Getting ready for winter and summer

We are building a deck on the side of the house. One of the curious things about the house we moved into six months ago was the odd, unfinished appearance: “as though something is missing,” a friend of mine once commented. The previous owner, pursuing the Swedish (and Australian) dream of house renovation, massively increased the size of the upstairs, from a tiny attic room to a real first floor. Not satisfied with the house’s “footprint, he extended the top floor and the roof-line out beyond one end of the building, creating a wonderful sun drenched upstairs balcony. The problem is that it is the part of the house most remote from the entrance and the kitchen, which form the real “town-square” of our home. So we hardly ever use it, except to hang washing during the few months of the year when the air temperature outside is high enough for things to dry.

Underneath this wonderful “overhang” he presumably meant to build another deck, but never quite got around to it. It is this anomalous defect that we have, in the last few weeks, been trying to correct. By “we” I mean Maria’s father, Leif, and I, with the helpful advice of an old friend of Maria’s who is a builder and carpenter. Kalle, the carpenter, put in a door through which we would access the verandah once finished, but initially, at least, it opened “into thin air”, to coin a phrase. Now, three weeks later, it opens onto a mess of beams and scattered loose floorboards, which will, we hope, soon form a new platform from which to behold our small and messy garden, as well as the neighbours’ sweeping lawns beyond the fence.

Needless to say, our endeavours are dependent somewhat on the weather. The first week, during which I was “free” – that is to say, between jobs – we were blessed by nightly showers with days of sunshine, although the last 3 days of the week the rain took over and set in. Then, of course, I was back to work, and the opportunity for progress disappeared. However, on Friday and Saturday we managed a few more hours, with the sun peeping through the clouds.

This morning is chilly, around 8 degrees, and sunny. But the verandah will have to wait, what with church and guests coming in the afternoon. Hopefully this lovely autumn weather will hold for a few more days. There is a vague desperation at this time of year, to get things outside finished up before the darkness and coldness take over and we retreat to the warm cosiness of the “great indoors.” Already the telltale signs of autumn are appearing in the trees around our neighbourhood. But with a verandah finished we can spend the whole winter excited by the prospect of a little more “outdoor life” with the first warm ray of sunshine that breaks through about 8 months from now!

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The house before….

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