When doing the school/childcare drop offs today, I was reminded of what winter is like here. The scent of smoke from chimneys mixed with the smell of rain bathed in sunshine. Odd, to be wearing a skivvy in Summer. Odd, to be this cold.
I have just finished reading a novel: “The Time Traveller’s Wife.” I am still reeling. It was a compelling read. I don’t usually review novels on this blog – or online at all, these days – but I related so closely to Clare: the way she loved Henry, the way she felt things etc. And Monte is like Henry, in a way. I have seen him be a teen and now a man. Now that the book is gone, and it has ended the way it has, I have been in tears a few times, thinking about losing my beloved. I have known him for nearly all the life I can remember (we met when I was 15), so the thought of losing him is terrifying. Crazy, I know, to be having those thoughts, and I shall ease them out of my mind by immersing myself in a new book, or some Adam Sandler films.
Since reading the novel I wonder how close memories are to time-travelling. I know, laugh out loud if you like; I realise the incredulity of this. But, for example, I have a memory of making Christmas decorations with my nanna, about 20 years ago. I have the same decorations on my Christmas tree right now. It is cool to remember, so vividly, such a special time with Nanna, who Matthew is named after, and who I love dearly.
Back to reality.
The plumbing work has been done on the house site. It was a rainy day when the trenches were dug, pipes were laid and then covered up again. I was *amazed* that three tradesmen turned up on time and got the job done despite the rain. Our experiences with a lot of tradesmen is unlike this, especially when we were building the extension on our first home! It was a nightmare! Yet we did it again, and now we are bloody building a house. It seems so crazy, the tension and stress and excitement, plus the time and anticipation and joy. I think this will be the last time we do this. No more building, no more renovating. We are building our family home and we will stay there and grow our family there. As in, see our children grow up and leave :( and then we will grow old and die. And we will leave a beautiful home for our children and our grandchildren.
Told you the book affected me.
Anyway, we have also had the pad for the header water tank. It is up the hill from the house site. Our plan is to collect rainwater from the roof of the house into the tank at the house site, and periodically pump it up the hill to the header tank, so we can get water flowing into the house. We have ordered the tanks and they are supposedly coming on Monday. Once it is all hooked up we are going to have water poured into the header tank and then we will use that water for our cabin. That will mean we don’t have to run a water pump off the batteries, which will mean that we have power for other stuff, as the pump uses the most power out of anything.
I was talking to someone back in Adelaide, who couldn’t actually tell me where her water came from. Where is it pumped from? How is it pumped? Does it come from a height so it doesn’t use energy? Who knows these things? It’s nuts that we have got into a system of using and using and using, without knowing the source. Water. Electricity. Gas. Petrol. One day it will all be gone. That will be a crazy day. I hope it doesn’t happen in my life time, but sources say it will. This is why we want a self sufficient house. A house that runs itself, with no cost.
I’m going to talk about my pantry. It’s the size of a small country. The reason it is interesting is that we are contemplating not running a fridge for part of the year (winter) and just using the pantry. There is a vent in the floor, and the vent is attached to a pipe that runs out to the hill. I can see the long white pipe when I look up to the house site. One day it will probably be covered with pretty roses or something (I get a kick out of planning a garden! Mostly pink blooms and deliciously fragrant herbs). The idea is that the hot air will rise and flow out of a vent in the ceiling, whilst cool air will flow through the pipe into the pantry. Voila! Cool air in the food storage department. It was a bone of contention with the architect, who said it was unnecessary (“Just have a fridge,” said he.) but we persevered. No, darn it, this is our dream home. It cracks us up that the architect thinks that the high grade of energy efficiency is a fluke. Our house will be potentially award winning for energy efficient homes because that is the way we planned it. That is why it took so long to plan and draw. Monte did endless calculations, trying to get a high percentage of the glass facing north. It’s complex, but it is our doing. Anyway, we are hoping not to need to run a fridge (In winter this year, we did not use a fridge. We left beers outside and they almost froze.
I am glad that my tone today has been jovial. Perhaps it is the joy of the season. My Christmas tree is up – decorated beautifully by my children. There are no lights blinking, and to me this is a shame, but Christmas lights are really such a waste of energy! I want to take my kids somewhere and show them Christmas lights. Georgia is really excited about the Christmas season. She feels joy and love and it is my children who now make Christmas so special. I’m honestly utterly blessed.
One more thing. Am on a writing slurge today, with the kids out and about and a lot being on my mind. What we are doing is difficult. Sometimes it is hard sleeping in a caravan because each sound the children make wakes me. This is what being a mother means, sometimes: not sleeping! Other days we love all waking up so close by, and the children climb over us in the bed and it is a good way to start the day. Sometimes I feel low because of the little cabin, and the caravan, and our humble existence. But how can I? I have so much when so many people have nothing. We have a secure roof over our heads (well, sometimes the caravan rocks a bit in the wind) and we own it. We are not going into debt, so we will own everything. And we are very lucky to have what we have. When times get hard, we remember: this is ours. This is our home. We are blessed.