Old photo from the web

I was searching for old photos of Sandy Bay (previously known as Queenborough) on Trove and found this photo taken in 1881. If you click on the photo you get the full size original from the UTas collection.

It jumped out because the distinctive profile of the three hills in the distance on the left hand side of the photo is exactly what we see from our verandah. It looks like it was taken from just north of our house, probably on the opposite side of what is now View Street. The fence and hedge in the foreground are the access road from Lord Street to our house which existed until around 1915 when the area was subdivided. For those familiar with the area there are some very recognisable buildings in the photo including the old sandstone house on the corner of Princes St and Grosvenor St.
The view from just north of our house, 1881


Nice pear

The bosc pears are ripening.

Sofia likes them unadorned.


Unfortunately they are a bit buggy.


Ian volunteered to cut out the bad bits and I peeled them ready for use in an upside down cake.  Previously I had used this recipe when making upside down cakes with apricots, but I decided to try this one instead.  It says to use two small pears, but we had bits from lots of pears (which added up to more than two, I don't think two would be enough).  This is my attempt to "Place the segments of pear decoratively".


It is not a pretty cake (upside downs rarely are), but it was good - especially with a dollop of marscapone.  Next time I will probably combine the two recipes.  I like the caramel in the first (cooked in a skillet) and the cake in the second (a bit lighter than the first).


With relish

Our buddies, Helen and John procured these beauties on a recent tomato hunting mission to Brighton. (That same day we checked out the MONA Market - worth a look if you are in the area, the weather is nice and you feel like sitting around soaking up the vibe with a cool beverage.)

While Helen preserved theirs, I decided to make tomato relish.  I will always remember the surprise when I learned that my Grandma's legendary tomato relish recipe was virtually the same as CWA's Tomato Relish (No. 2).  Either way, it is tried, true and tasty.  Cheesy toast is not the same without it.


Your mother was a hamster

... and your father smelt of elderberries (French Solider, Monty Python and The Holy Grail 1974)

I have been drinking elderflower cordial ever since my mate Michelle converted me three or four years ago and was pleased when we were still living in Melbourne to discover a Tassie version.  I recently noticed that Ashbolt were also making elderberry products and managed to taste some at a visit to the local farmers' market.

It was pretty exciting to discover that our new garden had a number of elder trees (or more correctly some in our garden, some hanging over the fence).  I missed the boat with the flowers this year, but recently Ian, Sofia and I picked half a bucket full of berries ...

... and I made elderberry syrup using David Lebovitz's recipe.  I ended up straining the liquid through cheese cloth as my sieve was not fine enough to get all the bits out.  The colour of the syrup is intense (even when diluted to drink) and the taste is quite subtle.  Great with fizzy water and a squeeze of lemon, the syrup is also meant to be quite good for you.

You wouldn't see this shot on those glamour blogs

Upstairs #3

We had another mission to the attic this weekend to measure it up - well actually that's an excuse, really it was just for fun. We took a better camera so we got some good photos and we also found a few more things. Getting to the attic involves climbing onto the roof, clambering across a few different sections of roofing, then climbing in through a window. This photo is taken from the attic window and shows how tricky it is to get back down.
Access to the attic could be improved
Inside the attic there is a door to a small storage room which was open on our last visit to the attic so we didn't notice this sign on the outside until I closed the door. We assume it is also Judy Thomas's work from the 1920s as most of her drawing is inside the storage room.
The Lodge
Also got some good photos of the old wood shingles that are underneath the iron roofing in the oldest section of the house. From underneath they appear to be in remarkably good condition.
Old wooden roofing shingles from inside the roof
At first glance the attic doesn't look great but most of the problems are superficial. The floorboards are good and only a few are missing. The plaster is in good condition apart from a few sections near the chimneys where it looks like water has got in. This is all pretty easily fixed and the there is also the small matter of access. It would be great to reopen these rooms - we'll have to wait and see.


Simple Pleasures #2 - walking

Testing the new shoes from Granjan with help from Oma. Walking in the garden is much harder than on a nice flat floor.


Birthday lamingtons

Sofia is one today.  It has been a big year for us - new baby, new job (for Ian), new state and now new home.

I put together a montage of photos for the invite to her party, our little girl has changed a lot. (You can click on the image for a larger version).

A couple of days before Sofia was born Ian came home with a "zero" candle.  For a guy that doesn't really do birthdays it was a surprising and touching gesture.  Then the night of Sofia's birthday we needed something to stick the candle in, so Ian went down to the hospital cafe for cake and came back with a lamington because that was what there was.  I wouldn't let him light the candle (I thought it might set off the hospital smoke alarms), but we did get a photo of Sofia's first birthday cake.

