On 31 July 2010, Sue writes:

Chester & Chilli are ecstatic. Aerem & Emma . . .
well, a little puzzled, but happy for their siblings.

And why?

Papa Bill is BUILDING again. What's he building?

A studio is what we're calling it, a fancy name for sure, but it does cover a multitude of uses.

He says it's for all the overflow of (my) Airedalean treasures that are crammed into our small house. I say it's for all the overflow of (his) botanical presses, stacks of papers, books and more books, boxes and bins that clutter what is supposed to be our bedroom, upstairs. Not to mention the dining table, breakfast bench and indeed any flat surface that is silly enough to clear itself of clutter. It's immediately replaced. I even found the microscope had walked itself down the stairs the other day and clambered up onto the dining table. I ask you!

And why would all of this make our two Ch-kids happy? I suspect it's because in another life, they were both carpenter-builders and the sights, sounds and smells of saws and hammers and shovels and string lines cause ripples of excitement from their bigblacknoses to the very tips of their tails.

Enter Mr. Chippie and Ms Chippette.

So far, in the space of five days, we've had the excitement of a v-e-r-y big ditch-digger digging ditches and piling up piles of good earth just perfect for Airedales to help move into other piles; then we've had three visits from a noisy truck delivering loads of concrete to fill the ditches ready for the brick footings to be laid; then along came two v-e-r-y large bricklayers to lay the lovely old bricks that we rescued last summer, the only survivors from one of the earliest pioneering homes in the Yarra Valley, burnt to ashes in the Black Saturday fires. We hope the spirit of that beautiful old house will linger in peace at Wombat Bend, as most of the rose-coloured bricks will pave the verandas that flank the studio on two sides.

Next week, the timber arrives. Not just any old timber . . . these are massive pilings from a Melbourne bayside pier, recycled and cleaned of barnacles (still a few remnants) and about to do duty in their next life supporting the roof of the studio. A crane will be needed to lift these to an upright position, as not even the joint efforts of Bill & me and Mr. Chippie & Ms Chippette will be sufficient.

All very exciting. From inside the kitchen, after the bricklayers had departed on Thursday evening, I caught a glimpse of Ms Chippette sitting at one end of the neat layers of footings. I swear from the tilt of her head she was assessing the accuracy of their work.

Did I have the camera ready? Not that time, but it won't be far away next time!

Once the timbers are up, the framing & roof are next, and then we get to the mudbricking stage. Now that will be fun.

I'm sure Mr. Chippie & Ms Chippette will be front & centre, directing operations and marshaling the troops. Stay tuned . . . .

Sue & the WB Workettes.



First stage:
Early morning - the ditch digger arrives to begin the trenches for the brick footings.







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