TIME: Tuesday, 5th January 2016

PLACE: New country – Tasmania

CIRCUMSTANCE: Day 1

This is it – we are here! We arrived in Devonport last night, too late to drive south, so we found a little secluded spot next to a river and behind a Fire Station and slept there in ‘the Girl’, aka Ford Courier ute.

A big day – we drove from the north to the south of the island to our block where we were anxious to see the shed that we had built but not seen other than on paper. After picking up the keys from the shed builder, we couldn’t wait to get inside. However, we were overawed at the sight of the shed because it was so big and so high. We could not remember designing it that way but obviously we must have. For one reason or another, changes were made and the price was going up and up, which was maddening. And now we see this green monster atop a hill and… good gracious, the size of the slab! I’ll need a ladder to get up onto it.

The slab was one of those issues we had to deal with over distance – NOT a good idea. It would have been much better to have been on site and see what was going on. The claim was that the ground had been prepared and compacted SO well that it was impossible to get trenches dug for the foundations. As a result, an engineer had to be consulted – at extra cost – and then more drawings – at extra cost – and another submission to council – at extra cost – and the whole thing resulted in a massive slab so thick it’ll be there until politicians become honest.

Well, we could whinge about it all we wanted, but in a practical sense, what it means is that since we can’t reduce the thickness of the slab, we have to bring up the ground level. At more cost. Call to Trent, the earthmover.

Secondly, our excitement on entering our brand gleaming new shed was subdued somewhat by the sight of a dozen or so dead birds. Somehow starlings had got in, nested, reproduced and died there obviously unable to get out. We removed the dead bodies but the feathers were reluctant to go in the right direction. Then there was the bird poo. Lots of it. And dead-body juices staining my new – expensive – concrete slab floor. Not impressed. Less impressed with the lack of fairies, which means there won’t be any of them cleaning it up and it will be muggins here doing the honours.

After assessing the shed, we wanted to get our Tassie car from our dear friends who had been the kind caretakers over the preceding 12 months, but when we went to lock the shed, we couldn’t. It seems that the builders had put the lock upside down. Yet another thing to sort. On a positive note, the car was alright and all she needed was a dust down and a jump start to be ready to go. We took her back to the block.

By the end of the day, we had got into the shed, got the other car, rung the earthmover, investigated water tanks and got the name of a plumber.

You might be asking, now that we are here, where are we going to live?

We will live in the shed. Yes, I know that at the moment it is just glorified camping, but it will become comfortable. The priorities are to make the shed comfortable and warm for winter, as well as get fruit trees and vines planted. Both we and the plants need water. We have the irrigation as we are now connected to the south-east irrigation scheme, but we need a water storage facility from which we can irrigate so we will be organising the construction of a dam. For ourselves, we need to get a tank connected to the shed. In the precious slab, we have plumbing ready for connection and the council approvals for the septic system have already been passed. We want to get on with it! It’s all very exciting.

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