As regular readers of this blog will know I have a small grassy hillside in the country that I escape to. Ostensibly I am fiddling around building infrastructure on the land preparing it for the time when I can afford to build a house on it and retire. The views are sublime and the bird life is incredible from tiny busy-body little baubles of winged colour to majestic soaring eagles. Every star in the universe has chosen that piece of land to hover over as they fill the sky, in complete contrast to the sky over Sydney.
For the last year and a bit, I have driven the three hours north with a plan laid out for the two-day visit. Either digging, building, problem solving, creating or mowing and thanks to some sage-like advice from a mate of mine, I make sure I spend a little bit of time doing nothing. The doing nothing usually means trekking up to the house site and taking in the magnificent sweeping view to the north-east and off to the west over hills and ridges forests and fields.
When we first purchased the block I paid a bushfire consultant to do a feasibility study and let us know where we could build and we all agreed on this spot. Now that we are close to submitting plans to council, the process involves engaging a bushfire consultant for a full bushfire report as well as some other experts prior to submission. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I was told that the house couldn’t go there. I gritted and ground my teeth and furrowed my brow for a week as we tried to find a compromise, which was going so badly at one stage I thought I may have to just sell the place and move on.
My quiet time, on each visit has been spent standing on the spot where the deck will go imagining the future and picturing my state of contentment and satisfaction. I really struggled with the idea of having to move the house block entirely. Not helped by the fact that Mr Bushfire consultant was now advising me to move the house to exactly the spot my mother in law thought the house should be built on in the first place. That’s just not fair at all.
It took another pair of visits to reconcile myself to the new building site. I have recorded a short video from that site. I am itching to get started.