Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Rocky Road.

Sometimes in life there is a reward for choosing the more difficult route. 

On our walk yesterday evening we decided not to take our usual yellow brick road  - through the village and down to the dog beach where Sundae always has a swim -  but strike out and take the rocky road.

It's a tricky way for an oldish dog with lots of rock hopping, gullies to leap and you even have to scale a small headland. But there are many rewards for all of us: hidden coves, rock pools, gnarly bits of driftwood for the humans to collect, smelly seaweed for Sundae to rummage in. 

So, even though it was getting a bit cold and dark we pushed on... around the last corner... 

...and were rewarded with this.  

When we got home (and after a bath), Sundae was rewarded with this... 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Makeover Monday: The Parrot.

We had to let the stained-glass parrot go.

We replaced him with the simple, coloured-glass squares which are the right era for the house but with a fresh twist. Parrot went to live in the 'might-be-useful-in-the-future' corner of the garage.

Although I could have become fond of the parrot, his presence was just a bit too 70s and not the atmosphere we intended for our first B&B guest room.

The sliding door and mirrored walk-in-wardrobe also went and became a real (recycled) door and huge walk-in-shower (behind). Into the new void,  Handy Husband created a brilliant, invisible cupboard by literally cutting into the wall. Only downside of the secret cupboard is that sometimes guests leave all their clothes behind (!?).

I will be brief today as I lost most of last week to a mega-migraine, so I'm behind on the film editing deadline and Handy Husband had to look after me and our paying guests all weekend. (He's very handy at that too. Love him for that).

Maybe my migraine brain (like maxabella) is telling me to stop juggling so many balls and pare my life back to fewer jobs. Time to get rid of some of the useless clutter, like, maybe the old parrot, who is still sitting in the corner of our garage.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Gazebo of One's Own.

The cubby house at Oakleigh Farm Cottages.
My prototype for the girl-shed.
There isn't much room for writing, backstage in the B&B.

Each time we renovate a guest room we are forced to retreat further into the house, so now we are basically living, sleeping, cooking and working in two rooms.

Us, a dog and two cats.

Handy Husband has his man shed to escape to and he's promised to build me a writing gazebo in the garden - my very own grown-up cubby. The very idea keeps me sane.

In the meantime, we have partitioned off a corner of the sitting-room with some high bookshelves, behind which I sit at my desk managing the B&B bookings; fielding emails; producing and editing our little films; writing stories and now blogging.

Thanks to many years of working in busy in open-plan offices, I'm capable of shutting out the noise from the TV in the evenings (if I'm working and not watching it too), but music does my head in. If I'm writing, I can't keep the melodies and lyrics from invading my brain, so HH has to use his headphones.

As I pass the campsite on my daily walk to the dog beach, I often imagine how it could easily be worse. If we lived in one of those tiny caravans, we'd have to make every space useful - fill every nook with natty storage devices and whittle our possessions back to bare necessity.

I would have to get rid of all my stuff. All my books.

Sometimes I daydream about taking back the house - how the verandah guest room would make a wonderful light-filled study or artist's studio; the family-suite a generous master bedroom and it's bunk-room annexe could become a vast wardrobe.  

Then I remember that the only reason we even live in this house is because it's a B&B. If it wasn't a Bed and Breakfast;we wouldn't be here. Simple as that.

The guest rooms are for guests and it makes us an income - allowing us to live in this great part of the world and chase our dreams. It also makes many, many people very happy.

Besides, one day soon, Handy Husband is going to build me a girl-shed. He's promised.

Where do you write? Your own home-office? The kitchen table? In bed? 



Friday, May 6, 2011

Makeover Monday on Friday: The Sunroom Bathroom

Handy Husband and Sundae pup take a last nanna-nap on the 'about-to-be-a-bathroom' back porch... 
The back porch is walled in and frames built. 
Recycled windows and oak panelling and plumbing are installed.
Ceiling lined and floor waterproofed.  

Sunroom Bathroom finished.
We've tried to recreate each Bed and Breakfast guest-room into our idea of a dream bedroom and it's the same with all the en suite bathrooms.

A few other guest house operators in the area suggested we put in a spa bath as you can charge handsomely for a spa room (something I've never quite understood), but I've always dreamed of having a clawfoot bath (and preferably a real cast-iron one) and I was pretty sure that our kind of potential guests would feel the same.

However, when we started searching for original clawfoot baths we soon discovered that they only come in one real, old, standard size - slightly too large for the width of the bathroom we were renovating.

Instead of opting for a reproduction acrylic bath that we could fit into the room we decided to build a whole new room around the bath - turning the back porch into a spacious, open-plan bathroom.

We chose the colour of the bath to go with the rest of the bedroom (another makeover coming soon), and in the end we decided not to paint the Tasmanian Oak panels we had recycled from other parts of the house white, but leave them in all their scruffy, peeling-paint glory.

I look forward to occasional days when this room is empty so I can sneak in and have a luxurious bath. It's my favourite place to wallow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Technologically Beaten

When we are working at 'our other job' I'm not often the camera person - Handy Husband is. But I like this photo of me behind the camera as it makes me look as though I know what I am doing in the serious technology department. Unfortunately, this isn't the case with my 'mobile communications equipment' which let me down this week, big-time. 

Let me explain, by way of an excuse, for my obvious absence over these past few days. 

Last week we had to go away to do some filming for a short DVD we are making about fire ecology in the Australian bush, and it took us to some beautiful and fairly remote areas of northern NSW.  

I'd assumed that I'd be able to post the odd blog en route, but at every corner I was thwarted:  I fought with my Iphone (in need of an update); pleaded with my ailing laptop (embarrassingly big and ancient), and tried not to panic when several mountain-range cafes and B&B hosts looked bewildered by my increasingly desperate requests for wi-fi. 

Vintage Nest cafe and gorgeous shop in Bellingen. What a discovery.   
Down the mountain we found internet civilisation in this fabulous cafe pictured here. I happily unpacked the silver brick and ordered a skim-milk latte, but of course my aged laptop decided to curl up its toes and die right there and then. (Hopefully not permanently and yes it's all backed up.) 

Apart from the bloggy posting failure we had a great trip: lots of good interviews and filming with a National Parks' ranger, a grazing family, an indigenous leader, several ecologists and the NSW Rural Fire Service. We also rescued a lost mutton bird; watched sheepdogs wrangle sheep; I rode my first quad-bike (way too much fun!) and we even found a shop full of Art Deco mirrors (will post about this obsession of mine soon).  
Art Deco mirrors in 'Im Wunderland'. Another gorgeous shop in Bellingen.
Back in the B&B tonight and back in blogland.  I'm psyching myself up to the fact that it's finally time to purchase some serious new IT bling. Good thing those mirrors weren't for sale. Ouch... 

How do you keep posting if you are on the road? 


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