We will be having a big cake for Sofia's party on Sunday, but we decided to continue the lamington-with-number-candle tradition, this time with the candle lit. (Excuse the dodgy photo, my iphone doesn't do well in low light, Renee may have some better photos in which case I will change it up tomorrow).

Happy Birthday Sofia!


Upstairs #2

A while ago I went up into the roof through the manhole near the back of the house and found another attic room that we didn't know was there. This was before we'd been into the main attic room and it was completely unexpected to find a bonus room but it clearly wasn't connected to the attic rooms with the dormer window. Apparently houses of this era often had a windowless room in the roof as sleeping quarters for a servant, particularly if the servant was a convict. I gather there was no window so they couldn't escape.
Liz at the only opening for the attic room
Me in the mystery attic room
Liz and I decided to go and re-explore the extra attic room when we checked out the main rooms. Because there is no window and we only had a phone camera, the photos are pretty bad but you can sort of see the shape of the room - the walls are dark. This room is in pretty bad condition. There has been a skylight bashed through the room at some stage and many of the floor boards are missing. Each of the side walls also has a large hole in it, possibly to allow access for an electrician. Despite all of this, the bits that are left are in good condition and you can imagine what the room would have looked like.

The room also provides some more insight into how the house was built and the stages of construction. There is a brick wall at either end and the wall at the back of the house has a window like hole in it - the opening that Liz is about to climb through in the photo above. It looks like pre-1920 the roof was gabled at this point and this was an external wall. The bedroom at the back of the house was added in 1920.

The room has floorboards and the walls are made of split wood nailed to a frame and then covered with a plaster.
This is covered in plaster to make the walls
Interestingly the wooden shigles from the front of the house extend about a metre past the brick wall that seems to mark the back of the original four room house. The fact that the shingles extend past this wall makes me wonder if there is another explanation. One possibility is that this room is also very early and that the brick wall between this room and the rest of the roof cavity was to add security. Hopefully the heritage expert will be able to shed some light on this.


The house from the back corner of the yard
Here's a photo of our house from the back corner of the yard near the plum trees. Keen observers will have noticed there is a dormer window, suggesting there is an attic room, but there are no stairs inside the house. For quite a while we were keen to get up there and explore the attic.

When we were showing an architect around the house recently the dormer window blew open so that meant we had to go and close it - the perfect opportunity to explore. Liz and Susie were visiting at the time so Liz and I got the ladder and walked over the roof to get to the window.

Unsurprisingly we found a room up there but there is also a second smaller room and a small store room. The rough layout is that there is a landing at the top of where the stairs used to be, then to the right is the main room with the window and to the left is smaller room which most probably was also used by the occupant of the main room - possibly as a wash room or dressing room. Both of these rooms have door frames and presumably used to have doors. The store room is about half height and comes off the smaller room.
Me in the main attic room.
The second room looking into the storeroom
Spaghetti wiring
The rooms are in surprisingly good condition with some floorboards pulled up to install wiring and a bit of plaster missing near the chimney. The photo to the right shows some of the spaghetti wiring and if you look closely there are some wires that used to belong to a light switch sticking out of the door frame. Hopefully they are no longer connected but this is definitely something that I'm keen to get an electrician to look at. There is also a pane of glass in the background from a previous window frame.

The smaller room has a gap in the plaster  on the ceiling for what looks like it may have once been some kind of window. From the smaller room there is also access to the roof cavity and this gave us more idea of the different stages of the house. The front four rooms have wooden shingles under the corrugated iron but these don't continue even to the older rooms in the back of the house. There is a brick wall at the back of the front four rooms on one side so there may have been a partly gabled roof here but this is just a guess. The construction seems to confirm that the front four rooms were built in one hit then the fifth room was built later, even though it also looks pretty old and is definitely pre-1920. One of the chimneys was moved in 1920 when a wall was removed between two rooms in the front half of the house but the plaster was redone after this, including in the little store room where the new chimney runs - it can just be seen through the door in the storeroom photo.

N. Thomas and J. K. Thomas
Judy's wants
There is a bit of drawing on the walls of people/dolls, animals, etc. There is also some writing by N. Thomas and J. K. Thomas, and what we think says:

 Josies (Judy's) wants:
1. Electric light globe 1/6;
2. Three dolls wigs and an arm put on 8/-; and
3. Gramophone records 6/7.

According to The Book the Thomas family lived here from 1922 to 1933 and it looks like the children used the attic as a playroom. We're not sure exactly when or why these rooms were closed off but it was either while the Thomas family was here or while Walter Wright lived here from 1933 to 1947. We may reopen these rooms but it's not the top priority and can be done as a separate project. 


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