Nearly there

17 03 2012

Saturday night. It’s raining, there’s an easy to watch romcom in the background. I’m sitting here with a large scotch and somehow I’ve rubbed a giant smudge of newspaper ink up the right side of my face.

The newspaper ink is from wrapping glasses in newspaper. To put them in the boxes. The moving boxes. For moving. Moving house. After four and a half years of living in this room, with its tall white walls and gorgeous wooden floor and just the right amount of space. It’s time to go.

It’s pretty simple, really. Moving to a bigger place, with the Architect. The Architect’s place, actually. It has more than one room. In fact, it has three rooms. Three whole rooms. One just for sleeping. Another just for guitars. And then one for lounging about and having people around for dinner and sitting at a table. A table that doesn’t then fold up and go up on the wall so the bed can fold out.

I’m excited about it. A few more nights here, and then into the brave new world. The new place has (freshly painted) white walls too. I can get up in the morning and make a cup of tea and do yoga without waking the Architect. He can stay up and watch crappy movies until 2am unpunctuated by grumpy noises from the other side of the bed.

Onward into adulthood and marriage and caring about interest rates and health insurance and drinking in moderation. It’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s something I’m looking forward to very much because I get to do it with my lovely Architect. I might be back; but I doubt it. So I’m taking a moment to toast this small, nurturing space of mine. It’s been warm, and welcoming, and healing, and affordable, and oh so very walking distance to so very many good things.

So cheers. To here. To my little nest. May it bring warmth and welcome to someone else now.




Sometimes it’s the little things

20 01 2011

Sometimes, there’s a conflict between being a frugal composting type person and a nice things-liking type person.

For example, what to do about the problem of the compost bucket?

Given our more-precious-than-gold kitchen cupboard space, the compost bucket lives on the bench. It started off as a small white plastic painter’s bucket, which looked… meh, but more importantly at the time, cost about $1.36, had a sealable lid and could be bashed against the side of the compost bin without any worry. For a while, we tried the Biofilm Maxair bin, but it took up too much of our limited bench space and has since found a much happier home collecting organic waste goodness at my work (plus we had immense amounts of fruit flies from it…which doesn’t happen at work). So we went back to the painter’s bucket, which over time had gone from pristine white to kind of white with brown bits, and eventually gave up the ghost by splitting through the lid.

So for the last few months we’ve had a clear plastic container (it was originally filled with kourambiedes, yum), looking pretty ordinary. Every now and then I’d search the internet for some sort of… thing… it needed to be plastic or wood so I wouldn’t break it, relatively cheap, keep the fruit flies at bay, easy to carry out to the compost bin, not take up too much space… and it would be nice if it looked good.

Nothing. Really. Nothing. Especially given the noisy tightarse voice in my head saying “at least the plastic container was free…”

And then… we were walking past a horrendously overpriced shop that sells all manner of storage things. And there, on the shelf, was a bamboo canister (sustainable) with a removable acrylic insert (unbreakable, easy to empty) and a sealing lid (take that, fruit flies).

So now, we have this little number.

I know it’s a superficial thing. It’s a silly thing. It’s a house-conceit thing. For the same price I could have bought 10 painter’s buckets.

But it’s so pretty.

And I’m ok with that.

Gutter garden

8 01 2011

There’s something I’ve been meaning to show you. It’s pretty awesome.

Here’s a sneak peek.

A bunch of cress seedlings? you say. How is that exciting?

But wait. There’s more.

The gutter garden is here!

(Well, actually, it’s been here for about 6 weeks now).

It’s dreamy. Truly. I love it a very lot. It has cress, shungiku, chives, shiso, rocket and thyme in it. They all love it.

Here it is from the other end.

What’s that? You want one too? Well it’s super easy. Here is the recipe.


1 length of guttering

Appropriate amount of guttering attachment things


Green scourer pad



Potting mix

Water saving crystals

Slow release fertiliser

Sphagnum moss



1. Drill a few holes in one end of the gutter. This is where any excess water will drain out.

2. Attach the gutter to where it is going to go.

3. Put the scourer pad over the holes.

4. Put a layer of sand along the length of the gutter.

5. Put a layer of coir over the sand.

6. Sprinkle water saving crystals and fertiliser around.

7. Put a layer of potting mix on top.

8. Add seeds.

9. Put a layer of sphagnum moss (or another mulch).

10. Enjoy.

I don’t water it too much – mostly because we’ve been getting plenty of big fat rain coming in the verandah, which is keeping everything on the verandah moist. It’s lovely being able to wander on to the balcony and pick myself some greens for salad or whatever. I recommend it.

Almost sort of working

2 01 2011

The toilet cistern is busted. Not completely, but almost sort of busted. Almost sort of working, too. It leaks, so we have to put a chinese chopstick under the arm to stop the constant fill. The cistern lid is off, leaning against the wall, showing the tank of the cistern and the plastic and metal contraption in it in all its glory.

We’ve had a few people over while the loo has been in this state of mild decrepitude. Amusingly, the vast majority of them have known exactly what to do to flush the dodgy toilet.

Which leads me to this question. Is it true that everyone has, at some stage, had an almost sort of working toilet? Is it, in fact, unAustralian not to have had a dodgy loo at some stage?




