Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Sorry it’s been a while since we posted anything….life has just been so busy of late. As for news about the house – well I forgot to mention that we finally received the refund from St George because they caused us to delay settlement on the land a week late. You may remember we had to pay a $330 late settlement fee which is much in the scheme of things but I refused to be the one to pay it on principle because it was entirely St George’s fault. The original email requesting reimbursement was sent in the middle of June and finally, (after numerous emails, the last one of which was not the most polite I must say but hey I’d lost my bloody patience with them) we got an email on Oct 9th (only took 4 months, yeah for customer service!!) saying they would be reimbursing us the $330 into our mortgage account. We waited with bated breathe and then…….they paid us $300 back. Initially I was fingers at the ready to fire off another email about the missing 30 bucks but then thought fuck this, I’m not wasting any more time on it and admitted partial defeat. But it does prove that if you stand your ground when in the right and spend a bit of time and annoy then enough they will pay you just to make it stop, hehehe!!

The other piece of news is that we are very glad we got an independent builders report, well worth the money because he found a few major things which had to be put right. And to be clear it’s not a dig at the builders because as I understand it they use sub contractors. To be honest it really depends on them so even if you have real faith in your builders I still highly recommend getting a report and “pre plaster”. That means when the frame, pipe, wiring, etc is done and all the brickwork but before they put plaster board up. Ensure you send a copy of the report to your builder ASAP to minimise delays in the house build. Also after things have been fixed (or not) ensure you get something in writing from the builder on what was fixed and how and what was not fixed and why not. Also be sure to organise to look around yourselves with the site supervisor before plasterboard (a bit late after if something is wrong). We did find a few things that weren’t right, plug sockets in the wrong place and most importantly a lack of wiring in the theatre room to what we were expecting. It turns out that the work we had organised directly with the electricians (as advised by the builder to do) had not been passed on to the builders hence the site supervisor had no idea anything was missing. Oh and just last week when we looked around (see photos below) we noticed that the doors that had been hung on the theatre room were not the “paid extra for solid doors” to help with sound proofing. They were leaning up against the wall outside the study ready to hang and the study doors had been hung on the theatre room!!!

Oh and one other thing was we received an email from the land developer about a “violation” and that they had advised our builders. It turns out that our air con unit on the roof is too high up and can be seen from the street which is a big no-no. Not sure what the builders are going to do about it at the moment but we checked it out and you have to walk at least two houses up on the other side of the street before you just see the top of it so not really that bad. And the annoying thing is that there is a house right nearby on a corner block and all the stuff like the air con unit etc is right there on the side street for the world to see. How can ours be an issue when they have made no attempt to put it the other side of the house (not visible from either street it’s on the corner of)??

Anyway enough about all that….it’s time for photos. They range from mid Nov when the brickwork was being finished off and the plasterboard inside ready to go up

Then in early Dec the scaffold was gone and the render was done.

And then the week before Christmas we had all the plasterboard, stairs and kitchen cabinets!! Plus a few other inside pictures..

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy Bee's

So we've been busy bee's lately organising stuff for inside the house......the builders are hoping to be finished early 2010 (which will be great!!) and it's really not that far away. First thing was a new bedroom suite for us....king size bed (woo hoo, space if Riley continues to climb in every night at some point as he's currently doing), tall boy, chest of drawers, bedside tables and a linen chest (for the end of bed). Had to order now as the store was organising orders for delivery in Jan but we've still got to organise a king size mattress. It's a bit like being Goldilocks, this one is too hard, this one is too soft, this one is just right but bugger me it's expensive!!! Anyway we can pay off the bedroom suite and they are happy to keep it till we move in and the mattress is usually in stock or doesn't take too long so something to do in the new year. We've also picked out the theatre chairs that we want but they won't store them so we can't order till the new year when we have a more firm date for the house being ready. Also decided on a new bed for JD (he picked it out) which it a unit similar to bunk beds with a higher up bed but with storage and desk etc underneath. We were planning on Riley having JD's old bed initially (cos we need to put sidebars on and that would probably ruin the sides of most nice beds we looked at) but I tripped over, fell on the end and broke it. Ok for now after Paul fixed it but will need to be replaced when we move.

