Points of perspective

Here I list some of my random thoughts and impressions after one year in this new location and lifestyle (in no particular order of relevance or preference):

  • Have settled into this new life
  • LOVE the new vistas
  • Needed this change of scene more than anything
  • Miss my kids and parents achingly
  • Feel I have escaped the “ratrace”.
  • Realise I am not a “country person”.
  • Have not seen evidence of the fabled “country charm”.
  • Am amazed at the lack of world view by many country-folk.
  • Feel a sense of impending doom.
  • Have seen/experienced the effects of the population/cultural explosion/collision in Melbourne and want to warn the locals of the approaching tsunami.
  • Feel like a foreigner in my own country.
  • Have read the local history of Portland and realise how this has shaped the culture of the town.
  • Love the look of the old buildings especially those made of stone.
  • Always feel sad at the sight of another dead koala on the road and wish I could protect them.
  • Love the local bird life.
  • Still want to live in France (not sure why) but realise the culture/population problem is far worse there.
  • Am looking forward to settling into our new house.
  • Feel proud of what we have achieved with our building project.
  • Miss friends, workmates and lifestyle on the Mornington Peninsula.
  • Portland is a “blokes” paradise.
  • Love the regular trips to Melbourne on a small (20-seater) plane.
  • Appreciate Melbourne more as a visitor.
  • Miss regular and varied choices of movies to see at the cinema.
  • Have not established a regular exercise routine yet.
  • Feeling healthier as a probationary vegan.
  • Enjoy listening to audio books in my car as I travel the country highways.
  • Love the weather – the wind, the cold, the rain. Sunny days are gifts.
  • Love living beside the wild open sea.
  • Enjoy the variety and challenges of my job.
  • Have made some new friends.
  • Grateful to have a constant companion/friend/husband to share this with.

Grand Designs

Grand Designs is my favourite TV show at the moment. It really is a great concept. Made in the United Kingdom and intelligently hosted by Kevin McCloud, it follows domestic building projects from start to finish.

There are a wide variety of circumstances that add to the interest and individuality of each unique project. Some people use professional architects, project managers, builders, etc. Others use one or two, while some go at the project alone – bravely or perhaps foolishly. It is often surprising to see the results from some really determined people.

For Australians it offers some architectural work not commonly seen here in Australia. For starters we lack old stone castles, and you won’t find too many buildings over 200 years old ripe for renovation. Then there are the obvious climatic differences. This brings a whole range of differing factors that shape the design and construction of the buildings. Their ground is a lot different to ours. They experience a lot more mud than we’ll ever see. The heat and light in Australia are harsher and this means we design to accommodate those conditions. You don’t see too many verandas in UK building design. But those UK cousins of ours soldier on, building their castles in the snow and mud and cold. You really have to admire their tenacity. How many aussie tradies do you know that knock off and go surfing if the conditions are right? And good luck to them.

Kevin McCloud brings intelligent commentary to the process. He plays the devils advocate baiting the starry-eyed visionaries with possibilities of things that could go wrong. His background in architecture and design ensures his input comes from a solid knowledge base and understanding.

It is a real pity Australian TV production companies don’t take careful note of the popularity of this show amongst Australian viewers. Everyone I talk to watches it and loves it as much as I do. I thought my background in industrial design made me specifically attuned to this show, but it seems to reach beyond that. I suppose we all dream of beautiful homes to own and live in, and we’d all like to shape that nest to fit our own unique sensibilities.

I cringe at the aussie shows like Location Location and Backyard Blitz. When Better Homes and Gardens comes on I can’t change channels quick enough. The loud discordant theme music is enough to make me shudder and this is quickly followed by the shouting bullying monologue of the presenters.

Even the introductory theme music of Grand Designs is beautiful and of real quality. Well done Kevin McCloud and Grand Designs and the ABC for airing it in Australia. On Facebook I’ve joined the groups Kevin McCloud Makes Architecture Sexy and The Kevin McCloud Appreciation Society. Cool!!