Sunday 21 September 2008

Websites & Blogsites

My computer seat is hot, hot, hot. That's because I've been on it a lot, lot, lot.

Of late, anyway. You see, I've been busy working on websites and blogsites in readiness for the development and opening of Metalsmithery.
Metalsmithery will be our retail outlet for metal creations and accessories that go with those creations. There will be a metal shop, a cafe and eventually, a small bakery. All in the same building; - an old derelict roadhouse, abused and abandoned, situated in a small rural village of NSW, Australia - ' the middle of nowhere, on the road to everywhere.." - according to J McKay - a local resident.

Metalsmithery has been my 'dream' for years and years. I wanted to somehow combine hospitality and baking and coffee (me) with metal fabrication (the Machinist).And in the process, drag the children in, too - kicking and screaming and wailing.
Just kidding.

My girls are great baristas, though. And their baking skills? Oh, man... it's a good job I can't see my butt, or I know I would go into a week-long depression. Until the next Lindt chocolate gluten free friand....

The Metalsmithery website is almost finished and more will be added as products are manufactured, photographed and - well - uploaded.
I will be detailing the merchandise and life as a shopkeeper via the Metalsmithery blog, otherwise known as The Metal-Shop Keeper blog.

Someone still has to hold the fort, though, and that would be the Machinist and Son, at our fabrication shop - the Machine shop - Debco Engineering Pty Ltd. I've also set up a company blog relating to this more commercial / industrial side of our operation - namely - Debloggery.

Over the coming months I will be flirting with all of these blogs:

Debco Engineering = Debloggery

Metalsmithery = The Metal-Shop Keeper

Home, Housekeeping and Family = The Machinist's Wife
Clear as a muddy puddle in clay soil? Welcome to my Manufactory!

Saturday 20 September 2008

Family Neighbours

During my early years of marriage to the Machinist, I really missed my mom and dad. I loved being with the Machinist and still do, but it was quite an adjustment for a young naive girl to leave her childhood home and create one all of her own. With a stranger! (My mam always said that you never really know anyody until you LIVE with them).

The Machinist and I lived just over 100km away from my parent's home, and we would see them maybe once a month - when the Machinist's monthly salary was deposited into our account. I fantasised about my parents living closer to us, so that we could visit.

Even when we left the Machinist's homeland, South Africa and moved to Australia, my parents followed, but we still lived kilometres apart. I secretly longed for them to be 'just up the street', but I never told the Machinist, because he would have thought I was a baby.

(I AM a baby).

My dream has finally come true. My parents, the "Grands" now live in our hometown. Not only do they live in our hometown, but they live less than 500m from our house. Imagine, then, the joy when my dear dad pops in for a cup of coffee as he passes our house on his way up to the general store for the local and national newspapers. Although my mom is still (slowly) recovering from cellulitis, and is not out walking long distances as yet, I excitedly await the day when she calls in for a 'cuppa'.

A cup of tea, a piece of cake and a good larf.....

"Hello, nice to see you..."

Thursday 18 September 2008

Avian Cleansing 101

Now that the weather is warming up, my daughter puts our pet cockatoo outside on the back deck, so that he can soak up Vitamin D on tap.

I've posted about our "Bucko" before. He has beak and feather disease, and we were told he would only live a year. That was over two years ago now. Although Bucko still doesn't have feathers, and his beak often cracks and my daughter and the Machinist have to gag and bind him to file down his splitting beak, he still seems happy with a good outlook on life. Sometimes, he catches one of his claws on the poles and we find blood splattered newspaper at the bottom of his cage. The other day, we let him walk around the workshop, and he once again caught one of his claws which bled like a human head wound. Bucko didn't seem perturbed, though. He continued exploring the concrete floor, while leaving a paisley pattern from his blood stained toe.

Today, at lunch, the Machinist asked "Why does the bird keep on pecking his butt?"

"He's massaging his oil gland, Dad"

"An oil gland in his butt?"

"No, it's the little lump you see just above his butt. It looks like a wart. He uses the oil to prune himself."

Sure enough, Bucko began his bird boudoir right before our eyes. He used his beak to spread oil to his toes. Using his toes, he stroked his head and gangly neck. Lifting the one wing, he seemed to 'nibble' at his armpit. Then the other wing. Finally working his beak down his back, looking like an avian contortionist.

