Rocky Start to DIY Driveway

Did you know that the Vikings used to grind the bones of their enemies for use in creating lovely crushed-gravel driveways?

That’s not true. But did you know that 60% of internet facts are total made up? I totally made that up, but the important thing is that it COULD be true, and it does seem to be the case. Honestly, the things people will believe just because they read it online…it’s astounding. Like how fifteen gallons of water are used in the creation of one pint of beer. I thought that one had been debunked in the late nineties, but it still endures among the gullible.

Case in point: my next door neighbour, Ian. Ian is getting on a bit in years, bless his soul, but he had his grandson set up an internet connection, and now he’s paranoid beyond belief. I just had a driveway put in- one of those nice ones with crushed rock, from a place in Cranbourne no less- and I saw Ian outside collecting his post. He’s not too mobile so it takes him a while, but he’s also fiercely independent so he won’t accept help. I asked him what he thought of my new crushed driveway- he’s usually so keen on DIY projects and home affairs- and he said it made him sad to think of all the cows who gave their lives for the cause. Apparently, he read somewhere that crushed rock driveways are actually created with 60% rock and 40% animal bones. It’s how the charnel industry stays afloat, so he said: sneaky backroom deals with aggregate companies.

I would’ve thought the charnel industry stays afloat by providing us with meat- which is still in pretty high demand, so far as I know- but Ian was adamant that my driveway was a carpet of animal cruelty.

Actually, genuinely unbelievable. I mean, that wouldn’t even work. Bone would turn to powder as soon as it gets driven upon. And I know the people who do crushed rock driveways in Cranbourne; they’re reputable and not quite so underhanded. Then again, I did just get a lecture from Ian about postmen, and how 70% of them are culled from the ranks of former arson prisoners. I want to know which site he’s using for these statistics, because it sounds like a hoot.

-G

Cooking, for Party Fun and Education

There really shouldn’t be an art to making a good cup of tea, but alas, this is where we find ourselves. I know we’re in Australia, and we don’t have half the tea culture of some other cultures, but…come ON. We’re not talking about lobster carbonara here. This isn’t a delicate operation where adding the ingredient at the wrong time leads to total culinary failure. Bag + hot water = brew. Good grief.

It’s getting to the point where I think this stuff needs to be taught in schools. Or really, anywhere children gather. I take mine down to the local indoor play centre in Bundoora, and while it’s great that they’re climbing and getting all their energy out, I’d also like to see culinary lessons. The very basics, obviously, but that’s not to say the basics aren’t important. If schools aren’t going to teach kids how to make tea, cook al dente spaghetti or brown chicken without burning it to a crisp, then who? Parents are stressed out enough as it is without all that stuff added on. I’m just saying, we take our kids to a play centre to stimulate them, both physically and intellectually. They learn maths and science at school, so a bit of food technology wouldn’t go awry. Maybe there can be classes atop the gigantic, castle-shaped climbing frame. That would add in an element of adventure.

And then I had the idea of a cookery *party*. All you’d have to do is frame the whole thing as fun and interactive, and you could have a whole party where kids have a good time AND learn the basics, so they can at least cook for themselves in later life. Or, potentially, if I ask my daughter to make me a cup of tea, she can do it…properly. Just saying, if there was a kids party venue close to Melbourne that offered such a service, people would be ALL over it.

-Janine

Driveway Delight

My sister, Tina, has finally decided to invest in a driveway. Hallelujah! I’m not sure what it was that pushed through this decision, but it’s been a long time coming. For the past seven years that she’s lived in Melbourne, I’ve had to circle her block for half an hour in search of a parking spot for the van every time I come over from Adelaide to visit her. At last, I’ll now be able to pull up in her driveway, and not be hassled to move along on day two by the angry bloke over the road.

Tina has never been a driver, so I can understand why she’s never seen a driveway as a worthy investment. Regardless, when she called me the other day to ask me my opinion on polished concrete versus exposed aggregate, she sounded oddly enthused about the whole notion. I told her I’d help her look into driveway design and build services in the north of Melbourne. No, I didn’t mention my hidden agenda to try and get some kind of outdoor charging station into the bargain, but obviously that’s what I intend to do. Me, excessively excited about this? Never.

Aesthetically speaking, I do think the way to go is with the exposed aggregate. Driveway design in Melbourne’s north (this being the garden-proud place that it is) must take into account how it sits with the look of the space as a whole. That’s my two cents, anyway. Tina has a beautifully rambling array of native plants happening in her front garden, and the aggregate will look a bit more organic amongst all that. I don’t want her caving to my driveway demands to be at the expense of her frankly fantastic gardening efforts.

She’s told me that she’s down with having the driveway custom designed, anyway. Now then… I wonder how long it’ll take to persuade her to build a covered carport for her beloved sister who so generously takes the time to visit from interstate. One thing at a time, I suppose.

Christmas At the Play Centre!

Indoor play centres are great, but there’s one thing that would just make them better: Christmas celebrations.

