How did I not see that coming?
20 Monday Aug 2012
Posted Badger Rambling, Humour, Stuff Happens, The Tree Change Experiencein
20 Monday Aug 2012
Posted Badger Rambling, Humour, Stuff Happens, The Tree Change Experiencein
30 Wednesday May 2012
Posted Humour, The Tree Change Experiencein
It seems that anywhere you go these days will have a fleet of slightly harrowed looking mothers navigating the streets and avenues in their own ‘Good Ship SUV’. These monsters are generally mildly enormous. They are virtually impossible to park and I am quite sure that they set off earthquake alarms whenever they go over a bump. They are ghastly vehicles and they serve little or no purpose.
That said, I do have a 4WD truck. But here’s the difference; my driveway is unmanageable even with a 4WD for several days of the year. I also have about 20 acres of overgrown paddock. I also tend to need to move a ton of this or that at least once or twice a month. My 4WD is a workhorse. It doesn’t have ‘climate control’ (Well, okay… it has windows), its seats don’t massage ones buttocks. I don’t have cinema like dolby surround sound. It does have an absurdly monstrous bull bar which is great for ensuring that when some daft pillock fails to take a corner in their idiotic SUV, their SUV is going to be much worse off than my truck.
I also have a little Mazda 121. It’s small and zippy. Comfortable to drive, great handling, great brakes, great fuel economy. It’s also over 20 years old and still steadfastly reliable. It, however, can not get up my driveway for most of the year.
Musing on my vehicles led me to rant about SUVs (done that bit) and to ponder how my various vehicles and tools and gadgets have shaped my tree change experience. So I thought it might be a good idea to mention the shining stars. If you’re contemplating a tree or sea change of your own, then mayhaps some of my experiences will be of use to you.
Number One – Big fancy rechargeable LED lantern. It’s great. It can be charged off the mains, by a generator, or from a car’s cigarette lighter socket. It has the ability to break into two different lanterns. It is highly water resistant. It’s incredibly rugged. Its inbuilt power pack lasts for hours. You can comfortably read a book by its light. Given my lack of electricity for the first year or so, this gadget made an ENORMOUS difference. So. Choose a really good torch and a really good lantern. Don’t go with an el cheapo. This is one of those areas where you want to get the one you like the best and ignore the cost. Stumbling around in the dark is a bummer. Having a nice illuminating beacon ready to bathe you in reassuring not-dark-and-creepiness just seems to make the world a nicer place.
Number Two – Okay. I admit it… there’s a bit of potty humour coming. It IS the second best thing to arm oneself with… and well… I couldn’t resist. Number two is my portable toilet. Basically it has a tank for effluence and a tank for flushing with. It looks like a gray box. I call it the bucket of shame simply because I ALWAYS vow to empty and clean it long before it is burstingly full. When it is full, it is much harder to empty and clean. Emptying and cleaning it are NOT fun. Unfortunately, I always put it off to the last minute. This often means that I have to do the chore in the rain and while feeling miserable. At those times my language is not very polite. Oh. One thing. If you have one of these nifty portable toilet things, be sure to put it on a level surface. A LEVEL SURFACE. Very important. Don’t forget. LEVEL. Moving right along.
Number Three – Ooh… gets tricky, now. I am going to go with the little 2 stroke generator. Basically these things will produce about 700 – 800 watts. Plenty of energy for recharging phones, computers, running a handful of lights, maybe running a CD player. DO NOT TRY TO HEAT OR REFRIGERATE. One thing nobody mentioned to me is that the wattage on an appliance does NOT include the start up. Some appliances will use ten times their running wattage just at start up before settling down. Using a generator that is not rated for such a drain will kinda kill your generator. So don’t do it. Keep the wattage usage really low.
