Germania is teasing me, whispering softly “find out about me if you can…”
If these old walls could talk I’d be in heaven.
In a very coincidental and “as if it’s meant to be” fashion I have started getting some interesting information on the history of our house including some amazing photos from when it was delapidated after being a hayshed for 20 years. Swaggies used to stay here on their way through the countryside and if it wasn’t for a certain Ray Collins it would still look like this…
In 1972 Ray’s fiancé Marcia voiced a desire to do this old house up and make it their marital home. Ray thought she was bonkers but being young and in love he wanted to make his new bride happy and he started to look into the enormity of renovating the old house. Apart from it’s dilapidated state it was on a huge parcel of land and a lot of work was done to merely create a sub division and make the land available for sale let alone tackling the restoration of the house itself. As it was riddled with white ants no bank was prepared to lend him any money and it was only through hard work and diligence that he managed to make the house habitable, doing things one step at a time and finally moving in in 1974. Talk about patience!!
It took me a while to even recognise which bit was what, but in the above picture taken from the back of the house the kitchen was a detached outbuilding to the main house, mainly as a kind of insurance against fire (it being a wooden house and the cooking being done over live flames back then.) Sensible really. This is the old oven, the last thing standing before the old kitchen was totally dismantled. The big slab used as a hearth in the original kitchen is now a seat built into the wall on our back terrace and the oven doors have now been sandblasted back to their original silvery colour which we are going to use in our new outdoor pizza oven. It makes me happy to think that part of that original kitchen will live on 2017 style.
Here is our little friend Tonic sitting proudly on the old hearth.
After a lot of hard work Ray’s efforts started paying off…
We wonder what would have happened if Ray hadn’t come along. I’m not sure how many other people would have had the tenacity and patience to go through with the project and it may well have fallen into such disrepair that it couldn’t be revived. I feel like the house has a will or force of it’s own that “finds” people to love it and live in it, each owner giving it some love and the next chapter in it’s story. All we knew about the house was that it was built in 1896 for Charles Lamond, the owner of a bacon factory and tannery in Worrigee. When his wife died he married his children’s governess who was German hence the name of the house. The missing link is who owned it in between Charles and Ray so I am trying to trackdown the Certificate of Title to see if we can fill in the gaps. The local Historical Society and The Berry Museum are also both keen to help in any way possible. Watch this space!!
I was quite concerned when we invited Ray over to see the house that he may not like what we’ve done to the place. He was quite fascinated to see the changes and gave us his tick of approval. An orange cake using our own eggs and oranges helped seal the deal! (recipe in the kitchen section together with a couple of winter favourites.)
While I have been excitedly uncovering the past, the garden has started to blossom. Literally. Our pear trees are in full flower and the bees are loving it. There is a constant hum as they busy themselves collecting pollen. I have a desire to create a meadow section in the garden, sewn with wildflowers and then pop in a bee hive. A nearby winery is holding a workshop soon on all things bees and hive related which I am going to go to and then I will see how doable or otherwise the whole concept is!
I thought this area would be perfect for my mini meadow and bee hive.
We had a lovely mid week overnight visit to our friends in Callala Bay, about 30 minutes drive from us. They go back a LONG way and we always have fun eating, drinking and chatting about everything under the sun. We had the most DELICIOUS meal and the next morning we took a walk along the beach which was deserted except for a set of pawprints!!
It’s a beautiful part of the world on pristine Jervis Bay and a better start to the day you cannot get!
This weekend on a glorious sunny day I headed up to Upper Kangaroo Valley where my friend has the gorgeously rustic Old Koonabulla Dairy which nestles in the folds of the valley. I had borrowed a few things for the wedding that I still hadn’t returned so Bailey and I drove up marvelling at the riot of blossoms – cherry, pear, magnolia and jasmine that we saw along the way. Still a month away from the 1st day of Spring and I was in a tee shirt enjoying the balminess of it all. This often happens though and just as we contemplate putting away our winter woollies the cold comes back with a vengeance, usually together with gale force winds, just to mock us. Today however was wonderful and everyone was out in the garden or walking in the sunshine and making the most of it all.
Such a beautiful part of the world
As summer clothes are just around the corner we have been eating healthily Monday to Friday so that we can let our hair down at the weekends! My partner in life isn’t too keen on fish so I have to find ways to make it tasty and appealing to him and I must say he is starting to enjoy it despite himself! Last night I literally threw some ingredients together à la Jamie in a traybake in the oven and served it with coconut rice and it was yummy, fast and healthy!
(This is us but with less salads….ooops!!!)