I was out at the farm yesterday when the house movers lifted the RUC to its final height. It doesn’t look that high in the picture until you notice the two people standing under it.
I’ve been working on sanding and varnishing the doors for the past few weeks. I’ve nearly finished three single doors and have only got nine sets to go. Oh joy! I don’t even want to do the math.
If you look on the veranda you’ll see the French doors I’m dealing with (above and on either side of the ‘oversize’ truck). There are five sets of them that lead from the main house onto the veranda.
The door that has taken most of my time is the front door. It’s all oak and had over six layers of paint on it (it’s not in the picture but will be soon).
I’ve been given eight sets of French doors that are very old but in excellent condition. I’ll be using those for the spare room and my bedroom and was going to just sand and repaint them – BUT – when I began to scrape the paint off I realised they are all very old red cedar. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with red cedar, but I’m smelling pretty sweet these days and people keep asking me what perfume I’m wearing. Once I’m finished one I’ll put up a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot.
Before I went to the RUC on Monday morning I was reading some blogs and kept seeing something flutter out of the corner of my eye. After a while I got up to take a better look and saw this fantastic creature drinking the nectar of the flowers in the garden. I got a picture and Googled it. It’s called a Cairns Birdwing Butterfly. And it really is the size of a bird!
After reading two rather (for different reasons) demanding books I fell gratefully back into the arms of an author one can be confident of enjoying. Wolf Pear also had the honour of being first up on my all-singing and dancing Kindle Fire, a nice 60th birthday present from my work colleagues.
Dianne Gray can't be pigeonholed. This book is, I guess, a detective novel with a large helping of paranormal.
I’m not too bad with creepy crawlies or snakes or serial killers (I’ve never come up against a serial killer, but if I do I’ll let you know – hopefully). I’m kind of a casual person and am rarely ruffled (unless, of course, I’m on a road trip in monsoon storms with a dog who has diarrhea).
On Monday I took the day off working at the RUC. I needed to get the place where I’m currently staying into ship shape. You know, the boring things like washing and folding and vacuuming and washing floors and on and on ad nauseam…
In January I wrote about these two cute geckos who decided to put on a bit of a luv fest above my head (so I did the only sensible thing and took a photo of them).
So I’m cleaning away on Monday and on the clothes dryer outside I find (what I think is) a tablet about the size of a tic tac. Hmm, interesting. How did that get there? I picked it up to take a good look at it and gave it a bit of a squeeze (as you do when you find a random tic tac on the clothes dryer).
It looked like this picture below (but it wasn’t on a spoon – go figure).
Before I knew it the thing burst open and a tiny gecko jumped out and attached itself to my nose. For a second I thought it was going to ask ”Are you my mother?” - but before it had the chance I screamed and it jumped onto the table.
Here is a picture of the cute little fella with some of the shell still on his back.
I chased him around for a while from the table to the floor until I got all the shell off. To give an indication of his tiny size, that blurry thing near him is a house fly that was in the process of taking off (hence the blur).
He’s now living happily ever after with his Kama Sutra parents in a quiet little nook outside the kitchen window. I saw his father looking very pensive last night – proud that his little offspring survived.
Here’s dad, on the outside ceiling behind the light checking out his enormous shadow
I may have shattered the image of my brevity getting all weirded out when the little fella jumped on my nose, but I’m sure I did the right thing in the end…
Would you have jumped? Or am I just turning into a little sissy?
The builders have been on their Easter break for two weeks now so the only work that’s been done on the RUC has been done by me. I’ve scrubbed the walls (inside and out ready for painting) and sanded the front door that had six coats of paint over the beautiful oak. In fact, it had so much paint on it that I didn’t realise what intricate beading it had until I got down to the third coat. I sanded the French doors which was easier because they haven’t been painted, and I’ve also started sanding the balustrade for painting. I’ve smashed down the old wall where the wasp lead me to the writing and I’ve started cleaning the ceiling.
I haven’t done any work on my WIPs. My characters keep calling out to me in the middle of the night, but I just roll over, jot down what they say and then drift off to snoredom.
There is a good side and a bad side to all this work I’m doing. On the good side I’ve lost weight and gained some muscle. On the bad side I’ve got a sore back and am usually asleep by 6:30 every night.
You may notice a slight change in me next time you see me
Rohan: Hello Dianne, I’d like to thank you first of all for agreeing to this interview. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about yourself and your writing in this way ever since I found your blog.