You can of course get a much larger generator. They produce more power, but use more fuel. For me, the little 2 strokes did what I actually NEEDED. They also did it with a minimum of fuss. Servicing them was easy. That said, I have been here a year and I have gone through 4 generators. The two more expensive ones didn’t really outperform the cheap 2 strokes… but they cost a lot more. It may be that I will be able to repair a couple of the generators. Being mechanically ignorant to an astonishing degree means that I am kinda chuffed at knowing how to clean and change spark plugs. But I will persevere. One day, I will get one of these sods working again!
Number Four – My tractor. It is seriously cool. Basically, when I looked at the property, I realized that there was a LOT of work to be done on the land. thistles, bracken, irish heath, etc. all needed slashing. A dirt road would be needed to afford access to the more remote parts of the property, and the area around the house needed extensive earth moving and cleaning up. Back of the napkin calculations indicated that I was looking at 30 – 40k in earth moving costs. Being rather poor, I couldn’t afford that. I spent some time thinking about it and then started looking into possible alternatives. What I found was a flatpack tractor. Basically you buy it and they send it to you as bits in boxes. You then assemble it yourself. This struck me as wonderfully cheap and an outstanding opportunity to reduce my level of mechanical ignorance. Then I had a bit of a motor accident and for a variety of reasons paid a few hundred dollars to have the distributor assemble it for me.
By this time next year I will have completely amortized the cost of the tractor just with earth moving… and I will still have the tractor. I have not made the kind of progress that I would have liked in the last year… but that’s not because I didn’t have the tool for the job. If you are looking after 10 acres or more – particularly if you have some earth moving projects scheduled, seriously consider getting yourself a small tractor. They are amazingly nifty things to have around.
Farmer Stam – Not Farmer Badger
Number Five – Netbook/iPad. My sanity was preserved by my netbook. Basically I could read or write, play computer games, watch DVDs, listen to music. A desktop wouldn’t have cut it. It would have taken up far too much room and couldn’t have readily been run by a little generator. Now I have a second hand iPad. It’s nifty, too. Smaller and a bit more rugged. It serves most of my internet and writing needs. I can also take it around the block with me to check diagrams or work plans. I like it very much. Mind you… I am a geek, so a computer was bound to be in the top 5 no matter what. 🙂
So there you have it. My five essential must have necessities (Yes, that’s a tautology, but I don’t care. If you want me to care about dangling modifiers, tautologies, spelling, grammar, etc. pay me to edit, proof read or write something… it’s my blog and I’ll blither illiterately if I want to!)… okay… now I have forgotten what I was going to say. Oh, yes. These are some of the things that I HAD to have. Without these items, doing the tree change probably wouldn’t have worked for me. While settlers in the 1800s made do with an axe and a steely gaze, they were made of sterner stuff than I. Mind you, soft I may be, but at least I don’t think that I need an SUV so that I can whip round to do the weekly shopping.
16 Wednesday May 2012
Posted Badger Rambling, Humour, The Tree Change Experience, Writingin
G’day, what follows is about writing… the inertia that opposes writing to be more specific. I had originally started to write something on how emergent technology affects renovations of century old buildings…. then there was going to be this nifty bit on useful equipment.Then the iPad I was fiddling with gobbled my text… that led to a bit of stream of consciousness blather. Rather than delete it and spare the world, I have decided to put this explanatory paragraph here and consider you warned. I will – from time to time – ramble about something unrelated to… well, anything. Sometimes writing – like life – goes to unexpected destinations.
Bother. The bloody thing just deleted half a page. Oh well, it was hardly timeless prose. I suppose I should explain why it doesn’t particularly perturb me to lose half a page. You see, the challenge for a writer is to find a story that wants telling. Most stories don’t, you know. Want telling, I mean. So us writer types tap away at our keyboards or scribble with our pens. We put one letter after another till we have a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph. Usually we end up with several paragraphs or pages of some nicely crafted word play… But no real story.
Real stories are messy things. Meaningless bits of mundane action, large slabs of dialogue that don’t advance the plot, and pages and pages of characters doing things in settings that are irrelevant to anything much other than paying the bills or ensuring that there are clean socks. Writers have to wade through quite a lot of prosaic to get to the prose.
