Archive for April, 2007

Tassie Times 2

April 29, 2007

Hi Guys

I thought I better catch up on news again now that we have moved. The shift to Blessington was uneventful. All our boxes and stuff arrived as planned and are mostly stored in the garage here with just the main living stuff being unpacked. I figure we will only want to move it all again when we get our own place, so I don’t want to spread right out again yet. When we want any particular thing we can usually work out what box it is in from our inventory and go and get it.

The house is pretty isolated out here, although there are a few houses down the road not too far, but there are no shops of any kind before the suburbs of Launceston 25 minutes away. Between us we have seen wallabies, wombats and deer roaming around nearby and we have a Dusky robin, Superb Wrens and Pink Robins playing in the bushes over the creek. We have managed to work out that the wood fire is much more effective than the heat pumps at warming the house, it has a fan in it which makes it spread the heat well and it doesn’t seem to use too much wood which is good, so hopefully we should survive the winter. The house sits right next to this lovely babbling creek, and that is where our water supply comes from. Then there is 4 acres of paddock with the creek marking the boundary along the bottom and longest side and the road along the top side. There is a small but deep looking spring fed dam in the paddock. The place does have a bit of a flood plains look about it but we were assured by the people who sold it that they never saw the creek higher than where the clothes line is. Mind you they also said they never had more than a few flakes of snow, but we met a lady at church this morning who grew up just down the road who assured us that we would get snow in a good snowy year so we’ll just wait and see. I’m writing this in my upstairs bedroom looking out the big window over the paddock and at the big pine trees lining the road. Across the road there is a block recently replanted with trees and across the creek the hill has recently been harvested of it’s trees and replanted as well. Immediately next door on one side we have a big shed with a saw mill in it which seems unused and a tumbling down house that I’m going to explore as soon as my back is up to it and I can escape the household to do so. Further down on the other side there is another shed and saw mill but this property has a water wheel set up in it too which appears as if it may generate electricity if it still works, maybe people come up in the fairer weather to use it or something. Taking the dog for a walk around the block now has a whole new meaning and she is loving being able to gallop around snuffling in every nook and cranny when we wander around the paddock each day. It’s all very very nice but I’m not looking forward to having to deal with the grass when it grows – you can see what a true pessimist I am!

I managed to hurt my back pushing boxes around on the second day we were here and so have been severely limited in what I could do this last week which was pretty frustrating, however I am getting around a lot better today and so, if I can discipline myself enough to be careful, I might just get back to normal soon. I also applied for a job in Launceston for two days a week and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of that. Things seem to have been busy just trying to organise a normal life this week, so adding work into the equation will be a challenge, but hopefully we will have a routine happening soon.

Caleb and Sam have been going to watch soccer games on the weekends and have arranged to go to a Launceston club on Tuesday evening to see what is involved in joining and getting to play themselves. Josiah will be jealous but there is a Christian schools soccer group who include homeschooled kids so he may be able to get involved with that, but it might depend on when practice and games are as we’re not going to want to traipse into town every day if we can avoid it. Lydia is busy researching the horse scene in Tasmania and has unpacked all her accumulated riding equipment and is busily oiling her saddle and bridles and polishing bits etc. A nice shed outside the house has now been dubbed the tack room!

We have been looking at a 50 acre property in Mole Creek which is very interesting to us. It is a bit further from a major city that I was hoping to get but given the problems we have found with the application of the Protection of Rural Land Act in the more northern councils I think that we won’t be able to do what we want to as far north as I hoped. (They pretty much will not give a building permit on land less than 100 acres in size or less than one million dollars in value, because they say less than that is not viable to be self-sufficient.) Anyway this block is on the road between Mole Creek and Paradise, just north of the Mersey River. Mount Roland is off to the north west a bit.  It is 50 acres of bush, slightly sloping, south facing unfortunately as I know north facing is better. It has a creek, but it is pretty much dry at the moment. It also has 2 shacks, one of which would be almost reasonable with a bit of work, and it has a private power pole and telstra line actually on the property. The neighbour on the fenced side is a dairy farm and on the other side is a bush block with a shack too, at the rear is crown land. The shacks and power are important as if we can show that the place has been lived in during the last 2 years then the council will let us work towards an occupancy permit and the status of the land becomes occupied rather than vacant land. Then we can put a 100sqm extension onto the shack if we want to with no jumping through hoops required.  Also this council, Meander Valley, has not yet got the changes from this rural land act in yet, and they are experiencing some opposition (motivated by the deputy mayor no less) so we may have an opportunity here to get the land we want and live on it too. It is actually less isolated than Blessington because the little town of Mole Creek is 15 minutes away, Deloraine which is a much larger town is about 35 minutes away, Sheffield to the north would be perhaps 20 minutes away and Devonport hopefully less than an hour away although we haven’t done the northward run to check that yet. Anyway we are looking into this further and Kim is talking to the council again I think before we make up our mind. If we do get it then I think we would stay renting where we are until we have made various improvements to the property before moving there.