We also started looking at lighting and ended up buying a fabulous light fitting (very modern and funky!) for the lounge room. I've very happy with it and it was a good deal, only $329 on sale instead of $1000 and they are happy to store for us till nearer the time. We also saw some fittings we want for the theatre room so will grab those when we pick up the lounge light. May end up buying all the light fittings at the same place.....saw a few I quite liked for the meals & family rooms plus all the bedrooms.

I'm also being adventurous/crazy/mad/an idiot (insert word as you see fit) and planning on making some of the curtains (some not all mind you). My Mum used to make them and has sent me all the information/patterns etc and today I bought a sewing machine (25% off so another great deal). And it's not like I've never used a sewing machine before, used to make clothes etc in my youth (no curtains though) but hey if I completely stuff them up then Mum is due in March and can make new ones!!! Oh and Dad, you won't be getting off scot free either....there's the back garden decking to build!!!

The house is coming along...not as fast as I'd like but still what can you do? (mmmnnn let me think.....threaten/bribe the site supervisor???). We had a look around the site with him last week which was good. A couple of things like plug sockets and a couple of light sockets needing to be moved but glad we went as it would appear that the additional electricial work for the theatre room is not done. And worst the site supervisor didn't have any details of the plans.....the good news is he does now so if you ever build a house I strongly advise having a walk through before the plaster board goes up. The only other thing was when I was measuring windows (for those fabulous curtains I'll be making!) and noticed that we are missing a window in the master suite 'retreat" area. I say missing because I'd previously done some measuring at the display home and so knew that there was a window in that area. However the window is not on our plans (oh no the detail queen missed something!!!) and upon investigation I have discovered it's not on the standard plans for our model either. Those sneaky builders.....adding windows in display homes so there is more light I suspect. The good news is...thank god we don't have that window. It was high up, long width and small depth and I was cursing having to try and make a curtain/blind etc for it.

The only other thing to do now is post more pic's........we have a roof, and the start of walls. Not happy that we don't have bricks on the top storey yet but apparently brickies can be lazy and not like to do double storeys. What do you mean its too much like hard work carrying bricks up the the second storey? Isn't that what brickies are supposed to do?

Begining of Oct...we have the start of a roof

And front doors (please note this is NOT the colour they will be staying!)

And then the bricks started.....


Friday, October 9, 2009

We have lift off!!!

The house build has started......they actually started on August 28th and it is going up pretty quickly so about time we posted some pictures I think. BTW - I know we posted an example picture of the house we were building on the initial blog but thought I should mention our's will look different because our garage is on the right as you look it and of course will also have the garage set back from the front of the house due to the developer "design" rules.

Day 1 - we got a porta loo!!!

The view down the street, left out the front door

By Sept 11th we had a slab

By Sept 20th we had a frame and two very excited boys!!!

By Sept 27th we had some windows, scaffolding and guttering up and roof tiles.....on the ground!!!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Collin's Thirteen

So the land finally settled….but not without a few dramas. When we bought the land in March ,08 they were advising settlement would be in November but I (not Paul) was smart enough to figure that there would be a few delays so was hoping early ,09, around Feb due to Christmas/New Year, etc. Unfortunately the really bad fires we had in Victoria in early Feb meant that the electrical company caused even more delays as they were so busy trying to fix things for the areas that were affected (can’t complain about that, at least we do have a roof over our heads, even if it’s a rented one). After chasing up with many phones calls to find out what was happening we received a letter from the land developer in early May advising that settlement would be early June so I shot off an email to our girl at the bank (St George….another Pommie connection!) advising that we needed the papers drawn up to sign. Three weeks later I still hadn’t heard anything back so chased her up. “Oh they should have been here by now, but don’t worry we’ve still got plenty of time”. Tick, tock, tick, tock…….then another letter from the developer advising settlement would be Thursday June 11th.