Then there are the words. Nifty things; words. Humpty dumpty said something along the lines of: ‘When I use a word,’ … ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ I like the sentiment very much. It is particularly soothing when I mangle harmless sentences or try to use words that are simply innocent of the expression that I try and foist upon them.
I don’t mean sentences like: “I’ll be sure to get that to you tomorrow.” When I say that, it’s just a lie. But when I try describe where I live, I tend to trot out things like ‘very pretty’ or ‘wonderfully relaxing’. Those words really don’t do the setting justice. I could rely on hyperbole or wax poetic in metaphor, but even then the words only rarely convey the full measure of the scene.
With extraneous material obscuring the simple thing that we are hoping to express and even the words we use sometimes resisting being where and what we need them to be, it can be difficult to produce a story that wants telling.
So with this blog and with my other writing, I’ll just go on putting one letter after another and hope that I somehow manage to craft that rarest of gems; something where the detritus has been cleared, the right words found and placed just so. A complete and true accounting; a real story.
The view that greets me in the morning. It’s very pretty and wonderfully relaxing.
13 Sunday May 2012
Posted Humour, The Tree Change Experiencein
It gets dark at my place. I mean really dark. You might think that it gets pretty dark in your average city, town, or hamlet, but there’s a profound difference in a remote place on a moonless cloudy night. The depth of the darkness is absolute. No stars, no porch lights, no street lights gamely crying out to the sable ink ‘c’mon, if you think yer hard enough!’.
Most evenings, there are exactly two artificial lights visible from my property (Not counting my own). One is a small underpowered streetlight that sort of indicates where my road joins on to the main road. It’s a kilometre away (That’s a little over a thousand yards). The light from it looks like a slightly bright star that has gotten tired from all of the energetic capering about in the sky and has decided that lazing around on the ground sounds good. Seriously, it’s only a little bit brighter that venus or mars (mind you, as I have had a few eye operations, I might not be a leading authority on what something ‘looks’ like). Anyway. It’s not a shining beacon.
The other light is a sort of yard light, porch light thing outside of my neighbour’s house. It’s quite close. It’s only 400 metres or so (About a quarter of a mile). But as it’s a 60 watt globe it’s not exactly lighting the place up, either (Okay, I admit it; I don’t actually know what wattage it is. Sneaking up to one’s neighbour’s place with a ladder to check the wattage of their garden light might lead to a rather awkward conversation, so I haven’t checked).
Anyway. It gets really dark here. I have two cats. Pigeon and Sophie. Being cats, they are of the opinion that the universe (well, the bit around my house) is their empire. They apparently never tire of wandering around catching and torturing the local wildlife. My fervent hope is that the local wildlife stops wandering into my house. There are many, many hectares of tree festooned hillside. I really only frequently wander around a small part of the property. The cats cover even less of it. So if the wildlife stays out there, we’ll stay in our bit and there will be peace and cohabitation for all.
So. Dark. Two cats. Wildlife. At this stage, I could describe the baby Tasmanian devil in my kitchen. But that story didn’t involve the cats. I could talk about having to get out of my truck to move the echidna out of the way so I could head to the shops. But that didn’t involve my cats. Or I could tell you about waking up one morning and finding half a rabbit on my pillow next to my face (Napisan really is good on those pesky rabbit entrail stains. Can you imagine what life would be like without Napisan? I wine and dine a charming lady, bring her back to my place; “Don’t mind the stains on the pillow case, it’s from the digestive tract and reproductive organs of a rabbit that one of my cats partially ate.” Thank GOD for modern cleaning agents. That story does involve the cats, but I don’t like talking about it coz I get this horrible headache and a I start sighing a lot.