I’m talking an entire centre that can be hired out for a massive Christmas party, either for kids or…maybe for adults, I don’t know. I saw an idea for it recently, some guy saying we needed to reclaim our childhood. Not sure how I feel about that, and also not too sure of what would happen if our entire office went to a huge play centre for our annual Christmas party. I can see half of us really getting into it. Beats ice skating. Why do we keep going ice skating?

Uh, anyway…I like the idea of a Christmas thing, for the kids. I’ve been looking around Jandakot for a highly rated kids party venue, and I’ve isolated several possibilities. Well, a few…it’s not a massive place. Honestly, I don’t think Jandakot does Christmas very well. We don’t have any fireworks, or Christmas markets. I know it’s sunny in this hemisphere, but come ON. You have to try just a little bit. That’s why I think we need to make children’s Christmas parties a big deal. Kids are the ones who retain that sense of Christmas fun, you know? They get excited, in the way that we all wish we could get excited. They keep the magic alive. I’d love yearly Christmas parties to be a big deal, with the play centres being decorated , someone dressing up as Santa, music, adults invited to maybe eat mince pies and mulled wine/juice while the festivities are going on.

Honestly, I think it could work. The kids could transfer all that joy over to us joyless adults. I just need to find a birthday party venue. The best in Jandakot! Actually, we’ll need a few…got to fit everyone in. And then, it’ll be just like Charles Dickens, and how he saved Christmas. Or was that the Brunch? Who saved Christmas again…?

-Adal

The Advantage of High Quality Windows

This summer is set to be one of the hottest on record, as well as one of the most picturesque. You can help take advantage of all that view by making sure your windows are up to the task this Summer. Both window repairs and replacements are something that can and should be done in the lead up to Summer, to ensure that you and your home is well prepared. Some homes do better with these changes than others, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Window seals that have deteriorated over time or are damaged will not block out the heat like they should.

The best candidate for window repairs or replacements are older houses. One of the major problems that older houses face, compared to newer houses is that the wear and tear tends to be greater, and the overall maintenance costs tend to run a little higher. This can be avoided in part, thanks to repairs and replacements that can get rid of the old and bring in the new. This is especially true for things like windows, which in older houses, can tend to break. It’s simply a matter of newer technologies outclassing older ones, and newer window replacements in Melbourne outclassing older ones.

Windows that are both high quality and long lasting don’t have to be too hard to find, not if you know the right place to look. The first thing to do is go online, to look for the best rated and most trusted timber window installers Melbourne has to offer. Then speak with a qualified and experienced professional in the field for more information regarding your home specifically. Once you have that, you can work together to implement an effective replacement or repair strategy.

Getting ready for the big day, as well as the big summer ahead of us, can simply be a matter of finding the right place to get your windows from.

Bring Out Yer Dead (Trees)

We finally bought a property! It’s in the perfect forest-edge location and has all the right zoning for the type of build we have in mind. It does have a couple of drawbacks, though, that need to be dealt with before we can get started. For starters, the main point of vehicle entry is blocked by a huge dead tree. Seriously, this thing is a monster – by far the biggest trunk of any tree on the property and, yes, it’s still standing.

It’s definitely dead, according to my dad, who’s a retired horticulturist. It very much looks that way as well. Most of the branches have fallen off, there’s no green in sight and the trunk has gone a fair way in the direction of rotting out. Add to that the fact that it’s blocking the property’s critical entry and exit point, and it seems there’s no other option than to have the remains removed. We had this done once in Perth, but I don’t know of any tree removal companies for Melbourne suburbs yet.

Come to think of it, we should probably have an arborist assess the tree situation on this property in general. There are quite a lot of trees on it, and most of them aren’t small. It would be good to map out if any of them are likely to interfere – or, rather, to be interfered with – by our building, either now or down the track. I’m sure whichever tree removalists we recruit will be up for doing some trimming while they’re at it. Feed me your Melbourne tree trimming and pruning recommendations.

I suppose this is the thing about living in a tree-dense area – you actually have to think about how the beautifully established trees (and the dead ones) on your new property are going to affect your safety. I mean, there are bushfires to think about as well. But it’s worth dealing with this to wake up surrounded by these tall friends.

Sport, Without That Cumbersome Gravity

The time-honoured profession of sport must be preserved; that much is extremely clear. To lose such an art would be a tragedy. The long-range communications team is still working on broadcasting signals from the Earth to the Moon, so that we can watch the grand final, but our glorious leader recently suggested that it may not be necessary. Our glorious new kingdom will soon have its OWN grand final, and we won’t need anything from the planet below. Still, we shall see, and it is something to build up to.

