Monday, December 6, 2010

Moving Day

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

You will have to forgive my truncated blog post today as we are moving into our new house here in Melbourne. We haven't had all our own stuff or been in our own home since May so you can imagine the state of excitement round here. My boys are dying to have all the Lego back and I think my husband is as heartily sick as I am of wearing the same repertoire of clothes.

We have made a huge lifestyle change in the house we've bought. Not only have we moved country but we have also moved from an essentially urban existence to a semi-rural one on the outskirts of Melbourne. Although we have quite a bit of renovating and landscaping to do, 'home' now comprises two acres, a pool, a chicken run and a fire-bunker...yes, we are in a high bushfire danger zone now, so I have to come to grips with a plethora of fire fighting stuff - from water tanks and generator pumps to roof sprinklers, ladders and fire department sized hoses. Let's hope we never need to use them (although my husband is thinking of volunteering at the local fire house so him in a fireman's uniform could be a definite upside!)

Part of our rationale for moving back to Australia was to give our boys the kind of childhood we had - free to roam and explore - and apart from, snakes, bushfire, poisonous spiders, heat exhaustion, sunburn and broken limbs what could there possibly be to worry about?!

I'm also looking forward to writing when my outlook will be this:

So, what would be your ideal 'outlook' for writing be? A beach? The mountains? Skyscrapers? Or can you write just about anywhere?


  1. Two ideal locations (because I'm a wimp and can't deal with the cold any more).

    Summer: Cabin in the woods, wraparound porch looking out over my corral of horses and the trees beyond.

    Winter: My territorial style desert home looking out on my corral of horses. *-)

  2. Sounds pretty good BK - though I am more of a beach than a mountain gal (and, though I love them, I'm allergic to horses!)

  3. I live in urban Missouri, so I'm fascinated by both mountains and the beach. I recently spent two weeks in Florida visiting my daughters. I went to the beach several times to write, but I just sat there in awe of the ocean. It sounds like God breathing to me.

    So I guess I can only write in my apartment office, where there's nothing but a parking lot to distract me.

  4. I do enjoy the Blue Mountains, and the Snowy Mountains especially, however the beach is also relaxing as is just being in the bush, away from the hustle of the city.

    Although very inspiring, the beauty of all of this can be distracting however. Regretably, I suspect my writing is best done in suburban Sydney.

    However, I'm going to try hard on our Gold Coast Christmas holiday.

  5. Mountains! I love the colors and contrasts. That's inspiration.
    The sea when I want/need total relaxation.

  6. Dave and DBC - I have a feeling I shall be staring out of the window more than writing for the first few weeks so I might have to put my desk up against the wall so I can stare at paint instead (then I might actually get some writing done!). Mary and DBC the mountains are inspiring - if I could chose one range it would definitely be the Grand Tetons. Now that would be a cool view.

  7. At a table in Langer's Deli, dowtown L.A., with my back to the window.

  8. Nice Clare. I live just off the bluffs of the Mississippi River, just south of St. Louis. The lucky people on the other side of the street are perched on a 250 foot high bluff overlooking the river valley and over into the farmlands and trees of Illinois. They get their unfair share of spectacular sunrises as well.

    I can hear the barges "thrumming" up the river, but they can see them. I have a few acquaintances that allow me to sit on their patios with my laptop and write. I'd like to be able to do that whenever the mood strikes. But, alas, the people on that side of the road realize their property value.

  9. FYI: In Australia, only male Sydney Funnel Web Spiders and Redback Spiders have caused human deaths, but none have occurred since anti venoms were made available in 1981. Each year in Australia as many as 4,000 people are bitten. Of these 200 require anti venom treatment and one bite was fatal.

    Less than eight Deaths from snake bites. You should also bear in mind that some of the snake attacks would be of people who handle snakes, keep them as pets or other wise live in close proximity to the beasties. In the extremely unlikely event you are bitten or witness someone else being bitten, do not try to attack the snake as it moves faster then you do and will probably have another go. More people die worrying about snakes than actually get bitten by them.