Anyway, let’s get back to the story. By the way, there is a point. It will actually all lead to a (sort of) coherent finish. I promise. It’s dark, I’m outside noticing how terribly dark it is. As per usual, there is a furry obstacle trying to ensure that I will trip and fall and shatter my spleen (Yes, I know spleen’s aren’t things that you can shatter, but my cat’s don’t, they’re mental.) As usual, I reach down to pat the furry obstacle, musing to myself that by doing so, I am actually giving them positive feedback in their efforts to shatter my spleen. But it’s not one of my cats. There’s a wheezy kind snort. It’s a possum. He doesn’t scuttle away in terror. He doesn’t claw my arm off. He gives me a wheezy snort. I don’t know if this is possum equivalent of a: ‘Careful mate, I’ll have you if ya try that again!’ For all I know he could have just sneezed. Australian Possums are not the same thing as Opossums. Firstly, Possums are MUCH cuter. Secondly, they tend to have talons that can slice into Australian hardwoods. I elect to withdraw carefully.
But he just wheezed and snorted. Then he wandered off. What’s with that? It got me thinking. He was about the size of my cats. Maybe 7 kilograms (About 15 pounds). So I am about twenty times bigger than he is. I am not sure that if a Black rhinoceros came up and prodded me with his foot that I would simply wheeze and snort. Quite a remarkably brave creature is your average Possum. And your Echidna. And your Pademelon. And your Bandicoots (but only fleetingly, because I have had halves of several of them left behind, too. Sigh). So all of these critters – these Wallabies, Platypuses, marsupial mice and the rest – are wandering around full to the brim with courage even though there are lots of other critters trying to eat them. But when the prod comes, wheeze then snort.
This encounter has taught me two things: Firstly, the critters aren’t going anywhere. They will bravely (albeit at times unfortunately) go about their business where they want and when. Courage truly does come in small packages. Secondly, I really need to change the light globe on my outside light.
12 Saturday May 2012
Posted Badger Rambling, The Tree Change Experiencein
Okay, let’s talk about wildlife. Living – as I do – in a fairly remote area with lots of wilderness and a couple of national parks being a fair bit closer than an actual town, there is a bit of wildlife about. We’re talking wallabies, pademelons, bandicoots, possums, brown snakes, white lipped snakes, tiger snakes, tasmanian devils, and platypus. Don’t get me started on the bird life.
But here’s the thing. It’s actually not quite as nifty as it sounds. I like animals. I do. I especially like wilderness settings chockerblock with critters. But… well, it’s a bit of a nuisance when you have a breeding pair of European Swallows (unladen) who have made a nest in your living room. First of all, there is the bird poo. You can tell where the birds like to fly because they leave a squishy dotted line along their flight path (I did say unladen). There’s also the feathers; they float around and stick to everything. On top of that, they have little baby swallows, so I can’t just evict them or I will feel like a complete bastard. I have been assured that they will go back to Europe… In three or four months. Sigh.
Then there are the Tassie Devils. They are cute in a toothsome way, and they have a lot of character. Unfortunately they also sound like fiendish monster created by HR Gieger that is trying to deal with a particularly unpleasant case of piles. My Godson Oliver came to visit for a few days a while back. For various reasons, we didn’t get to the house until after it was dark. Armed with a flashlight, I took him around the crumbling old abode and into the cottage; where we found a young Tassie Devil. Cool, huh? Nifty way to impress the Godson. Up close and personal with a wild Devil. First night and everything. Yeah… riiiight.
You see, not long thereafter, a devil (Might have been the same one, might not) decided that it liked living room dining. So it killed something and ate it in my living room. I know this because there was a pool of blood and some Devil paw prints beautifully stained into my century old blackwood floor. Sigh.