Tick, tock, tick, tock…..still no papers. They finally turned up at the bank on Thursday 4th June but Riley was really sick that day so I couldn’t go anywhere (poor bugger was basically asleep on my shoulder or the sofa all day) and now we realised time was really running out as Monday was a public holiday for the Queen’s birthday (yes Elizabeth II, yes we do get a day off even though they don’t in the UK). Personally I think it’s just an excuse to party as its opening weekend of the ski season here (yes we do have snow, just not in Melbourne city itself). So Paul ended up leaving work early, picking up the papers at the bank, driving home on his motorbike (a Triumph, of course!) both of us signing the papers (after a very quick read to check they were all ok) and then driving back to drop them off before closing time. That meant they would go up to St George in Sydney on the Friday to be processed on Tues and we should still be ok for Thursday settlement.

Our solicitor, Connie, is really nice and was doing all the phone calls to the bank etc, checking everything was ok for settlement which unfortunately it was not. It turns out that our papers got lost!!! (Not sure whether the St George office in Sydney was moving in time and they accidentally ended up in 1977 or something!!) So the bank printed out another copy of the papers on Friday 12th June which Paul bought home over the weekend, we got them back on the Monday and we finally settled on Thursday 18th June. Not without additional costs though. There were penalties if we didn’t settle on time and we had to pay an extra $330 to the developer. Not happy about that and am trying to get St George to pay the costs (a very long story so far and will no doubt be the subject of another blog!) but still the land is now ours. Unfortunately we’d already planned a night out on Friday 12th to celebrate (went to Gold Class cinema to see the new Terminator movie and too difficult to change plans with Gerry, the nanny who was babysitting) so when we finally, really settled it was just over a glass of wine at home.

Of course the downside to settling the land means we have to start paying the mortgage but the upside is of course that now we can get the ball rolling on building the actual house. Our goal of being in the house by Christmas is long gone but I’m still hoping for March. Well early March to be exact…I’m the big 4-0 (yes I know it’s hard to believe…..good genes and avoiding the Aussie sun for the first 30 odd years, what can I say???) and am planning a HUGE party.

We went out to see the land now it was finally ours and took some pics (as you can see) and were really happy to see that the sewage access point was just over the boundary in our neighbours back yard, the phone bit was in a good position out the front (less digging distance for us to pay for when they put in the phone line) and the street lamp weren’t right in front of our block (and hence would shine right into our bedroom!). It was all good news……but still there was that nagging feeling….maybe everything was too good. And then we found out why. I was able to ring the local council ( ) and find out our door number. This is pretty much how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi, I believe I can find out what my door number is going to be, its lot 101. De Havilland Circuit, Williams Landing”
Council lady: “One moment please…….that would be lucky 13”
Council lady (laughing her pants off): “There’s nothing wrong with number 13, it’s been fine for me for many years”
Me: “I don’t care……no, not number 13 anything but 13”

Anyway I then decided to research the number 13. And you know what…’s all to do with those bloody Knights of the Templar (they turn up everywhere, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Da Vinci Code, oh and the actual Crusades of course). Friday, October 13, 1307 to be exact a date sometimes linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. There is even has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word which was coined in 1911. Friday the 13th has been considered an unlucky day since the 1800s, as a combination between an unlucky day, Friday, and the number 13. Of course there are many different things linked to the number thirteen.

In Christianity there were thirteen participants at the Last Supper. Tradition states that Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table. Thirteen was once associated with the Epiphany by Christians, as it is said the child Jesus received the Magi on his thirteenth day of life and there are 13 Apostles in Christianity; the 12 Disciples plus St Paul of Tarsus. In addition to being the 13th Apostle, he is also known as "The Apostle" by the Church Fathers.

In Judaism, 13 signifies the age at which a boy matures and becomes a Bar Mitzvah, the number of principles of Jewish faith according to Maimonides , according to the Torah, God has 13 Attributes of Mercy and thirteen is also the number of circles, or "nodes", that make up Metatron's Cube in Kaballistic teachings.

The number of Norse gods (there were 12) at a banquet that was crashed by the evil god Loki (making 13) who killed Baldr with an arrow/spear made out of mistletoe using Hodr, thus marking the beginning of Ragnarok and thirteen is the sixth prime number.