    The place looks glorious.

  10. About 6 months ago, we left Florida for the Colorado mountains, and I'm loving it. My office allows me to look at the passing wildlife, and the sunrises and sunsets are amazing. And the new environment has definitely sparked new story ideas.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  11. Goodness, you've been moving around a lot this year, Clare! Give yourself a break before plunging into landscaping or remodeling chores.

    I need a quiet spot for writing--can't stand to have music, TV, or people chattering around me. A small office overlooking a great ocean or mountain view would most appeal to me.

  12. We live up in the Santa Monica mountains and my home office has a view of the top of the ridge. The best view is on overcast days. While the rest of LA suffers from grey skies, the fog rolls over the peak and blankets our neighborhood in clouds. The green of the pines glisten in the moisture and It's quiet like snow fall. Perfect for curling up with a cup of tea and writing like crazy.

    If I could dream of a second place to write it would entail granite mountains and actual snow. Maybe Lake Tahoe in the distance.

    As for fire issues. I can relate. Topanga is beautiful but it is also considered the most natural disaster prone area of the US. We don't have water tanks on our property but the State and Federal government started a pilot project to organize us in case of disaster. I don't know your situation but there is a lot of information on our community website about preparing your house for fire and other disaster preparedness stuff. In case you are interested:

  13. Jim - your lucky you can write in public, I'm like Kathryn I need totally peace (and anonymity). Wilfred, Terry and Claire looks like the mountain views are stacking up there nicely though Winfred, like you we have people on th other side of the road who have even better views - right across the Mebourne skyline (or so I am led to believe). JRM - you made me smile as I have to confess we aren't all that worried about any of the natural predators here...:) The redback spiders like dark places and can be pretty much avoided and the previous owners said they had never seen a snake on the property in the 10 years they lived there. Still I like to make sure the Australian 'dangerous' mythology continues to percolate:) Claire, we have lots of bushfire preparedness stuff going on - two years ago a number of towns near us were wiped out (literally) in a horrific firestorm so that was a big wake up call for the community. They now issue code warnings and basically the top two levels mean you evacuate the night before a potentially dangerous day. We've had to promise all our nearest and dearest that we will leave and not stay and defend our property!

  14. As a landlocked prairie dweller (Oklahoma), I am fascinated by both mountains and oceans. But water inspires me the most, so a lake/river/ocean view would do it for me.

    As it is, my home writing space looks across the very narrow driveway to the rundown duplex next door. Oh yes, and dumpsters as well.

    When I can snatch a few minutes to work on my fiction while at the day job, it's in a cubicle in a room with no windows.

    And so it goes, at least for now.

  15. Clare,
    I remember those towns. Very sad.

    We don't have a code warning but we have a volunteer arson watch team that keeps everyone updated on the TCEP website. We even had a drill a few months ago so everyone could test the FRS radios and find their emergency site in the event that they couldn't get out of the canyon.

    Living in a fire zone is not for the faint of heart but it does have it's advantages. The only noise at night is the occasional bark of the coyote. A sound you notice the first few months in your new house and then never again.

  16. Kent - I'm with you on the ocean front - I would love to have a house overlooking a stormy sea - but this view will do for the moment:) Claire - at least with bushfires they have some inkling the conditions will be bad, in the San Francisco bay area we never knew if or when the next 'big one' could hit.

  17. That looks beautiful and peaceful. I write in my home office, surrounded by my books. It gets me in the perfect mindset. I can't write at the beach because I just want to stare at the water. It lulls me into tranquility.

  18. I live in a city surrounded by forest, mountains, and ocean. The unpoluted air is sweet and conducive to thinking. It's beautiful, and I see it every day. That being said, my ideal writing place is to snap a brain scanner to my skull and let my computer transcribe my thoughts and dreams while I lay in bed with my wife curled up on my arm, all warm and cozy. That's the moment I really think best.

  19. Wow, the place looks amazing Clare! Congrats!