Memories of home

As you know, I have put my house in Fentonbury on the market. Its been a big decision for me cause I love that house, I love the position and the area. I love the yard and the openess. But home is here now, with Wayne and the dogs, the horses, the chickens, the ducks and the grass. So its time to let go of the past and move forward in this next chapter of my life.

Fentonbury holds so many memories, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

I bought the house in Fentonbury in 2003 and surprised almost everyone I knew. I’d been living in Melbourne for over 20 years but dreaming of living in the country and threatening to pick up and move to Tasmania one day. I’d never been to Tasmania so I came down for a weekend, saw 3 houses and made an offer on the third. I went back to Melbourne, handed in my resignation at work, put my house on the market, set 4 open days and an auction and I was gone.

The house on Gully Road was my first country home and I lived there alone for a long time. I knew nothing about living in the country and had to learn about the sounds wallabies made when they thumped through the yard in the dark. Its where I learned to stock a pantry when the supermarket isn’t just down the road. Its where I learned that poodles are real dogs that can (and will) kill small animals. Its where I had my first litter, and my second, third and fourth. Its where Montana was born, Bonnard and Romeo. Its where I buried the one puppy I lost and planted a tree over its grave. Its where Scooter met his new family and where Pagan met Louise and chose to go live with her.

Its where Billy was living when he started losing his hair and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and where his immune system started to lose the fight and started the cycle that ended in him leaving me. 

The house in Gully Road was a mess when I bought it – the previous owner had not loved it, had never unpacked and had cats who left messes. She’d lost her keys and broken windows to get in. I fumigated it, I stripped dirty carpets, repainted walls, put up dado rails and timber lining on walls. I put in a new bathroom floor and a new bathroom suite. I updated the kitchen and put a rail around the deck and a ramp to replace the rickety steps. I built a garage and moved the clothes line to the back yard. I got rid of rabbit hutches and bantam cages and cubby houses and old vegie patches. I put up new fences and gates and planted trees. I got the roof painted – it was half pale blue and half unpainted.

Its where I learned to chop wood and to light a wood heater and keep it going all night. I bought my first lawnmower and my first brushcutter (a big REAL brushcutter, not some pansy one) and my ride on mower. I bought firewood by the truckload. I learned to drive a tractor and pick hops and pack cherries. I got my first pair of blundstone boots, rain gear and fluoro safety clothes.

The house in Fentonbury wasn’t the first house I’d rennovated and made home, but it was the one I was in the longest (so far). It was home for me and my family (my poodles) for a long time, and I loved it.

Here is Billy, standing on the ramp… Billy was my baby, my shadow. Billy is in almost all the photos I’ve taken of the yard, I couldn’t go anywhere without him following me. This photo was taken not long before we moved, the house was freshly painted and Wayne and I were already looking for a larger property.

When I bought the house it was a pale yellowish colour and the trims were all blue. I hate blue trims. I love the new colour, a dusty pale green with Antique White USA trims. I’d seen the green and admired it on other houses but as always, I waited too long to paint it so now someone else is enjoying it.
The bedroom I first slept in when I moved there. It was the first room I did up when I moved in. This room had an old carpet which I lifted before my stuff arrived from Melbourne, finding old lino and then rough floorboards which I sanded by hand. I love the look of the old floorboards. I painted the walls in suede paint and created a bedroom I felt cocooned and safe in. This room is where Montana was born, between the bed and the fireplace, with me in the whelping box with Pagan and the phone on hands free with a friend giving me advice and instructions.
Later on I moved into a front room and made this room the dog’s bedroom. They had their own room, their own beds and their own TV. The paintings above the fireplace were 2 of the first poodle portraits I’d ever done – of Pagan as a puppy.

The special door I brought with me all the way from Melbourne… it was the dog room door in my house in Melbourne. I’d found an old gate on the side of the road and got a good friend to cut a panel out of the door and set the gate into it, making it perfect for the dogs’ room. They could see out, I could see in, they couldn’t get out if I wanted them locked up but they could get the heat or air conditioned air from the next room. When I sold my house in Melbourne I took that door with me, replacing it with a new door. When we moved here I took the door with me again, replacing it with the door that was there when I bought the house.

