Get down Shep and a home in need of TLC
‘Get Down Shep’ and
A home in need of TLC
Greg and Jane were clearly delighted to be home and getting to know and gently train their puppy border collie Shep, who comes from a pedigree line but with his under bite lower jaw cost them a fraction of the usual price. Rob and I were trained to hold our arms high and turn away from him if he tried to jump up and then reward him with attention; do you, my mature readers remember John Noakes on Blue Peter with his Shep, his frequent command to his collie is repeated in the title to this blog?
As you can see their home near Jilliby and Wyong, in rural bush country is surrounded by native trees including tall eucalyptus and was built on an artificial plateau in the corner of a field on what was once a dairy farm. It is a comfortable design with high ceilings and roof fans in the bedrooms, all that we found we needed to keep a perfect temperature at night and the roof overhangs the veranda giving deep shade all around creating a very relaxing atmosphere inside.
Every now and then waves of cicada noise rose to a deafening racket and we met some new native birds on the feeder. The sulphur plumed white cockatoo is cheeky, common and well represented in Australian art and culture and the rainbow lorikeet along with a pretty dove made regular appearances.
You may remember we met Jane and Greg originally on the 2014 Portugal Rally and then after we had started our circumnavigation in 2015 in The Canaries as they were on route back to Australia. More recently we were sitting in Savu Savu last July/August when we heard Jane’s voice on the VHF asking the marina for a mooring buoy number; so we had all been looking forward to getting back together.
Jane and Greg’s absence from their home which they have owned for 30 years has spanned the time while Greg has worked away from home including both of them living for a while in England and of course their sailing journey home from the UK via the Med. So their daughter and her husband have lived there with their three big dogs and because they have their careers and the dogs lived outside there is much maintenance and repair work to be done and décor to be brought up to date. In fact the jobs facing them are daunting in number and just how do you prioritise? Swimming pool first of course.
As you can see it is a wildlife pond at the moment but that will not last and when we return to see them later this year in Zoonie I have no doubt we will be floating in the warm fresh water watching the two red kangaroos grazing peacefully in their home paddock. They were so shy when I crept down the garden hiding behind bushes with the hope of getting a close up of them. As soon as they saw me, and they don’t need to go to Specsavers, they were off, doing doing across the field. As one was bigger than the other they will forever be to me ‘Kanga’ and ‘Roo’.
Jane has two horses helping to keep the grass down and twice a day she feeds them, takes their head covers off in the evening and after they have fed puts them back on for the day to keep the flies off. Shep helps by cleaning out the feed bucket. He loves to chase a ball so that became a pleasant way for me to pass the time, me throwing and him retrieving and relinquishing while we gradually made our way around the house and the little bushes each in their own bed with their own water supply. Talking of which their homestead has survived on rainwater ever since Jane and Greg bought it. Only twice have they had to buy in “ugh chlorine town water”.
There were two 5000 gallon concrete water tanks when they arrived and Jane was offered two more of the same volume for a good price so they have a capacity of 20,000 gallons which is easily maintained from their 500 sq.m roof area.
Now they are home they have time to plan a work schedule, the raised veg garden won’t take long to tidy and plant but replacing the cracked floor tiles inside and out where the ground has moved with drying out and shrinkage and then expanded while soaking up moisture will be a bigger job. We sat chatting one evening on the patio as an immense thunder storm rumbled through dragging its curtain of rain. Shep licked our hands for attention which we willingly gave. In our dogless life any opportunity to make a canine friend is very welcome.