However the good news is that thirteen is also considered lucky by some. In Sikhism, the number 13 is considered a special number since 13 is tera in Punjabi, which also means "yours" (as in, "I am yours, O Lord"). The legend goes that when Guru Nanak Dev was taking stock of items as part of his employment with a village merchant, he counted from 1 to 13 (in Punjabi) as one does normally; and thereafter he would just repeat "tera", since all items were God's creation. The merchant confronted Guru Nank about this, but found everything to be in order after the inventory was checked. April 13 also usually turns out to be Vaisakhi every year, which is the Sikh New Year and the major Sikh Holiday.

In Italy, 13 is also considered to be a lucky number, although in Campania the expression 'tredici' (meaning 13) is said when one considers their luck to have turned for the worse.

Colgate University (a private liberal arts college located in the Village of Hamilton in Madison County, New York, USA) also considers 13 to be a lucky number. It is said that Colgate was founded in 1819 by 13 men with 13 dollars and 13 prayers. The campus address is 13 Oak Drive in Hamilton, NY and the all men a cappella group is called the Colgate 13. The address zip code, 13346, begins with 13 and the last 3 numbers add up to 13. The number shows up in student organizations such as Konosioni, the senior honor society, which is comprised of thirteen men and thirteen women and the alumni are asked to wear Colgate apparel on every Friday the 13th.

Whether 13 is actually an unlucky number or not will forever remain a mystery. There are many truths about the number 13, though. For example, it is a prime number. That means that it is only divisible by the number 1 and itself. It is also a "Fibonacci Number” (and we’re back to the bloody Knights of the Templar and the Da Vinci Code…..)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Keeping a Pommy Connection

So we are still managing to keep a pommy connection all the way here down under with the name of our street. As the land is ex-RAAF all the street names have RAAF connections and our's is de Havilland Circuit. Now don't get me wrong I wasn't very keen in the name but the block we wanted (lot 101) was on it so what can you do? Anyway being the inquisitive person I am I did a bit of research and am now very happy about the name.

The de Havilland Aircraft Company was a British aviation manufacturer founded in 1920 when Airco, of which Geoffrey de Havilland had been chief designer and owner, was sold to BSA. De Havilland then set up a company under his name in September of that year at Stag Lane Aerodrome in Edgware, England. The company later moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire, England. De Havilland Aircraft Company was responsible for producing the first passenger jet and other innovative aircraft.

One of the most famous planes made by the de Havilland Aircraft Company was the de Havilland Mosquito and only 7,781 Mosquitoes were ever made . Now I could write all about it from my research but came across this book at the local library that actually sent me off into research mode in the first place so why don't I just let Stevyn Colgan say it best.......

The de Havilland Mosquito was one of the most successful combat aircraft of the Second World War. The aircraft was made mostly from wood as the company had the foresight to realise that metal would become scarcer as the war went on. They also realised that traditional woodworkers, such as furniture makers, could be retrained very quickly for aircraft production. Almost the entire plane was built of plywood, balsa and spruce. The total weight of metal components used in the aircraft was just 280 pounds.

The mosquito flew for the first time on 25 November 1940. The designers believed that it would e able to travel at least 20 mph faster than the Supermarine Spitfire. In the end, the Mosquito exceeded all expectations and its twin Rolls-Royce Merlin 25 engines and light weight allowed the plane to achieve a top speed of 361 knots (415 mph) at 28, 000 feet. The top speed of the Spitfire was 330 knots (378 mph). The Mosquito was the fastest aircraft in Bomber Command until May 1951. From this point on, all speed records would be held by jets. © Joined-up Thinking by Stevyn Colgan

If you want to see more about the Mosquito go to

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Welcome to our blog !

Its been a long time coming (we put a deposit on the land in March 2008), but our land is now finally ready and we are starting to see some progress.

We are building at Williams Landing, a new estate in Melbourne, which used to be an RAAF airfield. A link to their website can be found below:

We have chosen to build with Carlisle Homes. We decided on the 'Bordeaux 40'.
An example picture is included below:

The design will be slightly different, as some changes have had to be made to the facade of the house due to design restrictions at Williams Landing.
These design changes also mean that the house will be roughly 42 squares, as the front of the house has had to be extended.