Last week we went to the Reformed Church in Devonport, it is associated with the Reformed Church in Canning in WA. It was a good service and we felt more at home there than we have anywhere else. They have no pastor and the sermon was by the pastor of the Launceston church of the same denomination and he did a good sound job, and the format of the service was similar in style to what we are used to as well. Once again the people were nice and friendly. This week we went to Perth Baptist Church. It was a small congregation, mostly elderly folk and they also have no pastor. Poor people, apparently they had a pastor lined up who sadly died just before he was ordained. They have been having a series of visitors preaching for them, and the sermon today had a good theme – that of resisting temptation and knowing the bible and praying. It sounds like they often have a lady preaching though so I don’t think that we would be overly comfortable there.

However when we were chatting afterwards we got a bit of history of the baptist churches in northern Tasmania. We had noticed that a number of the Baptist buildings were similar and are large good looking structures which have prominently inscribed above the main doors Such-and-such Baptist Tabernacle. The building of the Perth church is even more fancy being an octagonal shape with a large dome in the middle of the roof. Anyway it intrigued me because of course Spurgeon’s church building in England was called a Tabernacle, and we consider our own beliefs to be very close to Spugeon’s reformed baptist theology. Anyway the Perth church was built with funding from the Gibson family, and it sounded like a number of other churches were built with help from the Gibson’s as well. Also this Mr Gibson apparently went over to the UK to Spurgeon’s church and brought back a pastor for the church and paid his stipend. I’m guessing that this pastor was one of the young men who went through Spurgeon’s college and I found it rather encouraging to think that the baptist churches over here historically have good sound theological foundations. We might see if we can find out a bit more about it all. Next week we hope to go to “the Branch” in Launceston which is a breakaway from the Free Reformed, we had heard of this church when we were in Albany but weren’t expecting to be down this way originally but since we are we are keen to go there. Today while we made lunch we listened to a sermon by John Power that Sam downloaded from the Albany Baptist website. It was an evening sermon on Ephesians on faith and was really great. It is good to be able to still get some good sound teaching even while we are so far away.

Well, I guess I have prattled on for long enough and so I better finish up. God bless you all.

Cathy & co.

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Tassie Times

April 15, 2007

Hi

Well we have been in Tassie for almost 2 weeks now. We mostly just hung around the caravan park area for the first week since we only had one car, the place was fairly buzzing with local holiday makers over the Easter weekend, kids on bikes everywhere and the inlet was crowded with people of all ages fishing. I do like Devonport, it is not too big or busy and the temperatures are mild like Albany. We hired a car last Monday and so have been able to get around somewhat more since. We have clocked up the miles looking at a few properties and just enjoying the scenery from the Tamar River across to Smithton. The boys have been getting in soccer practice wherever we go and fill in their extra time with playing irish music on the tin whistle, guitar and bodhran, we should get them into busking I think. We shifted yesterday from our onsite van into a cabin in the same caravan park which means we actually have floor space now, it is a great improvement!

We have not fallen in love with any properties yet, and are being fairly cautious and checking everywhere out pretty thoroughly which takes a lot of time, not helped by being in a caravan without good internet access. We are not in any rush though so can afford to take our time which is good. I think we will end up with land somewhere to build on, but that takes even more research to ensure we can build on the land and find out what we can do with each property so I don’t expect we will have a place of our own in the immediate future.

