Friday, 4 December 2015


It's been a tad tricky …
Coming back after our wonderful summer in Canada - spending time with our friends and family. We miss it … we miss all of it.  Of course we have family here- some pretty important family as it turns out! - and a couple of good friends - and we do have this lovely house to live in.  That all helps …

54 Boxes
It also help to have some of our own "things" from Canada to fill in the odd gap in the house and space on the walls. 

Ok - it's not going on our walls - but I love having it here
even if it's at Mischa's!

It took  54 boxes (on four pallets) to do it and I must say they we dealt with them pretty darned quickly once Australia Border Patrol had finished with them!  …

54 boxes ..

Mum helped!
Ours are in there somewhere!

They never did find the Emu egg and they didn't even look really hard so they missed the barn-board frame around Aunt Jen's copy of the Kirstead

and thank GOD they didn't find the BBQ sauce  or the Kraft Colslaw dressing
 … that all helps!

A couple of celebrations helps!! 
 Billie's 1st birthday and Jasper's 4th. We've been babysitting them extra days due to Jane - aka the competition - (the "other" grandma) having a back injury.  So that's been a chance to really (really) get to know Billie and all her strengths (she mostly has very strong strengths!) and weaknesses (she doesn't have any of these!)
This is Billie when I do her hair!
This is Billie when her Mother does her hair!

…and watch Jasper change from a baby to a little boy ready for kindergarten next year!
For sure that all helps.

Shade Sail
Not so helpful is the never ending saga of the shade sail on the front of this house!  I've added my rant  to the end of the blog (it's very long and probably not at all funny (I found it hard to see humour in it)  and Joseph is sick of hearing about it so assume it will be the same for you!  But for me … I put pen to paper … and it's at the end!

Christmas should help! 
Even when we were in Canada and I missed my family - Christmas always helped!
We've had the local Santa Claus parade; the greyhounds, the green bin, the prancing men (Morris Dancers!!) and a tired old Santa!! …but an amazing fireworks display in the evening!

The fireworks helped a lot … and with that ritual out of the way it's onto ...

- it sure helps to have some of our precious decorations, back with us.  Must say I can't see us using the Gel Gems (sad face) - there just isn't a window in this house that doesn't reach 40c on a normal day let alone when it warms up.  

Visiting Santa -
 I vowed and declared I wasn't going back to the same place as last year - that horrid experience - visiting "Santa" # 3 in a special room - just us and Santa and an exorbitant price for two photos!!
Ha!   I'm not the only one with a bad experience!

  - but alas! darling Jasper happens to remember the horrid experience quite fondly and can't wait "to see Santa and go on the carousel"!!
Oh dear - there are no carousels anywhere in town else except at that horrid store … so back we go!  This time Billie will be there - that should help!!

Florentines -
OK - I'll make them- that might help!!

Egg Nog -
It's going to be 35 on Friday, 39 on Saturday, 40 on Sunday and down to 32 on Monday.  I ask you - how can one even THINK of egg nog…  but I do have my special green bowl back with me … OK - maybe I will!  It will be in the bar fridge not the garage though!  IF I can make a good size batch I just KNOW that is going to help!!

Love Actually 
- yep it's December - I'm free to watch it again (and again) - I'm just afraid it might not help!

 - gonna be different this year much to my poor Mother's dismay!  We are renting a house down south in Victor Harbor - 2 doors down from Simone's parent's house ( quite by accident).   Then after the rental ends we move our van on over to the Fritch's driveway and stay until New Years. That's because of …

The Wedding!!
As mentioned in the previous blog - friends from Ottawa - the O'Brien's -  have invited us to fill out the Canadian contingent at their son's wedding.  They have suggested saris if we wish so we've bought our outfits and there will be a Sangeep (party- think Bollywood!) on New Years and the ceremony and celebration on New Years Day!

Ok - I did put on weight in the summer but … honestly!
If it's hot it's gonna get ugly!
p.s. - I am NOT wearing those shoes!

So I reckon, if,  even after Christmas, after gifts, after the florentines and after the eggnog, we still find ourselves pining for snow and our friends - I reckon dressing up and dancing with Canadians at an Indian wedding in South Australia - I reckon that should help - and if nothing else it should guarantee something to write about next year!

Sending Christmas wishes from down under!

(Save this for a snow storm - it might help the boredom if you are snowed in for 2 weeks!)

Posts were already there!!  … but no sail!! :(
Nobody - but nobody can appreciate how hot it gets at the front of this house!  The front of this house is ALL windows/sliding doors -  the vicious baking sun shines through those windows/sliding doors and heats the house up to melting point.  Granted that's good for drying clothes  and there are ridiculously expensive blinds and there is a.c. but … then …there goes the view!! - the whole raison d'être of this house!    We still don't know why the previous owner Robin never had a sail installed.  Nine years ago she had the plans from the shade sail company - nine years ago she paid for an engineer's report and nine years ago she had those all APPROVED by council - but she never had the sail installed.  (Sadly this lady @ 68 has very bad dementia so perhaps she was suffering back then?)  

Once "winter" was over - we could wait no more - so we decided it just made sense to just go with the same shade sail Robin planned for!  We had a photocopy of everything - just needed the originals.  Well that shouldn't take long!!!  We were VERY lucky that the builder provided us with a set of the latest house plans (that included the sail),  …. and we were very lucky that the engineers  gave us a copy of the engineers report.  … and while yes … they were both free … trust me it took quite a few pleasant "just checking" phone calls/emails  to make that all happen in  4 weeks !!