Then there are the birds (Shudder). On my block I have european swallows, blue wrens, golden wrens, kookaburras, starlings, blackbirds, sparrows, and about a dozen other birds that I don’t know the name of yet. Now, those that know me will find it odd that I know about these birds. I am not really a bird watcher. But my cat (His name is Pigeon. Ironic, really) is a bird watcher. A keen one. And he’s also a bird catcher. And a bird torturer. And – eventually – a bird eater. Apparently he’d quite like me to join him in his hobbies because he keeps trying to encourage me by leaving a watched, caught, and tortured – but not eaten (well, completely, anyway) bird in or about my caravan. If I am asleep at the time, he will quite thoughtfully leave it on my pillow so that I can find the bird when I wake up and open my eyes. If I’m working outside, he’ll leave it on the steps so that I can admire it when I pack it in for the day. Sigh. For a while there, I was getting five a week. Now it’s down to about two.
Here’s the thing. Given all of this… and the many, many, many animal related events that I haven’t mentioned, why on earth is it that I am planning on getting six chickens, four goats, a dog, and a Clydesdale?
12 Saturday May 2012
Posted Humour, The Tree Change Experiencein
It occurs to me that one of the really useful things that I could do with this is to offer up the lessons that I have learned in this insane venture project. If you decide to buy a ‘fixer upper’ be aware of a salient point: it is not one great big job. It is lots and lots and lots of small to large jobs. Many of those jobs don’t even register on your ‘jobs list’ or your ‘plan of attack’. Let me give you an example.
Access in and around my crumbling cottage was impeded by plants, piles of rubbish, bizarre egresses that effectively led to either nowhere or certain death. While I knew that cleaning up the messes and sorting out access was a priority, I failed to understand what labour that would involve.
So. Picture if you will a deck at the front of the house (Or better still, I will picture it for you). Now… see that three foot drop? That’s my main access point to the house. Given that I will be living in a caravan, if I want to nip inside the house for something, I can either climb a steep hill and loop around the house to the back door (While hacking my way through vegetation), or I can put up a ramp that will give me easy access.
Okay, ramp it is. Rummaging through the odds and sods and detritus around the property, I found some long boards that would span the distance and hold my weight. I also found some chicken wire that I could wrap around the boards to give me some grip when it was wet. I also found some round disks with prongs (A bit like gang nails) that could be used to nail down the chicken wire. Oh… and a quick rummage turned up some wood that could be used as backing boards for the ramp.
Took me three hours and an enormous amount of exertion just to find all of that junk. You see, none of this stuff was in the same place. I found the main ramp boards down the hill in the big shed. I found the chicken wire up by the studio. I found some of the backing wood in a hayshed and the remaining boards and gang nails in the house. Once I had all of the stuff, I had to clean it up. The worst bit was that the chicken wire was designed to keep genetically engineered super chooks safely under lock and key. Ordinary chicken wire is easy to bend and shape, this stuff requires someone like the Govenator to come and lend a hand or you will spend ages twisting and levering and sweating until you finally fold it into submission.
I could have driven to the hardware store and bought everything that I need. Probably would have cost me less than $50. But it would have involved a 100km round trip and the $50. It would have been easier, though.
The longer I am here, the better I will know my environment. I will remember that old bit of Ag-pipe in the carport, or the dozen or so old bricks piled up near the long drop. But that will take time. Cleaning the place up and putting things into a useful order will take time and effort.
There’s a rock I want to move down near the carport… problem is, I don’t have a tow chain. When I did my list, I wrote ‘move boulder’ what’s not on my list is ‘drive 100km and buy great big scary chain’.
If – like myself – your tree change involves a complete change of environment and immersion into skills you simply don’t have yet, then your list will be longer and more expensive than you might expect. It probably won’t be the big expensive jobs that will drive you insane, it will be the little things; the jobs that should only take half an hour. But stick with it. You will get better at the little snarls. You’ll know where that handy bit of corrugated iron is. You’ll remember where that box of 6 inch spikes is lurking. You’ll anticipate that you’re gunna use 16 rolls of duct tape. Once you’ve mastered all of that, the job will only take an hour and a half.
