear

We arrived on the Saturday after the commencement of the build and the guys were hard at work - 6pm on a Saturday evening cutting and filling - finally we are underway! No labourers - just the operator and the surveyor. Yes this is a big unit but all their smaller units were apparently busy - the operator handled the big beast very gently though- reckon the neighbours must have been a bit nervous :-).

Week prior to commencement of Build

Apologies for the technical glitch on the previous post which has now being deleted. This will only really be of interest to those who know us - or maybe to somebody contemplating a build in Aus. We are building a rather modest house on a golf estate near Wilton, South West of Sydney. We have had outstanding service from Rodney (good name :-) Macdraft who made numerous amendments etc. without any issues. And then on numerous recommendations decided to build with Hilton Homes though would also have been happy to go with Urbanstyle homes as well: All the other large companies have huge numbers of complaints against them. My advice would be to search whatever service or product you are contemplating at the site: Makes for very interesting reading...

As soon as the guys were ready to commence building the heavens opened and we had quite a bit of rain - Murphy's law. But some progress has been made:

Below is an overview plan and shots from the site ptior to start and then week by week - I will try and post updates on a weekly basis:
Quick specs: Plot 450m2, House 261.65m2 Building expected to take 5 months.

The plan of our little house in a quaint town called Wilton outside of Sydney.

View from front left of plot

From rear left of plot
From rear right of plot