Second time around.

SMALL BUT SUNNY

Back in February 2019, I bought a block of land I’d had my eye on. It was $155k. Almost all the money in the world, inherited from my dad – whom I would far prefer to the cash, but there you go, an unfair exchange. I probably documented this elsewhere, but there were seven days of due diligence during which I could bail out – which is what I immediately did when a council planner told me that a residential build would not be approved for the land. GAH

Then I made an offer on another block, did my due diligence and pulled out again, having discovered that it was too narrow to have a legal grey water system because of the proximity to a creek. Learning, learning, all the while. After that came LindaLand, a dream we lived with for just over a year – one that dissolved for me once we were locked down in Franklin and I truly realised that from May through to August, the block got no sun whatsoever.

116/366 • …a cold morning stroll with DB up New Rd to where the sun runs out.... • .
Zero sun.

I had known this. Linda had emphatically told me not to stay for the winter – but we were in lockdown and unable to leave. And besides, I wanted to know what winter here was like – could I hack it? How cold does it actually get? Though I had been told countless times about the sunless winter aspect of LindaLand, it seems that I was unable to process this until I actually experienced it. Oh woe.

129/366 • ...yesterday, on the way home from some hot chips: trolley child, puddlejumper and pufferman… • .

I began to muse again on the first block, swayed by its sunshine, the fact that you can see the river (!!) the proximity to everything – the pub over the road, the Living Boat Trust, the park, and it’s smallness. Yes, it’s on the highway, but that’s not a deal breaker. I dream of a front fence with a secret foam core and other tricky measures to minimise the noise issue. I have lived near trains and trams and busy roads – and they have all disappeared after a while.

092/366 • …baked spud break from block work. God I hate blackberries. How is it possible that I can eat them until I fall over but simultaneously want them OBLITERATED FROM EVERYWHERE FOREVER?!! • .

And so, I killed the dream that was LindaLand. M was genuinely devastated. I tried to explain that light and sunshine are key to my healthful existence, that I would probably murder the whole family while they slept because of acute psychotic Seasonal Affective Disorder, that this was my one opportunity to buy land and I wasn’t going to do it if I had any misgivings about the decision. He was still sad, and remains so.

085/366 • …walking home from the block late yesterday... • .

I had to call Linda and grovel sadly as I apologised repeatedly for pulling out of the deal. I feel like an absolute rat about it, but tried to comfort myself by remembering that she had warned me about her land during winter, and how untenable it was. So, having crushed our dreams of a permaculture hydropowered bush haven ten minutes walk from town, I put in an offer on the original block.

I had a hopeful feeling about it. Times were tough. It had been for sale for over 18 months, the economy was tanking, we were all in lockdown and the vendors weren’t getting any younger. They had previously only agreed to sell at $155k – almost a year and a half later, I began at $120k. At $132k, we had agreement. Probably still over-priced, but at what price awesomeness? One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever spent time in replete with lovely people, feral apple trees, and a 35 minute drive into a capital city.

133/366 • ...my first task was to get all the stuff out of Bella Luna that was deteriorating in the damp - the shipping container, while stupidly expensive, was already on the land, and is dry - that blue rope is a washing line...• .

Yesterday it settled. I am agog. My dad’s money bought us a little chunk of the Huon Valley. From the very grumpy vendor I bought a 20ft shipping container that was already on the block, same size as the one I already have in Victoria – but living on an island? Many things come at a premium – shipping containers are worth DOUBLE over here – and if you’d like to start a niche business? Start fabricating box trailers, because they are also insanely overpriced.

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