The shaded area on top is what we are trying to do!

Before we go any further I should tell you that "4-6 weeks" is what every (every) tradesperson or manufacturer will tell you is the time for anything and everything you want here in Adelaide; the tiling downstairs, the front screen door, the side screen door, the tiling upstairs.  The outside painter didn't say "4-6 weeks" but in the end that's what it worked out to be.   It just spews out of their mouths - it's their mantra  - and they live by it!

We checked with the shade sail company and yep!  they came and measured up and agreed with the plans & report and yep! they were ready to go AS SOON AS WE HAD COUNCIL APPROVAL.  Once we had council approval it would be … yep … "4-6 weeks"!!  … er "4-6 weeks" providing they could start by the end of October - after that - well they would be pretty much booked up for the summer!!    OMG!! It's the middle of September!!   No panic - we're ready to go - we have everything we need and it's already had approval by council (rules to be checked due to time lapse (8 years) )- so yep we should be good for  THE END OF OCTOBER - 6 weeks away!!

So on or around September 10th we submitted the application by hand -   figured if we forgot anything the receptionist would tell us.    "4-6 weeks" was all she said…and  …. of course we needed to add a few things - turns out she wasn't the PLANNING receptionist!  So that was a few days delay - but by September 18th, with help from planning-qualified daughter, the application  was acknowledged, given a number and in the system!!    Yippee!!

On the 28th September we received an email from George.  Poor George he had no idea !

George's email said
"Further to the above application recently lodged with Council, you are advised that the proposal represents a form of development pursuant to the Development Act, 1993 and its Regulations that requires a decision from the Development Assessment Commission (DAC). 
A copy of the application has therefore been forwarded to the DAC for processing and a decision to be made.
If you would like to discuss this matter please contact me on 8405 6984…"

So of course I called George!

George said something - and then I explained to him ever-so-pleasantly that the application had already been approved and the sail was exactly like our neighbours yada yada yada and so really there shouldn't be any problems? George said well OK he would walk down (yep we were within walking distance) and have a look - hopefully this week. But of course George didn't get around to it that week. So on October 4th  I called George  and he said something and I ever-so-pleasantly explained that we were trying to meet an "end of October deadline" so George said he would go out today and check … and God Bless him - George did !  He checked and he called me and said council had no objections to our application  it just needed DAC approval.  Huh?  I thought George was the DAC?  Sadly not - so George said he would "put it in the mail" (yep - that's what he said) to the DAC … and he did do that - and the DAC registered it on October 12th.

There's a whole paragraph worth of explaining how I waited and what I checked and what I thought, but suffice to say that by November 9th having missed the "end of October deadline" but with a sliver of hope from the shade sail people (mid Nov latest) I went in search of somebody at DAC and I found Gabriella!!  Dear Gabriella!  Yes she found my application and she was waiting for information from council?  Huh? I said ever-so-pleasantly -  I know council had no objections so???  Well she said she would try and get to it by the end of this week … or next!!  Huh? So I ever-so-pleasantly explained  to Gabriella about  our "mid November deadline" and she said she would text me when it was approved and in the mail (yep that's what she said).  Woah - that would be ever-so-helpful I said  … and God Bless Gabriella she approved it (seemingly) right after she hung up from me . I know that because we received a copy in the mail on Friday Nov  13th and the approval was dated November 9th.

God Bless George - just as I was picking up the phone to call him on Monday Nov 16th I received his email explaining he had received DAC approval and "I will pass it onto our building department this morning"! Huh???  … So I called George!!  George I said ever-so-pleasantly - who what and why the building dept.?  … and he said something and even though I no longer had a date to aim for, I just ever-so-pleasantly explained that it would be saving the planet a whole lot of energy if we had a shade sail and George said he would try and rush it through this phase.  

On Nov 23rd I wrote to (poor) George and God Bless George - he gave me Blake's name and number - Blake is the Building Officer looking after our application. So I called Blake.

 Urgh!  …  I'm sure you can pretty much guess what Blake said - but what really floored me was when Blake said that it had to now be approved by an engineer and because council no longer had an engineer it would have to go to an outside engineer and he had no control over how long that might take!!!!   "BUT!!!" - I ever-so-pleasantly pleaded - we already had an engineer's report!  Blake said yes that was correct but they needed to check that engineer's report.  Oh dear!  

I called Blake (again) today, December 2nd .  Such good timing Blake said - he just found out the he should have the engineers report … tomorrow!!  … and then (assuming it's OK) - well then Blake will give HIS approval!!  God knows when that will be… but really it doesn't matter anymore!  I've given up!  They've beaten me … it is I fear, only God who really knows when we will have shade on the front of our house - Maybe if they ratify something in Paris it might help? - but that would be at least 4-6 weeks!! :(

 p.s. I did write to (poor) George and asked for his boss' name or somebody I could write (complain) to … but God Bless him - George hasn't written back !

1 comment:

  1. Cousin dearest-

    Read your blog and finally the Shade Sail saga- Wow! Almost book length!

    Suggest you put up the sail without an OK and with George's face silkscreened looking out at the harbour!

    Love and hugs from Nova Scotia- Alexander