The roads in Tassie are interesting. The “A” roads, the main connecting roads between the cities are great, similar to freeways really with good markings and you can go at good speeds. The “B” roads are usually not bad either, although the speeds at which you can travel vary wildly depending on how tight the bends are and there are a lot of bends and ups and downs over here. The “C” roads are a mixed bunch, some are as good as the B’s, but they often have even more tight bends and when they suggest that you take a turn at 25kph they can really mean it, not all C roads are sealed which can add to the excitement too. The other fun thing about navigating is that the maps give you no idea about altitude, so what looks like a perfectly reasonable path to take through the Launceston suburbs can have you straining up and down miniature mountains with the oncoming traffic having their own road 3 metres higher than the one you are travelling on.

We’ve been down to Launceston and beyond to see the house we will be renting in Blessington. Launceston is very much a city, a bit too busy for me, but at least it is not far until you are out in the suburbs and then the country. It seems lovely and peaceful at the house and I think we will enjoy it, it is about a 25 minute drive to the suburbs of Launceston and the main road seems good, there is only 5km of gravel after the turn off. Everyone is looking forward to having a bit more space to spread out into, and the property is set on 4 acres which will give the boys a great soccer pitch, it will be rather nice to have our own rooms again for a bit of privacy too. The house has 2 large bedrooms on the top floor along with a bathroom with a bath. The bottom floor has 2 smaller bedrooms, the lounge, kitchen, laundry and another bathroom with a shower this time. Outside there is a 6×9 garage with cement floor and power, 2 carports, a woodshed and a workroom with power. The little creek flows behind the house and along the side of the block, I am told there are platypus in it and trout as well. There is a pump to shift water from the creek to the house’s water tank and in the paddock there is a spring fed dam which the platypus also visit. There are also wallabys and wombats to discover. There is a wire fence around the house and yard which may be a bit too flimsy to contain our dog, we may need to reinforce it in places.

Speaking of the dog, she is doing well, we have had her out a few times to take her for walks and she is always thrilled to see us, but she then she also seems content to wander off with the people back to her kennel when we take her back again. We are looking forward to having her home with us soon, the date we move in is uncertain, either the 23rd or the 26th April, we should know soon. We are getting the Volkswagens on Tuesday, Kim particularly will be pleased to have his cars to drive again. Caleb and I are flying back to Melbourne to collect them and will bring them back with us on the boat. That is cheaper than having them delivered to Devonport believe it or not.

The weather over here has been delightful, Kim keeps getting up each morning and looking out the window and commenting “Another day in paradise”. The days have been warm and fine with the nights being cool and crisp, we are still waiting to see some rain. Next week we may drive down the south west a bit which should resolve that as I am told it always rains there. The air seems to stay cool but because there is little or no wind it is quite pleasant, on the other hand the sun feels quite hot so how warm you feel can depend a lot on whether or not you are in the sunshine. I can see myself getting a whole bunch on long sleeved white shirts to wear.

Well, I don’t really have a lot of news so perhaps I will leave it there for now. I miss you all and all that is familiar in Albany, and hope you are all keeping well. 

love

Cathy

We Got Here

April 4, 2007

Hi Guys

Just letting you know that after a marathon trip we all arrived safely in Tas. We caught the Qantas midnight horror from Perth to Melbourne, great plane with screens behind each seat with movies and games available on them, no wonder the older kids didn’t sleep. Then we hung around for 3.5 hours in Melbourne waiting for the flight to Launceston and got here at 9.40am yesterday. Josiah managed to get some sleep on both flights as well as in the airport, but no-one else managed to. We then connected with Kim (who was blessed with a problem free 3 days drive to Melbourne before coming over with the Audi and the dog on the boat), drove up to Devonport in the hire car (great scenery on the way), had lunch, shopped for groceries etc and got the dog settled in at the kennels before getting ourselves settled in to the caravan park. Phew. Finally we all crashed about 9pm Tassie time.

Today is beautiful and sunny and we have enjoyed sleeping in and wandering around the town of Port Sorell this morning, as well as putting new strings on Lydia’s violin and having the usual impromptu music in the form of tin whistles, guitars and bodhrans. The hire car has been returned so we can only fit 5 at a time in the car until the VWs arrive. I had a headache so I’ve stayed at the caravan this afternoon while the others went into Devonport to try to organise bread or breadmaking things for Sam, the boys want to check out the soccer centre too (so what else is new). I just went for a walk along the beach here which is closer than I thought being just behind the caravan park and guess I should think about organising tea soon.

I’ll keep in touch.

Cathy