Sunday, March 23, 2014

No bakelite on the Block....

Summer's grinding to an end, the evenings are closing in, I'm considering wearing warmer clothes and eyeing off boots and jackets in the wardrobe. It's rained a couple of times, and that-which-used-to-be-lawn is slowly greening.

I want to move house in 5 months, and as I'm slowly
sorting and 
packing up I'm uncovering things I've put aside for a purpose. I decided to go ahead and finish them, rather than just sell them or give them away - or take them with me. I've planted the terrarium, and old canisters with no lids which have been kicking around in the bottom of various boxes for years. I like the cream of the bakelite, ideally they would probably be on a sunny window ledge. 
The afternoon sun is still a bit vicious at the moment for that.

We started garage saling again last weekend, more for a bit of a poke about than an acquisitional outing. The standard seems to have dropped, and the prices increased since last we ventured out.  Perhaps it's just that I'm in a downsizing sort of mood. There were a few tiny treasures and odds and sods to bring home. Next week, we're clearing the back veranda...that should be big.

Taking things to the local tip shop isn't really an option here - are we really the only municipality in Australia which hasn't grasped recycling?

The local council has contracted the collection of refuse to a multinational company.  As part of their contract they are obligated to operate a tip shop, but they don't appear happy about that.  We have an adequate building, although it's a great deal smaller than most others I've visited, all around Australia. It's spacious though - because it's generally pretty empty.

The staff do their best, but management insist on pristine - um...surfaces. It's a tip shop, not the Block, people. Meanwhile, because the 'responsibility' for recycling is delegated,landfill, and the scrap metal pile at the tip are full of re-usable items. Beds, chairs, tools, name it, all wasted. Some things are sifted out, and some people quite rightly choose to put usable items to the side in the hope that someone will find them. 

Everyone cares, but no-one wants to take responsibility.

There's still no serious commitment by the council to recycle and reuse, despite lip service to waste reduction, and supportive staff. More resourcing for the tip would provide enough people to separate and sort the stuff that comes in. Simple concrete bins, similar to those at landscape suppliers, would enable people to separate their waste, rather than using a massive loader to dump it all into a dump truck. Supervision and assistance for people using the facility would ensure that sensitive electronics are actually not just dumped on the metal pile. Usable building materials, such a sheets of metal, guttering, and so on could be recycled.

In the meantime, I made this...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Artist Purgatory

Another month's slipped by.  I've been busy, no time to go to work, don't know how I ever fitted it in.  The weather has been perfect for reading on the veranda. I'm going to need more books.

If you ever wondered about the composition and techniques of a painting, I can recommend reconstructing it from 1000 pieces. Some call it a jigsaw, I tell myself it's study.

I've got some drawing and mixed media work done, and framed.  I also finally got around to framing some things I brought back from Paris last year. A French map of Scotland?  I think so.

I live in a sort of artist purgatory: I was married to a man who wouldn't hang things on the walls, and now I'm not supposed to hang things on the walls in this house. 

I've also had time to play with some of the photos I took on that trip. I'd frame them too, but...
(Not Disneyland - Tower Bridge)

Despite planning an interstate move later this year, there are just some things you can't leave behind when you see them laying about. And my lovely neighbour brought me a care parcel of bits left over from her house renovation.

I'll be flogging the Tupperware from the kitchen cupboards at a garage sale, but packing the jars of sunbleached bones. And my skull collection. Some things a girl just can't leave behind.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Real Estate, sales optional

It's been a while, I've been off wandering and it's far too hard to type on my tiny travel tablet.

I got home this week. The catches I'd installed on the cupboard doors had forestalled the invasion of mouse which greeted me last time I got home from a wander. The gas had been cut off in my absence, and because the real estate property person had also been off wandering, it was two days without hot water. Apparently some sort of gas leak had caused sudden interest from the gas company.  Luckily, it was in the high 30's and had been for some time, so a hot shower wasn't high on the list. This house has a fantastic outlook over the harbour, but lots and lots of quirks and foibles. In this case it was a gas bayonet, never used. The gas company was happy to identify that there was a leak, but offered no clues to the plumbers, it must be good for developing their investigative skills.

On part of my wanderings, I did come into contact with real estate agents in another state. The quirks and foibles of this house have led me to crave the relative serenity of home ownership again. I spotted something which fit the bill on the internet, and being in the vicinity, I contacted someone to have a look at the house.

I knew I'd reached a parallel universe when the conversation started with the alleged saleswoman (for she was a woman) sighing heavily and saying that she was awfully busy.  And she didn't work on Wednesdays. And Thursday wasn't really convenient.  I suggested Friday, perhaps first thing.  "What do you mean by 'first thing'?" she responded, somewhat warily. I was on the phone, but I could feel her eyes narrowing. After some negotiation, we settled on crack of dawn: 10-ish. 

Those of you on the big island with me may be surprised by this reticence. Usually, the scream of the german-engineered brakes roughly corresponds with the click signifying the end of the phone call, so eager are operatives to earn their commission. 

At the appointed time, we turned up, eager to view the property. We asked questions, admittedly difficult, such as 'Where is the boundary?' We established that she didn't know that, nor what the applicable planning scheme contained, whether there were any easements (turned out there were) - actually, she knew nothing about the place. She seemed to have found the kitchen by accident. The house generally fit the bill, the price was within the realms of reality, so I suggested that yes, I wanted to make an offer.  You know, to buy the house.

This was greeted with a barely suppressed moan, not, as one would expect, of happiness. Actually, it was more of a groan.  Well. If I could text her sometime next week perhaps she could get someone to type something up and maybe we could do something then.  My sister, always a believer in the work ethic, free enterprise, that sort of thing, suggested that if not later today, perhaps tomorrow, Saturday, we could do something.  The withering response, roughly paraphrased, indicated that work was not her whole life and she had to have some time at home.  And before we even asked, she had ironing to do on Sunday. (What does she do Wednesdays, we asked each other? Apparently not the ironing.)

This was just the start of 4 weeks of my life trying to buy a house in a place where only the owners apparently want to sell. I may have worked out why sales aren't high.

Because no-one there is prepared to share their commission, I had to ask different agents about each different property. One didn't want to show me a particular house because "someone might buy it". Riiiight. If they actually got to look at it. Because there seems to be a surreal, one at a time process in place which no-one explains to the buyers.  Or possibly the vendors.

Only one agent appeared to be operating in the real world.  She was the only one who actually suggested that she might have other houses listed which I might like to look at. This was a concept apparently not embraced by the others, she must not have let them in on the secret to her sales success. 

I still want to own a house there.  I may have to wait till it's my turn to look at something, or put an ad in the 'wanted to buy' column of the local paper, no agent need apply.