the Castle {part I}

This eponymous movie was shown to me as an introduction to Australia& for good reason. This sweet-toothed celluloid,*shot in a mere 2 weeks* is the quintessential piece of Australiana. There’s no movie out there more Ozzie then this one. (the TV equivalent is Rake.  the US version failed because it was too Aussie to translate)

So the plot goes thus:

A working-class family from Melbourne, Australia fights city hall after being told they must vacate their beloved family home to allow for infrastructural expansion…that being an airport.

They fight…~They lose.

But they establish a memorable catchphrase ,which is their answer to every question as to Why they’re trying to hold onto a compensated house,possessing nothin’ special

“It’s not a house.It’s a HOME”


Now,I’m a bit of a Real Estate junkie. I enjoy renovation&house scouting TV&browse listings for fun.


I half-grew up in 2-room units,which added up to the size of your typical Western studio, or maybe a smallish 1 bed @ most. My current 1-bed is a king’s dance-hallway in comparison

It is something ,which Japanese have to contend with&increasingly Western Europeans. 


Aussies, on the other, hand ;’re  spoilt  for space.Esp. those living outside of the Melbourne-Syd duopoly. Until recently,it was rather uncommon to spend long terms in apartments.They were more seen as somewhere u’d crash for a few months/year while you study,or pass thru, or use it as interim to find a proper  abode.


So figure my utter delight @ arriving here &moving into a 3 bed HOUSE (i’d never lived on the ground before),with a lounge room fit for being a ballet studio +a gynormous backyard+double garage.This was only a modest home by suburban Aus standard.I twirled around in that living room, getting used to the feeling of  space


which i could do because the month was Oct.You see,that stupidly big space{taking up half the home} was not AC-ed {and we’re talking Aussie,scorching heat here}.It had a tiny heating slit ,making it impossible to heat the room whatsoever.


This made this gargantuan space unusuable for vast majority of the year.when it was usable , i did cartwheels there….Since there was no TV or bookshelves there (due to the aforementioned lack of weather control). 


To top of the stupidity of devoting half the territory to useless space like this…;>there rest of the house was modestly proportioned. With 1 av. bathroom, 2 broom-closet bedrooms. WEirdly enough-a rather shallow bath. I remembered my teensy childhood flats to have deep Shower-baths. The Lounge could’ve instead been used on another toilet, bath+normal size bedrooms+storage.Lotsa storage!


More unpleasant surprises ensued…


      Such as the weird-ass;Floor-to ceiling windows. Again, for the esp. Inattentive {Aussie heat!! Where the less glass-the better!!}.Since it was also cold for 6 months of the year: doubly stupid. 

But wait  , there’s more…;..The windows were single pane! IN our apartments we’d have 2 panes of glass, with solid pocket of air for insulation.


The home was built with flimsy internal material. Walls were close to being paper.So zero insulation all round, or sound-proofing.I didn’t remember ever being troubled by noise from neighbours, or out on the landing back home,because that drab Soviet-era knock-up was weirdly silence-friendly.


Enormous backyard had no steps ,while residing on a steep hill. This oversight took a nigh’ 19 years to fix…..


And so the story goes the same way it goes ,when a civilising female “ adds her touch”.,, that is L” puts in back-breaking work & load of exec. Function”  to make a male-built &mainained space …actually livable for living beings.



*fenced the yard

* mucked out the cobwebs full of red-back spiders (look ‘em up ,:-nasty lil’ creatures, brrrr]

*installed AC +entire wall of shelving+inbuilt Tv unit in the silly, silly  lounge.

*put oil heaters in bedrooms.

* auto-doors on garage

*hung heavy curtains& patched up grate in toilet in vain attempt to increase insulation to some point above 0.


I have no frigging clue how my ex-step , who owned the home for 14 years prior, (+his cat}managed to live there before. There were no heaters in bedrooms. Did he just sleep in the dining room next to the gas unit?!!/…How did the cat not get spider-bitten?no trips to garage, i gather, since he kept the car outside……


All this effort certainly made the space survivable, if not exactly comfy. You see :the toilet, hallway+laundry were entirely un-heat,or cool-able.This wasn’t a problem in those flats:   since toilet wasn’t located on external wall, or had window.


Fast-forward 18 years,,and it was no longer survivable for my acute auto-immunity. Owning fur-babies made things worse, as you can’t lock them up in a room to conserve heat +cool. So extra heat-up /cooling time each time you exit&return.They had a dog flap in laundry.


Worse yet, the back bedroom was a furnace in warm weather.That big window made the mountain view real pretty, but i was close to fainting there once& wondered whether i could get burns from bedding on another.


