October 28, 2011

Butler's Bell

Rose is not at her best in the mornings until she has had a good cup of tea. As I am frequently up early it falls to me to supply this while Rose is still in bed. The problem lies in knowing when to present the said cuppa!

My solution - a butler's bell.

We purchased one from Doorchimes.UK and it duly came, complete with string and three brass pulleys. The rather limited instructions suggested the length of string and number of pulleys be limited.

Original brass pulley

el Cheapo pulleys
Of course I had to get the string through a wall, upstairs through the ceiling, along a kick wall and then over a cathedral ceiling. This meant I had to purchase two more pulleys.

Old rock drill bit for weight
To get over the ceiling I used some heavy twine in a plastic conduit and then to overcome the friction I placed a large weight at one end. A hefty pull down from the other end lifted the weight. When it was released it was meant to pull down on the string leading to the chime. Unfortunately the length of string and the number of pulleys meant the whole thing didn’t work. I increased the weight (to 0.8 kg - using an old broken rock drill bit!) but still no action.

Ball bearing from old router (1)
Ball bearing from old router (2)

I surmised that the friction on the el cheapo pulleys was the problem and I needed two decent ball bearings. These came from an old router that had blown up. Luckily I was able to make them with grooves so the string didn’t come off. A few bits of home-made mounting brackets (which would have impressed my Dad!) and we were in business.

So now I can rest easy in the morning knowing that I will be summoned at an appropriate time to supply a cuppa and some toast – As a friend of ours once said, “It's not breakfast, but it's certainly a good start!

Actually come to think of it, I'm not sure if this was such a good idea of mine. Maybe it wasn’t my idea at all?

October 23, 2011

The joys of hand-made

I'm always amazed to see the money some people spend on kitchen and bathroom fittings, and the sort of prices some manufacturers charge for what is perceived to be 'fashionable'.

Maybe I have some deep biological memory of life in a more primitive culture, but I honestly enjoy making something out of what I have, rather than spending money on something that has been made in bulk in an anonymous factory.

When we needed a vanity for our new cottage, we worked with what we had - lots of assorted pine timber, some really nice left-over Ironbark flooring, and our own Rose Gum, milled from the property.

The result, which Russell made quite simply yet beautifully, is this - with Ironbark top, painted pine legs and slatted Rose Gum shelf.

Yes, it's more work than walking into a shop and taking something home the same day, but also a whole lot more satisfying.

October 17, 2011


It's firefly season on the mountain. These amazing little creatures only appear for a few days every year, just on dusk, and flash their bright halogen-like lights to attract a mate.

They like the moist rainforest, and for the last few nights we have seen their twinkling lights in the bush around the house. It is a really magic experience to walk around amongst them, and one we look forward to. By tonight there will be just the odd loner still looking for a mate, then they will be gone again for another year. 

October 10, 2011

International Year of the Forest

I read just recently that 2011 is the United Nations International Year of the Forest.

I'm not sure how many forests are going to be saved because of it, but I thought it a good opportunity to celebrate our beautiful rainforest at Mount Glorious.

In the early part of last century the forests here, like so many,  were used for logging. The bright red new spring growth of the Red Cedar tree would alert the loggers to the location of this valuable timber.

 Now the area is largely National Park, with beautiful walks through the rainforest. We are fortunate to have our own patch of untouched forest at Turkey's Nest, and are gradually extending the rainforest walk for both our guests, and ourselves to enjoy.
Rainforest Walk
Giant fig - Turkey's Nest Mt Glorious