Straightening up, he was still for a moment on the perch (probably allowing his blood pressure to adjust and to 'sit out' the dizzy spell). Suddenly, a couple of full body shakes, a few more prods here and there with his beak and he was done.

His cage stopped rattling. The cats lowered their heads and resumed their nap.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Where Does Mr Time Go?

It's late here in Australia, and the Machinist is calling me to bed.

Each day when I wake, I have so many great intentions of getting great things done INCLUDING blogging. Most days, I dont fit everything in, and it is especially frustrating for me NOT to blog, because I... well.... I ..... I like to blog. Some days, I get the opportunity to blog, have so much to say, but can't seem to get it out and on here. Then I start reading about other people's lives and run out of 'awake' time and get frustrated with myself all over again. Perhaps I should read Don Aslett's book. Again. For the umpteenth time:

I suppose many bloggers have this problem, after all - there is nothing new under the sun and tomorrow is another day...

For now, though, it's off to bed, sleepy head. I'll be thinking about the scenes and stories from Gladys Taber's writings - . Beautiful. Sorry, Don, but I'll get to you later.


Sunday 14 September 2008

Water Everywhere

The rain to the wind said, "You push and I'll pelt." - Robert Frost

And they must have had this conversation today.

The Machinist and son were up at the Shop, erecting a wall, which will one day surround the commercial kitchen of Metalsmithery Cafe. I was on the sofa, wearing the Machinist's dressing gown (which I bought for him and which he has never worn) watching a makeover: home edition show on tv. It was the second day of feeling out of sorts and my mind was spinning with thoughts on what had to be done. You know how it is - you try and rest and not think about work or washing dishes, or putting another load of laundry on, but pictures of you actually performing these tasks stubbornly remain in the cinema of your mind's eye. Then you feel obliged to re-enact them in 'real life'.

Before I got up from the sofa, the howling began. In the distance, I could hear a loose piece of corrugated iron fence, flapping against a wooden post as it submitted to the wind's fury. It wasn't long before the rain came. I had to fight the temptation of sitting back down again, while pulling the chocolate-brown, fluffy blankie over me.

But.... I knew. I knew I had to go and check the Machine Shop. Our small country town, although situated in the Tablelands, can cope with days and days of rain, but when the rain comes down fast and furious, the stormwater drains overflow very quickly, and being on the lower side of the street next to the creek, the Machine Shop always floods with the surplus. It takes at least two people to sweep the water out of the workshop and into the drain, and they have to do it fast.

I shut the puppies in my office (with the heater on) and started to remove some jobs the Machinist had left near the sliding door. I heard voices. The Machinist and son had returned. Yay! They had suspected the workshop was flooding. I graciously left them to the sweeping and retreated to the office to comfort the puppies who are both scared of thunder. (I just had to console them!).

The rain pelting loudly on the tin roof didn't last long. The sun was trying to shine, too. Suddenly, the silence was broken by the phone ringing.

"Ok, I'll come up now", assured the Machinist and put the phone back in it's cradle.

"I've got to go up to the Grands. Water is bucketing into their kitchen..."

After Grandpa, the Machinist and Son had mopped the kitchen floor, and I had mopped the kitchen benches, I decided to hang around and help the Machinist by passing him the last few screws for the villaboard at the Shop.

"A girl can't even rest on her sickbed", I mused. The Machinist smiled.

"I'm so glad I picked a strong girl like you, Helen...."

Ready, Set, Action!

One of the many things I love about my children is that they are all able to amuse themselves. Not only do they amuse themselves, but they amuse the Machinist and I, too. A funky walk, a spastic dance, a belly giggle, a foreign (feigned) accent, a lively debate, a passionate argument, - all make for good entertainment.

It came as no surprise, then, when my son came home with this footage. I love how boys (man-cubs) get really creative with scrap items.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Perchance to Dream

After rushing to have the Grand's cottage ready for an agreed date, mam getting sick, hospital trips, more bits and pieces to attend to at the cottage, unrelenting work at the machine shop and continuous housework, all I want to do is design the products I would like the Machinist to make for our lifestyle retail store, Metalsmithery.