Now my upper-middle friend was the only 1 i’d ever met with a central heating system (with vents in floor)and it was  aw-spiring,  i tell ya.I fell in sweet love with those vents. We had sleep-overs on the floor next to them.


These days i live in a mostly comfy place, but still not wholly suitable to my disablement (steps, nowhere to store golf cart i use as scooter, no yard for my future Service puppy, zero sound-proofing between neighbours +really echoey landing}.


But it is so easy to keep warm &cool. Beautifully simple. It has an unusual, oblong desigh, where you have windows facing both east&west.So you chill in whichever part of the house catches/doesn’t catch sun @ that part of the day.The windows’re covered by uber-size upper level balconies& the bathroom has no window+is in middle of house (so it’s practically always shielded from the radiation warmth\cold of external walls}. In fact, this is the cleverest design i encountered in this country.Much more livable than every Aus-dream suburban home i’ve been to, incl. The aforementioned friend’s up-market, funkily designed loft-style house >Esp. For a sickie like me.better yet – it has the Goldilocks kind of formula for space: big enough to stretch out it, but not so large that i leave something in 1 part of the home& can’t fathom going all the way back for it.


Since my upstairs neighbour’s coppin’ the roof heat for me, i’ve only run the air-con for a few hours this season (all but once, in late arvo for 1 hour) +her balconies’re working as my shades.Also it’s not a corner flat ~so no external wall on side. Shower has a hand rail,which is an immense help.


In my travails for a disabled-friendly abode,i’ve been imminently frustrated. As it  turns out, there’s zero market for sickie-adjusted housing. Gracious be the Isabel-gods, i’ve stayed out of a wheel-chair. But boy, even my moderate demands have turned the whole thing into an endevour, which made me understand as to why we have 6,000 young folk in nursing homes & the rest of the sickies being unable to live independently.


You see, the rental market is tight (4% vacancy some time ago),so landladies generally have no motivation to adjust anything for is a sort of city, which many people use as transit,so rental turn-over is high. It’s easier for them to pass you up &wait it out till the next lot of students/contract professionals/unfussy migrants arrives; than put in 1 inexpensive, flexible shower hose.You can forget about any major changes outright.


The only way u can stumble on something remotely suitable for the unhealthy masses among us<is by that lessor’s family having a disablement themselves.Then they’d have put in shower rails, or ramps.That’s the reason i have a be-railed shower, which saves me from making bathing a terrifying experience.


If you own your home in a complex-u still need permission to outwardly modify it.The contractor i asked about this,simply bolted as she had trouble dealing with Strata before. They can actually sue the contractor…for modifying the client’s  own home


You also need consent for a pet. Oz is a dog-paradise,so lessors aren’t silly to ban animals on premise,since that makes them uncompetitive for applicants.But what they can do,<is select for the animal-less applicant.


^this is a bummer for Disabled Assistant dog-havers. Training a puppy for that purpose can take years before and if it certifies as Service animal, which no longer makes it a pet. This applies to people unlucky to arrive too late on the scene of dog-assistants,for there to be no certified dogs left due to demand&closed waiting list


If you’re a fortunate Invalid with some means, $ doesn’t work like it does in all other speres. It  literally  won’t open a door for you,,,,if u have to put in a ramp to get to that door .


Surprisingly,i’ve discovered that  more expensive doesn’t translate to sicky-friendly.  In fact, there’s no co-relation with livability either. At the lower tier of housing, there is so much benefit glimpsed when u go up a level.Everything’s less drab, newer, manicured etc.


5 thoughts on “the Castle {part I}

  1. I live on Zillow constantly daydreaming. Real estate listings are a passion of mine, but then I’m all angry/sad like when the listings that I love sale. I’m like….NOOOO THAT’S MYYYYYY HOUSE!! Lol. I’ve been confined to apartment life forever, currently in a nice townhouse type apartment with 1625 sq ft., I live with my fiance of 8 years, but I find the less space I have the crazier I feel. Perhaps if single I would not feel such a craving for more room. Ideally I want a house that I can hide away in despite other occupants. Chances are slim that will ever happen, but a boy can dream!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never really have lived alone, a part of me really does crave a space that I can sing in without being self conscious about being heard. I love singing as a hobby but I can’t if he is home, he says he doesn’t mind but for whatever reason I mind. I stifle myself, I start singing in whispers. After my parents I’ve lived with roommates or boyfriends. This one being the longest relationship I’ve had. It’s weird, the comfort of him being there yet the frustration of him being there. I guess that’s just how long term romantic relationships feel? But I think about the freedom sometimes, I really do.


      1. I’m a big fan of Queen Anne and Tudor style homes. Spiral staircases are to die for…a secret room. But here in Tx we overflow with the most boring ranch style properties. I really want to head up north.


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