That said, I am afraid that there isn’t much you can do for the short, sharp, nasty surprises that you may find that you sit on. Protective gear is wonderful stuff… but gang nails will still get right through them. My advice is to use loud and colourful language, lurch around bellowing while clutching your backside for a while, then go and staunch the bleeding. Remember to disinfect it with something medicinal, and then don’t admit it or tell anyone about it for YEARS. Unless you have a blog, of course.
11 Friday May 2012
Posted The Tree Change Experiencein
Picture if you will, a wild haired head with a nervous looking face. Give the face an odd open mouthed rictus. Now give the attached body some rather shabby clothes draped with leaves, twigs and quite a lot of dirt. Now have the bizarre visage lurch up to you and very earnestly say “Ah ha geen shtung gy a gee serrul tines and Ah ang allergic to theng.”
Unfortunately, the nervous face was mine. The open mouthed rictus; mine. You see, I had been toiling away at the truly astounding amount of weeds and plants that were laying siege to my crumbling cottage and had paused after a couple of very industrious hours to have a nice cuppa (mug of coffee). Unfortunately, a bee had settled on to the rim of the mug and then stung me. Repeatedly. I am allergic to North American bees. Apparently I am not allergic to whatever it was that stung me. If I’d been stung in the mouth by a North American bee, I would have a very few short minutes to get assistance. I live in a remote place, but the hamlet is only a couple of minutes away. So I kind of dashed to the local shop and sort of babbled my situation and asked if they would be so kind as to send for an ambulance if my face suddenly decided to grow seven sizes too large.
They armed me with stingose and nice cuppa. This was not a secret hope that the bee would have another go and this time get it right, it was the kind act of a couple of very nice people who then very politely waited until I was outside before they burst out laughing. Shame I could see them through window. And they’d gone to all that effort to hold it in, too.
Me, I would have started laughing pretty much immediately. Maybe that’s why the bee chose to sting me. It somehow sensed that I was not a really nice fellow. I suppose it could be argued that it stung me out of self defence; that I’d just splashed it with scalding hot coffee and was in the process of swallowing it. Regardless, I was stung and then a few minutes later found myself sitting out the front of the shop with a cuppa and a curiously numb mouth (Stingose seems to work).
I sat around for about half an hour and – disappointingly, I am sure – failed to do the man-with-an-inflatable-head trick. Then I thanked them (having reacquired the ability to use syllables as they are sort of intended) and then headed home. I recount all of this because:
a) it was a bit of an adventure. A modest one, to be sure, but an adventure nonetheless.
b) it demonstrates that in times of distress or trouble I have people who I can get help from – and they will be the kind of people who will wait until after the peril and after I am out of sight before laughing their heads off.
c) this does not bode well for my future endeavours. Harkening back to my intro, it may be that I am to be cast as the good natured bumbling twit who keeps getting himself injured.
Sigh. On the bright side, I did manage to clear up almost a tenth of the weeds and bramble and what not. The piles, if added together, would be about the size of a school bus. The sad thing is, this isn’t really an exaggeration. Now I just have to get rid of the garden waste. How to do so will take some thinking and planning. Perhaps I will go and make myself a nice cuppa and start the thinking and planning. White, two sugars, and no bees.
11 Friday May 2012
Posted The Tree Change Experiencein
Well, I suppose that I should admit that much of what you’re reading is about a year old. I am one year in and one year behind schedule. There’s a reason for that. That reason will be revealed two posts hence. Or maybe three. Four at the most. You see, I have to try and stitch these together in roughly the order that they were written.
I don’t want to make things confusing (that’s just an innate, unconscious super power of mine, I guess) so I will try to upload these where they fit chronologically. That said, there are certain contradictions. For example, I keep mentioning lack of electricity and lack of internet… but I am doing a blog? How’s that supposed to work? The short answer is that I had a generator and a laptop. But the time delay… well… the explanation for that comes soon. The glacially slow rate of progress? That’ll be
rationalised excused spelled out, too.
For now I ask that you bear with me. The plan is/was taken in an unanticipated direction. Everything teetered precariously. Uncertainty was the emblazoned theme. We’re almost to that point. Everything will become clearer (sort of). But for now, read on!
