Friday, March 23, 2012

(Marathon) Walkies!

What with various family members in hospital, lots of driving and desk work, I've had a very sedentary year. Result: podgy unfit Mieke. Also, I started to have nostaligc thoughts about the long distance walks I did long ago with my siblings and my game and adventurous first partner, Cees: Offa's Dyke Path, Glynd┼Ár's Way, The Coast to Coast. There were also the adventurous horse treks: I crossed the Alps on horseback (no elephants available, sorry), and later, with Hans, rode around Sligo and Donegal in Ireland.

Anyway, I couldn't bear the thought of not ever doing something like that again. So, I've committed myself: I'm going to walk a marathon!

Together with some good colleagues we've formed a team to walk the Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk, a 37 km coastal walk. We're to walk this in a day, 20 May .... (despite all my walking history, I've never done 37 km in a single day, so it's a fair challenge).

I started training two weeks ago, with twice (or 3x if time) weekly walks of increasing length. I'm up to 12 - 15 km walks now and already feeling in better shape.

Stay tuned, people: I'll slug you all for sponsorship nearer the time, to be sure :-D

View Ballina to Byron Bay Walk ver2 in a larger map

Friday, March 9, 2012

Camels and eyes of needles

This is the sort of conversation one can have when discussing Council approval:

"Louvre windows won't be approved, you know...", the man says, looking sagely confident.
    "Whyever not? These types of Queenslanders always had louvre windows". John and I would like authentic, wooden-framed windows in heritage style, not the garish aluminium sideways-sliding ones.
    "Well the Bushfire BAL, flame zone, you know, not fire retardant enough,  bushfire prevention, gotta keep the flames out. Couldn't give you a glazier's certificate, and council won't approve without certification. BASIX.  Safety, you know." He nods, approvingly, of council regulations.
    John and I look at him with astonishment. "But, mate ... It's a wooden house..." In my mind's eye I imagine a pile of smouldering ashes with some perky aluminium frames peeking out of the debris. Well at least the windows survived, one could say. The man continues to look sagely at us, hands in pockets, rocking confidently back and forth on his heels. I can't resist adding "And even so, it's a ludicrous argument. We're on a high, cleared, clean, wet hill with several springs and creeks. This area has simply not burned, not in the last century, and not in the history of the house", I shake my head, shrugging my shoulders.
     He smiles smarmily at us, and waggles his eyebrows. "Ah. How do you know, hey, how do you know?" He makes the tut tut gesture, wagging his finger at me.
     "Like I said. It's a wooden house. And it's still here."

A bit of before & after

Not that we're finished restoring the back of the house, not by a long shot...  but we're nearing what we call the end of "Stage one", whereby we hope that Council will sign off on the Complying Development Certificate for the "addition of deck and replacement of roof section". Actually getting to the "tick off" moment may be more difficult than getting a camel through the eye of a needle (more on that later), but here is what's been achieved in these past three months:

Prior to starting, Sept 2011. The stairs were 'condemned', the roof leaked, the guttering was shot (by hail)

 March 2011. The walls and windows are not finished, but the deck and roof are!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yarrow does some modelling

... for Rodney Deane Photography.

Mind you, she still wants to be a paediatrician when she grows up ...

The Grange girls ...

A fetching foursome ...

Clockwise from the lollipop: Bella, Briony, Tess and Yarrow