August 10, 2008 | Ronda Jambe

Under the Moruya Moon (7)

One last visit to see the restored goat shed before I go. We head off from chilly Canberra, planning to watch the Olympic opening spectacular in the also chilly brick house. It is all the colder now that the end room has been stripped of its lining and is open to the rafters. Another problem waiting for our builder.
How impressive was the Olympic opening – highlighting Chinese inventions like paper, moveable type, the compass? A true orgy of multi-media, planned to be seen electronically and live. They sensibly skimmed over another Chinese invention – gunpowder.
Our builder has done a great job of closing off the windows, and lining the central ceiling with pine. All that’s left of the damage from all the holes in the old tin roof is the mould on some gyprock. How many times did I empty buckets near that hole, always worried if it was overflowing while I’d been away:
old mould.jpg
It is now starting to feel like it could really be a house, with the bamboo flooring and gyprock installed, and it all lightens up the interior. We have had pelmets built in, so much easier to do at this stage, and eventually there will be heavy curtains. I guess we should have thought about double glazing, but we are counting on it not needing extra heat for 10 months of the year, certainly you never need heat except in the evening in that area. The furniture is huddled in the centre of the living room, and the old fridge was deemed irreparable by a repairman last summer, so it has to go in the skip:
furniture in middle.jpg
Even the second hand kitchen is looking a bit more comfortable with the bamboo beneath it, but that copper hood on the stove has to go. George wants the kitchen painted, I don’t mind it as it is. But I am keen to get some bright colours on the walls, rather than just neutral tones. Just about everything seems to go with bamboo:
Now that it has a new roof and insulation at great expense, the towering trees so close seem threatening. Our bush fire plan calls for them to be removed, but trees are precious, (as in they cost a fortune to cut down) and we will double check with council before we have them lopped at all. More than most people, I am aware of the danger that storms present in our warming world, so it would be ironic if I left this one to chance:
trees and trailer.jpg
The extra steps to the deck are in, to encourage visitors to come up onto the deck at the back, rather than through the back bedroom door, which is theoretically the entrance from the only road in. As you come up these stairs to the deck, there is a glimpse of the sea, on a good clear day:
onto the deck.jpg
In the morning our friend from town came over, with fresh chocco cake. She is an excellent baker, always something yummy, and if chocos will grow here without much fuss, I’ll have a go at that. My fondness for chocos, at least as a decorative vine, dates from my early days in Sydney, when frangipani was new to me and chocos were exotic. I remember them growing on fences in Glebe up the back of Harold Park. George and the little shaggy dog Anna rescued a few years ago make a nice pair on the deck. Our first visitor since the conversion had to make do with an upturned crate for a coffee table:
george and deny.jpg
George will also be there when the bush fire people do the under burning. We hope it will slow down the bitou bush, which is again appearing on the steep slopes that we clear periodically. A good sun hat I gave him is languishing somewhere on those slopes, where you nearly fall over backwards pulling the beasts out. Many hours have been spent on those slopes and others, and the problems with pest plants have become a big motivator for sub-dividing the land more. It is just too much to keep after all those weeds on 17 acres of steep, snake, tick and leech infested bush.
But at least the spiders, centipedes and frogs will have to work harder now to get at us! It is all pretty nice, especially when we think about how primitive it was for so long. Now we even have a ‘retreat’ off our bedroom, a truly luxurious feature. It may not classify as Grand Designs material (don’t they show the most amazing houses that evolve out of big messes?) but it will be solid and comfortable. With some good (low emission of course) paint, it will be as fine as I would ever aspire to. Lots of places to spread a rug and do yoga, which is sure to be a challenge while travelling:
view from main.jpg
My friend living in Costa Rica and I chatted this morning, and I’ve got an extra memory card for my camera. Digital cameras are such wonderful gadgets, truly liberating as the best technology should be. She’s looking forward to my arrival, I have much to sort out before I leave. To think of this cosy yet large place in the bush waiting for me is very nice, it is also good to miss things you love.
The huge protea bush outside the house has finished flowering, and I won’t be able to cut off all the old flowers until at least December. That means it will start to get scraggly, but so it goes. I’ve brought back one last bouquet, posed nicely in the corner of my kitchen, reminding me how beautiful it is there:
Copy of proteas-in-blue.jpg
But (there has to be a but, or we’d be in Shangri-La) heavy winds are breathing down my neck, even at gorgeous Moruya Heads. One of the joys of heading to the coast from dry Canberra is the greener pastures of the south coast. But lately it has been the same pale wheat colour that has become so boring a daily reminder of climate change. Rain bucketed down, they told me, but other than that downpour, not much. But our tanks are full, all 20,000 litres.
So listen up, you climate change sceptics, to words Bob Watson, who is chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK, told the Guardian newspaper:
“There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial.” “But given this is an ambitious target, and we don’t know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realize a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C.”
From the same article in the Guardian:
Watson’s plea to prepare for the worst was backed up by the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King. He said that even with a comprehensive global deal to keep carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere at below 450 parts per million there is a 50% probability that temperatures would exceed 2C and a 20% probability they would exceed 3.5C. “So even if we get the best possible global agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses on any rational basis you should be preparing for a 20% risk so I think Bob Watson is quite right to put up the figure of 4 degrees,” he said.
One more blog before I leave…then it will be hasta la vista, amigos!

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 1:20 pm | Comments Off on Under the Moruya Moon (7) |
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