10 Thursday May 2012
Posted The Tree Change Experiencein
Actually, it may be more accurate to title this: “You bought that?! Seriously?” Regardless of what we decide to call it, let’s go ahead and look at it. I am afraid that this will be one of those rigidly tedious array of photos – somewhat like when a neighbour or colleague goes off to Mauritius and then think that what you really, really want to do is go “ooh” and “ah” over 4,719 holiday snaps. <The slightly awkward thing is that my Mum just came back from a really loooong overseas trip. I imagine she has photos. You don’t suppose she’ll take this badly, do you?>
Anyway, for much of this blog to make sense, I will need to provide a few photographs.
This is the cottage. Looks ordinary and unremarkable. Coz it is. Special is a highly subjective thing
This starts to give you a sense of the dilapidation. This is a view from behind the cottage
A bit of the chaos inside
More of the chaos
The tidiest room in the building
My front yard
One of the many outer buildings
A nearby mountain
A nearby lake
An aerial view
Except it’s not. You see, the previous owner was… well… astonishingly stupid. The 15 or so acres of forest that were on the land were cut down and bull dozed. Most of the trees are lying around in huge piles of forestry waste. Loggers took a couple of truck loads and then left. The idiot who owned the property got a few thousand dollars for it.
All of the mess in the house, the piles of refuse, the badly done extension, the cheap and nasty plastic siding, they all have to be removed. The house can’t be certified for habitation until what he did to it is rectified. If the twit had bought the place and then done nothing he would have made much more money when he sold it. What with the destruction to the house and the colossal mess he’s made of the land, he’s devalued the property by more than 100k. Lunacy.
So that’s what I am fiddling with. That’s going to be the central recurring theme of this blog (I assume).
09 Wednesday May 2012
Posted The Tree Change Experiencein
When you read a book or watch a film, you always have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. I mean, it’s gunna be the shifty eyed butler, isn’t it? It just stands to reason that the charismatic detective isn’t going to suddenly announce that the Connor Street Chainsaw Massacre was perpetrated by Waldorf the Ficus plant.
Most stories fit into a genre, and most of those genres have rules that we know and understand. Those rules give the story a predictability that reassures us.
Which brings me to this; I dunno what’s going to happen. I don’t know the rules. You see… I’m chasing a Tree Change. Unlike a book or a movie, I don’t really have a sense of where all this will go. I don’t even know what genre it will be. I suppose that it could be one of those renovation rescue shows, but for that I’d need a lady who looks fabulous in shorts and who can knowledgeably explain how the Chainsaw Wielding Ficus is – interestingly – part of the same family as a Moreton Bay Fig. I would also need an infectious enthusiasm about particle board and a cool tool belt. I don’t have any of those things… so I am guessing this isn’t a renovation rescue thing.
Let’s see, what else? Hmm. I don’t have either the inclination or the aptitude to fight crime, solve mysteries or foil international spies. Nor am I aware of any nascent superpowers waiting to manifest in my time of dire need – mind you, my property does have a lot of bugs. If I survive my inevitable savage stinging, it’s just possible that one of them might be usefully radioactive… I’ll let you know.
Oh dear… I just had a thought. Imagine cheesy background music with bongo drums and a harp. Now picture a swarthy plumber with an enormous… mustache. Bloody hell, if it starts looking like I am in that kind of story, I will migrate to New Zealand. I won’t be a part of that kind of thing, it’d make my eyes water.
I guess that we’ll just have to see where it ends up. Comedy? Tragedy? Cancelled for low ratings? Who knows? But for a while, I will be wrestling with a century old farm that has been derelict for several years. The views are stunning, but the condition of the once glorious cottage is an altogether different word. I don’t really know any of my new neighbours. Not really sure how I will earn my crust. But it’s a beautiful place. The old cottage fires my imagination. It seems like a good idea. Let’s see what happens!