Thoughts on a floor plan, decor, vignettes, the Metalsmithery cafe - haunt me. Continuously. Half way through loading the washing into the machine, I start to dream, chasing ideas by looking them up on the computer and getting lost in (even more) research. Eventually pegging out the washing, and passing through the rose arbour, I inspect its design and determine what can be changed for the creation of more, authentic, indoor and outdoor arbours. As I put the stash of commercial crockery through the dishwasher, I imagine each plate with a voluptuous piece of pie, partnered with a dollop of clotted cream. Vacuuming the carpets, I can almost 'taste' the dust which will be created when we use the commercial cement grinder to 'industrialise' the currently tiled gallery floor. Changing the bed sheets, I envision wrought iron beds with plasma-cut head and footboards, dressed with fine linen....

"I need you to type up a quote, Doll", the Machinist interrupts me, "and would you be able to pay the hardware account when you go into town later today?"

Did I plan on going into town today?

To go or not to go. That is the question.

Can you tell I need to let the creative juices flow a little?

Thursday 4 September 2008

Grand's New Kitchen

As promised, here are the updated photos of the Grand's kitchen. Before:


Out of the window, you can just see the back end of the shop area that housed the old cool room. This wall will be rendered in the same material as the cottage. You can also see part of the wooden cool room in the distance, soon to become Grandpa's shed (with a galvanised pitch roof added, as well as some climbing roses).
We'll be working on this section of the shop on the weekend.

Conversations at the Bank

A lady on the Information desk at the bank today:

"Hello, please excuse my desk. It's messy, but I really am an organised person"

Me: "Oh, I know what you mean - I love organising myself"

Banklady: "One wouldn't think by looking at my desk right now that I'm not very organised, but I am"

Me: "Organising gets messy"

Much laughter between us ....

Banklady, absent-mindedly as she checks out our accounts on the computer: "I've had a few divorced or going through divorce customers in today"

Me: "It's easy getting a divorce nowadays. Nobody wants to persevere in their marriage" (That should do it! Did she think I was going through a divorce, too?)

Banklady: "Me, myself - well - I'm a bit of a prude"

Me: "Me too"

Banklady: "Us girls at the bank - we get a bit wild, but only after hours when the doors are locked. We have a good laugh"

Me: "A good laugh-till-you-pee-your-pants?"

Banklady: "Actually, yes. I must tell you what happened to me....."

The Banklady proceeds to tell me of the times that hearty laughter had caused her to pee her pants. I reciprocate with my own stories.

Sad, sad, sad....

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Our Local Tip

Our local tip has changed. It was once a shopping mall for recycled, but organised products. That's when our local man, Peter overseered it. As you would drive in and pay for your deposit, Peter would direct you to the appropriate department:

"Metals? Over to the right, love" and "Domestic waste only? Straight up ahead, take a right at the 'Y' and throw it in the big pit".

Before we moved our engineering business to the home block in the country and the Machinist worked in town, the weekly garbage run was my responsibility. The children and I would load several rubbish bins onto the back of the ute, drive to the tip and head towards the correct area for dumping our waste. Sometimes, we nearly fell into the Big Pit, as we were tipping the bins upside down. (I come out in a rash just thinking about this).

On occasions when the Machinist had the opportunity to do the tip run, he would return with 'salvageable, valuable items'. The Machinist could always see the potential of many products in several departments of the tip, and often had fantasies of what he could make with them. To this day, we have overpacked mezzanine floors in the workshop - a testament of said fantasies.

Nowadays, however, we are not allowed to select products from the tip when dumping "the weeklies". Fees to dump have increased. Although there are Council employees at the gate taking the money, they have no passion. Several departments have been amalgamated, so even if one was allowed to shop, one would have to search high and low through several other items to find (or discover) the product one would want. Oops, I meant need.

Change sucks.

This past weekend the Machinist and I took a trip to our local tip. We had a ute and large trailer load full. The Machinist bartered with the guy on the gate.

"You've got a lot there, mate", observed the gatekeeper.

"Yes, but most of it is metal for recycling"

"Okay, let me think what to charge you for ...."

"Fifteen dollars should cover it, yes?"

The gatekeeper was silent for a while, his eyes speedily scanning the contents of our vehicle.

"Ok. Fifteen it is. That'll do."

The Machinist passed me the money to give to the gatekeeper. I couldn't even look at the guy, and merely held out my left hand so that he could take the fee, muttering a weak, hushed 'thank-you'.

The Machinist sure can drive a bargain, but I hate to be around when he does!


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart....