and i weighed up the negatives and compared them to the positives

The past week has been full of much tempest and the results of climate change and so, so much leaking and so much stress – despite the cheerful face I try to put on things.

Today we experienced a delightful period of sunshine which encouraged us to open ThePalace(OfLove) to the elements to dispel the must and dampness.

And I don’t even know what happened in the late afternoon, but it ended with us bailing the equivalent of snow off the top balcony and getting hypothermia in our wee toes – amidst hail and thunder and lightning.

Many of our neighbours were similarly taking their lives into their hands and bailing hail to prevent their houses collapsing from under them.

Thank goodness for alcohol and old towels and buckets and bits of metal and hot water and being utterly soaked to the proverbial.

Unfortunately our extreme efforts did not prevent some leaking in Bessie’s room – but I’m convinced we prevented her ceiling collapsing.

Dear Universe, surely we have had enough weather-ish challenges at this point.

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waiting for wills and waiting for won’ts

I was up at my usual stupid-in-the-dark time this morning to feed the ravenous kitties. While dishing the food out, I noticed I had an email from Bessie sent at 1:05am with an expletive in the subject line, and the text:

I know you are asleep and won’t see this till morning but my phone has fallen through the floor and I have no idea what to do. It was charging on my bed and it fell off and I went to pick it up and it unplugged from the charger and fell between the hole and the wall and the floor which I didn’t know was there, I am freaking out and don’t know what to do!! WAKE ME UP WHEN YOU READ THIS!!

As instructed, I woke her. She repeated that her phone had fallen through the floor.

I was pretty sure that we didn’t have any holes in the floor, so asked if possibly she’d had a little too much wine with dinner at Joan’s birthday celebrations last night. She was convinced that it was under the floor because she’d heard an under-floor buzzing and she’d moved the bed and couldn’t locate it &etc.

I told her we’d work it out when we arrived at a more sensible hour – and then we all went back to sleep.

After coffee and a run, Don and I pulled up the carpet beneath her bed to discover … a suspiciously bodgy patch on the floor:

yeah, quelle surprise

Clearly this patch was the result of trying to repair some previous water damage. And, hey, hey – moar water damage on the existing floor – argh!

And quite a big, dark gap under the skirting board:

Don got to work with a hammer and chisel to remove the many nails holding bodgy-board down so that he could lever the plank up and access the BessiePhone.

when too many nails are barely enough

And after some time and much sweat, Don lifted the patch to reveal:

And verily, we had very happy, very sleepy phone-owner:

We reassembled the floor and vacuumed and stuffed some cardboard in the holes so that we would not experience this again.

Bloody hell.

Truly, home-ownership is full of horrible discoveries and unexpected expense. I often wish we’d known what to look for before we acquired ThePalace(OfLove).

But hey, the Sydney property bubble means ThePalace is worth way, way much more than we paid – despite the flaws.

We should probably leverage this somehow, but I’m pretty confident we wont.

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and the rain it raineth every day.

This has been one heck of a few days. SO MUCH RAIN! A once-in-a-decade storm, following close on the heels of the once-in-a-century storm in October.

We’re fortunate that we have not lost power, unlike MrT who will not get electricity back until Friday after a power pole was torn down just outside his house – there are still around 200,000 homes in Sydney without power. Fortunately ThePalace(OfLove) has not collapsed or floated away, but we have experienced some carnage.

Our roof leak has really intensified and has spread to the upstairs landing, our bathroom and walk-through closet. The architrave in the garage collapsed onto the floor and this morning Bessie’s ceiling started pouring water. We’d half-filled a rather large bucket beneath the leak in under an hour – and parts of her bed are soaked from a brand new leak down the party wall.

Verily, damp is our watchword. Thank TheUniverse for our stash of old towels!

Some pix for future remembering.

garage: broken

bessie: bucket

bessie: ceiling


rain radar monday night: 64km

rain radar monday night: 256km

Don was on hold for well over an hour this evening with the insurance company to ascertain whether the claim we made a couple of weeks ago for rain damage will cover this damage or whether we will need to pay another hideous $$ excess (deductible for the USians). Result: inconclusive – they were v. helpful and we’ll find out in due course.

You really think that it will be cool to live in a converted warehouse or modernist box – BUT YOU WOULD BE SO VERY WRONG. Right now I would love a free-standing house with a pointy roof and eaves and those things that stick out over windows – on a hill, with no surrounding trees.

Hey, at least we’re not dealing with ice dams.

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It has been absolutely, relentlessly bucketing down with rain since the early hours of the morning, at times horizontal, everything is quite damp.

This afternoon Bessie arrived home from Uni to find that not just ThePalace(OfLove) was leaking**, there was also a small crack in my newly bottled vanilla extract and slightly vanilla-flavoured cheap vodka soaked through an adjacent box of bicarb soda.


To make the extract we used the cheapest vodka we could find. I think we paid a smidge more than this. But who knew there was such a thing as Australian vodka?

And an 8-times Royal Easter Show award winning vodka at that! Sure, the last time it won was in 1976, but hey – award winning.

And now I have an unexpected box of vanilla(ish) award winning cleaning product.

** so so so much leaking – plus brand new leaks. Last week we scheduled the roof repairs and were just waiting on replacement flashing to arrive before the repairs could start – argh! Stupid rain.


For the past few days I have had horribly aching fingers on both hands. Naturally I thought I had developed some sort of incurable finger disease or the early stages of arthritis.

What I actually think is that I have been clutching my hands into fists extremely tightly in my sleep. One morning I had a row of nail marks in one of my palms – clearly I am a little tense about something!

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and i made the bathroom sparkle

This weekend flew by and I didn’t think I had achieved a whole lot, but when I look at the action items list everything has been crossed off! This is possibly unprecedented, or an indication that the list was not very comprehensive.


Yesterday evening we went to the ducks first game at the SCG for the year. Poor Joe/Frank wasn’t feeling well, so it was Don, Bessie and I.

I particularly love the crowd watching as we have some quite interesting characters surrounding us. Over the years we’ve developed very detailed back-stories for them – which are unlikely to have any basis in reality.

Unfortunately I spent the last quarter being anxious about the drive home. The car park is barely-controlled chaos and I have to cross a stream of horrendous traffic to get out. It’s never actually as bad as I think it will be – ridiculous to let it spoil my enjoyment, but such is my brain at times.

Why drive instead of public transport? Slightly cheaper, infinitely more comfortable plus 20 min return journey vs roughly an hour (quite often longer). As an old lady I no longer have tolerance for such things.


NewKitty had an appointment with the vet this morning for her annual vaccinations and she was really not very enthusiastic about it. There was much, much yowling.

You may recall NewKitty has some intestinal issues which particularly manifest themselves when she eats dried food. This means we really try to limit the amount of dry she eats, but have to give her some occasionally in an attempt to stave off tooth decay. It is a delicate balance. Unfortunately the occasional dry food does not seem to have worked so well and it appears she might need more teeth removed.

Now she’s on a special diet for 6 weeks to see what is what with her innards. The challenge here will be to prevent her from eating BabyKitty’s food after she has finished her own. Already we have them on separate floors for meals!


Today has been all about domesticity, fresh produce acquisition and bottling bears. We’re on our second (or is it third?) week of avoiding a big supermarket shop which is pleasing, though probably loads more expensive doing it piecemeal.

Tonight we’re having steak, guinness and cheese pie. Because I am a complete pastry snob, I made the pastry rather than using suggested pre-packaged.

And I just burned my knee on the oven – yes really – when putting the pie in. I think this has taken my clumsiness to unforeseen heights! Owwwww!

Much later … pie was amazingly good. I think we needed slightly fattier beef and have annotated the recipe accordingly. Possibly the best pastry I’ve made. My pastry is always good (if i do say so myself), but this was super-fabulous. I used my standard go-to puff pastry recipe, so possibly lightly scoring the top made the difference?

Now there’s a cassoulet in the oven for a 5:2 dinner during the week.

I was planning to make an ice-cream base later, but possibly might collapse in a heap instead!

Much, much later … ice-cream base (chocolate silk) made! The custard split and I managed to repair it with a bowl of ice and a whisk.

AND I started another bottle of vanilla extract, this time with Mexican vanilla beans I found on sale last week at Herbies – the previous efforts were with Tahitian vanilla. I’m very interested to see the difference.

Achieving is me!

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choppy crop

I’ve been on a real sushi lunch kick lately (+ salmon sashimi on fast days if I’m hungry). My chosen sushi place really over delivers on the soy fish and I’m collecting quite a school (which occasionally devolves into a shoal) in my drawer.

Yes, yes – so much for that taking lunch to work project!

Terrible news today – I ducked out for a haircut at lunch to discover that my fave Korean hairdresser is closing down after 15 years in business! The building is being redeveloped (for more residential apartments no doubt) and they are not relocating.

I’ve been visiting regularly for around 5 years and off and on for probably another 5 before that. Bessie and many SML peeps will be mourning this loss. They cut brilliantly, are very quick, super-cheap and do not spend the whole time with incessant and inane chatter.

I for see many, many bad haircuts in my future until I find a decent replacement.

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root cause

To my extreme surprise, I actioned many items on Sunday.

I made stock (both for humans and kitties), an ice-cream base, 5:2 casserole for Thursday dinner and lemonade. I tidied and swept the garage, washed and changed the sheets and duvet cover, drained the worm farm of juice, did some light gardening and then stuck together two patterns for shirts: the colette sorbetto and the wiksten tank. Oh and I pottered and tidied and pottered some more. There was more and I am now regretting not keeping a list. All this by 3pm – afterwhich I slothed about with a couple of wines and watched footy.

Intensive analysis would indicate the reason for all of this productivity was because I pretty much stayed completely away from my computer for the duration.


Then yesterday after I arrived home I churned the french vanilla ice-cream (I churned it very badly – my fault, I’d put the churner together incorrectly), strained and decanted about 7 litres of stock, played with kitties, knit some more of my jumper (projected completion date sometime in 2026) and slothed about with Don watching orange is the new black (I know, so late to the party). This is way more than I would ordinarily achieve in a post-SML evening.

Again – minimal computer time.

This evening? Not a great deal accomplished because I stuck myself in front of the laptop.

I’ve been saying this for years, but I am really shocked at just how much time can be lost just idly clicking around on the InformationSuperhighway – absorbing nothing. Before you know it hours and hours have passed. I feel like I achieved much more back in the dial-up days!

I’m thinking of putting myself on a timer

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