Dianne: Thank you so much, Rohan. I’m absolutely loving your blog at the moment and every time I come over here I learn something new!
One of things I love about writing is making discoveries. You put your character in a situation where they need to discover something to improve (or escape from) that situation. In one of my latest WIPs (The UltraTerrestrials) my main character finds a coin that literally turns her life upside down. Writing the part where she finds the coin was exciting for me and once I got into it, I couldn’t stop. I knew the coin was there and I wanted to make her work for it (I’m a bit mean like that when it comes to my characters!).
My love of discovery is one of the main parts of me that comes out in my writing. When I’m not writing I go to curio shops and antique shops and any other place that sells second hand goods to see what little (or big) treasures I can find. The biggest treasure I’ve ever found is the RUC. There are so many things in the RUC to discover – and just when I think I’ve found everything, something else pops up.
I’ve spoken to people who know about buildings and they all come up with one scenario – the RUC was built in the mid to late 1800s as a ‘government building’. The reason for this is its unusual design and the wood it’s made from. Money was no object when the RUC was built (typical government!). Every piece of wood in the place is beautiful oak, the large corner hard wood timbers are 6”x6” which is unheard of in many old buildings. It’s never had interior walls to make up separate rooms (like bedrooms), but it does have large unpainted marks on the floor (as if there has been some kind of counter near the front door).
But what was it? I need to take a trip to the Historical Society because I still haven’t figured it out, but I may have narrowed it down when I was working in there today.
Before it became the Rugby Union Club it was classified as a ‘government asset’ (I checked this out on-line, but unfortunately there was a fire in the council offices last century and a lot of information was lost) – so it was either a police station, an ambulance station, a court house, a school, or a post office.
I’ve experienced a lot of strange coincidences since the RUC came into my life and will one day write a story about them (they’re THAT good!) But today I was washing the walls to get them ready for painting when a wasp flew past my head several times. Yesterday I’d cleaned one of those muddy wasp nests away that was high up in a corner of the wall and I don’t want any more of them to nest before I screen everything in preparation to move in.
I ignored the wasp for a while but after it dive-bombed me for the tenth time I decided to follow it to see where it was building its nest. I walked out to the back veranda where the rugby union people had lined out an area to use as an office (which I’m going to strip out to convert to a guest bedroom). The wasp disappeared into a hole in the wall so I peeked through (no – it didn’t sting my eyeball!) but I saw something weird.
Being me, I grabbed a hammer and knocked a bigger hole in the wall so I could take a better look. I took a picture of what I found.
Below the word AMBULANCE is a phone number that looks quite old. I’m now thinking of crossing ‘ambulance station’ off my list because an ambulance station (by my way of thinking – but I could be wrong) wouldn’t have its own number on its back wall. However, a police station may have the ambulance number written clearly somewhere.
I haven’t smashed down the rest of the wall yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to it!
Have you made any interesting discoveries lately?
Have you ever watched those shows where someone comes in and fixes a house while the owners are away? There’s always a panic, the weather turns bad, they’re running out of time…you know the scenario… they JUST manage to put in the final touches before the happy owners return and see the job finished <insert tears of joy here> all within a one hour episode…
This is what I’m living at the moment (delete one hour episode from above) . A couple of bloggers have suggested I should have hired a film crew for the movement of the RUC (and I agree).
Here’s the timeline:
January – old barracks on the farm declared officially dead and I was offered the old Rugby Union Club (RUC) to move to my block.
March – due to local government paperwork the RUC took almost 2 months to move.
One week after the move the first tropical cyclone (Sandra) threatened to hit (no roof on the RUC)
Two weeks after the move the second tropical cyclone (Tim) threatened to hit (still no roof on the RUC)
One day after the roof goes on the monsoon rain starts (phew!)
Next week (apparently) it’s going to be lifted to its right height and it’s ‘legs’ cemented into the ground (this is known as re-stumping).
Now my three kids (who live in different states) have decide to come and stay for a week or so with their partners on 16 June (YAY!)
So – between now and 16 June I need to:
Build a kitchen
Build a bathroom
Build a bedroom
Put a door in the second bedroom
Paint the entire place
Recover all the floors
Replace half the wooden railings on the balconies
Build a second set of stairs
Get a plumber in so I’ve got water and sewage
Get an electrician to wire the place
I’ve only got 12 weeks to do all this.
Do you think I should start to panic NOW?
At least the RUC is now wearing her shiny new Easter bonnet (those roofers did a great job, don’t you think?)