For now, I must organise the procuring of sports items, with netting being a top-tier item. And I’ll tell you why! It’s because of the moon. Specifically, the fact that we want to organise zero-gravity events, and obviously some quality sports netting is required to stop the ball from going straight into the cosmos. We’re going to rig the netting so that it forms a perfect dome of sorts, thus making it so that we can play sports on the surface of the moon and add an extra dynamic experience never before seen on Earth. Sports nets are going to be essential if this is going to work. In fact, it would be impossible to replicate this is any other environment. This will be the first of many things that our new kingdom will do far better than the one we left behind. The planned list is (preferably in this order) democracy, coffee, sport, cybernetic augmentation, keeping bananas from going brown, figuring out why hitting your funny bone makes your arm feel so weird, tracksuits that don’t look tacky and truffles. We shall grow such truffles, they shall be admired throughout the galaxy. But first I need to source some quality cricket netting. It NEEDS to be quality; the alternative is a single good swing sending a precious resource into deep space. I wonder if we can get make cricket nets made out of a Kevlar weave.

-Tyzon

Boat-Wreck Television, Seriously

Sooner or later, the people on this show are going to have to complete a task with actual lives at stake. Like, they’ll get them to take on the jobs of window-cleaners for a skyscraper, and two candidates will die in the attempt and ‘Jack of All Trades’ is going to be cancelled right there and then.

But until that happy day, I’m stuck watching this thing under duress because my GF loves it and wants to turn every night it’s on into an event. Whatever…at least they were working on boats in this episode, which is my own area of expertise. I love a good bit of boat tinkering, which made it all the more cringe-inducing when people fluffed it up. I KNOW people in the Melbourne outboard motor servicing industry. Some of them might even have been there, watching this happen. Probably the worst thing was when Moira thought she could just chuck away the whole engine and start again from scratch, putting an engine into a rowboat that was about six-times too powerful for the model. Like…wow, just THINK. Even if you know nothing about the subject matter, you should know that the motor is far too big for the boat. It practically sank the thing as she was trying to install it.

And then Giles! Man, GILES, I would give him a slap across the face if he tried to suggest that he could service my boat. No technical expertise, but he talks like he’s some kind of mechanical genius who knows boating inside and out. At least he shut up after he accidentally dropped the anchor winch into the sea.

These people…I just…honestly, I’m glad there was a professional there who knew outboard motor repair. Melbourne’s reputation hasn’t been damaged by the show. And the worst thing? I have to keep watching. I’m invested in these stupid people and their stupid lives, and there’s no getting free.

-Jon

Such a Mysterious Theft…

Sometimes I like to look out my windows and think…where did they go? I have a medium-sized television, my purse was sitting out on the side as you walk in the door and then there were a smattering of heirlooms and expensive-looking things around the place. So why did I wake up to find all of my windows damaged?

So far as I can tell, there are only a few options. First is that there’s a mysterious window bandit, disturbed in the head and compelled to constantly sneak around Melbourne, stealing windows. Second is that there’s a great window crisis, and people have become desperate enough to steal panes while people sleep.

My work DOES bring me into contact with some folks in Melbourne who own window replacement companies. I mean, I guess I could probably give them a buzz and ask about the situation. I’m just so…taken aback. I awoke this morning to the feeling of a soft breeze on my face. Sounds lovely, but when I sat up in bed, my eyes were drawn to the window. In my hazy, fuzzy mind, I crossed over to the hole in the wall and tentatively stuck my hand through it. No glass. In fact, most of the glass was missing from my home.

You’ll understand if I had to sit down for a little while to try to comprehend why this would even happen, let alone HOW. And now of course I’m going to need a lot of windows, which I suppose I can claim on insurance since they were part of the house. Will they even believe me, though? I feel like I need to actually call someone in Melbourne, timber window replacement are not easy to do properly. I need to get a professional over and get them seen to. Write me a note.

‘I am in the window industry. Can confirm, all of this person’s windows have gone missing. It is very silly and mysterious, but definitely real.’

-Vanessa

Clueless With A Kitten

My kitten, Marice, is getting towards being due for some immunisation shots. At least, I think he is. I don’t actually know how old he is, you see, because I adopted him from a puddle on the side of the road. That was about four weeks ago. He wasn’t newborn at that time, so it’s hard to say for sure how long he’s been around for. I’m also not at all sure of the precise timeline for kitten development.

To be honest, I don’t know much about anything related to having a cat around. All things considered, I’d do well to check in on the subject with at my local vet. Hampton must have at least one of those on the go… but seriously, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t had a pet before, unless you count that one time when there was a colony of mice living behind my bookcase and I didn’t have the heart to evict them.

I guess I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for animals in sticky situations. Perhaps the reason I haven’t gone to visit a vet yet is my concern about being judged for taking in a stray kitten without know the first thing about how to look after it. I realise that this is probably irrational, but I can’t help it.

It’s important that I do it soon, though. The other thing I want to ask the vet about is what the story is with desexing cats. Bayside council has made it so that newly registered cats have to be desexed; at least, that’s what my housemate told me. Actually, wait… do I need to register Maurice as well? There’s so much hoop-jumping involved in helping a kitty out!

Alright. I suppose this isn’t going to be all sleepy snuggles and playing tug-of-war with old socks, like I imagined. But I’m happy to do it all for Maurice. He’s worth more than all the money I could ever spend on vet bills!