The living room had a grimy carpet, not improved by years of muddy pawprints. The living room is an addition to the house and didn’t match the old part so I got timber lining and dado rails put on to give it more character. I replaced the old carpet with good quality vinyl flooring, easy to clean and practical. I spend many nights curled up on the couch watching TV with poodles draped all over me in that room.

The grooming room was the back porch. I hired a local handyman to help me enclose it using decking and windows and a door I bought second hand. I got a plumber to put in a hot and cold water tap for my hydrobath and ran it into the same drain as the kitchen sink. This photo was taken after I’d packed up the hydrobath and grooming tables. The sink replaced the dog bath, making it more a gardening room than a grooming room. It wasn’t the biggest grooming room in the world but it was big enough for me to groom 3 poodles for the show ring. I spent many hours brushing and drying hair in there…

 The hallway… so wide I actually put my desk in there and used it as an office for quite a while. I had the lining and dado extended into the hallway to give it more character, and I added the decorative corner thingies where the roofline is lower. Why is the roofline lower you ask? It used to be where the house ended but a previous owner enclosed it and added the office/fourth bedroom. I love that wide hallway.

The guest room… the room where I totally stuffed up my colour choices and gave up. I thought the green would be a good colour but it just didn’t work. Maybe if I hadn’t given up and finished it, painting the trims antique white, it would have looked better. Maybe just changing curtains and putting in another light fitting… As it is I didn’t finish it. This is where Bonnard was born. I put the whelping box in the nook beside the built-in wardrobe and slept in that room for the first two weeks of his life.

The fourth bedroom, the one I used as my studio and sometimes as my office. I never got around to painting the trims white but I did paint the walls. I painted the window box which used to hold a cushion where Pagan would sit and watch birds on the trees outside. Its where Scooter would lie to sleep in the sun and, later, where Montana would lie resting her chin on the windowsill.

My bedroom… I loved the old fashioned swirl carpet which reminded me of the houses I lived in as a kid. I whelped my second litter in there, next to my bed. This is the room I slept in when I’d broken my ankle, I had the TV moved in there so I didn’t have to go up a step into the living room and so I could look outside to the gate. This room was full of light, cheerful and peaceful.

The bathroom was a mess when I bought the house. It had different colours of corregate iron (colourbond) on the walls, a clawfoot tub and a sagging floor. I removed the clawfoot tub and replaced it with a bigger new tub which fit against the wall. I replaced the floor with a new, non-sagging one. I had mini-orb put on the walls to give it a more modern look. I put in a hand rail cause, having had a broken ankle, I know how important it is to have something to hang on to. I replaced the old sliding door with a solid timber shed door which I sanded and painted. I added timber lining and a dado rail, and I adapted an old bookcase as a cupboard to hold towels and to give the toilet some privacy.

Best of all, I love the kitchen… When I bought it, it was all pine. Dark and gloomy despite having a skylight. I painted the kitchen walls antique white. I put doors on the 2 cupboards which didn’t have doors. I moved the breakfast bar up so it was bar stool height. I put up 2 restored bathroom cabinets as spice cabinets, I put up my Tony Curtis film poster and my collections of old bits and pieces. I love the old ceramic double sink with its depth… and I changed the old tap to a more practical gooseneck. It wasn’t the country kitchen with a table in the middle which I still dream of, but its a spacious and very practical kitchen. Pretty too…

 All in all, its a great house. I really hope someone finds it as pretty as I do,buys it and is happy there. I’ve done a lot to improve it over the years I lived there but there’s still some things to be done. There’s plenty of opportunity for someone to move in and make further improvements. Lets not forget the green room which is crying out for another colour. Carpets could be lifted to show off floorboards, thats something I had planned to do but never go around to.

Whatever, its a great house and has a great yard. I’m sure someone will fall in love with it the way I did. I just hope someone falls in love with it soon! The tenants in there now are great, they’re looking after the garden better than I ever did myself, but I would like to not have to worry about it. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a landlord. I think I’d much rather move forward and concentrate on making this house my home in every way.

So, send good vibes and send the right person our way. I’m sure they will be as happy as I was in that house.


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