Thursday, 30 December 2010

Winter expectations

Interesting article in the NYT about life in Mexico City in winter. Apparently most houses are built of concrete, windows are single glazed and buildings don’t have any heating to think of. At first thought, given that the city is almost on the Tropic of Cancer, that doesn’t seem so big a deal. The city is of course at 2300m altitude and consequently cold in winter.

Just like Canberra, while most of the city is around 600m above sea level we’re 35 degrees south giving us a winter (and summer) climate like Madrid. In short, cold in winter. Seriously cold. We managed –6.7C overnight in the middle of winter.

And yet, because Australia is a sunny warm, hot even, country houses were built until recently with little or no insulation, single glazed windows and no heating save for a couple of pissy electric convector heaters.

The result is that most houses in Canberra are cold in winter, even after retrofitting insulation, central heating and double glazing. We’re definitely colder in winter than we were in our heavily insulated house in England despite living in a warmer climate overall…

deck renovations and other madnesses

rendering #1, originally uploaded by moncur_d.

In a moment of insanity we decided to render the brickwork and paint it to set off the new deck.

So far so good. Rendering is kind of fun, letting you revisit your inner three year old to make mud pies and get gloriously mucky in the process.

The two big walls are done just the front of the house and the back, both of which involve a lot less in the way of ladders and buckets ...

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Deck renovations


well what else to do on Christmas week than render the brickwork?

As you can see from the picture the deck is 90% done with the screens to hide us from the neighbour’s gaze in place. The rest is mostly just painting, oiling plus finishing off the balustrade with some stainless steel wire.

Rendering is a dirty thankless task. Despite looking purplish in the picture it’s actually a pale shade of grey, and even though though the first coat inevitably looks scrappy it definitely has potential …

Monday, 20 December 2010

Birthdays ...

it was J's niece's birthday this weekend, and as always in the run up to Christmas finding a restaurant with a free table and decent food was a major challenge. But we managed it ...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

deck renovations continued

well, there was going to be a photo today, but it's pouring with rain again.

Highly frustrating as it's almost done. Other house things have been done such as replacing the ghastly 1980's snot green cladding with tasteful grey steel cladding, and cleaning the old dangerous slippy tiles off the steps, but then the rain came in great lashing bursts.

Games are probably off for the rest of today ...

Monday, 13 December 2010

deck renovations ...

still going through a desperately unphotogenic stage, but steps in place, decking down, and have started painting the eaves which necessitated taking some branches off of the mad twisted eucalypt in the front yard.

A hard, dirty, messy weekend ...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Deck Renovations day 9

Another unphotogenic day but progress is being made:
  1. the hand rails are installed and awaiting the wire
  2. one of the sets of steps is in place but still to be finally bolted in place
  3. all the planking is down and most of it has had its first coat of deck oil
still to do:
  1. privacy screens to stop being overlooked
  2. stainless steel wire under the balustrade
  3. second set of steps
  4. painting the uprights

Monday, 6 December 2010

Molongolo in spate

river in spate, originally uploaded by moncur_d.

went down to Coppins Crossing yesterday and the Molongolo, normally a fairly placid creek, was dramatically in spate after all the rain we've had in the past week or so.

The bridge was closed to traffic, and there was a lot of debris heaped against it on the upstream side, but it was possible to splash across the bridge for a look.

Judging by the strand line debris on the banks the river must have been close to a meter over the bridge at the height of the flood ...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Deck renovations (not)

Well this week saw what is officially the first day of summer (01 December) in Australia. We've marked it by a week of near continual rain (around 20mm's worth most days) and culminating in a storm yesterday that dumped around 80mm on parts of the city in a couple of hours.

Not surprisingly, not a lot has happened on the deck.

So instead here's a picture of Sullivan's creek this morning:

Now for those of you who don't know the ANU campus, Sullivan's creek is a gentle meandering willow fringed stream with bridges and stepping stones, the idea being to provide a green strip through campus where students can picnic, read books, lie on the grass, surf the internet and do the other things that are a part of undergraduate life.

Not today. As you can see the stepping stones have disappeared under a raging torrent of muddy brown water, and even the swans that normally bob about have retreated to the reeds for a disconsolate peck or two ...