10 10 2010

I worked out a few years ago that I’m the kind of person who works best with savings accounts separated from my other money, and named for the thing I’m saving for. It seems really simple and obvious, but somehow doing that stops my brain from thinking that money could be spent on anything else apart from what the account is named. So I have “holiday”, and “wisdom teeth”, and “fabulous shoes”, and so on.

There’s also one called “slush”, which is for things that I want, but really can’t justify. Only a little trickle of cash makes its way into that one each pay, but it’s enough to allow me to get things like my beautiful zero japan crackle green teapot or the most snuggly pair of black ugg boots ever. And it stops me feeling like I’m living a completely frugal lifestyle, because that money is there for me to blow on things for no other reason than I want them. As a bonus, it makes me really be clear that I want a particular thing before I buy it, because it comes at the expense of other pretty things I could get. A good system, for me, and who knew it was so easy to mess with your own mind?

Anyway. The point of all this is that for the last little while (like, 8 months or so) I’ve had the slush account earmarked for a Le Creuset dutch oven. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t hung up on the brand, but in my searchings of the internets I had narrowed my wantings down to the Le Creuset in blue or the Staub in green. There is no reason to really own one of these – I can do most of the things it can do with either a saucepan or the slowcooker – and yet… and yet…

So, there I was, trickling little bits of cash into my slush fund and waiting for mid-2011, when I would have enough to buy one of these enamelled beauties. Dreaming of the day I could make cassoulet and no-knead bread and lamb shanks.

And then, through the machinations of the universe, one fell into my lap. Almost mint condition. In blue.  A year ahead of schedule.

So what do I do? Two things.

First, I put it in the cupboard and let it sit there for almost a month, as though I’m scared that if I use it, someone will come and take it away from me.

Second, I have a minor freakout about the slush fund. The money’s now freed up to be used for something else that I want, right? Wrong. That little mind trick is strong, I tells ya. Brain says, but that money’s for a dutch oven. FOR A DUTCH OVEN. ONLY FOR A DUTCH OVEN.

Not only does it take me a while to work out that I can spend it on something else, for a little while I can’t even think of anything else I want to spend it on.

I’m like a demented Jedi here.

But it’s okay. I’ve since realised the slush fund can sit there, being slushy, until the right thing comes along.

And I’m making a beef and guiness stew in it right now. So far, no ominous knocks at the door.

So all’s well that ends well.

Reverting to type

10 04 2010

Living in a stoodio is all it’s cracked up to be – I love the efficiency and the economy of space it creates. Sharing this smallish space with another person means energy spent on cultivating congruence in lifestyle. I generally get up half to an hour earlier than the Architect. I spend that time tiptoeing around in half-light, trying to stop things making noise. At the other end of the day, I fall asleep while he watches tv or reads. It’s not a perfect system. Invariably, both of us are awake when we don’t want to be. I try to be quiet but with the kettle gurgling and clanking less than 10 metres from his sleeping head, it’s a losing battle. He turns down the volume more and more but loud ads and light flashes pull my eyes open.

So there’s energy spent on trying to match up, on living with it when it doesn’t match up, on understanding when it flares into actual annoyance.

When he’s away, I go to sleep when I want. I wake up and open all the blinds and turn the radio on. I lie diagonally across the bed. I listen to Ani DiFranco and PJ Harvey and Magic Dirt on repeat. I let washing up pile in the sink and leave things out on the bench. As I write this I can see the iron, the rice cooker, the desk fan and the sandwich toaster all forlornly wishing they were stowed away in their places. I leave my yoga mat on the floor and my clean clothes in a pile at the end of the bed.

Now here’s the important part. I can (and will) do all these things when there’s two of us here. But I try not to. I try to limit it. I’m not always succesful, but I do put energy into thinking about it.

When it’s just me, I luxuriate in not needing to be efficient and considerate. It lasts for an hour or two, or a day or two. I stretch out. I gorge on space and laziness. I imagine what it would be like if we had a place with two or three or four rooms and I never had to think about putting everything away as soon as possible to maximise the space. Where I would be able to sleep when I want and he would be able to wake up when he wanted. Where Stuff piled up until it became a battle to put it away. Where I went to bed alone and he woke up alone and I couldn’t talk to him from making dinner in the kitchen while he’s playing guitar in the bedroom.

And I think, distant. Stretched. Cluttered.

Part of the joy of living in this space is being considerate and efficient as an end in itself. As a thing to do for yourself. And sharing it with someone who thinks the same way and is willing to put that energy in too. The reason I get such pleasure out of these stolen solitary slovenly moments is exactly because they are few and far between. I get to re-realise that I live this way out of choice.

And I feel good. Like the way a stretch feels best once you’ve relaxed again.

Just call me Goldilocks

30 03 2010

When the fan is on low, it ticks. Just loud enough to keep me awake.

It ticks less on medium. But it’s not summer any more. So it’s getting a bit breezy.

I’ve tried fixing it. I’ve cleaned it within an inch of its life. I’ve taken the blades off and reattached them. I’ve wasted minutes attaching clothes pegs to one blade, turning it on, turning it off, moving them to a different blade in the quest for a tickless fan.


What to do, internet? What to do?